One of the most appealing things about writing thoughts, ideas, and daily occurrences is the ability to revisit these in the future. This presents an opportunity to glance back at a state of mind and life. I think it'll be very cool to look back ten years from now at what I'm writing today. Not only will it bring back memories, but it will show me how far I have advanced. I actually just recently had a taste of what this feels like.
Going through my old files (and I have a few), I found something I wrote many years ago. In the early spring of 2000 I started a blog (for lack of a better descriptor) on a free website called bizland.com (which has changed into a real business since). I called this blog "The Final Word" and I wrote about current topics, delivering my unbridled opinion. I guess I should mention I published this behind the shield of a pseudonym. Of course, no one ever read this. I only had three entries and a short introduction about myself (the most ridiculous and embarrassing thing ever written). A couple of topics were: a terrible ice storm that shut down the city for several days (I called this one "Ice 2k"), and the infamous Elian Gonzales ("Should he stay or should he go"). I also had a list of ideas that were on my mind at the time that I wanted to write about - worth mentioning: "Beanie Babies" (let's just leave it at that). All in all, it looked like a nicely formatted, run-of-the-mill blog. I had created a clean canvass, a forum for my ideas.
Not much later, "The Final Word" died. I don't recall exactly why I stopped writing. Perhaps I approached this venture the wrong way. Perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to discuss issues. I believe I intended to be more of a "shock-jock" writer than intellectually honest with my thoughts at the time. It could have been that, writing under a pseudonym, I attempted to create a persona that I wasn't and that was just too much to keep up with. I was also a different person mentally back then seven years is a long time.
Reading the entries, which were not short by any stretch of the imagination, was amusing - if not because of the content, because of how I framed the arguments. Some things were a bit embarrassing and naοve like I mentioned, I was mentally and professionally a different person. Some comments were outright dumb and intentionally inflammatory; and although I don't shy away from controversial issues, shielded behind the shroud of another name, I went to extremes. Regardless, it brought back a lot of memories about that time and about things that were going on in my life. Whether explicit within my words or buried beneath the surface, this find opened a refreshing window into my past. It was certainly enlightening to analyze the subtle and not-so-subtle changes I have experienced since then.
So do I have a final word on "The Final Word"? Sure I'm glad I did it and regret not writing perhaps a bit more then. If for nothing else, it certainly made me appreciate how far I have come and how much my life has changed for the better since. I hope that perhaps one day far in the future I can say the same thing about these cubes (except for the part of not seeing this through). Maybe one day I will post a cube with these entries just for the sake of archiving them with everything else at this time I would rather not.
As another final word on this subject: if you have something you wrote a long time ago that you can find and revisit, I recommend you do so. Whether it's reading old school papers or emails, you will be amazed how quickly your mind will recall those moments from your past. It can be fun or even painful, but regardless it's always therapeutic.
Like Drano for a Writer's Block
In another cube I mentioned my novel and I am going to mention it again right now. After a whole year of writing 95,000 words in 122 chapters, I reached the end of my novel and realized an enjoyable story had failed to deliver a good climax, just fizzling into its conclusion. Disappointed, I tried to figure out how to fix it to no avail. As this was going on, my head was continuing to pop ideas for other stories - it wanted me to continue writing - if not my original novel, something else, anything. But what? How?
It's hard to shelf a project that has taken so long to develop and so much energy to build. A process that had been absolutely automatic write a page or two a day had come to a screeching halt and I couldn't get started again. For a while I couldn't bare the thought of writing anything creative outside my novel. I told myself repeatedly, "If I have enough creative energy and inspiration to come up with new ideas, I should be spending all those mental resources fixing what's wrong with the novel."
That didn't work. It became frustrating. Then, I got busy moving, school, and other things. Constant throughout this time was an underlying yearning for writing. I even started a few fiction stories and brainstormed some others, but every time I began, I reverted to thinking about my unfinished novel.
Alas, a light at the end of the tunnel. After reading some blogs I got the idea to create something that in function would be similar, but that would allow me to jump all over the place, some creative freedom. I just wanted to write forget what or when or why. So, where a blog would be common and structured and too much like a journal, I came up with something different. And so, after some front and back-end designing and programming, my "Creative Cubes" were born.
So here I am, writing about all sorts of daily events, thoughts, memories, things. It's liberating and enjoyable to be able to convert thoughts to written words without guilt or frustration. It feels as if the mental clog that had been holding my writing back for a year has been cleared. I needed an outlet and my own creativity developed the best format fitting to what I wanted.