Tuesday, 23 April 2013

To Create Fiction or To Write a Blog Post

To create fiction or to write a blog post? That is the question.

 So things have been pretty hectic around here. But then, they usually are. There are always people coming and going. I have a day job. I have a small business I run in my spare time. I have a beautiful new granddaughter. I have two lovely daughters both of whom are fairly newly married. I have an incredible husband and some very good friends. I love to quilt, doodle, crochet and do a wicked amount of other crafty and creative things. Sometimes, I even hit the gym or go for a walk. The trouble is that all these things tangle together and get into each other’s way. But mostly, they get in the way of my writing.

Yes, I am fully aware that I choose which things to spend time on, and which to kick to the curb for a while. When writing gets pushed aside, it is more likely that I will ignore my blogs than my works of fiction.

In spite of the fact that writing is sometimes painfully like stripping your soul bare and beating your head into a rock, I find time almost every day to scratch down some ideas or to putter away at one of my current fiction works in progress. Some days the writing is brutal and terrible to read, put I plug away anyhow and do my best to get words onto paper (metaphorically speaking.) When those words are not fit to be read, they get rewritten or deleted entirely the next time I work on that story. If the scene or idea doesn’t fit that story, it gets cut and saved elsewhere.

I really do try to do a blog post weekly, though clearly that isn’t happening. Today I asked myself why writing a blog post was so different from writing a story. Here’s what I came up with. When I am working on a novel, it gets written, rewritten, edited, tweaked, proofread, fiddled with, scrubbed and polished. A blog post gets written, edited and posted. Mine are the only eyes that see it before yours do. A novel sees mine (over and over and over), several beta readers, several proof readers and on occasion a reviewer or two before it hits the public eye.

Comparatively speaking, I probably write 20,000 story words for every blog post I write. By that I mean words worth keeping. At the end of a writing day, I probably only keep about half of the words I type. I write, revise and review. Then, when I fire up the story the next time, I scroll back a couple dozen pages and start re-reading. This serves a number of purposes.

1.       It gets me into the flow of the story so that my tone is the same and the mood isn’t killed.
2.       It helps me find gross errors.
3.       It refreshes my memory on where I was going.
4.       I find places where what I think I wrote and what I did write are entirely different.
5.       It helps me eliminate total drivel not worthy or reading.
6.       It helps me find good plot bits that are not quite right for the story but are worth saving. 

The lowly blog post doesn’t get such lofty treatment. Sure, there are a few that get puttered away at over time, but mostly they are off the cuff, rambling and rather pointless. They are kind of a peek into the insanity that is my thought process.

The other thing is those story ideas come to me from out of nowhere. I’ll be walking along and an idea will just explode into my head. Often I have to stop and scratch down some notes or a bit of dialogue so I don’t forget the idea. Blog post ideas are harder to come by. I want to come off as reasonably intelligent. I don’t want you to know that I am flying by the seat of my pants and making shit up as I go along. So I have to plan blog posts ahead and frankly sometimes my post ideas aren’t all that good. Sometimes I don’t have any ideas at all.

It really isn’t fair to my blog readers. They deserve better. They deserve posts that are meaningful, insightful, thought provoking or at least entertaining. What they get is the usual drivel that drifted unattended through my mind. They get a look at who I really am and I’m not altogether sure that is a good thing. I want them to think of me as Danielle Steel, Stephen King, JK Rowling or other lofty, famous writers. I want a bit of mystique and a devoted following of slathering fans.

How selfish and vain is that?

Funny how most of us want our five minutes of fame.  Not that I ever expect to become famous … and since I am more likely to become famous from writing stories than from writing blog posts, you can expect these posts to remain sporadic and somewhat random in content and format. 


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