When I began blogging, I didn’t have a clue as to why I was doing it or what I would write about. I had an inkling of an idea. But ideas are fluid—they begin as something and morph into something else as they mature. As time goes along, they reveal themselves as something else again. And again.
An idea is just that—a seed of something else, hopefully better and greater than its first glimmer.
I’m still not sure what my blog is but I do know one thing. Blogging takes time. I’m not one to spit out a post in ten minutes. I write, read, edit, and search for interesting pictures and/or music to accompany a post. If I can’t get it “right,” (in my terms of right) then I won’t post. End of story.
I thought I’d share my fiction writing on my blog, but I don’t and I’m not sure why that is. I share it with a few people, outside of the blogosphere instead. I submit work and hope for acceptance instead of rejection. I’ve had the good fortune to be paid for writing nonfiction/business writing at times. But fiction is a whole different animal and much more difficult. That’s what I’m going for now. That’s what I want.
The flash fiction I see others doing, well, let’s just say keeping anything at 100 words is excruciating for me to accomplish. I greatly admire those who can.
What Are We Doing?
I try to inspire, enlighten or make light of a life situation through blogging. After reading over some of my posts, I think I succeeded greatly—sometimes, and failed miserably, others.
I’m currently reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. I’m not sure it’s writing that would be popular now. It takes concentration, focus, and a devotion to the prose and process. It takes time. You can’t scan this book and make a quick quip about it. At least I can’t. How could I sum this up in 140 characters on Twitter and give it justice?
There are flowery descriptions. Some words are crafted so beautifully that it makes my heart flutter a bit because I realize that this was written with a fierce dedication. An everyday-look-at-a-blank-page-until-the-words-come laser focus and a talent that is honed through dedicating one’s self to the task at hand.
I’m only forty pages in and I’ve had to reread some passages because of all that descriptiveness. But I appreciate it for its tenacity, the effort it took to write it.
According to one bio of Fitzgerald, this book wasn’t successful upon its release. The Great Gatsby, which I read in high school, was his claim to fame, but none of his work became “great” until after his death. He died at 44 and his characters and their lives bear strong resemblances to the person he was and his own life. He was educated (Princeton), wealthy, a playboy, and suffered from depression.
In Tender is the Night, he writes passages like: “…arranging an umbrella to clip a square of sunlight off Rosemary’s shoulder…” and describing leaves and petals as “curled with tender damp.
And this: “Knotted at her throat she wore a lilac scarf that even in the achromatic sunshine cast its color up to her face and down around her moving feet in a lilac shadow.”
There’s just so much of this. This took time. This took thought, reflection, and insight.
Fearing that my writing here is moving past the point of too lengthy for a blog post, I’ll sum up.
What has blogging done for me? I believe that it’s helped me become a better writer. Blogging requires one to dedicate a period of time to putting something down on paper, so to speak. What it doesn’t do, at least in my opinion, is encourage one to take time to really explore the craft and process of what writing is, or I should say, what it once was.
Maybe I’m the one who needs to learn. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, out of it and not relying on Twitter feeds to learn about trends, I prefer to absorb words and the time it takes to crafting a story at a slower pace.
And, those passages that make my heart flutter at the beauty of them, I’ll read again and again. In doing so, they become a part of me. I think that’s what a writer wants when they put pieces of themselves out “there,” in a story—it’s immortality—it’s magic.
Has blogging made you a better writer? Why do you blog? What’s your average time spent writing a post? What good books have you read lately that have resonated with you or made you reread passages just to relive them and feel them again?
Do you think it’s necessary that a writer, budding and/or experienced, engage in blogging and other forms of social media? Why?
Am I asking too many questions?
While you’re contemplating this, listen to the Great Satchmo. Wildly popular during F. Scott Fitzgerald’s time.
I am not sure that blogging makes me a better writer–but during my short career as a blogger I have written more–and written differently than I do for the newspaper–though at times I do steal from my blog for my column and vice versa.
