I’ve never written a blog post before. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life abhorring writing. This is in spite of the fact that my writing ability has been praised and reaffirmed by friends, family members, teachers, professors, employers, college admissions offices, and standardized test scores at nearly every stage of my life. Why do I hate writing? It is hard to say. Whatever the reason (or combination of reasons), I desperately want to change my attitude toward writing. I have lost countless hours of my life procrastinating on writing assignments, countless dollars by ignoring scholarship applications with required essays, and countless job opportunities by finding excuses not to write cover letters.
I will be starting a Master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning this fall, where I will be expected to write more frequently and more effectively than ever before. While this is enough of a reason to strengthen my writing skills, I hope to address something deeper by writing this blog. Most people who know me personally have seen that I am an effective verbal communicator in most settings, and that I am quite open about my beliefs, experiences, and insecurities. Reading about the beliefs, experiences, and insecurities of others has greatly enriched my life, and yet I almost never express my own in writing despite the ease with which one can share any written work with hundreds of Facebook friends and potentially millions of internet users. I believe that I can use writing as a tool for creative expression, personal reflection, and most importantly social justice advocacy if I can overcome the issues I have mentioned.
I’m not sure exactly what has caused my aversion to writing, but I’d imagine it is a combination of my social anxiety, my perfectionist tendencies, and my (for lack of a better term) laziness. I’ve also considered that my preference for speaking over writing may be due to the way I learned to write in school, which emphasized “advanced” vocabulary, varied sentence structures, and cohesive arguments at the expense of creative and free expression. On the other hand, I have failed to implement some potentially helpful techniques I learned in school, such as stream-of-consciousness style “quickwriting”. In any case, I hope to use this blog to work through some of these issues, so that I will never again pull an all-nighter to write a 4 page paper for my easiest course, and never again miss a holiday break to write my statements of purpose for graduate school after several consecutive weekends staying home trying and failing to start them. In any case, my goal is simple – one post each week. I expect these posts to focus more on my academic and professional interests in sustainable transportation and community economic development as time goes on, but it’s entirely possible that the opposite will happen, and I will use this blog to ramble about music, hiking, philosophy, cats, and whatever else is on my mind.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my next post. I expect to talk about my time as an Uber and Lyft driver in the Bay Area this past year as a prelude to a more objective analysis of labor issues in the ridesharing industry. I might also talk about cats, who knows…