Wednesday, April 6, 2011

(Wine) Writer's Block and A Possible Cure

Lately I seem to have developed a case of writer's block. Why, I do not know. My wine consumption has stopped for the past few weeks due to a gastrointestinal illness, so that means nothing gets tasted and shared with you. Of course there are other topics to write about, especially in the wine world. The catch is whether I want to write about them.

Some might think that I should want to write about these subjects, to an extent you are correct. However, I strive to be original in my writing, whether it's my take on a wine or my opinions on wine marketing. Therefore, and I feel this is or should be true of all writers, I ask myself what can I add to the the discussion on a particular topic. If I think all the voices have already summed up what needs to be said, why rehash what someone else posted? I don't see that as adding value for my readers or quality content to my blog.

Writing about wine, be it a blog or real life publication takes a certain amount of passion and devotion. Adhering to a regular posting schedule is a wonderful way to get noticed and (hopefully) gain loyal followers/readers. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks I've felt a distinct cooling of the passion I have for wine and wine writing. Mostly attributable to the illness and diet I've been on, forbidding alcohol, spicy foods, coffee, etc. In other words, forbidding all the fun stuff. My point is that I've felt a distinct lack of joie de vire because I cannot enjoy wine right now.

As I thought about what I wanted to write tonight, I also asked myself if I truly enjoy wine these days or if I have started to analytically examine every glass I have. It's important to remind ourselves to put the pen and paper or iPad away for a moment and just sip the juice in the glass. Yes, most or all of the good wine writers are able to do this, of that I have no doubt. Yet for a relative novice like myself, getting caught up in exploring a wine sometimes becomes too much of an obsession. Sure I derive immense enjoyment from excitedly teasing out a subtle nuance, assigning it context, and explaining it to my readers. What I forget to do is sniff, take a sip, close my eyes and just enjoy the contact between wine and palate. I've gotten away from letting the wine wash over me, sharing with me whatever it wants. Yes, I am humanizing my wine and for good reason, I feel as if my life is intertwined with wine. From literally growing up in the business as the son of a wholesaler/broker/distributor here in San Diego to discovering (still discovering) my passion, wine is a part of who I am.

There's more to life than tasting notes and assigning grades. Maybe that is a simplistic realization for you, nothing wrong with that sentiment. For me, it's a reminder of something I already know yet still forget from time to time. Putting it here helps me center myself, so to speak. In the next month or so I have some exciting articles planned. There's an awesome Chilean wine tasting next week that I'll be hosting at my place, a review of some superb wines from Ceja Vineyards, a book review, and right around Easter, a dessert wine tasting. It's my hope those will fan the flames of my passion for writing once more. Maybe this blog was more for me than anything, a way to sort out my thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Beau Carufel

13 comments:

  1. Great post! Its important to take breaks from things in your life =) It helps your head get refreshed and you also come up with new ideas. I have had MANY professors in school stress this. Cheers Beau!

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  2. I couldn't agree more, taking breaks from the normal, "everyday" routine (in this case tasting wine) is so important, I just let myself forget that for a while. Now though, I think I can approach writing with a rejuvenated passion and fresh set of ideas. Thanks for reading Becky, cheers! :-)

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  3. well said, my friend. Let me know when you're ready to just sip and relax again

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  4. I understand exactly what you are feeling Beau. I find that during these times it is very important to go out with friends, let them pick the wine, and just sit back and enjoy. It reminds you of why the majority of wine gets consumed, because most people are not like you (or me) in there need to analyze every experience with wine.

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  5. i agree about ENJOYING the wine.. did you see my last post on an incredible subversive winemaker in italy? it is all about the experience!

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  6. Thanks for commenting Moira, if you get that bottle of SQN next week, I'd love to sip it with ya :-) Maybe even cook up a nice dinner too!

    Scott, thanks for chiming in, and you make an excellent suggestion. Next time I go out, I'll let my friends select the wine. I must remember that we bloggers/wine geeks are in the minority here. Whether we like it or not!

    Anna, going to check out your blog post right now, the question is whether I can get that guy's wines here in the USA! ;-)

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  7. Lovely, and spot-on, post. Cheers!

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  8. Thank you as always, Keith.

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  9. This post kind of sums up the way I'm feeling about my own blog, which has been going for about two years. Basically I'm slightly bored with it and not sure if I've much to say that I haven't said already. Alcohol going too high in wine? Too much oak? Screwcap or cork? Pah, it's all been said somewhere else a million times already ;)

    As you say, it can be nice just to kick back and enjoy the liquid in the glass without taking a pic of the bottle, or making a tasting note, or thinking about how you can relate it to a post.

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  10. Hey Paul, thanks for commenting. You and I are thinking along the exact same lines I suspect. Finding and retaining that passion for wine AND for writing about it has been difficult lately. When I look at myself, I wonder if the writer's block process is part of finding my voice. Or just running out of ideas.

    Hope you keep writing Paul :-)

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  11. A well written post, kind of clearing your head. I'm sorry to hear about your illness and hope you get well soon. I am only just starting to write and I'm in the opposite situation where I probably drink too much and don't write enough.

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  12. Good stuff Beau; enjoyable as always. I think that writing small things like this is still good fuel for the ability to write non-review articles down the road. I totally identify with the struggle to want to say something, but to avoid it being cliche regurgitation. I think being conscious of the need to shut down the analytics goes a long way toward making it possible.

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  13. Berly, you nailed it, I was trying to clear my head and refocus my energies. If your're just starting to write, I say write as much as you can and put it out there for people to read! Sign me up!

    Dan, thank you as always. I'm glad you see where I'm coming from.

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