I shouldn’t complain. There have been times when I couldn’t think of anything to write. And there have been times when I have written but have not wanted to publish (out of fear, of course).
But right now, I have a blog To Do list so long that I fear I may never get through it. (I’m going to try lobbying the government for an extra hour in each day. Wanna sign my petition?)
So memyselfandkids’ post made me think about my blogging process. And funny enough, a colleague and I were speaking about this very thing this morning.
When I started blogging back in November, I basically sat down to write whenever the mood struck. Husband was incredibly supportive of this because he saw the enjoyment and sense of fulfilment that I was getting from writing. But, as time went on, he realized that writing could take up a lot of my time. Not that he wasn’t supportive anymore, he just
didn’t tolerate wasn’t keen on me abandoning the dishes or supper preparation to write a post, especially if we were on a tight schedule.
So, I figured I better start writing on some sort of schedule. I also remembered one of my writing instructors saying that writers who make a living writing don’t write only when the mood strikes. They write on a schedule as if it were a 9-5 job. All of us students balked at that as a surefire way to stifle creativity. But he assured us that, with practice, we would all be able to write well and creatively relatively on demand. Assuming of course that we wanted to get paid.
And so I began sitting down for an hour a day, whenever I could fit it in, to write something. Sometimes the words came. Sometimes they didn’t. Either way, all I got was an hour. And do you know what? My writing instructor was right. After a few one-hour sessions spent staring at a blank screen or reading other blogs, I started to find my rhythm.
But the trouble with being a mom and a writer is schedules keep changing and it’s usually the mom who has to adjust to accommodate the rest of the family. So I also started carrying around a leather notebook. If I have an idea for a post and my writing hour is still a ways off, I jot down the idea (or sometimes the whole post) in my notebook. Then, when my hour arrives (for moms out there, this is also called “me time”), I fire up my blog and round out the idea that I jotted down or type up the completed post I wrote and then I send it off into the published abyss hoping, of course, that someone will read it and connect with my ideas.
But sometimes, like lately, there are too many ideas and posts rolling around in my head and my one hour a day is not enough time to get them all out. So I stretch my hour. (This is where I sacrifice sleep to throw myself, wholeheartedly, into my passion.) And I sneak in some writing time at the office. (This is also good for my waistline because it involves skipping lunch.) But the drafts still pile up. Because, you see, I’m an editor by day and a writer by night. It pains my daytime persona to release anything that has not been edited and edited again, then proofread and proofread again.
And not only that, but since ideas beget ideas, I’m faced with the following scenario: I sit down for my hour of writing and write my daily post, then another idea springs from it. Or a comment that a reader leaves on a post will open the floodgates for more ideas. And the next thing you know, I need 12 straight hours a day to write. (This doesn’t bother me. I love writing. But I’m pretty sure my family wouldn’t be too impressed with me.)
Then there’s the blogging community. Bloggers write for all sorts of reason. Mostly because they have something to say, they want to be read, they want readers to connect with their words and ideas, and they want readers to come back and connect with them. It’s a community. And in community, there is give and take. I may publish a post or two every day, but I’m also actively reading and commenting on posts written by bloggers that I follow. And in reading comments on my blog and on other blogs, more ideas spring to life. I can also be found lurking around Twitter; always a good source for ideas and a little bit of community to boost the spirit. (Not that I need anymore ideas. My mind is teeming with them already. But community and spirit boosting never hurt anyone.)
At this rate, I’m not going to have enough time in the next three years to complete the drafts that I have on hand and any ideas those drafts, once published, may spawn.
And, unlike writing for traditional print publications, blogging is a very social activity. (And apparently, I’m a bit of a social butterfly.) Yes, authors of books and printed material have opportunities to meet and interact with their readership. But it’s usually a pre-arranged event like a book signing or a reading. Or, in the case of a journalist, there may be interaction with sources while covering a story, but the interaction that takes place after the story is published is filtered through comments by readers to the publication’s editor, not the writer. (This is changing, though, in the new age of social media.)
To sum up, my blogging process involves everything from researching, note taking, idea building, brainstorming, writing, commenting, reading, interacting and connecting.
My writing process, however, is a different animal altogether. And one that I may delve into more deeply in another post…if the government agrees to add one more hour to each day.