Confessions of a Columnist

Writing is Suffering


As this will be my last column for the Observant, now is as good a time as any for me to confess that I hate writing. Half of the time, I have no idea what I want to say and the other times, I don’t know how to say what I want to say. It’s a struggle every single time.

When I write, my ego is usually there to accompany me, trying to talk me into writing something funnier or smarter than I am capable of, but I know better because I also have debilitating insecurities squatting in the corners of my mind. These lingering doubts badger me about how I have nothing interesting to say and that I should be spending more time with my family instead. I try to push through and string together a few sentences, but after re-reading them, I delete them all and start wondering what my partner actually  sees in me.

I try to step back and take breaks, but the deadline to churn something out before the morning keeps suffocating me like a tight wool turtleneck on a hot summer day and I start regretting the beer that I had during dinner. I begin to question why I ever said “yes” to becoming a columnist in the first place and whether my dad was right to leave me when I was a toddler. In despair, I start justifying bad life choices like talking myself into another beer, because by this point, I am stupid enough to believe that beer will magically make me a better writer.

To find better motivation, I read works of others, which is also a horrible mistake because you quickly realize everything worth saying has already been said more eloquently by someone, who is probably smarter, taller, and better looking than I am. As to why I ever signed up for this, I’m still not sure. Maybe it was an exercise in delusional vanity or a way to score some external validation, which is something my therapist told me to stop doing some time ago.

But I am finally taking a stand and walking away from this cruel, torturous exercise. I just got my vaccination shot. Good weather is here. And we are expecting a baby girl in the Fall! So it’s time for me to step away from behind the screens and to go enjoy my life out in the real world! After that, maybe I’ll finally have something I’ll want to write about and all the right words will come flowing out, but by then, to an audience of none.

Mark Kawakami, assistant professor at the Faculty of Law

Confessions of a Columnist
Mark Kawakami