As I mentioned in this post, I’ve decided to devote one piece a week to writing – and today is that day for this week.
PS. Before we continue, I feel it’s only fair to warn you that I’m starving right now and images of hamburgers and chicken with cream (a Romanian fave of mine) keep popping in my head. All that to say that I’m not responsible for the references to yumminess that are sure to sneak into this post. On a positive note, at least it’s only food on my mind and not one of those times that I gave birth. That could get ugly.
Just recently my friend Sandy, who’s thinking of starting a blog of her own, asked me, “how do you come up with a steady flow of ideas to write about – especially for the blog?”
(PS. I’m not 100% sure but it’s possible that Sandy has commitment issues. Just an observation. With that said, I’m thinking she’s not going to like the answer.)
The short answer to that question – if you’re thinking of starting a blog of your own – is commitment. (Sorry Sandy. I tried to use another word here but . . .)
Whether you dedicate a certain time of day or commit to a certain amount of words – only a regular schedule of sitting your butt down in front of the computer (or with paper and pen) and writing will help you maintain a regular flow.
“Writing is total grunt work. A lot of people think it’s all about sitting and waiting for the muse. I don’t buy that. It’s a job. There are days when I really want to write, days when I don’t. Every day I sit down and write.”
– Jodi Picoult, Author
The long answer to that question – if you’re struggling with a blog of your own – is paying attention. Like yesterday when my teenage daughter, Samantha, decided we absolutely needed chicken wings or would possibly turn to stone. (I think that’s a biblical reference and appropriate because yesterday was two-for-Tuesday chicken wings at Cunninghams’s and I’m pretty sure that both chickens and Tuesday are related to religion.)
So while we were indulging in the finest finger food in town, Sam decided that she needed to tell me something about the couple sitting next to us. And since I’ve (hopefully) raised her to be polite, she used sign language to tell me her little comment. (“Little” is NOT used in a derogatory sense here.)
If you know us in real life, you know that sign language is our secret spy-talk. Whenever we don’t want others around us to understand what we’re saying to each other – like when Sam needs a particular item from the pharmacy or when we’re at an airport – we use sign language.
As I watched Sam wave her sauced-up fingers to tell me that the people at the next table kept looking at us, it suddenly dawned on me:
Speaking in sign language while eating greasy finger food is the equivalent to talking with your mouth full!
So what did I do? I quickly cleaned off my own dirty fingers with the little towelette thingie that smells like a lemon tree and made a note for one of my characters in the book I’ve been working on since I was in kindergarten.
Point: If I wasn’t paying attention, I would have missed an opportunity to translate a real-life experience into character development. (BTW, sure wish I had some of those chicken wings now.)
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
– Anaïs Nin, Author
The writing does not get done on its own. And neither do the ideas.
Writing . . . blogging . . . whatever you relate to most – is a great exercise in living in the moment. It’s also a great way to document your life experiences.
There’s an expression:
If you want to know something, read about it. If you want to understand it, write about it.
If you have a passion for writing, you already know that writing is better than therapy.
So if you’re like my friend Sandy and thinking about starting a blog, my advice to you is this: do it. Set some time aside every day, pay attention to the things that happen in your life and especially to what people say – and just DO IT. Don’t do it for the readers. Do it for yourself. Experiment with your voice. Indulge. And most of all, have fun.
That’s it for today. I’m about to get to work on a French-to-English translation project for a client. But first I’m going to make myself a croissant sandwich – Because nothing helps me to feel more French than a croissant.