Amy Beth

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Writing about Writing

I have been wanting to write more on this little blog of mine. But desire and reality are often two different things. First is the problem of finding time. Then is the problem of having thoughts.

Finding time is just a matter of logistics. Logistics can get complicated with three little ones around, but with enough planning and effort it should be possible.

Having thoughts is a different matter altogether. It should be helped by time, for sure. But there’s always the fear that my thoughts aren’t interesting enough. Or helpful enough. Or valuable enough for anyone but myself. So why bother? I find myself trying to write in my head to make sure it’s worth taking the time to sit down with the computer. I’m beginning to understand that this is perhaps backwards.

A couple of things that have helped my thinking on this recently:

First, this article from the Guardian – What writers really do when they write.

The author explains that most of writing is in the revision process. A writer really doesn’t get anything good written until they’ve written something bad and had some time to go over it.

“The interesting thing, in my experience, is that the result of this laborious and slightly obsessive process {of revision} is a story that is better than I am in ‘real life’ – funnier, kinder, less full of crap, more empathetic, with a clearer sense of virtue, both wiser and more entertaining.
And what a pleasure that is; to be, on the page, less of a dope than usual.”

And then I remember. I’m way less of a dope in writing. In person I’m not very entertaining. I have trouble expressing my thoughts clearly, much less profoundly. But while getting my real thoughts on a subject in real life could be painfully slow, in writing I can take my time, away from the expectant eyes of anyone else. I can muddle through a sentence, add and delete, try it a few different ways, and THEN share it with the world. I look much more graceful on the page.

And then, another excellent post on the Best Blogging Tips from Design for Mankind.

“Try, instead, writing for you. Write what you want to know. Write what you want to learn, just for the pleasure of having written it. Write because you love it, because you have something to explore and not because you have something to say. Publish it, if you’d like.”

And that, my friends, is the answer to my problem with having thoughts.

Because it’s not so much a problem with having thoughts. It’s a problem with capturing them. Thoughts swirl vaguely in my brain all day (and much of the night, thanks to frequently waking children). It’s in writing that I am best able to see what those thoughts really are. I can explore them and examine them and make them more concrete. I can see what I am learning and have yet to learn. And it is a reminder too, that these explorations are valuable. I don’t have to wait to share my thoughts until I have all the answers. Then I would never share. Instead I can share my thoughts just because I enjoyed thinking them. Maybe others will find it helpful in thinking their own thoughts. Maybe not. In the end we’re all just trying to make sense of our place in the world, and this is a practice that can help me do that.

So here’s to writing! Hopefully on a more regular basis. And to sharing. On occasion, when the writing is done.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Because you’re waiting with bated breath (or, how to follow blogs)

Blogs are great. They are full of ideas and tips and inspiration. But keeping up on all of your favorite ones can be quite a chore sometimes. How do you know when one is updated? How can you keep from missing anything important? How can you make sure you never miss another post from Little Place Called Home? (I know that is of utmost importance to all of you.) Well, it turns out there are a lot of options.

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