Essays

As someone who enjoys writing, I struggle with which medium is best to write with. I try to keep a little notebook in my jacket, in case of sudden inspiration. There’s a red, spiral-bound notebook that is always with me throughout school and close at hand around home. Sometimes a notebook is purchased purely for the reason that “I might use it” or “this on looks nice, so it’ll definitely make me write in it more.” It all seems rather vain and wasteful, as I’ve never actually filled a single notebook ever purchased. It is rather frivolous, but it’s also defeating. Can I ever be that prolific of a writer?

Almost eighty-five percent of my collective writings is poetry. I’ve tried to write a “novel” but my own self doubt gets in the way of that. Poetry is fantastic, but it doesn’t exactly help fulfill this arbitrary goal of filling up a notebook. Poems are on average small, compared to a story. Filling a whole poem seems to be quite the feat. It’s impressive that anyone is able to fill up an entire book of poems. There’s always the opportunity to make a longer poem, but at what points does a poem just become a ramble? That question is a poisonous, but also a reality check. Many poems are cut short by the crippling doubt that goes with it.

There’s probably a few reasons that I feel so strongly about filling a notebook. Is it the pursuit of fulfillment as a writer, an attempt to prove myself to myself, or just plain vanity and pride? The doubt felt as a writer is consuming, it halts many a creative endeavor. Maybe filling a single notebook will help this doubt go away, at least for a while. Except that I know, eventually, the doubt returns. Doubt always returns. People spend a good amount of time trying to prove themselves, to others and sometimes their own mind. Completing this goal might prove something, or it might not. The only thing it really proves is that I can write a whole lot. And a small part of it all is vanity and pride, because something like this does give a sense of accomplishment, even when it might not be truly deserved.

This goal in the end is arbitrary. Filling a single notebook only leads to the next notebook. But I think that no matter how many reasons I make to explain away the problem, it does give something to strive for. Most writers would agree that having a goal of some sort is conducive to good work. All of humanity is looking for a place in this world. I think completing a goal, no matter how pointless, gives us a tiny place in the world. Filling this one notebook would give me a place, at least in my own world. It’s a noble goal, I think, and I hope one day I could say that I’ve filled a notebook.

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The Pursuit of Filling a Notebook

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