3/21/2018 0 Comments
It has been almost three months since my last blog post. During this period of hibernation, I realized something—the idea of blogging with regularity terrifies me! The assumption that we, as writers, are so interesting that people will follow our thoughts, opinions, and experiences feels egocentric and arrogant. Additionally, the pressure of coming up with new topics each week, in the midst of coming out of a divorce, working full-time, and raising two children seemed overwhelming.
This blogging paralysis lasted until yesterday, when I met with a friend and fellow writer for tea. Among other things, my friend asked if I considered blogging as a medium for promoting my writing to potential publishers. However, beyond the specific medium, my friend emphasized the importance of telling my stories. Being an African American, divorced, single father, living in the Southwestern United States provides me with a unique experience. The idea of being an “invisible” minority in a state where African Americans make up less than 2% of the state’s population; or the challenge of trying to date as a single dad in an area where very few people represent your racial and cultural background. As we continued to talk, I realized that I just needed to begin writing—I needed a medium to get these stories out into the world.
My blog can serve as that medium. It can be an outlet to get my stories out into the world. After finishing my graduate program, I felt completely bogged down with stress from the divorce, lawyer fees, my impending student loans coming due. The focus became—how can I quickly generate money from my writing. While all artists want to be fairly compensated for their efforts, when the focus becomes solely about money the art becomes compromised. In my situation, I felt completely stifled and was unable to produce anything that I felt was adequate. What I failed to see at the time, which my friend helped me to realize, is that I have yet to pay my dues as a professional writer.
My father, who has been a musician since he was 20-years-old, and is now in his sixties, has written thousands of songs over the past forty years. While he has not yet achieved notoriety as a result of his music, he has undeniably paid his dues as a musician. While I may not always receive payment or recognition for my writing, I must continue to write. This is what those who truly love the written word do! They write because they love the act of writing. They write to quench the unyielding desire to share stories and human experience.
As we approach the closure of the third month of 2018, I recommit to writing in all of its beautiful and diverse forms. I will no longer limit myself with fixations about publication, monetary compensation, or being the most prolific writer. My goal for 2018 and beyond is to write authentically, creatively, collaboratively, and with discipline.
To all of my fellow writers seeking inspiration and encouragement, check out “Why I Write,” by Terry Tempest Williams.
Thanks for reading and keep writing!
Devin James Baldwin, M.A. Professional Writing