Writing about what I am versus what I’m not.

I noticed that the posts that I write on this blog that tend to me most popular deal with the process of writing. I’ve garnered some interest when I touch on politics but I have a hard time sustaining that interest for a long period of time. I’ve also written on other subjects on which I get some feedback, especially if I include some sense of humor (something I also have a hard time sustaining). One thing that I haven’t been writing about as much lately is religion. When I switched this post over to the newer style at the beginning of this year I focused a lot on the subject. I don’t know that I’ve completely exhausted my views on religion or atheism. But I have been thinking lately as to why I might have not been coming up with topics lately. On some level the subject may not interest me as much to write about. Why not?

Probably the most obvious reason is that I’m not the only one who speaks out about it. I heard a recent statistic that the atheist population in America has been quickly growing in recent decades. We now comprise about a fifth of America’s population. That’s progress but it also means there are plenty of other people who have blogs, books, podcasts etc. that are already saying what I want to say. I do need to get over that as this is primarily my writing journal. I need to focus on exercising my writing more than worrying about how original the message is. Nonetheless I don’t like the feeling that I’m merely copying somebody else. Lately it seems that the way I find out about subjects I want to write about is because I already heard somebody discuss it on The American Atheist podcast or the Freethought Radio show. I can’t get hung up on the fact that they may have put the view in a better way than I would, but I don’t want to simply copy their ideas here.

Another reason has to do with identity. As far as the subject of religion goes, if you’re religious you identify with what you are. If you’re an atheist you identify with what you’re not. It’s difficult to write about what you’re not. It isn’t impossible despite what one of my college professors once said in class. But it can get complicated. How many blog posts can I write about what I don’t believe? They become more about what somebody else believes and while I’m expressing my opinions on that, in a way I’m removing myself from the conversation.

When I go into these other subjects such as writing, politics, or music I’m then writing about what I am. It’s much easier and I can bang out a longer blog post that way. Length is not always my goal but I feel more justified in this being my journal if I write my posts at least four paragraphs long. I don’t bother with word counts; I’ll worry about that when I write fiction. I write until the idea is done. A longer post means I thought the idea out more thoroughly. The fact that I’m writing these longer posts quicker than before means that the exercise is working. The only downside is that when I send private messages to friends via Facebook or e-mail I tend to get more long-winded than normal conventions for such things. Nobody says anything but I get the feeling that I’m annoying them. I’m annoying myself, anyway. I remember a humorous essay by Steve Martin about writing. In it he writes about how fun typing is. I have to agree. I know how lame that comes across but I don’t care.

I guess in a way this means that all of my blog posts are connected. This also explains why I’m able to write so much six days a week. If you look back at my older posts, before I delete them, you’ll find that they’re a lot shorter and not as interesting. I’m glad that this blog has enabled me to grow as a writer. But I also like to think that I’m a well-rounded person. I also get the feeling that people might be suspicious about how I’m able to write so much so often. It’s no big deal, really, but I do worry sometimes if people think I’m copying and pasting things or if I have ghost writers. I’m not and I don’t. Nobody has told me this, and I’m probably just paranoid. But hey, that’s just another aspect of my identity.

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