I originally wrote this last January but it based upon a number of posts from around the blogosphere it seemed appropriate to run it again.
Writers write right. Writers write, right? Writers write, right! I can craft that opening sentence to read a number of different ways. The point and purpose is to set the tone of the post or piece. It is part of why I frequently include quotes, pictures and music in these posts. I have an idea that I want you to understand. I have a theory, a tale or a story that will be enhanced by including those items. It is about connecting with the reader.
Connecting with the reader is the most critical component and sometimes the hardest thing to do.Â I see things in my head. I have stories to tell and ideas to share. I want my readers to feel what I feel and to see what I see. There is a rhythm in my writing that reminds me of working out on my heavy bag. When I put on the gloves and start pounding the bag I am always listening to music. It is because the song helps me to set the pace. It helps to establish the time that I intend to work out for.
There are moments where I want nothing more than to pound out my frustration. Moments where I want the beat to help me beat the bag so hard that thoughts cannot creep inside my mind. I want to exhaust myself with the effort I put in so that when I am done I can barely raise my arms. At the end of those workouts I feel like I have been cleansed of whatever ills might be bothering me. That feeling might not last, but nothing does so that is ok.
Writers write. It is what we do. The reason why doesnâ€™t matter. We write because we writeâ€¦right. I blog furiously, with reckless abandon. Sometimes I write because it feels like if I turn my head Iâ€™ll discover that whatever it is that has been chasing me is right behind me. Sometimes I write because it is the best way to express my thoughts. Sometimes I write because I need to know that I can call upon my words whenever and wherever I need them to be.
That is because in my real life I get paid to write about a lot of different things and sometimes I am bored beyond belief by the topic. I am a passionate guy with a fiery personality. I like to use that passion to fuel my writing but I canâ€™t allow my writing to be blocked because I am bored or because I canâ€™t feel whatever it is I am writing about. I donâ€™t have the time to make sure that everything is perfect. I take pride in my work and produce something as close to perfect every time, but I wonâ€™t pretend to hit the mark.
Chris Brogan addressed this in a post he wrote called The Myth of the Perfect Writing Environment. Read it. If you donâ€™t read it take a moment to look at these two excerpts:
â€œIf youâ€™re passionate and dedicated and intend to get your writing done, buck up and do it. If you donâ€™t have your perfect Moleskine with you or you left your lucky pen at home, then write on something else. Use a napkin. Use a crayon. Write. Get it done. Put your words into something so that you can look at them outside of your head. Get the first thoughts out. Get your notes into a format that will generate a real piece when the time is right.â€
â€œThe best sentences donâ€™t sell books (or magazines or whatever). A string of reasonably not bad sentences with useful and engaging information sells books. My books are NOT the best-written books out there on their topic. Theyâ€™re well-marketed books that I put some soul and heart into. Is every sentence just so? Not even a little bit. But am I a New York Times bestselling author? Oh yes I am. Because I published.â€
That is sensible and practical advice that I can use as a writer, friend, businessman and father. The time to write is NOW.Â I share these thoughts on the blog for a variety of reasons. If you are one of the 17 long time readers you know that eventually my children will be given the keys to the kingdom and that this will be a place that they can come to read and see what was important to their father. It is also a chronicle of their lives where I can come back and remember what they said that was so funny to me. A place where I come and laugh when I think about my ten year-old saying during the State of the Union that he was afraid of being drafted to help build the railroad. If you didnâ€™t watch President Obama or read the speech go Google it and youâ€™ll see where he spoke about the infrastructure.
I write here for me first. I wouldnâ€™t last if I didnâ€™t. Apparently I am not the only writer who thinks like this.
â€œI never think about you,â€ said British author Martin Amis at the Jaipur Literature Festival in response to a young member of the public who asked how important readers are in an authorâ€™s mind.
â€œYou are dead if you think about the reader. You think about yourself,â€ added Mr. Amis. He was adamant that authors should â€œwrite what they would like to read,â€ rather than have an ideal reader in mind.
The blog also serves as a way to jump start the paid writing. If I come across an assignment that I am having trouble with I sometimes stimulate the writing by blogging about something. Topic doesnâ€™t matter, what matters is starting the creative process. Remember that I said that I want the words to come when I call. I need them to come like Spidermanâ€™s web. Point, click, cut, paste, clickety-clack.
Writers write, but they also read. I read constantly and consistently. Some of it is for pleasure and some of it is intended to help me in areas x,y and z. Right now I am reading The Art of War,Â primarily for pleasure but also with an eye for applying some of the lessons to my life.
Within the blogosphere I read quite a few blogs, some of them religiously, some of them not so much. Lately I have been checking out Kommein. It is a blog that I have been visiting on and off for quite some time now. I like it because I find some of the posts to have practical advice. Here are two that have caught my eye:
The Benefits of Linking for the Linker
Weekend Discussion: Why Donâ€™t You Comment On Blogs
Two quick comments on these posts. I have been sort of struggling with links for a while now. I tend to share a lot of what I find interesting on Twitter and less here. It is sort of the reverse of what I did on the old blog.Â In part it is because I donâ€™t have as much time to blog as I used to, but a quick Tweet is simple. I am not so sure that it is as beneficial.
And I agree with Deb that linking is Good JuJu. As for commenting, well I comment on virtually everything. I suppose that you could say that it is not always smart to comment unless you add value, but that is sort of weak to me. You put the time in to write and I took the time to read so it is sort of an acknowledgment of an exchange. I wonâ€™t lie and say that I donâ€™t hope it leads to more readers because I do. However, that is a secondary role for me.
Writers write. Sometimes it is because we started a story whose end must wait and others because it is what pays the bills. And sometimes we write because for us it is simply, right.