wondering about writing

cropped-books.jpgThere’s new linky starting today over at Beautiful Misbehaviour and I’m really keen to join in. It’s called ‘Writing Warriors‘ and Stephanie has designed it to help people with writing goals support each other. Hopefully by sharing what we want to achieve and posting about how our ‘writing week’ has gone – and then reading and commenting on each others posts – we will all be more likely to succeed. Great idea!

I thought I’d use my first Writing Warriors post as an opportunity to reflect on where my own ‘writing journey’ (I’m wincing at the term, but it seems like the right one to use) has taken me this past year or so. I’ve been pondering various issues recently and maybe sharing them here will help me to sort them out.

I decided to dedicate some of my time to writing nearly a-year-and-a-half ago. My middle son had just started nursery school five mornings a week (and my third son was, as yet, unborn) so I suddenly found I had some time to myself in the morning. What better way to use these precious hours than to write? I started a blog to chart my progress but before I’d even published any of my posts, I decided that blogging would be a distraction. Instead I spent the following year just writing.

I wrote a whole mishmash of stuff: short stories mostly with some poetry flung in, and I also made a start on a book. I wrote about pregnancy, and when my third son was born I wrote about labour and birth just to get over the ridiculousness of it (I do not give birth easily!) Apart from one competition entry, I didn’t do anything with my writing. It’s all just sitting around on my hard-drive gathering dust/pixels/bytes/whatever the technological version of dust is.

Then September rolled round and I suddenly felt like re-starting my blog would be a good idea. I wasn’t quite sure why… maybe I wanted some company with my writing endeavours? Anyway, I decided to just go for it and see what happened and I quickly found myself loving it. I discovered the Prose for Thought linky over at Verily Victoria Vocalises and really enjoyed joining in with that community of writers, reading their work (by turns inspiring and intimidatingly good!) and getting feedback on mine. I also found Prose for Thought great for encouraging me to write something creative and ‘get it out there’ on a weekly basis rather than just squirrelling things away on my computer.

To begin with, putting my work on my blog took some courage (I was having a lot of visits from the nasty, squelchy, demon of self-doubt) but now I’m kind of used to it. The poems I write (they’re almost always poems, for some reason… even though I really want to write prose!) aren’t perfect by any means, but I figure that if I re-write them till they’re perfect I could be doing that till the proverbial cows come home.

But the problem is, I don’t have much free time (I have three kids and a baby who is with me all the time) and I’ve started to find that all my ‘writing time’ is being used up by blogging (and I don’t even post that often!) I almost never spend time on the book I’m attempting to write.

And I’m also wondering if publishing a poem that I’ve only just written that morning, on my blog every Thursday (to link with Prose for Thought) is really a good thing to do… I do wonder if I need to spend more time on quality control.

Plus, I’d really like to start submitting some work to competitions or publications, but I never seem to find the time to research what is out there (although thanks Stephanie for that list last week!)

So those are the issues I’m currently pondering, and I’d love feedback and/or suggestions from any other writers out there. Particularly:

  • How do you juggle writing and blogging? (I’m frankly in awe of some writer/bloggers out there!)
  • How important is blogging to you as a writer? Would you consider giving up blogging to give yourself more time to write? Or are they one and the same thing?
  • How useful has blogging been to you as a writer? Has it given you opportunities you wouldn’t have got otherwise?
  • Do you ever write something and quickly publish it on your blog, or do you only publish poems/prose that you’ve spent time perfecting?

This has been a rather rambling post. I’m normally more concise, but felt the need to write it all down this time!

I’m going to think through these issues this week and come up with some solid goals and some sort of plan for how to achieve them in time for next week’s linky!

I’m looking forward to reading the other Writing Warriors posts. Together we can all achieve our writing goals!

9 thoughts on “wondering about writing

  1. Stephanie

    Oh my goodness this post is pure gold! Thank you so much for sharing it, you’ve asked some amazing questions.

    Firstly I think it is interesting that you find it hard to say you are on a writing journey. I feel the same. I think women have a tendency to feel less confident about saying these kinds of things but we really need to start owning our work!

    It’s so interesting to read about your journey so far. Amazing that you decided to take the time to write like that, sounds like you were very productive during that time. Now with three children, and one a baby it is bound to be more challenging. I only just manage with two!!

    I also started with prose4t! It’s a great linky and I have loved connecting with the other writers there. I do have similar questions though about getting the balance right between sharing and editing. It can be tempting to edit to death and never ship your work. Sometimes it is good to just get something out there. My prose4t stuff is never perfect, it’s either work in progress or just something that came out one day that I fancy sharing. The one I wrote this week about dieting came out in one of my morning sessions. It’s not something I would submit, it’s a bit too thin for that, but I figured I could share it on my blog as I liked the meaning behind it. I don’t really know the answer to that one but I enjoy prose4t too much to give it up at the moment!

    Your list of questions are amazing, I am going to start really thinking about them. I have been a bit post happy on my blog lately and it seems a bit pointless. I could be doing other writing. I have decided to post less but to try and make what I do post better. I shall see how that goes! I do think blogging is still a good way to practice writing – it is just a different form.

