Here I am once again glaring into the glow of my computer monitor.
I know somewhere under all those pixels - lurks another weekly column. But it refuses to reveal itself. So I sharpen my glare.
I squint. I cross my eyes. I grit my teeth and make threatening gestures.
Outside my window, a doe steps lightly through the snow. She sees me making faces and bolts off. Later she returns to find me still grimacing at my monitor.
How long have I been doing this? I have no idea and after all my staring, glaring and threatening, all I have for my trouble is a headache and sore eyes.
Why do I do this? Why did I foolishly commit to punching out a column - week, after week, after week?
I thought I knew why - but then I came across this. It is a list of reasons to blog regularly written by a guy who has been at it for years. His list is close to mine - but I put it into my words to reflect my priorities and experience, .
I encourage you to consider writing a blog.
If you do, you may come to regret it as much as I, it is hard and it hurts - as do all good things. But here are the reasons you may want to try it and no matter how much it hurts, it is worth it.
Writing regularly requires discipline and discipline is a good unto itself.
All forms of discipline, be it writing, exercise or simply pushing back from the buffet, build strength that will flow into every aspect of your life. Writing regularly not only makes you a better writer, it makes you a better person.
Opinions come easily. Prejudices even easier -- but few ideas last for long in their raw form. Chiseling an idea into words cuts away the rot and brings out the grain. Publishing, further exposes your notions to the corrosive elements of other ideas. In the end, what you write may be stripped bare and weathered - but it will endure.
The best way to learn something is to explain it to someone else. Explaining even common things requires you to think about them at a deeper level then you are used to - and that is where real learning begins.
Learning to Observe
Writing regularly, requires you come up with topics to write about.
Seems easy, doesn't it?
It is at first, then it isn't. You quickly run out of interesting things to write about. Then you have to write about old stuff - in new ways.
You begin to notice things you failed to notice before. You look at old things in a new, more detailed and meaningful way; like love, and kids, and pets and work. It might seem like the same stuff - but there is always something new to write about it.
Having Fun with Humor
The best way to bring out the color of ordinary things is through the lens of humor. All you have to do to write humor is step outside yourself and see the world the same way a stranger would.
Pretend you are a visitor from a galaxy far, far, away, then write about what you see.
Writing regularly make you a better writer. Posting regularly makes you better still. Writing for others forces you to a higher level of writing. Never be frightened of that. Not here on Gather.
Developing Your Voice
The more you write the more articulate you become. The more you write, the easier the words come. In time, you develop a new way of writing, a new persona, a new you.
As the new you finds its new voice, you learn things about both the old and the new you. It is inevitable. You cannot read what a writer writes without learning something about them. This includes yourself.
Discovering New Processes
As the weeks roll by, as the essays pile up, you discover new writing tools. You start carrying a notebook to jot down ideas. You discover freewriting as a method to develop those ideas. You learn new editing tricks to refine your writing.
Building a Base
Runners talk about this. Bodybuilders too. Runners will tell you that the daily jogs make marathons possible. Weight lifters will say something similar, how repeating the little lifts build strength for the big ones.
Writing is just like that.
But more importantly, writing regularly leaves a trail of work, a record of your growth.
Whenever you are down, whenever you find yourself staring, glaring and grimacing at a computer monitor, you will have that record to look back upon, and after cringing at all the bad writing, you will be able to remind yourself of how far you have come.
And that is what it is all about.
This week's challenge: post a blog entry.
- Write about writing.
- Write about your day - but don't write it about you. Look for the universal. Look for the unique. Look for a new way of looking at your day.
- Write about darn near anything.
Post your article to Gather Writing Essentials.
BE SURE TO TAG your submission with MWE. Note: I search for articles using the tag "MWE" If you don't tag it right, I will not find it.
Include "Monday Writing Essential" in your title.
- Try to post by next Monday but don't worry if you don't finish in time. I will be glad to include your post the next week.
The last MWE challenge was to write about losing a job and it drew one response that I found. Gather was having technical difficulties over the last few weeks. Go Karen!!
Weekly reminder: don't forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida's article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!).. Also try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.