Right now, I’m sitting on my couch, my legs outstretched. My lovely kitty Preeya is lying down between my ankles, purring and grooming. I have my laptop on, well, my lap.
Criminal Minds is playing on the TV, which tends to be something I watch when I don’t want to pay too much attention. Like when I blog.
That’s where my body blogs from. But pinning down where I blog from in my mind is another story.
Need vs. like
Some people blog because they need to. It’s their livelihood, their job, or sometimes their calling. Some people blog because they like to. They like to share their ideas, their thoughts, their experiences. There’s no payday for it, except for the joy of readers reading and people engaging.
It’s nice to feel accepted!
I blog for quite a few reasons. I do blog for a living–actually it’s what I enjoy doing the most!–but I also blog because I enjoy it (would I be writing this otherwise?).
I also blog for the main reason writers are writers: I am compelled to.
Why do you blog? Do you have something to share, do you do it to practice your writing, do you want to build a business?
Find the right place
Finding the right place–physically and mentally–to blog from is something that happens over time, with practice.
From agonizing minutes watching an empty screen or procrastinating on Facebook to being able to write anything on the spot requires thousands of words and hundreds of hours.
But even then, sometimes it might still be difficult to write. Ask me about the last year–I wrote and wrote and wrote, and yet didn’t write anything for myself, because whenever I got home, I was too tired, too empty, to write anything.
All I could manage was some food, TV, and an early night.
Even though I had the right place–the couch or my office–I couldn’t find the right mental place to get any writing done.
But practice anyway
Here’s the hard truth, though: unless you want to stagnate, plateau in your writing, you need to keep writing anyway.
Write anything. Write on napkins and on the back of receipts. Keep a notebook for when you wait for an appointment who’s late (I did that just yesterday). Write a journal, even if it’s just one or two pages per night (my goal is usually three but never less than one).
I recently started playing the flute again. It’s been awkward and humbling. I was very good, but I’ve been away from the instrument for 12 years, which means that I can barely finger my way through a piece.
But that didn’t deter me from getting lessons. I was ready to start from the beginning again, and to simply get better with practice.
Because writing is such a mundane activity, even experienced writers sometimes feel like they have to get it perfectly out the first time. But like I can’t currently play the kind of stuff I used to play 12 years ago, I can’t possibly expect a bestselling novel on the first draft (or any finished novel at all), despite my wide writing experience in other genres.
If you’re new to this blogging thing, it’s the same idea. You can’t do it perfectly if you’ve never done it before. Sure, writing experience helps, but blogging is a genre just like novels or poetry are genres, and you need specific practice in it. You might have a leg up if you’re a good letter writer or enjoy writing fiction, though.
Have concrete goals
It’s easy to say, “I’ll just blog whenever”, right? Yeah, I said that pretty much every week in the last 8 months or so. Obviously, not happening!
However, I could keep up with blogging at my job because I had a set (although self-determined) amount of blog posts to produce. And it worked. I produced, sometimes a week ahead of time. And I always had something to write about.
So, I’m going to carry this lesson with me as I begin, in earnest, my freelance career. (And by earnest I mean that freelancing isn’t just something I’m doing “in the meantime” anymore, but rather my career choice.)
I now have a concrete daily financial goal. I have a personal blogging goal too. And plenty of other goals that I might talk to you about, sometime.
To where this blog goes
This will remain my personal blog. Book reviews, thoughts, maybe some more educational stuff, personal essays. (I need to get better at writing those.) I’ve joined a zendo, so maybe I’ll talk about sitting too. (It’s a lot harder than you think.) As mentioned above, I’m playing music again. (I wonder why I denied myself this pleasure for the last decade.)
I’ve been thinking of starting a vlog, too, but I don’t know what I’d do with it aside from another channel for personal rants–so I’m open to topic ideas!
And, of course, for those who have been sticking around even though I’ve been silent, thank you. I’m grateful for even a single pair of eyes reading these posts.