We’re closing in on a month here at school and, for me, time is starting to warp a little. Events that occurred a few days ago seem weeks old and the first days of the semester seem long lost in the past already. With all of the events around me starting to melt together, I am finding it increasingly difficult to stay in the present moment. That is unless I slip out of my perpetual state of daydreaming for a moment or two and catch some interesting bit of a conversation among my friends or classmates. So it goes.
The trouble I’m experiencing with writing a weekly opinion column is the pressure I’m under to find some relevant, exciting, and current topic to cover for the Quad. This week I jotted down some ideas of what to write about for “So It Goes”, such as the U.S’s increasing population of single adults and our country’s individualistic tendencies. I started writing a column about one of those topics but stopped midway through because I had a revelation of sorts thanks to a comment my friend Austin Gomez made. I was feverishly typing away on my laptop and voicing my indifference about the article’s direction when Austin said something that stopped me in my tracks.
“Why don’t you just write about your opinion on why you always have to have an opinion?” he asked as he scrolled on his phone apathetically.
At first I thought that idea sounded absolutely crazy. I mean, what would that kind of column even entail? But the more I thought it over, the more I felt that I could make it work.
I thanked Austin for his sage-like advice and proceeded to kick him out of my room so I could have a productive work environment (I sometimes wonder how my friends can still put up with me). I came to the conclusion that I would rather not write my opinion on certain topics at all than produce a haphazard piece. But that opinion still didn’t really give a complete answer to Austin’s question. For that, I had to dig a little deeper and ask myself why I care so much about a simple Op-Ed column.
The reasons I uncovered were not that surprising. I realized that it is a combination of a lot of things, but mainly all of the pressure I put on myself to be a “good writer”, and also my overall passion for the act of writing itself. All of my friends know that when I start writing my weekly “So It Goes” to give me space to do so. The routine I have for writing the column is as follows: I sit down at my desk to type up my ideas, frantically scream at my computer, and at myself, for not knowing how to transform my thoughts into words, and chug the nearest hot and caffeinated beverage I can get my hands on (Java City is the preferred provider window).
I put so much pressure on myself with these columns because I want to do this for the rest of my life. Be a writer. Writing is the one thing that I feel completely confident about. The stakes in my mind are so high because everyone I associate with knows that my identity is “the writer”. And to let all of my friends and family (and not to mention myself) down would completely derail my confidence in my abilities.
Even when I send out a finished product, whether that be in the form of a column, an essay, or even just a piece of creative writing I never feel 100 percentsure about it. There’s always a voice in my head telling me that it wasn’t good enough or could have been worded smoother or doesn’t read as nice compared to something else another person could write. But I think that’s why I write; because there is no way I can ever reach “perfection”, because perfection doesn’t exist. All I can ever do is give it my best try and put all of my passion and effort into everything I write now and in the future.
So if I don’t feel completely and utterly passionate or interested in what I’m writing my weekly opinion on, I shouldn’t waste my time on it, period. Having an opinion on not having an opinion seemed almost too “meta” at first, but it really made me realize why I write in the first place. It’s honestly the one thing I truly love, and I don’t care if that sounds cheesy.
It seems kind of crazy how all of this came from a simple question that a friend posed to me. I can’t help from thinking that if Austin wasn’t in my room when I started writing this column, then perhaps I would have ended up sending out a piece I wasn’t proud of. Sometimes all it takes to have an epiphany is a new perspective from an old friend. I hope you all have a positive revelation this week like I did. Till’ next time, so it goes.
Rachel Alfiero is a staff writer entering her sophomore year, and majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at RA806657@wcupa.edu.