Writing about Yourself…

… Or: Why Writer’s Will Spend Foooorrreverrrrrrr Writing Their Own Bio or Intro.

“My name is Melissa Nile and I will be writing these posts for you. I have covered previous conferences, blogging and tweeting my way. I will be your resident blogger and tweeter for the conference, so please approach with caution, preferably with a suitable offering (coffee and cake is entry level. Vodka and lime will afford you a single question and answer. Real conversation requires creativity on your part)…”  – Needless to say, this will not be the intro I include.

Okay, let me get one thing straight. I am not a writer. Well, not in the real sense. I have published one poem in a book in my life time. I have submitted chapters of stories that have never been picked up, presumably because they were crap. I have always thought my style of writing was more of an insight into the feeble mind of a something-something than anything worth a Grand Prize. Having said that, other people clearly have faith in my ability to write, at least in certain circumstances. Apparently I am particularly good at covering events with blogging and tweeting. It’s a talent, what can I say? I type hard and fast and never look back. I am like the Hunter S Thompson of the tweet-verse… and yes, this is bat country.

ImageSo, if I am okay with introducing speakers and topics for discussion, why is writing a short introduction to myself so freaking hard? Does it stem from a sense of unworthiness (that is when you feel like you’ve stumbled into a room full of experts and you have to make conversation, knowing absolutely nothing about whatever it is they’re talking at you about!)? Or a dislike of sounding like a conceited clown (that’s when you make your intro sound self-important but then throw in a line you think is hilarious to lighten the gravity, but no one else gets, and so you end up looking like a douche)? For me, it’s a bit of both.

I have a somewhat over-inflated sense of self-worth. I know I’m good… I’m just not quite sure at what yet. So covering events attended by experts in a field I might like to feel “one of the team” is stifled a bit by the feeling I’ve somehow got there on a pretense. I’m not actually this blogger-extraordinaire. I’m an imposter! I have no idea what I’m doing!

This, of course, isn’t true. I do know what I’m doing. I know what I’m doing and how everyone else should be doing it all the way I do it. I guess the fear is that someone is going to see me dither at making an editorial choice, point the long Bony Finger of Shaming and cry out to all and sundry, “Faker!” I will be lead through the streets wearing a dunce’s hat, forced to write lines in chalk on the footpath. “I must not pretend to be as good as I am,” they will say. Line after line, until someone washes it away and makes me start over.

And then I wake up…

It was a dream after all…

Now can I go back to the one where everyone else brings me the tribute?

Down Days.

You’re sitting in front of the computer. You can see the incessant flicker of the cursor. It’s taunting you. Just sitting there on an otherwise blank page. Like a beacon alerting you the rocky cliffs. Like a Siren, calling you to your demise. The clock ticks away the seconds. You blink. Another minute has passed. You’re still sitting there, staring at a blank screen with nothing to write.

These days don’t come so frequently for me, thank goodness. When they do, it’s not so much not having anything to write about, as not being able to pick the one thing I do want to write about. It’s not a block, so much as as unstoppable flood threatening to take over my screen with a jumble of words and little sense. So what do we do about it?


There are literally over ten million sites to assist with writer’s block, according to the Google gods and supposedly over twenty-one million on writer’s flood. Not too many of them really cover how to stem the flow to a useable trickle. I try and write down the ideas that come to my mind in a list. This ends up becoming an explosion of a mind map covering the entire notebook. Not so easy to turn into a piece of prose for others to read… unless I scan the pages and publish them. Then you all have to try and make sense of my chicken scratchings for yourselves.

Instead, I am trying to keep up with the ideas as they flow into my mind. Write until the flow for that train of thought stops, move on to the next. It is for that reason I have a lot of half-fleshed out text files saved on my computer. Bits and pieces that in a non-digital frame would have been scraps of paper stuffed into a bulging notebook. I would have been comparable to William S. Burroughs and his cut and clip format for making stories. Except, not physically published… and significantly less drug use… and talking typewriters…

So the digital form of scraps of paper have become text files scattered over a desktop. They sit there like a chrysalis, waiting. Paused in suspended animation, for the day that moment of magical metamorphosis takes place and they can fly free, except these digital butterflies have a much longer lifespan than just a few days. Their glory may only last that long, but they exist forever in the backlogs of the Web waiting, like a corpse to be reanimated by a necromancer’s incantations, or smiled upon by the Google Gods once more.

So for now, I shall go back to my digital scraps and see what I can make of them. I might leave them for the rainy days when inspiration is low and attention can be mustered. Alternatively, I might leave them as a digital breadcrumb trail to the gingerbread house of Ideas…