Wednesday, April 24, 2013


What has blogging taught me?

As of April 16, I have officially been a blogger for three months.

What have I learned?

One of my main concerns when I began this writing adventure was sustaining my own momentum and interest, as well as the commitment to writing regularly. 

What would I write about?

When would I write?

Carving out the time to actually get the words onto the paper or the computer screen, or more importantly, into the blog template is sometimes tricky--  tricky like securing Internet access in a foreign country or writing around the sun and the delicious beach in Aruba, or working around the same busy schedule that everyone I know has.

Yet,  I have found that writing regularly has become a habit-- a good habit, almost an addiction. 

I am not well, not content, if I miss a day of writing. 

I am not talking about finishing a piece of writing each day, or producing a publish-ready piece-- but rather, the activityof moving words around, manipulating ideas, and exploring and discovering what I think--and what others think-  through writing. 

My worries about what I would write were unfounded.  

My blogging friends and mentors had assured me this would be the case--they had assured me I would have plenty about which to write. They were right.

Adhering to deadlines and commitments to produce, even if they are of my own making, seemed daunting and paralyzed my confidence initially.

Would the ideas come when I needed them?

What have I discovered?

Writing ideas arrive unbidden.

Throughout the day, true to my theory about the four sources of  writing ideas in my book, Deeper Writing: Quick Writes and Mentor Texts to Illuminiate New Possibilities, I have found
more than I could possibly ever write about in the context, content, containers, and 
container linings of my own life  and life around me.

I always have something to write about, something  waiting next on the writing deck, and an idea or two about to arrive in some fuzzy,  as of yet unformed, manner.

I am pleased and privileged to live in what Donald Graves called a constant state of composition--that is, I am thinking about writing all the time, even when I am not actually writing.  Writing ideas are constantly swirling, conjugating,  and being born.  

What else have I learned?
I don't always write what I set out to write or intend to write.

I find I veer off  to where the writing takes me. 

One item on my ongoing list of possible topics was Three Kinds of People.  I intended to consider ordinary, everyday activities, events and groups--but then the Boston Marathon bombing occurred and it catapulted the notion of three kinds of people to a whole new level.

Also on my list was examining what we read and write in particular situtations, but as our nation witnessed  a series of devastations, it came to be about how poetry assuages, names and  shares our pain.  It became Poetry in the Time of Pain

I planned on writing a Numbering My Life piece in which I simply listed numbers relative to my own personal life in some creative way--  number of sisters, brothers, homes, husbands, books and so forth, but as I was in Aruba, that post morphed into a numeric reflection on my time 
there instead. 

Not every idea is write -worthy and some are discarded before they are born.

And ...not every idea--once written-- is read-worthy either.

Some potential posts have been scrapped after they are written.  
I may have enjoyed the idea, thrilled doing the necessary research, but been greatly disappointed with the resulting writing.

 I may return to these later with new eyes.  I may never return-- but I believe we learn as we write, whether we publish it or not, whether it leaves the confines of our own computer or not.

I believe that there is something to learn in what did not work.

The above observations are from my personal standpoint.

I also look at my blog statistics. 
What do my readers think?

Which posts have they read the most?  
Which have been retweeted or reposted?  Or Google+1-ed?

The top five posts, since the blog began on January 16, 2013, according to page views are  listed below with the highest viewed listed first:

 1. Mentor Texts: Learning to Write from What We Read

 2. What Container Will Hold My Words?

`3. First Readers

 4. Digital Pros and Woes

 5. Women: Power Unspoken

I am still considering what links these posts besides high numbers.  What else do they have in common that catapulted them to the top of the list?

Meanwhile, I am writing on-- waiting on the next  lessons in the blog.

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

What do you learn as you write?
Make a list of lessons you have learned from writing a particular piece of writing.
Make a second list of lessions you have learned from your collected writings.

Perhaps a poem taught you to break lines in a new way.
Perhaps an essay taught you that you could repeat phrases for emphasis or ask questions that you would not answer in the piece.
Perhaps you learned that sometimes research is necessary,  even to write about a very familiar topic.

Write an essay about your own writing and what you have learned from it.

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