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Some Self-flagellating Thoughts

I know. I’ve been remiss. Lax. Not writing.

Well, the truth is I am writing. In fact, I’m writing a lot. All day most days. I guess that’s the perils of having a “creative” job.

I put creative in quotes because I’m still rather judgmental about marketing and communications. I’ve been known to say that a trained monkey could do my job. Actually, I’m not sure that I’ve said that about my current job (which I’ve had for nearly five years now), but I definitely said it about my job at the agency I worked at in the late nineties and early aughts. And I’m still not convinced it isn’t true.

B&E has never really had a strong theme, as in one strong idea that ties it all together. One of my favorite blogs right now is all about a rooftop garden. And that’s all. And it’s great.

But B&E is about whatever I want it to be, whatever goes through this bald head of mine. This time of year, baseball is often in my brain, which is funny because I actually watch very little baseball. Instead I read about it later, and occasionally go out to a game in person. And I do still love my homegrown, struggling, injury-plagued Mets.

I used to write a lot more about politics. Other political sites have ruined me for that, largely. When I began this thing back in 2005, I was underemployed. I didn’t know about the Huffington Post (which I’m not sure was even around yet) or Talking Points Memo. I read the New York Times and sometimes the Guardian. And then I’d write my response to some news item of the day. I used to even name a Dickhead of the Week, every week.

But Josh Marshall and the other folks at TPM, as well as Greg Sargent’s Plum Line blog and many others, do the political commentary better than I do. Or even if there are times I wish I’d written what they’d written plus two more cents worth, it’s usually too late or my interest has waned, because that’s what happens now. Just a few days after his official resignation, who the hell is Anthony Weiner? And why do I always want to call him Andrew?

B&E was a great exercise, back in 2005. I forced myself to write every day, sometimes more than once, and I had the time to do so. It wasn’t always easy, but I definitely hit a stride, and I’d say that B&E peaked in consistent quality probably during the summer of 2006. I’m not saying that I haven’t liked any of my posts since then, but there’s no denying that it’s not as good. That’s right. My blog peaked five years ago. And I’ve finally gotten to a place in my writing where, when I say that my blog peaked five years ago, I’m not judging myself. I’m not even lamenting that fact. But it is a fact.

Still, I haven’t quit. Many people have. Especially as they’ve moved to to Facebook (which I’m on) and Twitter (which I’m only on enough to claim my name). I’m stubborn. It’s how I manifest most as a Taurus. Plus, I like the blog format. 140 characters can be great, I suppose, but in a blog you can ramble. I like rambling.

The main reason I don’t quit, though, is that all of my writing feeds itself. When I was underemployed, the blog kept my creative juices flowing. It was no accident that as I hit my groove with B&E I wrote a script that was just kind of better than the others I’d written to that point. Writing a screenplay and writing a blog take different parts of the brain (at least that how it feels for me), but writers often say that writing is a muscle. You have to keep writing to keep the muscle strong.

So yes, all of my writing feeds itself. While I was collaborating on a ridiculously silly comedy script, another dramatic script took a surprisingly good turn as well. Even at my job, where what I do is called “copywriting,” I keep the creativity moving enough that I’m able to continue to work on various script projects outside of the office.

Thanks to my job, I don’t lean on B&E the way I used to. So the work on B&E suffers, and, therefore, so must my readers suffer. But it’s more important that I do good work at my job. I happen to like it, and I’d like to keep it.

And I do think that B&E also affects the writing I do at my job. When I write on behalf of my company (as opposed to the writing I do for clients), it’s pretty genuinely my voice. I’ve embraced our company’s personality as part of my own when I write, of course, but I think the tone of the writing at my company has also been pretty informed by my personal voice. And because I set the tone for the writing at my company, others have embraced that.

Granted, when I write on my work blog, I’m not calling anyone a Dickhead or using salty language or crossing unprofessional lines, like when I refer to New Yorkers as a bunch of undocumented, pinko, abortion-loving, tree-hugging queers, not that we have many trees healthy enough to hug. And speaking of undocumented, can we pass same-sex marriage in New York already? Jesus Christ, people.

But there’s no denying that my work writing has also shifted the way I write on B&E. Subtly, perhaps, but shifted nonetheless.

What’s my point? I don’t have one, B&E readers. It’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to.

4 comments on “Some Self-flagellating Thoughts

  1. hilary on said:

    You had me until Taurus.

    Just keep writing, Dan, and we’ll keep reading. I promise.

  2. Hilary beat me to it. Just keep writing, Dan. I miss it when you don’t write for awhile.

  3. the missus on said:

    that is the saddest little b&e blog posting I’ve read in a while. but it got really funny when you wrote about all of us new yorkers being “tree-hugging queers” with no trees “healthy enough to hug”. nicely done. just remember: no one wants to read about your deepest feelings. you know better than that.

  4. Thanks for the supportive words, people. Especially to the missus.

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