Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Well-Fed Writer

"So, what do you do?" 

I expound on my education and my current employment, but rarely, if ever, say "writer." I have never been published; claiming that title seems a tad premature. My "novel" is more ignored than fussed over. I probably spend more time constructing perfect sentences in my head than actually saving them for posterity.
Additionally, as an early bird, writing doesn't come easily to me past morning, and I work then. Sundays are spent crossing off various tasks that get ignored during the week. Ergo, beyond the blog, I don't do much writing. Since I don't publicize my authorship on this free platform, I will still not announce my identity as "writer."  It feels like I'm cheating.
Bill Hayes' essay "On Not Writing" begins describing his fading away from writing, and his return. He lists what he learned recently, how writing correlates to exercise regimens. The last point was about necessary rest, that over-writing (is there such a phrase?) can cause burnout. 

I must make a wee confession: I placed on myself a standard of, at least, five posts a week. I have kept at it. But recently, for the first time, I found myself resenting that criteria that I enacted. Enter "When Blogging Becomes a Slog" by Steven Kurutz.

Yet, I need to write (even though I make no money in it, unlike the bloggers featured in the above article), and giving myself such a schedule, composed of reasonable post-size pieces, has kept my brain going and growing (I like to think). I don't want to begrudge or quit the practice anytime soon. 

So I shall allow myself the leeway of not posting five posts a week; perhaps I shall begin with four, and already I feel calmer and less pressured. Maybe, one week, if circumstances decree, I shall go down to three. I want to enjoy blogging, not feel coerced into it.  


aminspiration said...

I noticed that you were posting very often. It is very impressive. I used to feel like that I HAD to post x many posts or every friday...there was a schedule..but now I write when I have something to say. When there is something I want to share or discuss.

it should be fun!

Daniel Saunders said...

I gave up blogging when it became a slog, primarily because it was hard to keep writing with zero feedback. I switched to poetry and only blog occasional essays when I feel like it. Poetry can also feel like a slog, but I feel like I'm trying to learn a craft and try to set aside ten minutes a day on it. But I'm hitting the lack of feedback problem again.

Strangely, lately I've been feeling more like writing non-fiction prose (after a disastrous, rapidly-abandoned, attempt at fiction), wrote a couple of pieces for my own enjoyment and actually put my name forward for a religious collective blog (they turned me down, humph!). What I'm saying in my typically roundabout way is that a rest is a good as a change, etc., and maybe if you reduce your blogging rate you'll regain some enthusiasm and inspiration.

I'll miss your posts though! I do look forward to them!

Princess Lea said...

aminspiration: Just by shaving off one post a week, I'm feeling the fun again!

DS: For me, while feedback is nice (I mean nice feedback), it's not my main motivation. Since there is some sort of public accountability ("Where did you go?") it forces me to keep on writing, and I can dictate the pace, as opposed to other avenues (I don't like to be pressured, especially from outside authorities).

Ah, the sting of rejection. Does one persist, or change focus? Which is best? Hence the quandary.

Daniel Saunders said...

Sad but true: I don't have many friends and have difficulties socialising due to shyness and low self-esteem, so internet communication tends to substitute for socialising for me. So I do like to get feedback, particularly if I've spent many hours on a long essay.

With my poetry, I feel I actually need feedback, to get some kind of objective perspective on what I'm doing and how to improve.

As for persistence vs. changing focus, I wish I knew! At the moment, I don't really have anything to change focus to, so it's persistence, but I have less and less motivation to try to put my work out there the more rejection I get.

Princess Lea said...

Poetry falls into the category of "art," so you don't need people to tell you how to improve. Self-expression is just that. I mean, have you seen the trash that gets lauded over? ;)

Daniel Saunders said...

I disagree. I don't think art is purely subjective. Unless one takes the postmodern view that Dan Brown is as good a writer as Shakespeare. And I don't think self-expression is all there is to good art.

But you are right that it is subjective up to a point. I suppose I just want reassurance. Just writing for myself, it's hard (a) to assess what I'm writing (I am my own worst critic) and (b) to feel that there is much point in continuing (you might guess that I'm currently feeling 'blocked' for a variety of reasons).

Princess Lea said...

There's a lot of art out there I don't like. But other people like Dan Brown and can't stand Shakespeare. There's no accounting for taste.