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On Writing

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I recently happened upon A Links Blog, an upstart blog directory. You can get your blog listed and become a contributor by simply leaving a comment indicating your desire to participate. If you’ve visited, you know that the first post I wrote was about — what else? — Write Stuff!

The premise intrigued me and caused me to do a little surfing to see if I could find other blogs like it. I haven’t so far, but if you are aware of any, please leave a comment with the link as I would like to check them out.

Maybe I’m just “late to the party,” but I have noticed are a lot of sites springing up that are, theoretically, at least, dedicated to “reviewing” other folks’ blogs.

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I stumbled upon an extremely well-written and informative article this week: 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web, by Mark Bernstein, which I encourage you to read in its entirety. Continuing to think about the topic I have focused upon the past couple of weeks, why so many folks are blogging these days, I was fascinated by his very first suggestion: “Write for a Reason.” He admonishes us to write not just about the mundane details of our lives and life experiences, but about why those details matter. Perhaps most importantly, he reminds us to write honestly and “for yourself; you are, in the end, your most important reader.”

Another recommendation that resonated with me is “[r]ead widely and well, on the web and off, and in your web writing take special care to acknowledge the good work and good ideas of other writers.” When I signed on this evening to write this post, I perused the past week’s entries from my colleagues here at Write Stuff, as is my custom. I was intrigued to find that, once again, my teammates and I seem to be “in synch.” d.challener wrote in his March 6, 2007, post, “The Need to Read,” that he has been, of late, in the “longest creative reading droughts of my adult life. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to read. It just seems that over the last several months my traditional reading times have dried up.”

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I concur with Karen’s enthusiastic endorsement of Writer’s Digest. The insightful articles they publish always cause me to think in a new way about why I enjoy writing so much and how I might improve my written products.

Currently, in a feature entitled “Becoming Intimate with Your Own Creative Impulses,” author Julia Cameron is interviewed. After publishing my post last Sunday about why so many of us are spending significant amounts of time and effort blogging, I was particularly intrigued by her explanation of why she writes:

For me, writing is a way to metabolize life. It’s a way to make life more understandable, it’s a way to make life more comfortable, it’s a way to make life more interesting. It’s a way to make life more passionate. When I picture the writing life, what I’m talking about is a life where writing is your dominant response. People can learn to do that. They can learn when they have their feelings hurt to get on the page instead of on the telephone. They can learn to keep a notebook next to them and write when they’re in gridlock traffic.

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about this question: Why blog?

With an estimated 55 million blogs now on-line, it seems reasonable to ask why so many people are engaging in this activity. And, more importantly, why so many bloggers comment, facetiously or not, that they are “addicted” or “obsessed” with blogging, can’t live without it, and regularly confess that they are “spending way too much time blogging.” Many writers joke about their laundry piles, dusty furniture and dirty hair, and acknowledge eating fast food because they are too busy blogging to cook. Only those writers (and their families) know for sure, of course, how much truth is actually being divulged.

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the incongruence between the amount of writing you want to do and the amount you are actually completing?

That’s how I’m feeling right now. I have several weeks’ worth of posts rolling around in the big empty cavern known as my brain. But I’m having trouble getting them out of my head and onto the computer screen.

Is it possible to suffer from “writer’s overload”?

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Yesterday we had a very enjoyable day. We “got out of Dodge” with our best friends, traveling to the Gold Country, the region of beautiful foothills where much of the great California Gold Rush played out.

Like us, our friends have two children. Their youngest daughter, a high school junior, was at home yesterday. When I casually asked, “What is she up to today?” we ended up having a great discussion about procrastination.

You see, my friends’ daughters take divergent approaches to writing projects. The oldest employs a very methodical approach, planning what she is going to write far ahead of time, creating an outline and, in the case of a large project with numerous components, gathering and organizing all of the information she needs before finally sitting down to start the process of writing. That process begins and is concluded well in advance of the project’s actual due date. She does not work well under the stress of a looming deadline.

The youngest daughter has a specific project coming due in several weeks, but no other deadlines bearing down on her at this time. Her older sister lent her advice and guidance about how to organize her work in order to finish by the due date, so my friends left her at home yesterday with instructions to spend the day completing her household chores and writing.

Given that I’ve known the girls their whole lives, I asked, “And how much writing do you think she will actually have done by the time you get home?”

The response? “None.”

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