I just binge-watched YOU and cringed at all the moments that Beck was trying to write but — you know, didn’t write. Before I watched, I knew all the hype about Joe and his creepy-stacker-turned-serial-killer character arc. I knew about the judgmental social commentary and the preachy warnings about living your life online.
Somehow I missed that Beck was an aspiring writer who never writes.
I absorbed her storyline with a mix of empathy and annoyance. I didn’t want to look into that mirror this weekend. I don’t write as much as I should — for someone who writes for a profession.
I write all day — in that I ghostwrite constantly for product descriptions, social media posts, email blasts, and webpage content. I’ve even written entire fiction and non-fiction books, memoirs, curriculums, technical guides, and professional journal articles — for other people.
However, I have a regrettably small assortment of lifestyle articles that have been published under my name. I don’t even write for myself that often — and nothing consistent. My Instagram feed sucks.
That’s actually why I started this colors project — to write something reflective once a week. I didn’t put a word limit on it. I aim for a few thoughtful paragraphs with thoughts equal in size to the word count. Some are substantial while others are ridiculously short.
Beck’s life, like mine, seems like it would be full of time to write. She’s a TA and enrolled in a master’s degree related to writing. She only works part time and functions free of many typical responsibilities like a relationships, children, volunteering, or family obligations.
Yet, her time just seems so full. It’s too full really. Beck’s always busy being somewhere and doing something — just not writing.
I said to myself, “Isn’t that just how it is?”
I think about writing often. As I work on this project, I make lists in my head (and even jot them in my journal), of colors I need to compile and what I’ll write about them. But the actual sitting down for a total of 52 posts is a challenge I’m not quite sure I’ll finish.
Being a good writer often tears you away from the writing.
One of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin states, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” That’s even more true in this age of social media — where the writer’s brand matters more than what they have to say. It means turning your life into a string of events and (again I cringe) experiences. Only then, people will give a moment to consider what you have to say.
It better be photographable. (It goes without saying you must be too).
This week, I grabbed colors that I’d been meaning to grab. I struggle to describe the aesthetic. The candy-colored clash of pastel and color pops. It’s everywhere — cloying at us from handmade collages that are trying to mimic nostalgia for a generation that never lived in a screen-free world.
That’s the best of what writing (or content creating) can be — making people long for things that never happened to them exactly.
It’s those basic, rainbow-colored sprinkles rolled onto the simplest vanilla cone — that no one particularly thinks about until you say, “Summer”. Then, you’re eight years old again and your shorts are mint-green to match your gingham top and plastic barrettes. It’s 1991 and you’re outside a bodega, standing on a bridge overpass while you watch your friends drop sticks into a rushing creek nearby.
Everything is metal or plastic and smells a little like stale beer and gasoline. Because that’s writing.