Happy Friday everyone!
I’ve been on a bit of a blog-hiatus lately, thanks to work. Last weekend I got a call Friday evening, just as the husband and I had settled into comfy clothes and opened up a bottle of win — my boss said “we’re working all weekend” and that was that. To add to my angst, I feel like my ten or so hours at my desk every day this week means I just missed possibly the most glorious spring week ever had in the DC area. Today it’s back to cold and rainy.
I know, grumble grumble. At any rate, I’m happy it’s Friday, and after a grueling week, I’m hoping to actually get some things written and posted this weekend.
I was thinking today about some of the posts I haven’t completed, and how some posts are so much easier to write than others. Do you have a post on the back burner that you’re struggling with, or one you have struggled with? Does each one have its challenges or do the words just spill out as you type? For those who post a lot more than I do, I’d love to know more about your process.
For me, book reviews have become pretty easy. It’s not that I don’t spend time on them — I do. I can do about two posts a week, given a normal work week (which this one wasn’t). I spend about an hour writing a post, then I let it sit for a day or so, then I reread, edit, add quotes, etc. Sometimes I spend a lot of time “researching” (which really means Googling) the book and the author. Then I copy into WordPress, read again, add a picture, find a bunch more little things I want to change, tag, categorize, title, and voila – my post is posted. I don’t strive for perfection, but I hope to write something moderately entertaining, meaningful, and error-free.
After almost two years of blogging, book reviews roll from my head to my fingers pretty smoothly. I love writing them, and now a book sort of feels unfinished until I’ve written about it. Sometimes I have no idea what I want to say about a book, and then I sit down and a review just comes out. A lot of times I generate review ideas when I wake up in the morning. Sleep does that to you, according to some of my books on writing. I love when I wake up with an idea for a post.
But I also want to challenge myself, not just in what and how I read, but what I write about.
There’s a post I’ve been struggling with the last month or so, and it’s the one about girls with Asperger’s Syndrome. This book generated really personal and conflicting emotions for me. It’s made me think a lot about my own personality and what it means to be a child who doesn’t fit in. How do we know when personality traits are caused by something physical and when they’re just the things that make us all different from each other? What’s the difference between that child who’s painfully shy or weird, and a child who has a neurological condition like Asperger’s? And how does being diagnosed help or hurt a child with a “social disorder”? While I’m not suggesting I have Asperger’s, this book has probably done more by way of changing my views about myself than any book I can think of recently. As a result it’s been really hard to write about.
The other problem is that mentally I keep adding to this post; I think I could write an essay or even a book about this subject instead of just a blog post. Then I sit down to write and it all comes out jumbled. Still, I’m determined to condense, edit, rewrite, etc. so I can attempt to get what I’m thinking about into print.
Now I’ve blown the whole thing out of proportion, really, and by the time I post it will be terribly anticlimactic.
Writing about personal topics is hard for me but something I push myself to do. I know that family and friends read this blog, and I’m not someone who shares a lot. Anonymity would be so much easier. When I first started blogging I thought I’d just send my blog out in the world and my many, many readers would never know who I was. A blogging class disabused me of that idea. The instructor told us, if you’re not willing to send your link to every friend and family member, you’re not going to be a successful blogger. Now, with a book review I’m usually not worried about putting too much of myself on the line, although I do find I censor myself.
I’ve noticed with blogging, that the occasional very-personal post that you work on for days doesn’t necessarily garner much attention from readers. I don’t know why, but the posts I’m always nervous about are the ones no one reacts to, like this one about not wanting children – where if I post a review of a Haruki Murakami book I get a huge response.
But blogging is about being thick-skinned, and knowing there are times people get what you’re saying and times they don’t even show up. And that has to be okay.
I’d love to hear more about how other bloggers write. What kinds of posts you struggle with? How much thought, time, energy do you put into each post? How personal do you go and what’s off-limits? Do you worry about someone reading your blog who might be offended or upset?
Happy weekend everyone. I just got a call from my boss who says “she hopes we get a weekend this weekend.” I hope so too.