Not Necessarily My Blog – I Love Essay-Writing Edition

The new blog title is a homage to an old show on HBO back in the 80’s called ‘Not Necessarily the News’, which was a spoof-satire of news shows with such segments as Dixon Dolly and Rich Hall’s sniglets (words that aren’t in the dictionary but should be).

Yesterday as I was out driving (yes, I can drive and think at the same time unlike most of the idiots on the road today, some of whom seem to think that individual lanes on the freeways don’t apply to them), and I had a thought:

Back in my school days in the pre-internet era, I actually loved writing essays and answering essay questions on tests. I felt like essay writing gave me a chance to use my brain and show I wasn’t just a human automaton being trained to just regurgitate facts and shit like the educational system wanted me to. And it was a good thing I knew how to write well because I always got A’s on my essays and on tests with essay questions.

I’ve been blogging off and on for a long time and inevitably I let go up and down and keep trying to figure out how to get a rhythm going on it. I would think I had to be all high-and-mighty intellectual or clever or something. But yesterday in the car I realized something: blogging is a form of essay writing. And because of that thought, I had a memory of loving essay writing in school when I didn’t love much of anything else about those days.

Essay writing is some of the oldest published writing in the English language though I won’t claim a level of brilliance like some stuff that’s survived a couple hundred years give or take. But telling myself I was once good at something is a start, and telling myself now that I can get good at it again if I just put the pedal to the metal and approach my non-fiction writing like essay-writing. And I also tell myself to remember that sometimes I might be under the gun time-wise like I was on those essay tests so long ago so I can’t use that as an excuse not to write now.

I think the reason I’ve avoided this revelation and embrace of it is because it’s not seen as cool by the assholes in this world to like something that’s required of you. I mean, imagine the extra amount of shit I would have gotten back in my school-days if I had revealed my love of essay-writing? Let’s not. But luckily I’m not in high-school anymore and I don’t have to worry about dealing with sniggering assholes anymore thanks to the power of internet unfollowing and blocking if needed. And no, I don’t need to see that kind of shit in my life and neither does anyone else. Seeing shit and getting shit doesn’t make you a better person- working your ass off at something you care about does.

In my school days, I had several great teachers who really taught me how to write well. They taught me how to think through an idea, do the research needed, organize it or free-write and then put it all together and most of all, how to proofread and edit. I’d like to pay homage to them, too here and show that all their time and effort was worth it with me.

I know I’ve never taken the thought of writing professionally as seriously as I should have. That’s something I’ve worked through over the last four years and I think at this point I’m getting close again to a breakthrough. Because I learned back then that if I wrote my ass off I’d get good at it. I know that’s the case now. And I know that I might be under-the-gun timewise sometimes but I don’t need to pick up my phone, doom-scroll on social media, or anything other than putting hands on the keyboard.

The really good part of this thought was I can apply it to the non-fiction projects I’m struggling with. My thought is that I can create a single topic then write it out then fit all those pieces together. With my fiction, I don’t think about writing the whole book at once or even a whole chapter. I go scene by scene and put it all together. And I’ve put blog entries into my non-fiction project files so I’ve already got material there to work with.

It’s about focus and concentration, and if I have to put a time limit on myself I will. But I’m not a teenager anymore and I don’t have to deal with any real or perceived bullshit over proclaiming my love of something that might not seem cool or smart. To me, trying to cater to bullshit is like trying to conform to something I’m not- cool or smart. What I am is full of words in my head along with my feelings. And I deal with those words and feelings by writing about them.

So I will admit it right here and now: I’m an adult nerd who likes to write essays.

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