There's nothing more challenging than entertaining a critical crowd, and there's nothing more critical than a crowd of one.
One being me. The pre-fab criticism being I could never live up to my own expectations. I know great writing because I've read great writing and have been inspired by it, not because such fluid prose has ever left my fingers or my lips. I can confess I am not a great writer, but it does not squelch the dreamer's hope I may someday trip upon greatness by the sheer volume of my work.
With that in mind, there's nothing more intimidating for writers than a blank page. Any self-loathing writer worth a buck knows it can only get worse from there. It's a vicious cycle.
Pedal on, young Hemingway.
It may appear ironic that a journalist who regularly fills inches and inches of newsprint is threatened by the notion of jotting down a few thoughts for a daily web log. The problem, of course, is I get paid to put the onus on other people to be interesting. As a journalist, I'm not accustomed to people being very interested in my opinion.
I think what happens to many journalists is they spend their days listening to unqualified people wax on about things they don't really understand. Not that journalists have a much better grasp on the situation, but they probably know other people who know a lot more about any given issue, there's just no credible reason to quote said people in the story of topic. Over a short amount of time, this practice can literally suck the brains out of a reporter, because reporters become used to spending an unwarranted amount of time on material that matters to so little. We know no one cares, so we stop caring, in some sense.
This is not to say I don't value my job, it's just that I know the formula too well. For stories that do not inspire my passion, which is to say nearly all of them, I know how to get them done in a way that is factual but not time-consuming. Did I do any digging? Did I do much research? Did I prepare to ask pointed questions? Did I look hard to find a better source? Probably not. To that end, my stories are factual only in the sense they do not intentionally misrepresent the truth as it is told to me. To say the facts I collect and report represent the whole truth of an issue stretches credibility, however.
I do not consider myself lazy, but neither am I one of those self-motivating whirlwinds of journalism. Neither am I so full of myself to think anyone will be rushing to my blog to see what new entertaining nugget of pontification I've posted next. I'm just not wired that way. Maybe it's a lack of self-importance that does not allow me to probe beyond the call of duty, or believe so profoundly in my ideals that my point of view is understated on the Internet.
Whatever the case, I struggle to find inspiration to fill the pages in a self-satisfying method, both in content and in context. I am guaranteed to be disappointed with my own work.
So I pose the question: Why bother?