The Writing is Hardest Part

Getting back to writing has been the most difficult part of recovering from the holidays — it’s felt a little like the HAL shut-down sequence from 2001 in reverse, only slower and requiring more caffeine.

Design work started first, since I had layouts due to a client on Monday, which was equivalent to having final exams after the New Year — out of mind for a short while, then suddenly painfully real. Except that in this case the “studying” part was a lot more fun, since the goal was to fire up the visual part of the brain. Just about any created work would do, provided that it was made with enough logic or style to open the eyes — this time, I started with some late ’50s Westerns and The Terminator on cable (home sick on a Friday night), then hit the National Gallery and the Hirshhorn, and finally went through out a couple of big books of propaganda and music posters. Something must have worked; designs turned in on time and the client hasn’t screamed yet.

Music has been relatively easy, too, since even just a few minutes of drills and scales can help — practice is a habit, and consistency matters more than intensity. It’s also something that I do alone, trying to make my mistakes BEFORE I play in public. But writing is different, since when I write, I write in front of people, without a net and with all the attendant pressure. Pressure to perform, to avoid clichés (see “without a net,” above), to have ideas, to do WELL, and also to keep doing it, since once you start you create an expectation that you’ll continue, both in yourself and in your readers. And who wants to want to let either audience down! (A stalled blog is a tragic sight).

So, every restart becomes a conscious choice, done with the consequences fully in mind. In a very real way, it’s a classic act of faith. Welcome to being human.


Written by
Colin Delany
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