Writing Through It

At some point, my daily well-being got tied up in writing. I have learned through this weekly exercise of keeping a blog that I feel a lot better when I’m making words. The last time I wrote nearly as much was when I was in school. As a liberal arts student, I wrote papers about literature, literary theory, philosophy, and psychology. Getting some of those papers out – namely the ones about The Pearl, which I only vaguely understood – felt like passing a very large, hard turd (sorry Mom, I know you don’t like me saying that kind of thing). At the end of each week I felt like I had accomplished something, though, even if those papers had no original or succinct thought behind them. I had basically eaten ideas and then let them pass through me. I had nothing new to say about them. Some of my papers were the equivalent of Ex-Lax.

I have had kind of a hard week. I haven’t really wanted to write anything because I’ve been overly-critical of the words I might form even before I said them. While I was out walking with C today, I thought about writing about all the stupid t-shirts I got in Korea. Then my self-loathing kicked in right on cue and I hated myself for even considering the idea of polluting the hallowed ground that is my personal blog with such idiocy. I don’t know who I’m trying to perform for; my scarily serious grad school professors are now putting the fear of Derrida into kids nine years younger than me and I have no reason to try to impress them anymore. I’m now nursing a bit of a headache that may or may not be exacerbated by the ammonia fumes I inhaled when I performed an angry floor mopping after dinner. Don’t mop the floor when you’re already feeling dopey. Do something easier like light dusting. Or eat pita chips and York Pieces.

I am pretty much addicted to this things. Photo credit

I am pretty much addicted to these things. Photo credit

HOWEVER, I’m writing through my malaise. That last sentence? Part of the write-through-it. It’s the roughage. I don’t want to write, but I’m going to and I need to. I’m giving myself a pass on editing my words and judging them too much. Sometimes late at night when I can’t sleep I look at old things I wrote a long time ago. I totally do. Brad Pitt may not watch his own movies but I read my old blog posts because that’s just me. Sometimes I cringe at the things I wrote and I’m not kind to the Emily who wrote them. I’m done with that for today. I’m not here to impress anyone, namely myself. I am just writing because it gives me some leverage on my sanity.

That said, stay tuned for some funny shirts from Korea. They are totally coming.


  1. Do me a favor and be kind to my Emily. That girl is the real deal – there’s nothing there to criticize. She’s wonderful on all counts. :)
    Looking forward to some Korean tee-shirt stories. I knew there was something missing on WordPress and that’s IT! There’s a total shortage of Korean tee-shirt stories! WOW! Thanks Em, for stepping up and providing for all of us.
    Lisa xox

    1. Random fact that I somehow know: the most popular, most visited blog on WordPress is a fanpage for Korean pop music. I can’t even make this stuff up! Oh yeah, you know I’ll throw my hat into the ring of the weird random Korean stuff! Thanks Lisa! Hoping to get the tshirt post together over the weekend. It’s gonna be a good one.

  2. Le Clown · · Reply

    You wrote malaise… And it triggered a French response. Funny how the mind works. Ill second Grippy: be kind to yourself.
    Le Clown

    1. The bilingual mind is a beautiful thing indeed.

  3. Like they said. And what the heck are you doing using ammonia? Yikes! Hang in there. Writing through it is the way to get through it.

    1. Ooomph. I don’t even know about the ammonia. I am not exactly Suzy Homemaker over here.

      1. Get some nice Mrs. Meyers stuff in the big concentrated bottle. It smells great (I particularly like the geranium scent) and you can make your solution as strong as you want.

  4. Keep pushing through it. even the writings you don’t like will bring you closer to where you want your writing to be.
    Though to be honest, I have yet to see a post from you anywhere where the time I’ve spent reading it hasn’t been time well spent.

    1. Thanks, Guap. That’s really nice of you to say. You’re not too shabby yourself.

      1. Not too shabby? Not too shabby?!?
        You mean all that work to win Shabbiest Man In The ‘Sphere has been for nothing?!?!?!?

