Writing for the right reasons

I’ve avoided writing this for a long time. Even now, as I’ve been on break from school (as a teacher, not a student!), I’ve found ways to avoid it. Idle, busy work, really.

Watching TV, surfing the interwebs, there was always something I could find to keep me from getting around to this.

This is a scary post to write, because, well, it (hopefully) heralds my return to writing. And to herald a return to writing, you had to have a departure from writing. And I have, for a while now.

See, writing is something I’ve always loved. Always. From a very early age, I developed this love affair with words, mixing them, matching them, toying with their order, and I realized what power words had.

It helped that my dad’s a writer. He was (and is) an excellent role model, and he helped me refine my writing into something distinctly mine.

Fast forward a number of years, to my junior year of college. I was an avoid devotee of the church of Android, and could spit out specs on command to any family member or friend who would listen. I knew Google was on the cusp of something big, and I wanted to know everything about it.

I never thought of trying to make a career out of writing, but as fate would have it, I landed a freelance gig with Android Central. It changed everything. (Well, at least in my head.) All of a sudden, my words were broadcast out to a huge audience, and that excited me.

I’d never been in a position like that before, but the idea of fame and power and influence overwhelmed me. How cool would it be, I thought, if I made a career of this? Reviewing apps, getting comments, having new phones show up for me to review, well, it made me want that.

Needless to say, I don’t write for Android Central, anymore. In fact, I don’t write for anyone. I did a small stint with Android Authority, but I couldn’t commit, not with the time commitments my full-time job demand of me, and so, I quit.

I quit Android Authority, I quit looking for any freelance gigs, I quit writing altogether. To write and not have readers was a sign of failure, and not writing meant I could avoid that feeling of shame.

Still, throughout this whole ordeal, I wanted to write. But writing as a simple blogger meant I’d have to confront said failure, and if anyone bothered to read, opened me up to criticism.

It was remembering two conversations, one with Phil, and one with my dad, that finally pushed me to writing again.

The first, and more recent, was when I was still writing for Android Central. I think it was when Google had just made moves to purchase Motorola Mobility, and I wrote an (obviously slanted, I think) post on my personal blog, just to see how much traction it would get.

I ended up getting a, “Why wasn’t this posted on Android Central?” reprimand via Skype, but in that, I let slip that I really wanted to see how far it would go. Phil then proceeded to drop sage wisdom on me.

Just write. Don’t do it for the comments or for the page hits, or else you’ll be disappointed. But never stop writing.

The second is my father’s story, which bears some parallels with mine, but takes a much more personal turn, so I’ll paraphrase it.

When he was young and his writing talents were really starting to take shape, he was asked to write something scathing and hurtful to paint someone in a negative light.

Being young, he’d never been asked to use his writing like a weapon, and it disturbed him so much, he stopped writing altogether, because the idea made him so uncomfortable.

As he got older, he came to terms with what had happened, realized the full extent of the power of his words, and slowly worked his way back into it.

At the center of it was regret about having stopped writing, and so he told me, never stop writing.

So, back to me. I’m writing again, finally, because I’m doing it for the right reasons. I’m writing to write, to take a load off, to tell a story. If people read it, awesome. If they hate it, great.

I’m glad to be focused on the process of writing and not the goal of achieving fame, because after such a long hiatus, writing feels really good.

Although I certainly wouldn’t turn down fame if it came knocking.