I find your blog writing very professional–sometimes I spend a long time on a blog–sometimes I don’t–which leaves me with good posts and some that are not so good–time does not necessarily mean good or bad though–sometimes my best writing is less deliberate
Good morning Lou! I’ve always believed that the more one does something, hones a skill or craft, the better one becomes at it. That persistence thing takes awhile but usually pays off. And thanks for your compliment about my writing. I can definitely and most assuredly return the compliment. I like the fact that we steer off the subjects we’re more comfortable writing to write about topics we may not be as comfortable delving into. The same goes for reading I think.
I wish I could fling off a post, but I’m so anal about writing, I’m just can’t, though it may seem as if I fling them out at times. (ouch, reading some of the old posts, I now think—what the heck was I talking about). It’s a process and a fun one most of the time. When it’s not fun, then I guess it’s time to stop.
Your posts are always wonderful, deliberate or not. Thanks, Lou.
Brigitte, you hit upon a great topic: What are we doing? Whether we enlighten, inspire, or entertain others is on them. I think that the important thing is to strive to communicate daily/weekly/monthly. It certainly beats sitting alone and ruminating on the world’s problems. Ω
Hi Allan, thanks for that. I agree with you. The world and the way in which we communicate has vastly changed over the past decade. As with anything, there’s an upside and a downside. And I agree with you, who wants to “ruminate” about the world’s problems. Maybe through our blogs and social media we can solve some of them. 😉 Thanks for stopping in.
Why do I blog? I asked myself.
The answer is…. I want to communiate with nice people in the world. I am not a native English speaker, so writnig blog in English is a big challenge for me, but I still love to do it!
Thank you for the nice topic. It has really inspired me!
Hi Camellia–welcome and so wonderful to see you here! Your blog is lovely, by the way. You’ll find that the blogsophere has so many nice people in it, such as yourself, and learning about how we each view our slices of life is fascinating. I think your English is superb and I’m very happy I inspired you. Thanks so much and I hope you’ll stop by again.
I really understand the dilemma you communicate here, Brigitte. Sometimes I think I should quit blogging because I want to write fiction, too. Like you said, fiction takes time. It’s really a different animal than blogging. Takes way more time and dedication. Since my time is so limited, I often think I should just concentrate on writing fiction. That said, I think you really should try the flash fiction group. It’s all about making use of every bit of your writing space and crafting sentences. If I get one good sentence out of it, I’m pretty happy. I know some fiction writers who just do the Friday Fictioneers and nothing else. I may be in that group soon. In the meantime, going through this difficult time that I am currently in has been great to share on my blog. The support has been amazing. I really enjoy my community so that would be really hard to let go. We just need a longer day. That’s all! I love your posts. I can see that you put a lot into them. They are all gems!
Thanks Amy, I know that you do. I’ve written three or four short stories and continue to slog away at the beast of a novel I have in the works. I think it’s the editor in me that can’t just post and not worry so much about the little things. Maybe I should try the flash fiction. I wrote a 1000-word short story and that was difficult for me! But I find that if I edit a few times, I can edit out unnecessary words or thoughts that have already been presented. As you can surmise from my posts, brevity is not one of my virtues. ha!
I also know what you mean about support. When I was going through my Dad leaving this Earth, there were so many bloggers that reached out to me. It’s humbling and wondrous the people out there, that I’ve never met — you included — that are such sweet and caring souls. I hope that you are doing well and that the life experience you’re going through now will become less painful. It will, as time goes by, and know that there are those of us who are thinking of you. I think your posts are great as well, Amy and thank you for saying such nice things and as always, for visiting. Be well and take good care of yourself.
I think all writing is difficult, short or long. With the flash, the scope is going to be a lot of smaller, but yes, it’s hard. The challenge is the word limit, of course. I just look at it as practice. You should try it! Thanks for reaching out to me like you have. It’s meant a lot to me because I know you’ve been there. Thank you.
