Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blogging and the Creative Writer


What, you may ask, does blogging have to do with the novel you are writing?

There are several reasons a creative writer may start an online journal.

First of all, writing a first novel is a very lengthy and difficult journey. Believe it or not, you have time on your side. Being an unknown, no agent is knocking down your door to complete your next book. You can take as many years as you need to perfect your craft and edit your novel to meet your standards.

During this time, it can be rewarding to be able to complete shorter projects and have them published in print or online. Small successes like this tell you that someone out there believes you deserve to be in print. You can tell people you are a writer and point to your publications as proof.

A web log can accomplish this objective as well as give you immediate feedback from your audience. You can also use your web log to draw attention to your print publications, or put your web page in your “bio” to bring print readers to your blog.

Blogging gets you into writing mode and helps you to hone your writing skills. Prolific writer Leticia Velasquez, whose award-winning blog http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com/ brings awareness to many important issues, says, “My blog keeps my writing in top form,and I am learning to edit myself, which is the hardest thing to do. Not every word I type is a pearl of wisdom!”

The blogosphere is an arena in which writers encourage and inspire one another. When I recently contacted my old homeschooling friend Leticia to send her some information about the abortion-breast cancer link (you can read up on this at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute website which is bcpinstitute.org ), she (who already was quite aware of this issue) told me about her blogs (yes, she has two!).

That same night, I started my own blog. I sent the link to my sister, Joanna Gerold, also an aspiring writer and new graduate, and she started one too! Hers is about the creative process: http://part-of-something.blogspot.com/

It may not seem like one form of writing, such as the blog, may have anything to do with another, such as the novel. However, I have found that the inspiration for each type of writing runs from one to another. For example, when I am writing in my private journal I tend to have ideas for articles I might want to write for magazines. I jot them in the margin of my journal. Sometimes I have a dream that inspires a short story. These go into my idea notebook, which I keep next to my bed along with my journal. During the day, I constantly have ideas for my blog. When I am done blogging, I often think of new ideas I want to put into my novel. So it warms me up for that mode of work.

Once I get into my fictional world, it is very difficult to bring my back to earth. While I blog and write short essays on the computer, I write my novel long-hand in steno books. In the back of the book, I keep a journal of where I think I am going with a character or plot. Occasionally I have an idea for something else I want to write while in the middle of drafting a new chapter. So I don’t lost this idea, I pause what I am doing and write that down on a new page in the back of the same notebook.

I recently read some advice for writers that I did not agree with at all. (Feel free to discard any advice that runs counter to your own intuition - only you know how you work at your best!) This person said that you should concentrate on one project at a time, so as not to drain your energy from what is most important.

I think that is like saying love should not be spread out among too many people. When parents have more children, their capacity for love grows with the size of their family. Parents of large families have very large hearts! Our writing is like our children in that way. As we nurture one facet, it only helps the others.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

Pictured above are me and my sister, Joanna Gerold, when she came last August to help me with my newborn baby.


3 comments:

Leticia said...

You expressed the soul of a writer so very well, Elizabeth. I'll be linking to this in Cause of Our Joy.

Joanna said...

I have multiple journals as well!! I find my thoughts to be more organized when using different journals for different types of writing or ideas. I loved your thoughts here. You are always inspiring... always inspiring me to be the best me possible. Know that you are great! I couldn't ask for a better sister.

insideout said...

I think that it is great that you are writting so much! You have a great way of saying things that makes people think.

I want to encourage you to keep writting, keep thinking, keep deeping your faith, and most of all keep loving!