Sunday, October 9, 2011
The past week or so I've been thinking about what it means to write creatively. Years ago I took a class in creative writing and learned some techniques that I still use today when thinking about a blog post. And several times people have suggested to me that I consider writing a book of some kind, maybe even memoirs if nothing else. It's true that my life is pretty unique, but then again, whose life isn't?
One of the things that the teacher of that long-ago class taught me is that if you do want to become a writer, then you should write something every day. Practice makes perfect. She would start each day by sitting at her desk and answering correspondence to get herself in the writing mood, and then she'd start back at one of several different projects she had going all at the same time, depending on what interested her that day. I have found in my own life that I do enjoy writing, but I don't have much knack for fiction stories. I did write several for the class and she even read a couple of them out loud. (I wonder if I've got those old stories tucked away somewhere.) The class would then critique them, what they liked and didn't like, and that was also very informative. Some people have a real gift for writing dialogue, but I find it almost impossible to make it believable. We also learned the basics of a good story.
One tip I remember is that in any story, the first sentence or two should grab the reader's attention. I have forgotten that in blog posts— but then again, I figure if you are here reading, you are already interested. Visiting other blogs often feels like stopping by a friend's house and having a chat over a cup of tea. Being enticed inside isn't even a question.
What I've decided is that I actually prefer the form of blogging rather than the creation of a static book or story. In my life these days, I realize that the first thing I do every day is make a cup of tea and open my laptop, while my partner sleeps next to me. (He isn't bothered by the click of the keyboard or the low light next to me; he sleeps right through it.) It's still dark outside and I learn what has happened in the lives of the people I follow since my last visit. Sometimes it's fluff, or pictures of their day, or a soliloquy of inward thoughts. Or something that happened that concerns them, such as political theater or economics, or books... it's really endless, but it gives my day a certain flavor, and I can comment immediately and sometimes get instant feedback by receiving a private email from someone who might respond privately to my comment.
As a very social person, I realize that this sets the stage for the rest of my day, and sometimes one post will strike me deeply. I will contemplate it, turning it over in my mind, and find myself traveling in mental directions that would never have occurred to me otherwise. I am a different person because I read and write blogs. Oh, and comment on them, too; that's an important part of the experience. I know some people by the consistency of their comments on my own posts, and they must feel the same way about me. It's just common courtesy to comment on posts you appreciate, but it's also important to the creator of the post to know how it is being received.
The instantaneous world of the blogosphere is, as I've said before, a new art form in the world. I'm feeling privileged to be part of it. Creative writing? I read it every day. And some days, I produce it for the pleasure of others. Or to stir something that needs stirring.