It took me a while, but I finally realized...
I've always been sure of my talents as a writer, expressed in a number of media but most often through online chatting and role-play.
Which, it's taken my stubborn mindset too long to realize, both nurtured my confidence and played to my bad habits, which is in essence the reason, or one of them, that my success writing books has been fleeting.
Among friends, or at least those familiar with my personality, my chatty, often meandering, frequently indulging my tendency toward legendarily run-on paragraphs which, while totally coherent, required that the reader either be familiar with my habit, be blessed with the same uncanny ability to track long, arcing points amidst the digressions and idle observations, or that they devote the kind of attention and focus to my words that I can't take for granted when trying to reach a wider audience.
That was a carefully constrained example of what I am referring to, sans my usual insouciant tone and tendency to self-deprecate.
None of which has any place in an earnest effort to reach unknown readers and convey the very serious and relevant insights I've gained, not just where Heraclitus & Socrates are concerned but also ways of learning, the value of self-understanding and the limitations inherent in both my peculiar, neuro-atypical mind and in failing to put forth my best, carefully considered effort.
While I'll never be a dry, academic, footnoted to a fare-thee-well kind of writer, why should I be? I'm not an academic, rejected being educated, and frankly, have no grounding in that style.
On the other hand, my choice of an overly casual, chatty, 'isn't this interesting?' style approach, while intended to both make what I have to share accessible to a wider audience than the scholarly set and to play down my own part in conveying insights that came attached to a fairly singular 'accomplishment,' the one in two thousand, five hundred years parsing of the 'too obscure' Heraclitus of Ephesus also served to undermine my own narrative authority and perhaps, I think, might have also struck some as being insufficiently respectful of both the subject and audience.
See, still fighting that tendency to make overlong points. But I'm keeping them as written in this essay to both illustrate some facets of what I make reference to and to show, over the course of a thousand words or few, some progress being made in correcting this habit.
I don't expect perfection right out of the gate, but I will demand steady progress of myself.
Fear of Losing My Voice
This definitely played into my slowness in coming to grips with my flaws. That if I were to become too calculating, too carefully adjusting my tone and pitch, that I might lose myself, what qualities separate me from just another scribe in the process.
I've given it a great deal of thought lately, and decided that I can give play to my better qualities and still exercise self-discipline and restraint. That having a better sense of how to reach this wider audience isn't being artificial or overly calculating if I don't let it be so. That understanding your reader and the impressions you make is an important skill, to be cultivated.
My voice is as much what I have to share as how I choose to share it, after all. The experiences and insights which shaped me, and which I ardently want to share, are more than the literary equivalent of a strong accent, which can be hard for people not from the same region to understand.
Lastly on that topic, I've come to understand that by continuously either coming across as apologetic for being the one to bear the news or downplaying my own contributions to it that I wasn't doing myself any good, which came across in my writing, I think, on some level that may have made readers uncomfortable, likely for no reason that they could easily discern.
No more of that, then.
Learning Self-Discipline and Honing My Craft
The thing is, it's not as though I don't know how to write otherwise. I take considerable pride in my mastery of the writer's craft, though I don't claim to have fully mastered anything yet. Nor even any time soon.
But practicing rigorous self-discipline, more carefully planning my compositions and how I not only make a point, but explain it properly and revisit it to summarize, in the appropriate voice and being careful to maintain consistency in all of these facets of exposition will, I am confidently optimistic, produce much different results going forward.
Which will make things a lot easier for all of us involved.
After all, I do have much of value to share. Best then if I start by appropriately valuing both myself and my intended audience.
Embracing My Muse
Finally, at the risk of appearing flighty for now, and arrogant later when I set out Heraclitus and Socrates' shared beliefs on this topic, but according to the Heraclitus' teachings, to make the leap from Adult to God, metaphorically speaking, one must be both willing and unwilling to call oneself just that. To acknowledge it's significance. embrace it... to own it, as we put it nowadays.
It's just a way of grasping the divine spark, if you will permit me the indulgence of doing so, publicly but also unobtrusively.
This essay is an effort at self-understanding as much as it is of self-expression, after all.
Consider this my first step on the path of writing not just eloquently, or coherently, or passionately, but well.
The first real test of my newly-earned insight lies in the form of the book I want to, and if I'm honest need to write.
My final take on Heraclitus, Socrates, Thinking Excellently and a few related, stray notions, which I need to both properly express because of the value to others it represents, mostly in my exposition of the otherwise 'too obscure' teachings of Heraclitus and which I need to be done with so that I can move on to other projects, content that I finally gave it my best effort.
If I seem focused on the value to others, please understand that I've already got it, twice, first before I'd ever even heard of Heraclitus of bloody Ephesus, then in jotting him down when I recognized 'myself' in his words. Call it three times when I found him lurking, mirrored by Socrates. And while I know very well how hard, why, and how I got there, and those who know me quickly recognized it as well, without in any way diminishing the massive, painful, extended effort that was for me, I also freely admit that I may have had a few hands up extended to me by some pretty remarkable writers, thinkers and even scientists (imagine that) who've had a notion or few of their own over the 2½ millennia since Heraclitus pulled it all together first, from pretty much not anyone else, and tried to pass it along.
Getting as far as Socrates, which proved to be a tragic dead end.
But I am in no way, at any time, suggesting that I have a mind comparable to either of theirs, except perhaps insofar as it, as did theirs, fits within the confines of my skull.
Hopefully, these insights and new convictions will translate into a tangible difference in results once published.
I'm not too proud to admit that my failing to date to make any discernible dent in the universe has stung.
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