    Blogging has been good self development for me. At first I didn’t know what I was doing. I just shut down my first blog because it wasn’t really true to who I was. I was on a journey. I think I am getting clearer on what I want to do now, I want to have my own creative practice, this is really important to me but I recognise the need for community too. I hope I can make the blog a place of support for other mums like me. I am not an expert – that has held me back for a long time. I have only been writing a year. But I am now thinking I don’t need to be an expert, I just need to create space and connect with other mums like you and talk!

    Lots to think about there! Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Maddy Post author

    Thanks so much for this reply Stephanie, it is great to hear so much from you! I love your blog – it’s full of inspiring ideas, and you are obviously already doing a lot for the creative community through things like virtual open mic night (which I must come along and watch)!

    I agree with the idea of blogging as self development. I think without mine I would just be mostly hiding my work in a corner. There is a lot to be said for getting your writing ‘out there'; i think it can help us to find out what it is we really want and also help to tackle self-doubt demons. So that actually helps me to answer my question about publishing imperfect work. I think it’s worth doing as long as it doesn’t become the only type of writing I do. I need to find time somewhere for polishing both my poetry and my prose!

    And blogging is definitely worth it from the point of view of community. I just need to find a way of balancing it with my ‘other’ writing.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Watch? You need to come along and perform!!

    Yes that is a good way to say it, it can’t be the only type of writihg you do or you don’t move forward. Did you see Ellie’s post in the linky? She linked to a good post about how we need to have focused practice that moves us forward and be careful of getting in a comfortable rut. Editing is certainly something I need to learn more about.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Perform?! That’s a pretty scary idea for me! which is not necessarily a good reason not to do something… I’ll come along and watch one then see how I feel on that! But thanks for the invite!

      I’ve read Ellie’s post (love all the #writingwarriors posts!) but haven’t had a chance to read the linked article yet… I will do though. I need to learn more about editing too.

      Reply
  4. Sadie Hanson

    This was a very interesting read. I blog and write. I actually learnt the craft on the blog, just writing, putting it out there, and also, if you want to put your work out there and promote your writing, a blog is crucial I reckon. The great thing with having a blog, is that you can blog as much or as little as you want. Nice to meet you!

    Reply
  5. Maddy Post author

    Thanks Sadie and it’s nice to meet you too! It’s interesting that you’ve used your blog to hone your writing skills – I’m hoping mine will work that way too. I certainly think it’s a good discipline to have to craft a post and up date a blog reasonably often.

    And blogs as self promotion is an interesting issue… It makes me wonder, if I want to promote my work/myself via my blog should I only publish my best work? But if I did that, I would post far less often, which is not a very good way of promoting myself!

    I like the idea of my blog as my own space to do what I like with though, which I think is what you hinted at by saying you can blog as much or little as you want.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Reply
  6. Mummy Plum

    This is such a thought provoking post, and echoes many of the thoughts rattling around in my own head. In terms of my own journey, I wasn’t writing anything until I started blogging. I started blogging as a way of unscrambling the thoughts in my own head – my oldest child had just turned two and I needed to know I could still string a sentence together! Blogging has given me the encouragement to write other things (or attempt to) over the past couple of years. A couple of short stories and two novels – but all incomplete and in various stages of finesse. With two small children it is hard to find the time to blog and also write ‘other’ stuff. At the moment my blog is my focus, mainly as a way of preserving memories in these mad early years of motherhood. I am hoping to focus on my other forms of writing ( a couple of mornings a week) when my littlest goes to nursery – probably in Autumn this year.

    On your comment about only publishing your best stuff..I think it depends what you want to achieve with your writing and if you see your blog as a place for only your very best writing or as a record of your writing journey. I see mine as the latter – and some posts are definitely more lyrical than others!

    I’ll be back to read more, and you’ve inspired me to try and link up to Prose for Thought sometime soon.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I’m so impressed that you’ve written two novels and some short stories all in the space of a couple of years! Regardless of them not being finished it’s still fast work – I’m struggling to get beyond chapter two of mine!

      It’s nice to hear that – far from distracting you from other writing – blogging has actually inspired you to write. I think there’s some truth in that for me too with writing poetry: I didn’t mean to write it (I really want to write prose) but having a blog to put it on has encouraged me down that path.

      And I like the idea that your blog is your record of your writing journey rather than a place for only your best writing.

      Thanks for your response – it’s given me a lot to think about.

      And you should definitely come along to Prose for thought sometime!

      Reply
  7. MummyTries

    Great list of questions here Maddy :)

    For me, blogging has been a great stepping stone and introduction to writing. It’s given me the confidence to actually start writing my book, which I’ve been talking about for years now. It is a huge distraction, but one I quite like – especially right now when I’m not capable of much creativity! I do try not to spend too much time on social media though. The only time I get really cross with myself is when I realise I’ve just wasted half an hour on FB or Twitter. I can’t even allow myself a Pintrest account as know it would be a disaster!

    Reply

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