The Writer’s Dilemma: Say It or Save It?

When I first started blogging almost seven years ago, the process was pretty straightforward: get an idea for a post; scribble it down; scribble more ideas; write the post; edit to make it sparkle; review again; if happy with the end result, post to the blog.

There is also a whole decision-making process surrounding the possibility of “if NOT happy with the end result”, but in the interest of not boring you with the 53 loops of reviewing, editing, overthinking and playing with Ivy the Wonder Cat, I’ll skip that part altogether.

I have been very proud of the content in my blog and in how it has connected with readers around the globe. The response has been heartwarming, deeply gratifying and a definite incentive to keep going.

Regular readers know that this blog has been a way for me to spread my creative wings and to keep practicing a form of creative writing until such time as I retire from my career of over 30 years, when I will switch to full-time writer.

With that finish line in sight scheduled for 2021, which isn’t too far off, I often find myself debating whether an idea should be articulated in a blog post now, or whether I should save it for one of the stories I will write later. That is a whole agonizing decision-making process on its own.

Again, in the interest of not boring you with that roller-coaster trajectory, a diagram that is sure to have you running away screaming, I’ll skip the specifics.

This is my thinking: given that I like to keep the tone of my blog light, fun, uplifting and not too topical, a blog idea that may seem to fall outside of those parameters and may seem a little “heavy”, may actually be better left said by a character in one of my fictional stories as a source of tension.

There are also some stories that I have been dying to share with readers of unbelievable personal life experiences that would make delightful blog posts, but I have been sitting on many of those for years, as I see them better positioned as truly original plot twists within fictional stories.

And of course, I have my moments as a cranky old man, when the world drives me a little nuts, that I would love to use my blog for pure venting, but I don’t think I would have many readers if that is all I posted. As a matter of fact, I completed a draft of a post last week that had such a negative slant to it I truly wondered who peed in my corn flakes that morning, but it was an authentic expression of frustration with people with an inordinate sense of self-entitlement. It was pretty heavy.

That post will remain on the cutting room floor until I can perhaps have those words coming from a character’s mouth… or not. But don’t assume that any curmudgeonly comment coming out of one of my characters’ mouths is a reflection of how I see the world. It is fiction after all.

Along the way, my “graveyard of blog posts” that didn’t make the cut is growing steadily. I don’t feel the slightest bit defeated by that fact, as I am saving them preciously as point-in-time material to potentially pick up later and recycle into a story.

I think the fun part will be taking all of these little threads of ideas and rejected blog posts, and trying to weave them together into cohesive and compelling stories. My heart also starts to race at the prospect of shuffling ideas around (like moving furniture within a room) until the final product is just right.

The fact that I have so many building blocks of ideas to work with (including those that will undoubtedly strike me while I am writing the stories) brings me pure joy.

I wonder if other writers experience that same energizing feeling, when sorting through puzzle pieces like this, when trying to pull together characters and plots to create something original and fresh that comes together organically.

I can only imagine the painstaking process it must be when there’s a really fabulous idea to be incorporated but it sticks out like a sore thumb for a story, or two, or three.

And what a joy it must be when that idea finally find the right context, with the right characters, within the right story, and it flows so perfectly.

In some ways it may sound like drudgery (and to some, a huge waste of time), but I can’t think of a more gratifying way to enjoy my retirement!

All that to say, taking potentially great blog ideas and placing them on the back burner may make my life more difficult as a blogger in the short term, but I hope it will make my life as a creative writer easier in the longer term.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. 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.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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