On October 26 of last year, I took the plunge! I created my blog and posted my first entry. I admit I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was doing, how WordPress worked or who would even read it, but the objective was clear: I needed a vehicle to get into the regular habit of writing as a gradual warm-up to my goal of writing full-time when I retire from my day job.
Here we are, 52 blog posts later, celebrating the first anniversary. I guess it worked!
To me, what has become a most interesting part is the evolution of the blogging process itself. In the beginning, I was sitting at my desk asking myself, “what am I going to write about this week?” and sometimes feeling a sense of pressure as my self-imposed Monday deadline approached.
I tried leveraging my commute time to write new posts, which worked to some extent, but let’s face it, when you are getting jostled by backpacks and fellow commuters, it is not most conducive to digging deep into your soul for pearls of wisdom.
Perhaps it was about six months into the journey, something weird happened. I stopped looking for blog posts… ideas started coming to me and sometimes faster than I could catch them or when I didn’t have the tools to record them. The trick was to develop a system to capture the ideas as soon as they hit me or else risk losing them.
To address that, I now have a note pad and pencil in almost every room in the house. Once every couple of days, I sweep through the house, gather the ideas up and stick them under a paperweight on the desk in my studio.
I also developed a folder system for all of the projects currently underway. On the weekend, I move the note pages from the paperweight to their respective folder.
Once I have enough ideas captured on a given topic and my gut tells me it is time, I gather all the scraps of paper on that topic and compose the first draft. Unless there is a time sensitivity attached to the blog post, the draft will get time to “ferment”.
Much like when you conclude an important conversation and think to yourself 5 minutes later, “Oh, I should have said that”, it is very much the same thing with my blog. I regularly park the draft posts in order to capture those afterthought gems.
In seeking those perfect words, I sometimes prompt myself to rewrite sentences multiple times and either pick from the best, or let it be a cue for new ideas to find me and punch it up. The point is not to edit myself in the composing process or worry about the length, just to let the ideas flow even if it means overwriting and then chopping it down mercilessly later in the editing process.
While I am actively blogging with this method, I am also creating 5 or 6 other larger writing projects one puzzle piece at a time. It is strange, but it is working!
Because I have an inventory of ideas and first drafts of posts almost ready to be released, it gives me the ability to honour my commitment to posting weekly, as well as the freedom to experiment. Sometimes I am not sure if a topic is going to develop well or not, but with this boundless mindset, I say to myself “just write it” and worry later if it makes the cut. Even if it does not, it could form the foundation of a piece that could serve other purposes like a writing competition or an article in another forum.
Personally, I am not driven by the statistics I get from WordPress, but I appreciate them immensely as a sort of GPS for me, as a new creative writer. For example, I have been surprised that a couple of pieces that were spontaneously written, edited, proofread and posted in very short time frames received the largest number of page views
Meanwhile, other pieces for which I toiled over every word to get them just right, barely registered a blip, statistically speaking. Don’t worry, I don’t take it personally. 🙂
The lesson I learned here is not to overthink any particular piece. They are all creations that will attract their respective following. If I am passionate about writing on a given topic, it will strike a chord with someone. If it doesn’t, I am OK with that too.
I am also surprised at certain pieces that keep getting viewed again and again, long after their original posting:
These clues are important to me in getting a feel for what people like to read while at the same time, learning about details like appropriate title, overall presentation, length and word choice.
Also, I am learning so much about social media, promotion and how to nurture the connections made in a way that is still gentlemanly in a traditional sense but reflective of cyberspace etiquette. The challenge is that opinions differ as to what good cyberspace etiquette is, so you cannot be really sure of pleasing all of the people all of the time, even in trying to be a nice guy.
I know that people have a lot on their plates so it warms my heart each and every time someone takes a few minutes out of their busy day to check out one of my posts. If I succeed in helping people crack a smile, share a laugh, find a moment of escape, find a word to inspire or even just to say “hey, me too” in response to an opinion I expressed, those are the reactions that validate my efforts, reassure me that I am on the right track and heighten my determination in my journey.
My biggest discovery over the last year is the extent to which writing is my passion. Writing energizes me. Writing relaxes me. Writing is my escape. Writing often makes me lose track of time. Writing makes me euphoric each time I find the right words to say exactly what I mean. Writing is my meditation.
A sincere thank you to everyone who provided kind words of encouragement, to the readers who took the time to check out the blog, to my fellow writers and bloggers on Twitter for their educational and inspirational articles on writing, and to everyone for sharing in my dream.
Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Have a great day,