        *heads off to shower and put on clean, unripped clothes*

  5. Write what you want to – when you want to – else there’s no sense it doing it. I don’t know if i’m convinced that ‘the more you write the better your writing will be’ – I’m sure there’s some truth to ‘practice’ – but the same should hold true for ‘the more you talk the better you’ll be at speaking’ – but it does not – imagine how insane the day would be with people just talking because they feel they have to talk all the time to get ‘better at it’ – I say do what feels right not what is prescribed. Or not – I could have no effin’ idea what I’m talking about – which is certainly a possibility…

    Please send some york candies, stat…else I’ll just keep commenting endlessly…

    And I re-read my stuff too – why? I don’t know –

    1. I tend to agree with you. Writing for me is really cathartic and while I don’t consider myself a really talky talk person, literally sitting down and writing sentences distracts me and puts me in a healthier place when I’m down on myself. It helps me make sense of the chaos in my mind. It may not help me get better at writing, but at least it makes me feel a little better. It helps me regain a bit of control.

      Please PLEASE get your hands on some York Pieces. They are amazing.

  6. Self-doubt is a pissant. Step on it.

    1. *Stomped.* ;D

  7. York Pieces? What are York Pieces? Is that like Reeses Pieces made from York Peppermint Patties?

    1. That is exactly what they are. They have minty chocolate on the inside. They may or may not be my kryptonite.

      1. I sympathize. I can’t resist M&Ms partially because they’re so small. Each individual one seems harmless enough…

  8. I feel you on this, and I hope you feel better soon. I totally re-read my old posts too. If I had time, I would probably go edit them all, but sometimes you have to just be content knowing that you’re growing and changing with every post, and the way you wrote something yesterday is not necessarily how you would write it or even how you feel about it today. I agree with the comments above, be kind to yourself. Personally, I love the t-shirt post idea. T-shirt collections are like playlists and photo albums–they’ve all got part of your story embedded in them!

    1. Thanks, Rachelle! I totally agree with you on the editing front. I sometimes wrestle with the idea that a lot of my old stuff was written in vain, but I generally believe that every word builds on all the ones that came before. They are like exercise and they have validity.

      The t-shirt post is totally happening. It’s basically going to be Engrish.com on my blog for a day.

  9. Since I started blogging, I’ve taken to writing through my bad moods. I think it helps to force yourself to hit the publish button sometimes. If people don’t like it, too bad. Everyone’s entitled to a cathartic post now and then!

    1. Word. Catharsis feels good. It kind of shows people that we’re not made of steel. Or Milk Duds, in my personal case.

  10. I haven’t even posted this week and I’m beating myself up for it!

    You, on the other hand, need to be gentle with yourself, because as always, this post read my mind. I’ll join you in “writing through the malaise.”

    1. I feel so out of my routine when I don’t write anything! Writing through the malaise is a lot better than cleaning the toilets through the malaise, methinks. Make something yummy and awesome and then tell us all about it, Rach! ;D

  11. I was gonna say, I want to hear some Korean T shirt stories! But yeah I know the feeling. For the first 5 months of blogging for me, my posts were strictly about Canada. Then finally, I was like, I don’t want to write about this any more! So I didn’t.
    That’s the great thing about blogs. The only thing that people are expecting is for you to be you. So no pressure. And pass the pita chips…

    1. You are so wise, Lils! You probably hear that all the time ;D But for sers, we do read blogs for the person and not so much the subject matter. This is why you could probably write about tax law and I’d still find it hilarious and awesome.

  12. Melanie · · Reply

    I say, when you don’t want to write is exactly when you should. Just close your eyes and type – unless you’re like me and you can’t type without looking at the keyboard, then don’t close your eyes. I find that after the first few paragraphs of “I have nothing to say, everything sucks, and this is total doo-doo” that I get into a rhythm and something productive begins to show it’s early green shoots. Then I just let the writing write. Of course, it’s not that simple, yet it kinda is. Then I delete the dirt words and work with the seeds to grow a flower. Sometimes that flower is a big and beautiful bloom. Sometimes it’s just some puney leaves, but it’s still something (besides, every garden needs some green in between the colors or it starts to look like a messed up tie-dyed t-shirt).

    1. I LOVE your comment so much! I have found the same to be true for writing – that you just have to cultivate words and give them the chance to come about however they want to come about. When I am in the middle of really good writing, I almost feel like a vessel and that the words randomly selected me as the person who gets to say them. They honor me.

      1. Melanie · · Reply

        I know that feeling and I love it, when I become a transcriptionist for a story that is ready to be told. It is an honor. That’s the perfect way to put it.

  13. DeeDee · · Reply

    Honey, you blog about whatever you want to write about. It’s your blog, after all. Yours.