I agree! And please don’t think I’m implying otherwise. As stated, I admire those who can craft a story in 100 words—I find that impossibly difficult. It would be excellent practice though Amy. And no need to thank me—it’s my pleasure. 😉
I know, I know you’re not implying otherwise. I’m just encouraging you to try it. That’s all. 🙂
Not that I EVER overthink or over-analysis anything anyone says or does or writes. Nuh-uh. 🙂
We wouldn’t want that. 😉
Hi Amy. First time over here, and good to see some fellow friends, (which to me means I’m in good company). You make good points about blogging and writing in general. Yes … a constant dilemma.
Your questions just show that you are a thoughtful individual who doesn’t take things lightly so I’d say keep on asking those questions! 🙂
I think for those of us who have been blogging for a while now, it’s very interesting to see how our entire journey has shaped itself and how our perspectives in the beginning contrasts so much (at least in my case) with where it is now. My blogging in the beginning felt like it took much less effort to do since I approached it essentially like a more polished version of journaling. But in this past year and half, it seems like my blogging has evolved into something a bit more thoughtful and at times, abstract. Posts have taken a lot more time and effort and in addition to my grappling with some life decisions/situations, the frequency of them has shrunk drastically. What hasn’t changed is how feedback gives me so much positive energy. I know not everyone can say the same but I’ve been lucky enough never to have encountered anything less than wonderful and the community here is what keeps me coming back and pressing on.
Your insight is astonishing at times, Lillian. I’ve said before how much of an “enlightened” individual you are—so obvious from your posts and musings—which is why when I stumbled across your blog, I followed immediately. You are a very creative spirit! I think I’ve gone through the same as you. At first, it was easier, I suppose because I didn’t exactly know what it was. As time went on and I attempted to tackle more substantial subjects, it became more time-consuming. I do believe that was inevitable though, me being who I am. And like you, when I’ve gone though some of those unavoidable life situations, my blogging took a back seat. But, for whatever reason, I come back to it, like an old, yet neglected friend, always there and when I do, I’m never sorry. And it’s because of all that glorious positivity you write about. It’s nice, like you, and very appreciated. Knock on wood, I’ve had just wonderful experiences myself. Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your lovely insight to my post.
I like beautiful description, but too much starts to irk me. I want to get back to the story. So an author who can weave lovely prose, great description, and keep telling the story is truly gifted, in my opinion. For me, no matter how beautiful the writing is, if there isn’t a plot or story, I lose interest. I guess that’s thanks to my left-brain dominance.
I’m like you–I can’t just whip out a blog post (unless it’s one of my lazy days, and even then I’ll spend time on a photo maybe). I draft a post, write it, and rewrite it, usually over a course of a few days so it has some time to simmer.
I know what you’re “saying” here. I’m forty more pages into the book now and I have to stop and reread for just that reason! The plot is slow in coming in this book, but I’m beginning to see one.
Whenever I’ve taken a creative writing class, we always revisit the classics and while modern day writers don’t use so much flowery language as in the 20s and 30s, I think they’re (the classics) valid and worth reading from time to time. If for nothing else other than to find out how fiction writing has evolved. I’m also not one to be a fan of marvel comic hero, exploding movies—though I understand the writing of these scripts and screenplays takes talent. Not to get off topic, but we just watched Nebraska. It is slow but has a story and was entertaining. Maybe my point was that we seem to want instant gratification when it comes to reading or viewing.
I do the same, Carrie. I’ll type something up quickly and let it simmer and add or take away, hoping that something of value comes to the top. Sometimes it’s cream, sometimes it’s otherwise, if you know what I’m sayin’ and I think ya do. 😉 and in no way am I implying that you know what I’m talking about because you do it. Your posts and writing are always very thought-provoking and well-written. Always! Thanks for stopping in, Carrie—always a pleasure!
Thank you, Brigitte, though I have some older posts that should probably no longer see the light of day. 🙂
I’m afraid I’m in that instant gratification crowd when it comes to TV and movies. I like things to keep moving, or I get bored. Books I have a little more patience for, but not always. Sometimes I really have to force myself to slog through some of my book club’s selections!
He he, hi Frank.
