When you close your eyes and make a wish, you probably wish for love and money.

I wish for a broader vocabulary and better writing skills.

I want to express myself more effectively and go beyond my comfort zone. I want to leave the ghetto of human resources and expand my expertise into pop culture, feminism and movies. I want to write young adult fiction novels and dabble in sitcoms. I want to publish a series of self-help books and write a regular column in the newspaper where I talk about pets.

I’m not there, yet. It’s tough for me to make art. When I write, I over articulate and go for volume and noise instead of simplicity and authenticity. I am all caught up in my own ego. When you own a platform and command an audience, you should have the self-respect to know when not to publish something. But it is easier to bedazzle a pile of shit — and count the SEO-driven pageviews — than it is to throw the shit away and have nothing to show for my hard work.

Maybe this is what being a full-time writer is supposed to feel like in 2014. When I write something that’s honest, it feels like an accident. Art feels like a miracle.

At some point, I hope to continue blogging five days a week while giving myself the gift of distractionless writing. I want to learn how to edit what’s good for different platforms. I want to think beyond 500 words. And I want to learn how to throw away my trash.

But right now, writing regularly anywhere — book or blog — is a struggle.


  1. Because there are many who write better than me (you included) I steal their words. The quote I was really looking for was one that stated writers don’t want to write – they NEED to write. I couldn’t find it.

    So I’ll just use my google skills to sound smart and leave you with these little ditties…

    “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
    —Ernest Hemingway

    “I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”
    —Patrick Dennis

    If you wish to be a writer, write.

    The best author will be the one who is ashamed to become a writer.
    —Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. I don’t wish for love or money. I do understand the desire to be a better writer though. Blogging can feel like an inferior form of writing, like a teenage journal that you’ve figured out how to monetize.

    You’re right, not every day brings something good. But it must be done, every day I think. In school, I majored in communications (ad writing, journalism, PR writing) and minored in fine arts (literary writing, poetry, screenwriting) and of course, there were the essays and academic writings due. No one was really blogging (like maybe livejournal people) but what struck me about all three of those things was the necessity of trash (as you call it here) and daily adherence.

    Like your running, I guess? Some days are not good times or your form is off and you don’t make it the whole way but that doesn’t make what you did that day unimportant. Sometimes, it’s a means to an end. The literary act of “putting one foot in front of the other” until one day “art feels like an accident”. It isn’t.

    Finally, when writing becomes how you make a living it’s easy to confuse good writing with commercial writing, especially because it’s not impossible for the two to overlap. SEO and pageviews and guidelines may well be “good writing” for whoever signs the checks, especially if that’s in the contract. It doesn’t make it selling your soul or a bad writer. That is called doing your job and I think there is honor in making a commitment and following through.

    tl;dr – writing daily is good

  3. Laurie…so picture this: a wannabe HR Blogger (me)…sitting on the couch trying to crank out a post on the NLRB’s new proposed rule of representation-case processes. All of sudden the thought pops into my head…HR blogging is tough because HR is…(how can I say this delicately) F*$#KING BORING! lol I feel like I need to take five adderalls to be able to crank out a post sometimes. Don’t get me wrong…I love HR, especially ER/LR, and I think of myself as a huge HR nerd, but writing about it friggin’ blows sometimes just because of the subject matter. I think if I was writing more about boobs, beer, and guns I might have a more fun time and have a larger following (I don’t think I’m that cool though!)…so alas, HR it is.

  4. I bet if you asked any “successful” writer, they would all feel this way. Or a “successful” person in any field. We never think our stuff is good enough – even if it’s acclaimed by others.

    That said, I love your writing and style. Even the posts you probably think are crap have a voice and point of view that so many others don’t or will never have. I think that’s a skill and also related to the time you’ve spent developing yourself as a writer.

    And while I could probably pull up numerous examples over the years of why I think you’re a powerful writer, this remains one of my favorites – laurieruettimann.com/gotcha-day/. A story about a cat, wrapped up in a personal journey, life lessons and great advice for us all. Beautiful.

  5. Your blogging voice strikes a balance between passion and self-expression. I love your writing style and the attitude. Thanks for a tip to unplug from social media during Xmas breaks.

  6. Thanks for this Laurie! I bought a website, started designing & yet it’s not published. It’s about HR but nothing in my head seems to be good enough or I tell myself who am I to think this way? I sometimes have to stop reading articles from “HR greats” b/c it friggin intimidates the crap out of me. But I remind myself that there is only one me & no one has my voice. When I get past that mind pat & publish the darn thing I’ll let you know.

  7. I think there’s a misconception that if you’re a good writer, then wit, sarcasm, humor, intelligence, sounding relatable, etc., are all effortless. They are so not! It takes a lot of time and thinking and effort to make writing seem effortless. I think you pull off the trick well. And I also bet that there are probably a lot of gems in your “trash.”

    Plus, you got people to respond to this post. That alone proves you know what you’re doing. Keep doing it!

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