What not to post

Part of what makes it so hard to be a politically-minded blogger (or reporter, or writer of any kind, really) is that the things we want to write about the most are the things we feel most strongly about. Sometimes, the strength of those feelings makes it hard to put your thoughts together in a clear, concise manner, which is what separates a good blog post from a rambling expulsion of anger. There’s a place for that, to be sure, but in my case, most of those random ramblings never reach the eyes of others. They end up in a special word file on my desktop, rather than on my blog or in the publications I write for. Cathartic writing need not be public to have its intended effect.

In my experience, I often feel that I need to create a “critical distance” between my emotions and my knowledge when I’m writing about things that are close to my heart. I need to make sure my opinion is coming from my rational mind, rather than just a manifestation of whatever feelings are driving my interpretation of a given situation. The more passionate I am about a subject, the harder it is for me to create that critical distance; the more I’ve invested my emotional well-being in being “right” about something, the easier it is for me to put my blinders on and ignore any possible counter-argument simply because I don’t want to hear it at that moment. My expressive capacity reaches its absolute nadir when I’m most emotional; whether it’s the subject or story itself which evokes those emotions, or external circumstances that seriously alter my mood for extended periods of time, I simply can’t write anything worth reading.

At any rate, this is a roundabout way of explaining my hiatus for the past six weeks, which has been from a combination of factors. I’ve essentially felt the entire range of human emotions in that time, from the highest highs to the lowest lows. When an otherwise-benign story evokes murderous rage in one’s heart, that’s probably a good time to take a break from reading the news, because one’s subjective interpretation of information will necessarily preclude any objective analysis. That’s what I love doing, and that’s what I do best – and if I can’t analyze something from an adequately-detached perspective (whether that detachment via one’s inherent distance, or a self-imposed stepping-away from the issue) then it’s hard to write anything that you can look back on years later with any sense of pride.

I’ve often joked that non-professional bloggers write at least 5% of their posts as apologies for not posting much lately, or apologies for posting too much. That’s because creativity doesn’t operate on a schedule, and inspiration can’t easily be fit into one’s routine. Nonetheless, we are a species that loves to seek out, share, and interpret information, with hopes of fitting it into our existing structures (even if most of that information is made up of lolcats and selfies).

In short: apologies to those who missed me during my hiatus, and apologies in advance to the oncoming explosion of content that’s been backlogged in my curious brain. I like to think I’m worth waiting for. 😉