Number of ideas I have right now for novels:
Number of ideas I have right now for blog posts about writing:
Which is sort of a problem, and not one I’m sure I have an answer for.
When I have writer’s block, it’s generally one of two things: either I know what to write and I’m scared to write it, or there’s something about the story I haven’t figured out yet and my subconscious is trying to get a message through to my brain. After having been through the process a few times, I know not to panic. Take a breath, write something else, have a drink, read a book. The message will get through soon enough and I’ll be writing like a maniac to take it all down.
Being blocked at blogging is something else altogether, although I suspect this may also be a fear-based response.
Some days, blogging about writing makes me feel like one of those dreams where you show up to teach a class and you’ve forgotten your pants. You know the ones I mean. It’s not really that I don’t have any ideas, it’s that I’m not sure they have value. I feel like an impostor.
What do I possibly know about writing that the rest of you don’t know already? What can I say that hasn’t been said better by a hundred people before me? There are writing blogs all over the net – I know, because I googled blogs about writing before I sat down to write this one. And there are writing teachers and writing classes and so much writing information out there it’s actually bewildering.
A person could spend so much time reading blogs about writing – or writing blogs about writing – that they would never actually write any books.
And maybe that’s what this blog is really about.
The whole point is to write things.
Write your ideas. Write poems. Write stories. Write big, fat sprawling novels. Write slender, concise, carefully crafted novels. Write funny stories. Write things that make people cry. Little books, big books, books in the middle.
Every book I’ve read has affected or changed me in some way. Every. Single. One. From Dr. Seuss to War and Peace and everything in the middle. You, as the author, will never know whether something in your story reached out and touched a reader. Maybe your book offered comfort during a time of anxiety or grief. Maybe it opened somebody’s eyes to racism or sexism or some other ism. Maybe it it made somebody angry, and that gave them courage to change something in their life that needed changing.
Even if you’ve written a terrible book and somebody picks it up, reads a few pages, says, “I can do better,” and goes off to write a book of their own – then you have changed the world!
If this is true of books and stories, perhaps it is also true of blogging. Because, like our unique writing voices, we all experience the world in different ways. Read a hundred blog posts on the same aspect of writing and they will all be different. Maybe, just maybe, one of my wandering little blog posts will light a fire for some creative spirit out there. If that happens, I’ll probably never know. But the world will be different because of me.
Which means – I AM a special snowflake after all. And so are you.