Friday, August 9, 2013

Let's Think of Writing as We Do About Blogging

All those blogging writers out there will understand me when I say that maybe it's time to think of writing as we think of blogging (and all those non-bloggers out there, stay tuned, because the underlying message here is something to think about).

I usually get to bed around eleven or twelve at night. Sometimes, I get in later, much later.

But if it's a Sunday or Thursday night, I stay up, because I blog on Mondays and Fridays. Missing a blog post is just not something I'd consider happily. So I stay up and type up a post and then go to sleep.

This means I'm tired, I'm groggy, I sometimes can't even think of something to blog about. Sometimes I'm in my bed, about to sleep, and then I remember I have to blog and I get up and type. It's insane, probably not healthy, but it works, because I must blog.

The question is, isn't it more important that I must write?

If I'm tired on a Tuesday or Wednesday night (no blog post to write), I just sleep and say I'll catch up with my writing the next day. But that doesn't work. Not for me, anyway. I keep dragging and dragging and soon I'm barely writing anything at all.

Why is it that when I have a blog post to write, I can find/force time in, even when I'm tired?

It's partially because of the expectations.

I have readers (you are the best!). I don't want to disappoint them, I don't want to ruin my routine, and I don't want to miss out on a day of blogging. I don't want to leave a mini-vacuum.

My posts usually run about a few hundred words. That's a few hundred words of writing I can put in my manuscript if I have the same stone-cold, rigid, inflexible dedication to it as I have to this blog.

The thing is, what blogging gives us is an excuse. An excuse to write, and an inflexible excuse as well. It has easily-seen results with a straight-forward purpose, something our vague, many-months-long novel-writing periods don't have. We don't have instant gratification every few hundred words of writing (unless you use the program, Written Kitten, which gives you a new picture of a kitten every few hundred words you write). It's just not the same.

What we should do is find a way around this mental block, this need for instant gratification. Because only after months will we have anything ready to be read by others; blog posts take a few minutes. And it feels so good to get comments on your work, whatever type it is!

So, What Does Blogging Teach Me about Writing?

  1. Find a short-term gratifications. This means a deadline of a certain amount of words to be sent to your critique partner, a piece of chocolate after every chapter, whatever. Just get a way to make yourself feel good about getting a few hundred words in!
  2. A FORCED, No-Excuse, No-Running-Away reason to write. Even if you don't want to, even if you'd rather cry, you get out of bed and write. Why? Because, maybe, you send over every day's work to you critique partner. Whatever excuse it is, it should make you forced to write, even when you don't want to.
  3. You don't need a muse. TRAIN it. So, so many times, I have to pause and think about what to blog about. I don't have a clue. But I need a blog post for the day so I force myself to think of something. Train your muse to your command! It is not the boss of you; you are the boss of it.
  4. A solid start and finish. I would force myself to write this post until I finished it. It would just be...disgusting if I didn't. So, finish one scene. No matter what. The 'No matter what' aspect trails back to point number two above. Also, this sold 'start and finish' completely, entirely streams your thoughts so you'll spend, say, 20 minutes so focused on just one scene. You won't wander, won't surf the Internet, until you get that scene done. And once it's done, you'll be free. You'll be incredibly surprised by the results (just look at my very last sentences on this post for proof - it will be SHOCKING).
  5. Get a routine and a structure. Basically: You must get this done, on this future day, this time, no exceptions, no excuses. And this must be accomplished by that time, which you say, and if you miss it, there's no going back. Give yourself an ultimatum (I know, it's scary (but the funny thing is, you can always break it ;) Shhh....)).
The sad thing is, on the days I blog, I probably write more words on a blog post than the average daily amount I write in my manuscript! I need to get more trained.

Is this just me, or does blogging seem more efficient in forcing yourself to write than normal writing does? What do you think about this connection, and how can one bridge the pros of blogging over into writing?

Hooollllyy crap. Case in point. This blog post is more than 900 words. I finished it in about 20 minutes. WHAT. THE. HECK. This is entirely because of (I feel) point number four above. WHY CAN'T I WRITE LIKE THIS?!?!?! I'd write about 3,000 words in just an hour! AHHH!!! This sucks.

P.S. I might, might not be able to get around to commenting on everyone's blogs today because I'm at my cousin's wedding (I wrote this post Monday night and scheduled it for Friday). But, don't worry! Once I get home, I'm going to comment on everything :) (I also might might not have a post on Monday, depends on if I get Internet connection at my cousin's and/or if I'm back home in time.)


  1. I wish I could blog as efficiently as I write. ): For me it's the other way around. I try to schedule blog posts a WEEK in advance, but then I start forgetting, and then I have no ideas for post, and... :/

  2. Your post reminds me of the days when I worked for a weekly paper. When it was 10:00 at night, and I was sitting in front of the keyboard knowing I could go to bed when the article was finished, it certainly helped me write faster.

  3. For me, blogging is more like free writing and it's my own voice. When I'm working on my manuscript, I can block out other noises but nees a little longer to get into my characters heads and then get that on paper. It's just not the same, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.

  4. I think the big reason is because you put yourself on a deadline. If you don't have an idea for writing, or for whatever the next part of your story is, you're going to feel stuck, but eventually it will come to you, so you wait it out. With a blog, you can pretty much go with whatever's on the top of your head (that's what I often do anyway), or there is a theme to the days, so you have a guideline. And since you have to get it on a day readers are expecting you to have it up, you go into crunch time mode. If you don't have a publisher waiting on you, there's no writing crunch time.

  5. I did read this a couple days ago, but didn't comment cuz I was on my phone. But, I really enjoyed this post, SC. It's funny how true this is. I know I used to use blogging as a distraction to write... but I think I'm starting to find a better balance now... though it's taken me almost 2 years to find it. I LOVE your thoughts on training your muse to write. Really spot on.