My writing's been so stiff lately, I get cramps reading it.

It's natural to recognize mistakes in the text while re-read⁠ing—that's what editing is for. I also consume a lot of Emily Nussbaum, Megan Garber, etc., so I have a general idea where my frustrations on quality are coming from.

But none of that changes the fact that I neglected writing regularly for so long. All because I suffer from a condition where attempts at writing summon the “ghost” of the elusive perfect piece. It's an illusion that tells me I should achieve perfection, but everything I do will be less than. The ghost renders me too spooked to function.

On good days, the paralysis is surmountable and I remember the whole point of writing is to find a way out of not-knowing. There's comfort, too, in knowing no writer has ever said exposition is easy.

The difficulty is part of what pulls me out of my navel-gazing trances. I'm forced to slow down when I write. My ideas make perfect sense inside my own head because they're attached to context forged by my personal experiences. But when they're out of range, on a computer screen, they have to stand on their own and make sense to other people.

I usually catch my pretensions and faulty reasoning on a published post precisely because it's a detached space. Thank god for the edit button.