some conclusions

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This time last week I wrote a post about where I currently am with my writing. I’d been wondering about the balance between writing and blogging and about when to publish work on my blog. I linked up with Writing Warriors over at Beautiful Misbehaviour and posed some questions to fellow writer/bloggers out there.

I received some really great responses (if you’re interested in these issues it’s worth reading the post for the comments section alone!) and reading other #writingwarrior posts gave me further ideas. I’ve been mulling things over all week. I’m going to link up with Writing Warriors again today to share this post about how far I’ve got with those thoughts, as I know I’m not alone in pondering these issues.

To blog or not to blog?

If ‘blogging time’ reduces my ‘writing time’, should I have a blog?

The bloggers I heard from all got something important from their blogging. Whether it was connecting with a community of like-minded writers out there, a place to share their work, somewhere to develop their writing or just a space for their own thoughts.

I’ve thought about this and realised that although blogging does take time away from my writing, it has given me something in all of these areas. In particular, I don’t think I would really be writing poetry at all without this blog as a place to share it. I’ve never thought of myself as a poet and although I wrote a few poems a year ago around the time my son was born, I hadn’t written any more until very late last year. Then in November I took the decision to publish a poem about late pregnancy that I’d written previously. I was encouraged by the feedback and that prompted me to write some more. Since then (which, now I come to think about it, is only over the past two months!) I’ve found myself really wanting to write poetry. Something happens in my life and I have the urge to sculpt it onto a poem somehow! I know for certain this would not be the case had I not shared that poem and continued to share them here.

So that made me realise that although blogging does take time away from my  other writing, it is also very much a part of my writing experience. It is helping me develop and is thus very much worth it!

To publish perfect work or work-in-progress?

If a blog is – in any way – a promotional tool, should I only publish my ‘best’ work?

A response here was that a blog was a good place to record a writing journey and that ‘imperfection’ was all part of that!  Also, sometimes it was good to share something with others: you could promote discussion of a particular issue or share experiences without needing to spend hours/ days/whatever honing your work.

I can also see that publishing ‘unfinished’ or ‘unpolished’ work could be a good way of getting feedback and encouragement towards completing it. Besides which, I’m not sure that anyone expects a blog to be merely a gallery of ‘best work’ anyway. If mine were that, it would be a different sort of blog – less chatty and more formal. A blog version of an anthology, I suppose.

So if I think about my experience as a blogger, I don’t think I’d enjoy it nearly so much if I was constantly striving for perfection. Frankly, my chances of achieving it are zero anyway! I want my blog to be friendly and genuine, not perfect and po-faced. I’m currently typing this with a baby lying on my lap who is wriggling and randomly whacking the buttons on some hideous, plastic, noisy toy while simultaneously pulling my hair, so it would be hard to be too formal!

Also, knowing what I know about my own perfectionist streak (not to mention the self-doubt demon) , if I were to decide to publish only my ‘best’ work I would never publish anything at all.

So my decision here is not to worry about whether what I write is the best it could be, and continue joining in with #prose4t where ever possible!

On juggling writing and blogging (and kids!)

There’s never enough time! What should I do?

Some people I heard from prioritise their blog, others their writing and some felt they were one and the same. I’ve also read about some great examples of carving out times in the day for writing (to make sure there is always time… or almost always) and the creation of physical writing spaces which help concentration.

I’ve already established I’m not going to give up blogging, but I can’t ignore the fact that it does distract me from my other writing. I think I need to carve out some time specifically for writing my book (and also a short story that I’ve been writing in three-sentence-bursts since December!)

So my plan – for this week – is to make time in every day for writing (specifically prose), and only when I’ve written for that long will I allow myself to blog (and associated tweeting/other blog reading/commenting). That way, the writing comes first. So, I’m going to plump for two hours a day, and two hours in total for the weekend (when my older kids are around during the day).

I’ve no idea how achievable that is. If the baby has a two hour nap on week days then it’s perfectly reasonable. If he plumps for half an hour (a length of time I can easily use up re-boiling the kettle five times to try and make myself a cup of tea while I sort out the washing mountain) it could be very difficult. It also depends on how he sleeps at night; after a bad night I sometimes crash-out during his nap time. Only one way to find out though!