Brig, I started writing Lame Adventures 5 1/2 years ago as a way to fill my time following a steep 20% pay cut due to the recession (15% of those cut wages have finally been returned). Has it improved my writing? At times I think it’s had an adverse effect. My earlier posts were so much wittier. Oh, well … For my first few years of blogging I made no effort to find an audience or to engage with other bloggers. For me, it was solely about the writing and my mediocre images. Now I have around 3,000 followers and I engage with a cluster of fellow bloggers, and for a while the comment thing got our of control. I nearly quit writing LA because it became such an overwhelming time suck. I was spending more time reading and commenting on other blogs than writing my own. I was miserable. Now it’s much more manageable and if I fall behind on reading and commenting, so be it. When I have time to read and comment, I do. I lead a very full life. What I don’t have enough time for is reading books. I feel like a borderline illiterate. About 25-30 years ago a friend gave me ‘Tender is the Night’. I could barely get past page two. It’s still on my shelf, as unread as ever. When I think about Lame Adventures, I know I’ve invested a lot of myself in my site, but at this stage, I’m not sure where it’s going. I have wondered what is my magic number to put it to rest? It’s impossible at this stage to write it, work full time and try to write something long form. Cranking out my worst seller, a few years ago was so draining. I don’t know where I’ll ever find the energy to write a sequel. What I most want to do now is nap. Maybe I should start swigging Geritol.
Well you’ve been doing this (blogging) far longer than me and I’ve even wondered, as you have, when does one stop? I don’t know, V. At first, blogging really helped me establish a regular writing thing and it’s like anything new, when you begin and people are excited about it, you are too. Then life throws a few balls at you and you let the blog drop for awhile. I’ve left and come back many times. I think everyone struggles with that. I don’t know how anyone does all the other social media — no one has answered that question! What’s the deal? I feel like a dinosaur because I do not know how people do more than the blog/work/eat/sleep and you know, live and get out and do fun things. I hear that if you ever do want to get published, it’s necessary to have a Twitter, Facebook and all that other STUFF that makes my head ache just thinking about it.
Pull out Tender is the Night. Maybe the older you could get into it. But, I’m warning you—there’s flowers all through it. And some of it is good, really.
You are so funny. So I hope you’ll keep up with your Lame Adventures. I really enjoy reading them. And I went through the same thing, I guess. Commenting, following, etc., to the point where I wasn’t writing, which was the whole point of my writing. Anyhoo, pass along the Geritol once you’re done and as always, thanks for the laughs, entertainment and for being the little special YOU you are. ;). Seriously, you’re funny. And so is your worst-seller. Gack, you crazy lady.
You’re a fellow blogger that I’ve been invested in for years, Brig. I appreciate that you are such a meticulous writter. Thanks for your support. Right now, I’m collaborating with Milton on a book he’s overseeing. I don’t know where I’m going to find the time to crank thai piece out. I might take a hiatus from writing LA for a few weeks. I haven’t taken a hiatus in 2 1/2 years. I just told Godsend that I wish we could hang a hammock in our office so I can take a siesta.
You’re welcome and thanks for saying that and likewise. A V and Milton collaboration? Sounds intriguing. Do tell? If you can’t swing the hammock (see what did there? My talents know no bounds), then pick up a bean bag. Perhaps a sit-in in lieu of a siesta. Both get you nearly horizontal when needed.
Hi Lame. As always, you bring up many points that confront bloggers. After all, there’s only so much time. Good luck with the collaboration with the King of Quips.
Wow, Frank, I completely forgot about writing this comment over here, partly due to being on such overload these days and partly due to the ever widening hole in my head that comes with middle age. If Milton and I collaborate on a literary endeavor, it’s not going to be in 2015. I’m running on empty time-wise and that sucks. The good thing is he’s always around to listen to my whining. It’s been overwhelming.
I know you have two major things on your plate to raise the stress level. Hang in there!
Interesting post, Brigitte!