    I’m overstuffed with ideas and posts waiting to be spewed out, but since I’m capable of functioning at the moment, I have to seize onto that with full strength and focus on being productive: working, taking care of other responsibilities, and trying not to waste those precious days of functionality. Basically better functioning equates to not blogging, because I “should” be saving my time and writing for the stuff I get paid to do. :(

    1. I feel you. When I know that I am not going to be physically able to write for awhile because I have stuff I need to get done, I sometimes carry a little pad of paper around where I can write down ideas and images and memories I’m struck with. It keeps me in a writterly examining state of mind and it often gives me a springboard for when I can actually sit down and hammer something out.

  14. It is good you are still writing. I’ve recently had time when I couldn’t be bothered to do anything, and writing was the first thing that suffered. Granted, the break wasn’t unjustified so I didn’t give myself too hard time about it, but still – I think there is sense in your method.
    Shirts from Korea?! Yes please ;)

    1. I am so excited for my shirts from Korea post! It’s going to be awesome and hilarious. ;D

  15. I think it’s a strength to be able to write the rougher times. God knows I clam up and don’t come out of my shell for months. There is value and honesty and courage in what you’re doing. And don’t you forget it. PS: I am looking forward to the t-shirts!

    1. Awww, I love you. I think you may have seen some of them before. ;D

  16. Emily,
    I’ve always enjoyed your posts – however they spell themselves. Be kind and show us those Korea t-shirts.


    1. Oh, they are coming. We’re going to have a veritable fashion show up in here.

  17. Emily, your prose sparkles consistently. You have the writing gene. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I agree with the majority of your commenters: bring on the tale about those Korean tee shirts! I hope it will include pictures.

    1. Your support and encouragement means the world. Thank you, sincerely. There will be a whole gallery of pictures. I have way more random t-shirts with bad English on them than is normal.

  18. I had to stop in before my official ‘break’ begins. Glad you’re writing through the self doubt. It’s all we can do. It’s funny how sometimes we read our written words and think they’re wonderful. Other times we think those same words are hideous. For the most part, they are probably somewhere in between, but hopefully closer to the former.

    I may have to take a break from my break when you post that t-shirt entry. You’ve got me intrigued!

    1. Thanks, Carrie! If you do pop in for the t-shirt post, I promise to make it worth your while! ;D Have an awesome summer!

  19. You are totally speaking to me right now. It’s funny how writing can make you feel so bipolar — maybe that’s why writers have the crazy reputation they do. I am extremely critical, but only on myself. What’s crazy to me is that you’re a brilliant writer! I thought only amateurs like me had these thoughts! :)

  20. Your blog, your space. Write what you want when you feel like it. I don’t always hit publish on what I write, but I do find writing (or screaming into a voice recorder app on a phone) does help. Sometimes I even record conversations I have with other people, and then write stories based off of that.

    Hope you feel better soon *HUG*

  21. Emily, I have told you many times how wonderful a writer I think you are…and you are. Everyone is their own worst critic, but you have no reason to deride your work. It’s fabulous. I can’t wait to collaborate with you because you are just that awesome.

    Oh, and the hard turd line? Hilarious. Sorry, Emily’s mom.

  22. Bring on the tshirts! T SHIRTS! T SHIRTS!

  23. Good girl!! You speak the truth for so many of us.

  24. I meant to respond to this yesterday, but it’s even going to be more true now that you have published your hilarious diapering memo. See what a good, smart , intuitive writer you are for writing through the hard part until you get to the other side? Next time you are inclined to be critical with yourself, ask yourself this question, “What would Krug the Thinker say? ” You will reply, “She would NEVER say such things to me.” And then go on. Thanks for your brave and honest thoughts.

    1. Krug the Thinker (and Mindful Magpie) has always been extremely kind and sweet to me. Even when I was a dumb teenager. Now that’s saying something ;)

  25. Been there… oh right, still there. ;-) You are an incredible writer Emily; my world is more wonderful for the words I read on your blog. I appreciate where you’re at, but be as gentle and kind to yourself, as you’ve been to so many of us. There just are days, no matter what we do, or what t-shirts we own. Can’t wait to see the t-shirts though.

  26. tinemagpayo · · Reply

    Writing gives the writer a different kind of joy. Writing is thinking and feeling. It’s like an addiction you can’t get out of your system.:) And even if you stop, you’ll always find your way back. Happy writing :)

    1. So much truth there. I’m finally finding my way back through the forest. I can see a clearing…

  27. […] though, thanks for sticking around. I’m still writing through it, and I hope to be on the other side of the doldrums […]

  28. Ms. Roberts · · Reply

    Right on! I blog and write (bad) poetry to make myself feel better.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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