Telling the Essayist from the Essay

I was talking with my adult daughter tonight. She shared with me the reason she finally quit pursuing an art degree. She felt unduly pressured to produce good art on a schedule. I relate very strongly to that situation. I often find myself sitting and staring at the screen trying to think of a topic for my blog post.

I always think of something to write about. Sometimes I get right down to the wire when it comes to getting it written before midnight though. I find that I do better if I relax and don’t get stressed out over it. That is good advice for most things in life. You are almost always more productive if you just relax and take things one thing at a time.

I often get half way through a blog post and decide that it isn’t going to work out, at least at that time. Either I need to do some more research, or I decide it is more revealingly personal than I am comfortable with, or perhaps it is too controversial. I save those posts in case I change my mind later or until I get chance to do the necessary research.

I have started making a list of ideas but so far, all the ideas that I have come up with require a certain amount of research. I also have to remember to check my list when I’m looking for a topic.

I was watching a video of a TED talk today by a video blogger named Evan Puschak. He produces video essays on his You Tube channel, Nerdwriter1. He is very well spoken and his videos are both entertaining and informative. His TED talk covered the origin of the essay, why essay writing was so often assigned in English class, and the evolution of first the essay film evolving into the video essay.

As I watched his video it dawned on me that blogging, the way I was doing it anyway, was essay writing. He came up with the definition of an essay as something that is short, interesting, and gets to the truth. As Paul Graham observed, essays are a monologue that the author engages in to explore a topic and understand it more fully.

It is a way for the essayist to examine their thoughts and study them in order to inspect them for faults. When it is well written and honest, an essay allows the reader to share the thought processes of the essayist. When you record your thinking it is thereafter available, not only for you to examine at a later time, but also to share with others.

Have a look at Evan’s TEDxTalk  and his You Tube channel. Paul Graham has plenty of interesting essays to read as well. For that matter, start a blog at and try your own hand at writing essays. I can attest to the fact that it is a very edifying activity for both the writer and the reader.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.