Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why I Prefer To Blog Rather Than Write

In the lead up to NaNoWriMo I tried (unsuccessfully) force myself to sit down and write an outline for the book I am going to speed write. Instead, I was jumping on the good ol' blog and starting but not really finishing a whole heap of new blog posts.
      Part of the reason I do this is because I want to procrastinate. I also get sudden bursts of good post ideas and need to write them down quickly and while I'm at the computer I may as well start the post. I kept telling myself that in a way I was preparing for NaNo month by planning some post ahead of time. In reality though, I just seem to prefer blogging to actually writing at the moment.
     Upon quiet reflection, I've come up with one main theory why. I like the social aspect of blogging. I like reading other blogs and being able to comment and have people leave comments on my blog. I like sharing ideas with others and learning what their ideas are. I love finding people who love a book or an idea as much as I do. Writing doesn't give me that same sense of community. It's just me sitting at a desk typing away at an almost blank screen. Occasionally my dog will walk into the room and then when she sees how boring I'm being she'll leave again. Thank goodness for email and critiquing partners. Otherwise I think I might lose the plot (literally!)
      What about you guys? Are there ever times when you would rather jump on the blog and now goodreads rather than write? I haven't felt the urge to bring life to a story in a few months and that really scares me.


  1. One thing I notice is that when I force myself to do somethin, I spend the time I should be actually doing it on thinking about the fact that I really dont feel like doing it. I think the issue is that you are "forcing" yourself to sit and write. You need to write just to write. You need to write because there are so many ideas in your head that you just can't help but pour them out onto a piece of paper and you dont want to forget all those wonderful ideas. Do what you enjoy. In my opinion, the only time forcing yourself should be necessary is when you have school homework to do or when you have to wake up to go to work in the morning (and sometimes not even then). Take a break. Spend time thinking of random things. Eventually something will come to mind that will work out for your story. In those cases, have your computer or some paper on hand for the awesomeness. Otherwise, spend time on other things.

    I know I mentioned that I havent started writing my paper yet, and this isnt completely true (although for the most part, it is.) I have thought a lot about the plot line, random things that will happen and other ideas that, although they may not work for this idea, they will probably work for others. All of the things I thought about are written (sloppily at times and quite undescriptive) in one lttle journal. (I really got the journal because it reminded me of something I saw on Vampire Diaries, but thats not the point) Eventually, when I have the urge to type up all the ideas in the story, i'll have them available and create wonderful works of art with words and beautiful sentences, but until then, I will spend my time doing the stuff I want to do, and you should too!

  2. ummm...yea... that was supposed to say *something instead of somethin.

  3. LOL Sherre. Don't you hate it when you've carefully crafted a comment and press post only to find a spelling error? Happens to me all the time. I put all my ideas into my phone because I never seem to be at home when the inspiration happens. Once I've gotten started the writing has been flowing a bit better. It's just the enormity of trying to write something artful with words that's a little intimidating. I have the wedding this weekend so it'll def take my mind off things!

  4. I remember listening to a radio interview of John Irving not long ago in which he said that writing was a very solitary act, that writers had to accept the fact that they would spend a great deal of time alone, pounding the keyboard. I've found that this is very true, that it's very self-absorbing and isolating, which is why I see what you mean, Lan, about the social aspect of blogging.

    Reading your post and thinking about this subject from the angle you've suggested, I think sometimes my procrastination may be connected to a reluctance to commit to that self-absorbed state and face myself. It may be that at a sub-conscious level I'm admitting there's something flawed in what I want to do. The idea sucks, the plot twist won't work -- something. So I shy off and do something else on the computer, such as blogging or trying to figure out Twitter, while my mind ticks away in the background. Eventually the solution to the problem may pop into my forebrain and I can go back to work. If it doesn't - yikes.

  5. Michael: I'm glad other writers feel the same way I do about the isolation factor. I think I accept the fact but it doesn't mean I have to like it. The problem is that there are so many other entertaining things to do with a computer these days. I've tried switching off the internet whilst I write but that feels wrong somehow! Plus I like to do a bit of on the spot research while I write. It's a tough situation. Which is why NaNoWriMo is so attractive to me. During November, I know that all around the world there are others who are going through writer's isolation and that thought is strangely comforting.

  6. I wasted a lot of time yesterday browsing goodreads (adding more books to my TBR list) and the blogs (again adding more books) and a few other social sites. This is why I normally prefer to hand write, so I don't have the computer in front of me and do what I always do. If you need a swift kick in the pants let me know ;) cause I will be letting you know too :P

  7. Yes! All us procrastinators (sp?) should start a club lol. I totally hear what you're saying. Whenever I sit down to write, I inevitably end up on checking my email, my blog etc. until at least an hour has gone by. I'm always wondering what happened to that time :) But like you said, the sense of community, of being connected in some way to people who just as passionate about books is wonderful--and tempting for us who procrastinate.
    Have a great one, Lan,
    Ninja Girl

  8. You know me, I'm an internet obsessed crazy person. At this moment, I have 5 tabs opened up. There are 132 new blog posts I need to scroll through. And for some reason, I CAN'T NOT READ THEM. If I let them go, I just think I'm going to miss something important. I really love the social aspect of blogging myself. I think it's amazing that technology has allowed all of us to meet since we probably never would have met if the internet didn't exist.

