Trying hard to get worse.
I enjoy writing. It’s an extension of my mind that enables further processing of information accumulated as a result of the inherent curiosity driving my life. Truth be told, I relish the challenge of successful information conveyance during this age of illiteracy (I know, people can still read and write, but they don’t care to do it well).
It’s due to these realities I’ve upheld, in one form or another, a number of media platforms throughout the life of our retail beef business. To me, communication is a natural extension of selling beef, so the fit was tailor-made. My diligence paid off after many years when Josh Walzak, editor of The Leader Vindicator newspaper, extended an invitation to write a column for the publication. Baby, I’ve hit the big time!
Alongside my mainstream media breakthrough, our business Facebook page and this blog have, under my guidance, garnered something of a following, too (my mom). As more and more people approach me with accolades regarding snippets I’ve written, something in my mind has shifted for the worse.
I used to wake up and take to the keyboard, tapping out a reasonably successful thought that I would later edit for grammar, content, flow, etc. The results were acceptable and the process took place somewhat easily. As I’ve become more aware of my growing audience, however, (my aunt reads now, too) I’ve succumbed to a certain pressure to try and live up to the praise I’ve received. Instead of tapping out a thought, I now find myself intently focused on not sounding like an idiot or making an obvious faux pas. Content suffers when the smoke curling out of my ears is a result of nothing more than trying too hard to be good enough.
Regular reviews of performance help to expose the inevitable flaws that make us human. I’ve been reading through my previous columns with a twinge of embarrassment; it seems I’m fixated on a central theme that yields something of a redundancy in my grander script. Repetitiveness is helpful at times, but mostly it’s pretty boring, and nobody grabs the weekly paper to be bored.
No skill can improve without making mistakes, and I’m realizing some of my screw-ups are a result of a greater fear of not cutting it. I hope to set aside my pride and admit that not everything I write will be a ‘ten’, and I’ll probably fail to accurately convey the message I want to convey a time or two, and, no, my vocabulary isn’t quite perfect, yet all of those realities are OK. Life will go on, and I’ll keep learning, and, hopefully, there will always be someone who enjoys reading my prose.
This newfound freedom may infuse a breath of joy and curiosity into the subjects I choose to cover for our media outlets, making our farm a hub of interest for those like me who revel in discovery of the odd and unique. Perhaps, then, I can refocus my attention on glorious content instead of laborious perfection, for the betterment of all who read.