Oh, I am a slowpoke. And a research enthusiast. I get hooked. Completely obsessed. It takes me days to create a post or a story. Weeks, really. And then once I hit “publish” or send it off to an editor, I mourn. Yes, I go through a little grieving period. It’s all about the process, eh?
Have you spent time with Fitzgerald’s short stories? I highly recommend his “The Long Way Out.” I read it years ago. The details still haunt me. Wonderful descriptions.
Thanks Theodora. I can understand why your posts take time. They so descriptive and the photographs are gorgeous. A site for the senses! How’d you like that play on words I just did there?
I understand about research. I had a freelance gig once that was so research intensive and the facts had to be facts. Correct. That takes time so maybe that’s where I picked it up. Really though I’ve always been that way. If it has my name on it (and even if it has someone else’s that I’ve written for her/him) it matters.
And yes, it is about the process! Thanks for the recommendation. I will now seek that out. I LOVE the library. And bookstores. And cafes. And coffeehouses. Well you get the gist. Thank you Theodora–so great to see you.
I’m not sure I ” fit” here with the writing end of things..but I know why I like to read blogs..particularly yours. It’s like picking up a well written magazine. I can catch my favorite writers..an eclectic mix of humor, poetry, journals and fiction. And I’ve met some pretty amazing friends this way.
Oh you fit just fine my talented, poetic friend. And thank you for saying that Audra. You have given me such invaluable insight outside the blogosphere as far as my writing is concerned. Improved it by just commenting about this or that. You are an avid reader–and it shows when you write your beautiful poetry and your recommendations for books, both fiction and nonfiction, well I wouldn’t have found without you. You rock home slice. And I know what you mean about amazing friends. ;).
We sure do love our flowery language, don’t we? I need some fiction..
I’m working on it and yeah, it’s fun to decorate thoughts with word, yes? And helloooo, we could use some Upchucking poetry up in here.
I’ve been reading Chuck Dickens to put me to sleep at night. Talk about description. Sheesh! And that crazy old language. It takes a lot of concentration and soon I’m off snoring away.
Yow, well the 1800s literature is a whole different thing so kudos to you for your commitment! Thanks Susie.
Blogging takes time for me as well, Brigitte. The writing takes time, the photography takes time, responding to the good folks who comment takes time, and keeping up with my blogging friends takes time. It all adds up. It is hard to keep a balance between working on books and getting out the next post. I do think that writing for the blog helps my writing in general, just like keeping a journal does. I also try to use my blogs as a base to build books, which is easier in the nonfiction world. I blogged most of my book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam, before I published it. Now I am trying to do the same on a book about Burning Man. –Curt
Hey Curt. Great to see you and hope you and Peggy are having some nice travels. Are you still on the road? I know what you mean. It is a conundrum, isn’t it? That’s very ingenious of you regarding your book. I contemplate doing the same with my Monday musings and some tweaking. Any recommendations as far as publishing and/or ebooks? Thanks for taking the time to visit. I know it’s difficult and I’m guilty of the same. I need to stop by your place! Be well!
I went with Book Baby and self published, Brigitte. The company basically produced the cover with a photo of mine, handled book lay out, converted the book to all of the different formats, and distributed it to a number of sites. Their work to date has been with E-books but it is now working with print on demand so readers will be able to obtain printed books on-line. In the meantime, I ordered a couple of hundred copies that I have been mailing out on request. I am beginning to move into my marketing campaign. Lots to do. (grin) And of course i have to get to work on the next book. Getting great feed back on The Bush Devil Ate Sam, so it makes all the work seem worthwhile. –Curt
Blogging indeed takes time and effort if we treat it as something more than a Facebook status update or Tweet. As to whether it’s help to improve my writing, well, that’s a difficult question to answer. At one point, I believed all writing is “good practice” — but now I think only in a limited way. Rather like warm-up stretches before exercising. While those stretches support an exercise routine, on their own they won’t tone us up or burn many calories. That’s now how I view blog posts. I may have something to say in them, but the posts do nothing to improve my fiction writing.
