How do you write?

Hi, so how do you write?

Overheard at last year’s Blogger Convention. Blogicon.

Well that was a joke.
Completely ridiculous.
As far as I know, such a gruesome convention does not exist, and furthermore, I can’t imagine anyone brazenly tasteless enough to enact such an ill-fated pick-up line.
Well, almost anyone.

I’m very intrigued by individual writing practices. We (bloggers) live in an environment of authorial free-for-all; the blogosphere is an unregulated and anarchical textual wasteland. I’d love to know how these people, these bloggers, integrate their blog’s ultimate expression (and its practical fulfillment) into their life and the nitty gritty process disguised behind the words they eventually transpose to the digital billboard.

I suppose if I was more social I might have asked, by now, howthey approach this. How do they embark upon the journey that results in a post? I only know the journey that is my own. But I think it’s important for the typical blogger to be cognizant of his working style, of its strengths and shortcomings. Judging by how many fly-by-night blogs I see flaring into brilliant supernova deaths, I suspect many people mistake the urge to write for the simultaneous drive to populate a blog with their ramblings. Maintaining a blog requires an entirely different skill set than that which enables one to just write. It requires a nominally glamorous, artistic and creative ethic that supplies the hard work and sweat that enables one’s words to find life in a blog’s regular fruition. I think this is why many bloggers fail or surrender. They are unaware of the limitations of their own writing habits which ultimately are but a mere portion of a diligent personality’s ability to marry the creative and the practical into a cohesive whole.

The creative nature of writing can falter when it’s confronted with the dreary, rigorous chore of writing and refining the final product. For instance, my writing on AUM is unrehearsed and completely absent of formal outline or structure. I generally set out to write a post with an idea in mind. Sometimes the idea is more detailed than others, but I always have, at the very least, a vague notion of what I will write about. If the idea strikes me in the morning, it brews in my skull all day while I’m pushing the paper at work. During which time my mind is also free to generate new, peripheral ideas or concepts which slowly accumulate throughout the day like bad breath. Often, by the time I get home, the post is generally pretty spelled out in my mind by the time I start tapping the keys. In such cases, it’s a matter of giving life to the ideas and reforming them in blocks of prose. I know the subject of what I’m writing and the only unknown is how it’s expression will be verbally formulated.

And there are times the idea rattling in my head is distantly vague. It’s not until I begin typing that the idea assumes the form of the words I type; in fact, the act of setting down words acts as a perpetuating device which gives rise to new ideas, many of them offshoots of the original one. Essentially, the act of writing acts to induce creativity.

As you can see, the common denominator in both cases is my sense of disorganization and spontaneity. I don’t rely on structure, I don’t outline my thoughts, I don’t strategize posts. For me, the act of writing takes place when my fingers furiously tap out keystrokes. Once again, it returns to my style and subject matter, which is invariably a subjective stream of observations lacking semblance of structure or forethought. Very few of my posts abide by any sort of attributional structure. It’s not often I cite facts or case studies because most of my posts are merely observational or personal interpretations. In this respect, my writing is less methodical than a person whose blog is centered around figures, statistics, or peer-related factoids.

My point is that I’ve allowed my writing style and writing habits to create a unification of expression in my posts; I’ve stumbled upon an accidental synchronicity. If I were to suddenly embark on a series of factual posts which rely on gritty scientific and objectively based interpretations, with references to match, I could not continue to practice the same writing habits I do now. The disjunction would spell certain failure.

A blogger must be aware of the limits of his writing style. This is why I believe “how do you write?” is a very important consideration which fledgling bloggers must be prepared to confront. And if your style does not match the mechanics you choose for your creative expression, you need to adjust one or the other.