A Very Morose Writing Update

1277 wc

Originally posted on my writing blog which was active from 2010 to 2018.

# Monday, March 19, 2018

I promised myself that I would write about writing twice a month. The last writing post I published was January 17, over two months ago.

Brace yourself for a shocking revelation. My writing is not going well. This could explain why I haven’t been rushing to tell you about it twice a month.

I am writing this post in Visual Studio Code, because perhaps it will inspire me. I love VSCode. I am writing in Markdown format, and watching the little preview window on the right-hand side update as I type. It’s very satisfying.

Unfortunately I don’t have much to say.

Except this: I hate my writing. I hate every sentence that comes out of my keyboard these days. They are all terrible. When I look at my sentences compared with everyone else’s sentences, mine look like some twisted, rusty, metallic monstrosity, like an abandoned gray industrial zone in a city, where the skyscrapers are falling down, it rains all the time, and homeless people fight to survive, and drug dealers shoot each other over two lost dollars. There are cracked out prostitutes staggering around the streets in my sentences. The cops don’t even try to police these sentences anymore.

Everyone else’s sentences look like sleek, clean, high-rise apartments in the nice part of town, where everyone wears nice clothes and has plenty of money. The sun there shines in a crystal blue sky, and there is not a care in the world.

It’s really, really disheartening.

I remember once reading or hearing about how some people think in words and some people think in pictures. I definitely think in pictures. When I’m writing, I’m usually trying to describe an image I see in my head. The first draft of that description sounds a lot like what I would say out loud when speaking casually.

That’s bad, because I’m not very good at speaking off the cuff. I hem and haw and um and stumble over words a lot. If you’ve seen any of my game videos you’ll already know this. I often stop in mid-sentence because I have no idea how to continue, because I have an image in my head but no words to describe it. One of the reasons I record videos at all is to a) get better at speaking and b) learn more about how my brain works. I had no idea that I stopped in mid-sentence all the time, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell you why. Now I know. It’s kind of an interesting self-discovery process, recording oneself.

Admittedly playing a game at the same time I’m trying to speak is a bit of a distraction.

But I digress. I was trying to explain how thinking in pictures affects my writing, and how it seems like an incredible disadvantage.

When I write sentences and paragraphs, they are all just rough ideas of what I’m thinking about. I imagine it like sculpting. My first draft is a very rough cut piece of stone that requires a whole lot of fine detail work to get anywhere close to what I want readers to see. With something like a blog post, I usually just let it go in rough form without much editing, at least as long as it more-or-less communicates the idea I’m trying to get across.

I don’t know what it’s like to think in words, but I imagine it’s much easier to write that way. Or at least, much *faster* to write that way. I imagine such a person can sit and type perfectly-formed, non-repeating, interesting sentences on the first try for hours on end, with fascinating metaphors and diverse vocabulary.

At least, that’s how it seems.

Now for some actual writing updates.

## Cataract

I haven’t worked on my latest work-in-progress Survey in a long time. But I have an excuse!

Earlier this month, I went to the eye doctor and was told I have a cataract in my right eye. This was the surprising but inevitable culmination of several months of really irritating vision problems. Cataracts don’t just spring up overnight (or so I’m told), so this thing obviously has been developing for a long time, but it’s only been seriously *interfering* with my vision, specifically in terms of reading and writing, for a few months now.

It’s very challenging for me to read text on a computer screen these days. It’s not so much that I can’t see the text, it’s that the cataract creates a weird interference pattern that sort of blurs and obfuscates the letters. It’s a little bit like looking at the text through a tiny wire mesh, like a screen door. Except no matter how much you move your head, you can’t quite see between the wires to get a clear view.

It all clears up instantly if I simply put my hand over my right eye. I’ve tried to work like that, but I haven’t had much success. I even made a pair of reader glasses, popped out the left lens, and covered the right lens in black cloth to make a sort of eye patch. It works for a very short time, but after a few minutes I get nauseous*, or some even stranger patterns start to develop in my right eye. I don’t think my brain can handle it.

The obstruction to my vision is much worse on sunny days. I have to wear sunglasses to do anything with a computer when the sun is out now. The eye doctor explained it very well. In bright light, the pupils dilate, so light cannot get *around* my cataract and has no choice but to go directly through it. When it’s darker, light can get around the cataract and I can see better. That’s why sunglasses help.

To make a long story short, it’s hard to write at a computer screen for any length of time now. Not only is it difficult to read the text, which leads to headaches, but it actually makes me nauseous after a certain amount of time. It’s a feeling much like vertigo or motion sickness, very much like the unpleasant feeling I get when reading in a car. I’m starting to feel it now, so I’m going to have to wrap this up.

## Summary

To summarize all that we’ve learned in this post: I hate my writing, and I have a cataract. I have made no progress on my latest work-in-progress, because it is terrible and I should feel terrible for even trying to pretend it’s not terrible. I should give up and start completely over. Or better yet, just give up on ever writing anything that anyone will ever want to read (let alone pay for). I should resign myself to an incredibly boring, meaningless job that I hate doing that sucks all the creative life out of me every day for the rest of my miserable existence. That pretty much sums up my current writing mood.

Yay these writing posts are fun!

P. S. I didn’t feel like editing this so it’s all first draft material, baby.

P. P. S. Oh hey look, apparently I don’t have Markdown enabled on this site. Sigh.

* Nauseous is the first word I’ve typed in this post that made me wish for a spell-checker. Unfortunately, VS Code, being a programmer’s text editor, does not have one. I know that I always spell nauseous wrong on the first try, and I rely on the spell checker to tell me the correct spelling, but there was no red squiggly line to help me until I imported this text into WordPress.

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