And the time needed to engage in social media decreases the time available for other activities. So something else must be cut back. And I notice that for many writers, it’s the fiction/poetry/memoir that takes the hit. And that might mean the stories and poems don’t grow and improve as quickly as they once did—or at all.
For me, cutting back on blogging was the only way to get my writing back on track. And I’m very glad I don’t Tweet or have a public Facebook page, or use any other social media. The time suck would be even worse!
I agree JM. I do think blogging helped me get into the practice of writing regularly and I think writing regularly most likely improves the craft. But it takes time to write, comment, visit others, and post what I hope to be worthy content! Like you, when I blogged “too much” my fiction writing took second place and that’s off the path I set for myself. I think the secret is blogging when you want to and being at peace with that fact!
And also like you I don’t Tweet or have Facebook either. I don’t know how people do it. I can’t stay plugged in for that length of time! Great to see you and hope your new writing space is the perfect place and impetus for you to dig deep for the all the great fiction waiting to be born. ;). Thanks J.
My blogging tends to be more heavily visual than written, but part of it is due to that time constraint you mention. To craft and express thoughtfully, it takes time. Each thoughtful post takes much longer than usually anticipated. Once in awhile I try to invest the time in the words as equally as I do into the images …. perhaps once the nest is empty (one down, one to go) that kind of time will present itself more frequently. Your posts are always thought-provoking and enjoyable, so thank you for taking your time to post!
HI Kat, maybe I should take more pictures! And, posting does always take more time that one thinks it will. I should probably loosen up a little — ha! Almost an empty-nester? We’ll all wait to hear those tales. Your posts are always inspiring as well. Thank YOU for stopping by to give me such a thoughtful comment. ;).
Has blogging made you a better writer?
I think blogging has made me a better writer, more creative and I hope to continue to learn and grow with each post. I do look at things differently since I started blogging a few months ago; I have been making notes of ideas and experiences as they happen.
Why do you blog?
I created my blog with the intent to express myself freely, inspire anyone who can relate to my content and create a platform for body positivity, size acceptance and self confidence. My long term goal would be to be a motivational speaker and personal/career coach.
What’s your average time spent writing a post?
The current average time I spend on a blog has been 30+ minutes and I usually go back and tweak things after I post it.
What good books have you read lately that have resonated with you or made you reread passages just to relive them and feel them again?
I am currently in school concluding my BA in Management, does a text book count? The content in the textbooks does inspire me for entrepreneurial business ventures.
Do you think it’s necessary that a writer, budding and/or experienced, engage in blogging and other forms of social media? Why?
In order to get more traffic on your website and reach a larger audience, social media is the way to go.
Am I asking too many questions?
I appreciate the questions, it opened up my mind. Thank you for the insight on how to make me a better blogger/writer.
Hi Isabel and welcome!! BTW, I love your name. ;). It sounds as if you have a great plan in mind as to what you hope to accomplish as a writer/blogger. I’m not sure I had a specific plan when I began and it took me awhile to finally just begin. I think it’s like anything else, especially writing — you begin and then it evolves into other things that hopefully will inspire and connect with others. Like you, I spend time writing when I do decide to post and the “tweaking,” I do is ruthlessly cutting out a repetitiveness that I have a tendency to do. And yes, textbooks count! Any learning counts, right? I applaud your passion, your spirit, and your ideals. You seem to have a very positive attitude in a world that most definitely needs it. Positive always wins, always trumps negativity, every time, doesn’t it? I’m glad you stopped in to contribute. I hope you’ll visit again soon as your opinion and comments matter and are so appreciated. here.
First-timer here, and as you can tell, we have a few common readers (who are also thumbs-up people). You ask great questions. To me, the key is Why does one blog? Reasons are many, thus vary from person to person.
Hi there and welcome! We do share some great bloggers in common and I’ve seen you in those places as well. I’m so glad you stopped by AFA and hope you’ll do so again. Glad you enjoyed the post. I will have to visit you as well. Thanks again!
We blog because we have something to say and social media type forums allows us all to do it.
Hi Mary and welcome! You are right and what a platform! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ll do so again.