The Unbearable Likeness of Blogging

The home of the red knight!!

Its true. The frequency with which this blog is maintained is a direct reflection of the chaos and stress that is real life. And real life, she has been a real bitch the last few weeks. As always, it’s all about the day job – home life remains the tranquil snapshot of awesomeness that it always is, minus the occasionally screaming tantrum from a random child at how unfair their life of prime world+1 living is (that’s an echelon or two above “first world problems,” as I like to think of it). Also, apparently the efficacy of Mother and I explaining the way things were back in the dark ages of our childhood are losing their appeal and believability. Surely this so-called world without streaming media is just a nightmare we parents made up to overcome our own fears and disappointments with our own youth.

The other reason the blog has slowed down these last few weeks is probably a signal of a larger problem in my general writing. I feel compelled to provide short essays for blog posts. When I can’t accomplish that, when all I have to offer the visitor is the random “you should hear what my kid said today,” or “check out this cool thing someone else wrote about” – well, isn’t that what twitter and Facebook are for? (Not that I’ve been active in those media lately either). I build up (in my head) this expectation that blog posts should be small treatises, just like when I sit down with Scrivener I should be crafting gold.

Truth is, while those small essays are  fulfilling to write, it isn’t reasonable to expect that every day or two. Raising the bar too high, it’s often easier to let go and give up rather than try, especially if you know ahead of time that you won’t make the target. That’s true in blogging as well as writing, and the effects spread. Giving up on tackling a bit of writing encourages a sense that none of it’s not worth it.

Well, that’s obviously not true. So how do you turn it around?

For blogging, I take solace in reading other blogs where a single gal or guy pull it off. Not all of them blog daily; very few in fact manage that level of output. But it is possible.

For writing, I used to take my inspiration from the crap that is published. Yes, it’s the old “I can do better than this crap!” attitude. I’ve since sobered up from that perspective, though. First, refuse from the dung heap of literature that some of these books are, their authors at least finished. There’s something I can’t rightfully say I’ve done too often. Second, they got published because they were the best the publishers had to look at at the time. Who’s fault is that?

These days, and by these days I mean of late, the last two hours, what have you, I’m trying to look at the good examples for inspiration. I picked up “The Red Knight” this week to review for the Fantasy Book Addict. I’m not far in the book, just the first 10% or so, but I’m pretty sure I’m in love. This, folks, is good, solid writing craft executed well. I feel inspired to stab the beast that is longer fiction again and again now.

So this is my apology for not clogging your RSS feeds the last week or so after maintaining a steady stream of late, and a thank you for sticking around. Expect more posts on writing, kids, and the random stuff that amuses me resuming shortly. As for the fiction side of the house, it isn’t fair to say I’ve been slacking lately (currently two short stories out for consideration and 3/4 of the way through the first draft of another), but as I wrap up this short story I want to begin looking at outlining something a bit more…epic. 😉

 

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Pigeon Pellets

A good read over at Tobias Buckell’s blog about pigeons and writing – answering my complaint of last week, why do I keep writing and no one recognizes my true genius? (there is tongue in cheek there, to be sure, but that doesn’t take away from the pain of “failure”) Summing up Toby’s advice: worry about the things you can control, not the ones you can’t. You control how many words you write, how many submissions you make, etc. You don’t control whether an editor likes it, or an agent is any good, or the atmosphere is right for what you wrote. Seems like a good thing to keep in mind.

Meanwhile, I’m playing with mindmapping techniques as I try and work out how my stories will flow. But that’s something to talk about after the hurricane batters our earthquake rattled house this weekend (9 aftershocks since our 5.8 tremor on Tuesday). Happy Friday!

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