I constantly get the urge to write. Every time I read or learn something I imagine myself finding my notebook or computer and writing about it. Its not so much because I think I have something especially novel to say, or because I think anyone will read it. Mostly I like to write about the things I learn as a way of engaging and as a process of solidifying the thoughts so they can be built on top of.
Rarely do I ever act on this urge, and when I do it is typically a disappointing experience as what ends up on the paper is never close to the impressive work I'd fantasized.
Which reminds me of point 5 of a great essay I read recently on How to Write Less Badly.
5. Everyone's unwritten work is brilliant.
And the more unwritten it is, the more brilliant it is. We have all met those glib, intimidating graduate students or faculty members. They are at their most dangerous holding a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, in some bar or at an office party. They have all the answers. They can tell you just what they will write about, and how great it will be.
Years pass, and they still have the same pat, 200-word answer to "What are you working on?" It never changes, because they are not actually working on anything, except that one little act.
Often I blame my lack of writing on the lack of good software to manage my files and work with my abstract thought. I've got numerous plans and half started projects for writing my own unique static site generator, a better WYSIWYG interface and easier methods to create and display related non-sequential content.
At the end of grad school I even spent a summer building many of those features and trying to launch it, under the name of this site, as a blogging and thought platform. Now it's evolved (read: failed) into a hydegenerated site with the hardly approximate tagline of "Something new every day... or so".
The truth is I'm not a good writer. I don't spend much time on it, and my vocabulary has much to be desired. My thoughts are there, but enjoy staying abstract and have trouble solidifying themselves.
And not being a great writer, and the the thoughts I'm wanting to write not being all that concrete yet, will usually keep me from publishing to the permanent and public internet out of the fear of embarrassment.
I'd really like to be a good writer though. Writing will help me solidify more thoughts and create new ones. Getting better at writing also helps with speaking, and in conjunction leadership.
And there in lies a catch-22. To become good at writing you have to write more and to some extend put yourself out there. But until I'm good at it I'm inclined not to embarrass myself. When starting this site I was so fearless in what and who I wrote about! Then I had the advantage of no career, reputation, or really even any professional experience. Now I don't think I can or should do the same.
Perhaps I'll find a middle ground and take a class on writing or just read (and write) more about it. Maybe I just need better software...