Just Write…

Posted December 10, 2020 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in My Essays / 4 Comments

Why is it that my brain is most active when I’m trying to sleep? This is frustrating, currently at 1am my brain is contemplating my writing style. Granted, a few essays by Alejandro Zambra before bed have not helped. There is something mesmerising about the way Zambra writes. I do not speak Spanish, so I rely on Megan McDowell to provide the English translation. The book is called Not To Read and it is a collection of essays on literature. The book reminds me that I want to be better at writing essays, and this is what is keeping me awake.

I have contemplated this thought many times throughout my history of blogging and I have a sense of what my writing goals are, I just never feel like I will ever achieve them. Are there people out there that are happy with their writing abilities? And how do I achieve that level of narcissism? I adore the way Alejandro Zambra writes, there is this level of familiarity in his words that makes me feel like he is just having a conversation with me about a book. This skill is something I have strived for in my own writing, and he makes it look so easy. I may have said something similar when reading Ex-Libris by Anne Fadiman, which makes me aware that literary essays is the type of writing I want to work towards.

I tend to write reviews on this blog, and I am aware that I need to continue this practice. Not for anyone, I just find that they are useful for me when reminiscing on a particular book. I briefly mentioned on my review of Crime and Punishment the value of a written review. This was a reread for me and I was able to look at my old review and see just how different my thoughts really were on the book. It was insightful to see just how much my thoughts on the book, and my writing style have changed over the past seven years. Then there are those times I want to talk about a book I have read in the past but have no review, and I struggle to recall my thoughts. So here I am with a desire to write more essays but also fully aware that I need to continue writing reviews.

Is there an easy solution? Obviously, I have to push myself to write more. Continue the reviews but also make time to write essays and develop that skill. When thinking about this blog, I tend to be of the mind that this is just a location to store all my writing. It is a way to reflect and physically view my journey as both a writer and as a reader. Having a public facing site motivates me to continue and while I tend not to write for other people, feedback does seem to be a powerful motivator. I guess I am a narcissist, but also, I know my writing journey is far from complete. I will probably continue to struggle with my writing skills and complain about this very topic in the future, it is all part of the journey. I do believe I am a non-fiction writer and I want to work on improving those skills. I have been flipping through The Complete Review Guide of Contemporary World Literature by M.A. Orthofer and wondering what my version of this book would look like. Then I pick up Not To Read for another essay or two and wish I was writing more essays. My mind wants to take on too many projects.

4 responses to “Just Write…

  1. Laura Frey

    How about trying to combine the two, a review / essay… Or an essay that contains elements of review… This is something I try to do too.
    And feel the same struggles.

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