I haven’t been writing as frequently lately for a few reasons. I’m putting more effort into training as I’m regularly doing two workouts on most days. I’ve also had a lot of peripheral issues, including car repair and house repair stuff that just eats up a ton of time. And I’ve been trying to write more towards the kind of writing I ultimately want to do.
I listened to a webinar recently featuring Donald Miller, who is one of my favorite writers, and he made a point about doing the kind of writing you ultimately want to do. If you want to write books, write books. If you want to write poetry, write poetry. If you want to write essays, write essays. If you want to write screenplays, write screenplays. He said too many people spend time writing blogs or Instagram posts when what they want to do is write books, poetry or something else. I felt truth in that for me. I want to write essays, and blog posts are essays of sorts, but are they really where I should be spending the writing time that I have? I’m not sure.
I love the community of bloggers. I love finding people in other parts of the world who share my interests. I love getting immediate feedback from readers. But I do wonder – what would I have accomplished if I’d spent even half of the hours I’ve put into this blog writing essays that I could submit for publication? I want to appear in magazines and even in some newspapers, but I have never once submitted an essay for publication. Why is that?
Just thinking about triathlon, I’ve had seasons where I just train and seasons where I train for a race. My best training is done in preparation for a race. If I don’t have a specific goal, I tend to go easy or skip workouts or find reasons to cut workouts short. Training for the sake of training is fun, but crossing the Ironman finish line is what really excites me. Hitting a PR at a marathon is what makes me work harder towards the next goal. I wonder – has blogging for me been like training without a race on the horizon? Have I not been pushing myself hard enough?
I want to be a writer. More specifically, I want to be an essayist. Even more specifically, I want one of my essays to appear in the New York Times Modern Love column, and I want to publish a collection of essays as a book. That’s what I want to be writing towards. As much as I love blogging, I think it’s time to blog less and chase my essay dream more. It might be far-fetched to think I could be a professional writer, but so was the idea that ordinary, pudgy me could become an Ironman. Anything is possible.