I recently joined a really amazing writing group on Facebook (several, actually), and it’s affected my life in a pretty positive way–the only drawback is that I want to spend even more time than before on social media, and the fact that they’re potential work colleagues gives me rationalization to do it. So I have to exercise even more self control to get off Facebook and actually accomplish some work. But this post isn’t about that.
These groups have got me thinking a lot about writing, and about my blog. I often feel like a writer who doesn’t write. I have lots of ideas, but I don’t always put them on paper (or more accurately, on screen). And there is always something else to do: other administrative or organizational work, or taking care of the house or the cats, trying to keep up with current events or other readings I should be familiar with (many from the amazingly talented writers on these groups)–not to mention that magical, powerful blue box in the living room (and I don’t mean the TARDIS, exactly), calling my name like a siren.
I want to post on my blog more frequently, but there are always things that get in the way. Not just tasks that may or may not be more important than writing, but the writing itself gets in the way. For example, deciding what to write about. I have some ideas, but they don’t always feel right for my blog. Some stories I’d like to pitch and hopefully sell to some markets that might actually pay me for them (what a concept). Sometimes I think about scheduling: I should really write about this before I write about that, but the result is that I don’t write about either. Mostly, it’s a matter of time: Taking, not making, the time to write. And it would be one thing if it were just about crafting the piece itself, but it’s not. It’s creating a title, adding a photo (something all the advice says is important to do), formatting it, posting it, and sharing it so that hopefully others will read it.
What’s worse (as you can probably tell) is I get in my own way, and it’s all rooted in fear. I start thinking about whether the topic is important enough to write about, or whether it goes with the theme of my blog. I wonder if I should be so honest, for fear that I’ll make myself look bad, or say something obvious or stupid. I’m also afraid of attracting trolls with mean things to say (is that redundant? Are there trolls who have nice things to say?), though I’d probably be lucky to have so many readers (See? I shouldn’t even say that). The worst is when I judge my own writing, which I always do very harshly. I’ll often write a draft of something, and then think it’s crap and abandon it instead of going back and fixing it, and having the confidence that it’s actually worth putting out there–even if no one reads it. Especially if no one reads it.
None of this is new, of course, and all bloggers go through this (well, I assume), so I’m always amazed and impressed that they can post things so quickly. A few of the bloggers in the group, like Teresa Jusino and Brandy Patterson Walker, are so prolific, sometimes posting daily or even a few times a day. It’s amazing, and pretty inspiring.
Brandy posted about trying to blog every day–something I’ve been thinking about since I got a challenge from marketing blogger Josh Coffy about it. Blogging every day is quite a test for me though, for many of the reasons I’ve already stated. But the fact that it’s difficult, and that I have so much fear, makes it even more important that I do it.
So, in thinking about trying to blog every day, I thought perhaps a way to do it would be to just open up WordPress and just …babble. On the computer. Just kinda spew, and see what comes out. That’s kind of how writing works, isn’t it? Then you go back and clean.
Now I have an image of just taking a bunch of color swatches and throwing them onto a desk or surface, and then going through them and organizing them until they form a beautiful picture. That’s like what writing is, right?
Btw, I often find myself instinctively spelling “right” as w-r-i-t-e. Then I have to go back and correct it.
I’ve gotten off track.
Obviously that’s just one approach to writing, and I’m not talking about heavily researched theses that require strong outlines. For me, I do so much worrying and over-thinking and hemming and hawing that it’ll probably be best for me to just get something out there. Just Do It, as Nike would say. (There’s your product placement; pay me some royalties.)
So anyway, I’m going to try that for some of my next blog posts (including this one). I’ll pick a topic and then kind of just yak. Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride, and hopefully you’ll even enjoy it. But I make no promises. But at least I’ll be writing and getting something out there instead of just thinking about it. That’s better than not doing it, right?