Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Joy of Writing

I've rediscovered the joy of writing. I enjoy writing, and I like keeping up with this blog, but with everything else I'm up to these days, I don't always have the time to explore the lengthier topics I want to, and our regular posting schedule often requires me to fall back on familiar topics or fluff that may or may not have any real oomph to them when forced into a post. But I've been working on a post I've been meaning to write for a while now, and it's the most pure fun I've had on this blog since...I actually can't remember when.

As I said, I like keeping up with this blog--both in writing new material and in reading what Alex has to offer. It's just that many of the posts I've written in the past few months have required more thinking and revising than usual, and while I'm satisfied with the end results, there's something magnificent about effortlessly writing a post that is equally satisfying.

I've been focusing more on perceptions of fandoms and specific situations involving fandoms lately, and the posts that write themselves are the ones about the fandoms themselves. I didn't realize until just now how much I miss those posts.

My introduction to the Alien movies was a successful attempt to recapture the pure joy of sharing my favorite fandoms with others. My explanation of the basics of roleplaying was a fun chance to ramble about a topic I don't discuss as often as I should, for as long as I had the words to fuel myself. Our joint review of the movie Fanboys was a hoot, and the review was already there in our heads; we just needed to pour it all onto paper (or what passes for paper 'round these parts). My scathing review of the film Sunshine was great to write, because in sorting out my strong opinions toward the film, I discovered an entire post that was trying to claw its way out of my fingertips. It's a wake-up call to me that I had to go as far back as March 2009 to find just four good examples of posts that were pure fun.

The post I'm working on now has reinforced two important maxims: write what you know, and write what you love. I've been writing what I know, perhaps a little too much. [Insert obligatory Mega Man reference here.] Even when I've been writing what I love, I've been writing about the fandoms I love, but I haven't been writing what I love--that is, the kind of posts I love to write: the excessively in-depth introductions; the opinionated gut reactions; the philosophizing about the nature of fandoms; the fake elections...I haven't been embracing what I love in the way I would love to.

Looking back through some of those old posts, I also wonder where my sense of silliness went. Just skimming through the posts, a few phrases here and there caught my eye, and I chuckled. Laughed, at my own material, which I had forgotten. I seem to have lost some of the optimism, lightheartedness, and enthusiasm I once had, and I'm now determined to get it back.

When this blog started out, figuring out a topic was daunting, but once I knew where I was going, the writing was a blast. Now it's relatively easy to come up with a topic, and I've at least gotten better about cranking out a post in less than three hours, but the writing isn't necessarily "a blast." Enjoyable, satisfying, enriching, etc., but once again, I'm missing that element of pure fun. It doesn't need to be there all the time, but I shouldn't have to go as far back as March 2009 to realize it's missing.

So here's my plan: My plan is pure fun. I've been holding myself back from writing about certain fandoms because I'm not yet enough of an expert to do a properly comprehensive introduction--forget it; I'm writing about them. I've been constructing arguments instead of bluntly expressing opinions--forget it; if you wanna argue about my opinions, that's why the comments are open to everybody. I've set out on a writing road trip and am stuck in video game traffic on the sci-fi highway (the sci-fiway?); forget it--I'm getting out and walking, preferably to a place that sells better metaphors.

I'm back, whatever that means. Maybe I was here all along; maybe I lost myself; maybe I wasn't here at all. One need only look at the Month in Review posts we've written in the last several months to see how pleased we've both been with the content here on Exfanding Your Horizons, so it's not like I want to abandon the good thing we feel we have going. But I want to reclaim that feeling of pure joy I had when writing about Firefly, and the excitement I had for writing about my lesser-publicized fandoms and hobbies, such as collecting Dungeons & Dragons miniatures.

The difference between a franchise reboot and a revitalizing sequel is how much of the present is retained in the voyage back to one's roots. I have no intention of J.J. Abramsing this blog. I like the feel and continuity of the present just fine; I miss the joy of writing those big, creative posts that draw from my exposures to all different fandoms. Let's see if there's room for a little more of the past in the present, or a little room for the present in the past.

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