An Optimistic Take On the Futility of Writing by Renold Mueller

The greatest challenge I struggle to overcome when attempting to write is not a lack of ideas; on the contrary, I have too many, none of which I think are good. I find the whole process similar to being lost in a hedge maze.
I start down one path, and because I sense purpose further on, I wander a bit in that direction. Then I hit a dead end, and I have to figure out where I took a wrong turn, and by the time I work my way back, I run into a choice between three separate paths, one of which I must have taken already, but I can’t be quite sure which one that is.
Writing is neither an easy process nor a rewarding one. If I ever want to navigate my ideas, I have to whittle away at the desk for hours and days and weeks and months. I feel awful about my abilities the whole time, and often doubt the soundness of the subject I am trying to tame. Furthermore, all the reward and justification that I search for through writing usually appears as little bouts of self-confidencewhich come about when I finally complete a piece. Even when my work is wonderfully received, all of those shoots of satisfaction slink away into the void, leaving nothing but frustration with the shortcomings of my completed work. I have yet to write a paper I am entirely proud of, because I always find a hundred more interesting paths I should have taken instead.
Now, given my lament above, you ask what the hell I’m doing here, working as an intern at the Writing Center. You would like to know where the upside is. You are wondering what reason I could have for wanting to keep writing, after reading my bleak outlook regarding it.
I write because I desire what lies at the end of the maze.
At the end of the maze is what every human being searches for throughout life, and never finds. At the end of the maze is meaning. And every time I fail to find it amongst my scrambled thoughts, I witness a glimpse of it. That sensation that every writer experiences, right when they feel proudest of their work, thats the feeling of profundity. It is fleeting, not because it wasn’t authentic, but because you know that there is more depth to the limited meaning you’ve found.
My blogs this year will all be failed attempts to give real meaning to the world as I see it, but I hope each one offers just a little bit of meaning to readers. May you continue to explore the maze in the coming year.

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