A few months ago I was asked by KIUC to write a piece about living off-grid. They just said "be honest and have fun with it." Writing for a wider audience is very different than writing simply for this blog. My normal writing process is to wait for an idea to germinate (most often inspired by something I've read), and then let it simmer in my head for a few days until it's bursting to get out. I know it's time to write when I wake up in the morning incapable of doing anything else until I record my thoughts. I have no choice but to get it on paper-- just to get it out of my head.
But, since I'm below average on the creativity scale-- I go weeks without having an original thought. My lack of creativity dictates the slow pace of updating for this blog.
When KIUC approached me, it was the first time since college that I had to force myself to sit down and write. Reflections on living off-grid weren't bouncing around in my head trying to get out, they were lying dormant in a dusty corner. And I had to force myself to try and polish those thoughts into something worthwhile.
This cover story for their monthly magazine is the result...
However, a more important result was the realization that I enjoyed that writing process even more than the "sit and wait" style that I was used to. Just like forcing myself to exercise when I'm tired or forcing myself to socialize when I'm an introvert-- writing that KIUC article was unexpectedly satisfying.
And so I've decided to try and pursue a wider audience for my writing.
After hashing out my thoughts on Syria over three blog posts, I committed myself to sit down and clean them all up into one coherent essay. Which I tentatively submitted to Civil Beat. To my surprise, they published it.
I submitted two more pieces to Civil Beat, one of which was for an Emerging Writers Contest that they were holding. Again to my surprise, they published both-- and I ended up winning the contest.
Both articles began with me facing a blank page-- intent on writing but with no idea what to put down. A process that was foreign to me.
The first piece is on how we're letting demagogic politicians dominate our conversation, while ignoring the harder conversation of climate change.
The final Civil Beat piece, and the one that won the contest, is on fear. Since I had no idea what to write about, I used my accident as fodder for a broader discussion on rational vs. irrational fear.
While I'm not very good at coming up with ideas on a regular schedule, I do plan to continue attempting to submit to Civil Beat. However, they will not publish anything that has been published elsewhere-- including this blog. So, if you are a regular reader and no new posts are popping up here, you can stay up to date by periodically checking this link at Civil Beat for new pieces.
While I'm not giving up on this blog, I do want to say thank you to all of you who have read it regularly over the last few years. Without your support, and periodic debate, I would not have had the fortitude to continue writing. So, thank you very much-- I really appreciate your words of encouragement.