Also, since I will be spending my ‘writing’ time writing prose, and because my blog has been a bit serious of late, I think I’ll try to use my blogging time to write a couple of limericks for #prose4T. My sons have been asking me to write more since the ‘wrinkly lion‘ one, so I’ll ask them to set me the topics.

I’ll report back in my next Writing Warriors post!

P.S Thanks to everyone who threw ideas my way this week!

8 thoughts on “some conclusions

  1. Stephanie

    Wow! What a leap forward from last week! Last week you were full of questions and now you are full of action, that’a quite a journey to make in seven days.

    Two hours a day would be amazing! I would love that and I really hope you get it. You could get a lot done in a focussed two hours. I have found planning a time has really helped. I also planned a back up for those inevitable interruptions.

    It sounds like you’ve found some focus for yourself, this can only be a good thing I think.

    Reply
  2. Maddy Post author

    Thanks Stephanie. Just writing that post last week help me crystalise some of my thoughts – and I wouldn’t have written it without the #writingwarriors linky, so thank you for that! The responses and other posts were also really great.

    I can’t imagine the two hours will be in one big block but maybe I can get two one hour slots? All my sons are in bed in the evening so, assuming no dramas from the youngest, I usually get some time to myself then. I usually spend it watching ‘The Bridge’ or something though (and if you’ve never watched it I really recommend it – it’s so visually stunning. Almost poetry in visual form, despite being a detective series!)

    I do feel more focussed than I did. Let’s see how it translates to action this week though…

    Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Never heard of the bridge so I will take a peek although I am afraid of getting sucked into things. I don’t watch much TV these days. Excited to see what happens next for you!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I managed two hours of writing last night after the kids were in bed! Not sure I can keep up the pace though as am shattered after terrible night of ‘sleep’! think this week is going to be an interesting experiment though.

      I am a bit of a telly addict which does take up time so I understand what you mean about being sucked in! The Bridge is worth it though – great Swedish/Danish drama (although dark)! I’m also a book-lover and that takes up time too…

      Reply
  4. suzanne3childrenandit

    I’ve read all your posts that you’ve linked here, Maddy! This is something close to my heart and I wrestle with my ‘writing journey’ on a weekly basis. I started my blog as an outlet, a place to share (creatively) my thoughts on motherhood. It was a kind of ‘stop gap’ or a place to showcase my writing as I always wanted to write for publications, but that online or magazines. I have still done very little writing for publications as I just don’t know how to put myself ‘out there’ and i get the impression it is about emailing and hard slog, which i just do not have the time for at the moment! (much like yourself). I don’t write poetry, am more of a story teller and I just love writing. Not sure where to go from here! Sounds as though you have made some great plans. Don’t be too over-ambitious though, your children are only young for a short period of time so make the most of having them around too :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Suzanne, it’s always good to hear from others in a similar position!

      It sounds like the #writingwarriors linky might be a good one for you too. Stephanie’s blog (Beautiful Misbehaviour) is a great support for mothers who want to write!

      I know what you mean about putting myself ‘out there’. I am a hopeless self-publicist but I guess the answer is to make lots of submissions and enter lots of writing competitions. That’s easier with short stories and poetry than with novels though! And I also know we all have to expect rejection and not to let it put us off!

      And I know what you mean about kids only being young for a short time. The targets I set for myself were very much just to try out for this week, to see if it’s possible to spend that much time writing. I mostly rely on my evenings after they are all in bed. I suspect I am not going to stick to the ‘two hours a day’ plan beyond this week – or even during – but I figured it was worth try as the best way (for me) to learn is by trying things out.

      Good luck with your writing!

      Reply
  5. The Reading Residence

    It sounds like a good plan. I’ve been trying to work out balancing blogging amongst my many other roles and tasks over the weekend, too, as it happens, and it is tricky! I’d say the conclusions you’ve reached sound good, so I hope you get on well with the allotted time slots etc. this week.

    Reply

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