    YES. Writers are isolated. Just the last two days have made me feel like I'm a recluse since I've probably spent at least 8 hours in my room writing. Generally speaking, I don't spend too much time out with people anyways. But I guess I still want to if I can find something to do with them. Which is probably why I never took much time out in life to write to begin with.

  9. I know where you're coming from and though I have no advice I wish you luck. I REALLY want to read something you wrote so just get to it eventually. ;)

  10. Seems like this is true for a lot of us. I'll sit down in my room thinking okay I'm going to try and write something even if it is just thoughts. Sadly, I get distracted by other things.

  11. I totally agree with you, Lan! I love writing with all my heart and I definitely want to have a book published ASAP, but sometimes it's really hard to get into writing an actual novel, no matter how great the idea is!

    Sometimes I promise myself I'll spend the day writing the next chapter of my book, but then I just stare at the screen for a while, fingers hovering over the keys, and I decide that I'll check out Goodreads for a bit or prepare my next blog post. And then I see another cool book that someone's blogging about or an awesome post (like this one!) that I just happen to comment on or something else... It's distraction and procrastination all rolled in one! x)

    And sometimes I'm scared about how little I'm writing my novel nowadays too! I think it has to do a lot with the sense of community you mentioned. It's always so much fun when people you've never personally met before comment on your blog or post and say that you wrote something awesome! Nobody really reads your novel until it's done -- and writing a book takes a really long time!

    AMAZING post, Lan! It's okay if you get distracted every once in a while (we all do!), but just know that I'm rooting for you all the way through! :)

  12. I get scared writing, too, and I'm the queen of procrastination! But, you know, you'll really love that you got your 50,000 words done when they are in fact done. I'm sure you won't regret writing them because all writing is practice and teaches us more about our craft.

    So, just jump into the deep end and get writing! Give yourself permission to write crap, if you must.

  13. I'm not even motivated to write anything besides my blog, so you've definitely got ME beat!

  14. Ninja Girl: As far as procrastination goes, blogging is a pretty good distraction. At least I'm not dead eyed in front of the TV!

    Jessica: I am exactly the same. I scroll through my dashboard and open up a heap of blog posts and then go through them all one by one and by the time I'm finished I've lost two hours. The last few days doing NaNo has made me realise how much I actually put blogging before anything else which is a bit scary!

    Jenny: I live in fear of showing you my work because our tastes are so similar and if you don't like it than I've done something terribly wrong!

    Ash: Usually I try and read over something I've written that excites me but the idea that I MUST write a certain amount is what's giving me writer's block!

    Mimi: Whenever I have an idea I think is utterly awesome, I find that I hesitate even more because I'm afraid my writing just won't do the idea justice. So I read other books to try and get motivated but that makes it worse because others books are so well written! So I come on here and whinge about how I don't feel like writing :)

    Cathy: Whenever I can't write, I really want to write and whenever I have free time I procrastinate with other stuff. I'm starting to get into it a bit more now that I've managed to get over my book not being Shakespeare.

    Karen: Count yourself lucky you don't feel like becoming a writer!

  15. Writing a novella is something I really want to do but never seem to find the time to invest in getting it started in earnest. I came close by actually writing down a story framework while on my recent holidays but that's as far as I got. While busy with work and life in general, I find blogging allows me to express my creative side in a much more immediate fashion, and I agree it is so much more sociable than solitary writing.

  16. As a fellow procrastinator, I totally understand where you're coming from! It's hard, but my old writing teacher used to tell us to just start in the middle if we had to, then sort it out later. The important thing was to start. Good luck!

  17. Jo:NaNoWriMo has injected a sense of sociability to me writing but now I'm finding that I'm not keeping up with everyone because of life in general as you say. Finding a balance is so difficult.

    Alexia:I'm trying to just forgo the quality factor of writing for NaNoWriMo and just pumping out the words. Just starting has actually helped a lot!

  18. Chuckle! Ah, Lan, so that's why you so related to my post on procrastination on the Insideadog web site! Right now, I'm putting off the housework. First I went down the street to pick up some groceries - and had lunch at the bakery - and read some more of my current Ranger's Apprentice book - then I came home and did a load of wash, which just involves shoving towels and sheets into the machine. I'm in my house-cleaning clothes as i do this, but when I stop I will have to take the garbage downstairs...

    Hand writing is good, but I keep that for public transport and cafes.


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