Last week I set out a few goals for myself and I’ve been working on the ones I can. “Find a new energy source for my writing,” is the one on my mind this week. Cancer has been a driving force in my writing for the last couple of years. I’ve also written about my woodworking, my life, vacations, my favorite book, the occasional poem and even the odd bit now and again on literary criticism.
I’ve always been surprised by what posts of mine other people like. Last week’s post was one of the highest read posts I’ve written. Other posts that get a lot of reads include my two posts on building a Murphy bed, my “first post again” about getting prostate cancer and interestingly, “What to Say to a Cancer Patient.”
I wonder why people liked those posts? I am not sure it really matters, except that in writing class they keep drilling into your head, “think of your audience.” Well, basically that is good advice. When writing, you need to consider your audience, and write for them. So who is my audience? Who do I write for?
If you read my “About” page, I boldly claim that I’ll write without regard to my readers. Easy to say when you don’t have any readers. But now, I know I have a few people who read my blog. I get comments, friends send me emails and even one day at church a friend came up to me and said, “I liked your last blog.”
I might have to rewrite my “About” page since there are more than just me and Heather reading these posts and I do actually sometimes write about a subject that I think my blog followers might like. So it turns out that I do care about what my blog readers think.
Mostly when I sit down to write, I just think of what’s been happening in the last week and start a stream of conscientiousness writing session. Then I go back and edit what came out hoping it’s good enough to post. Just after I started writing about my prostate cancer this was an easy way to write, since there was so much to write about.
The reason it was so easy is that it was such a powerful experience, words just formed themselves and hit my screen without much effort on my part – the event and words had an energy all their own. Writing can be like that. The problem comes when you don’t have that kind of powerful event in your life, or have something that you feel passionate about. In that case, writing becomes more of a chore. It involves more work – research, outlining, drafts, rewrites, more rewrites and final editing. I’ve done that kind of writing and it doesn’t fit into the two hours I allow myself on a Sunday afternoon.
The place I find myself now is that strange place where things are mostly fine and the overall ‘angst’ level in my life is low. I love my wife, have a nice house, a secure job – stressful and annoying but it pays well – and enough of a workshop to build a few things in. Week in and week out, things are mostly in order and there are few high energy events, like a sudden illness to get excited about.
So, what to do? Here are a few things I’ve thought of:
- Have a major crisis in my life.
- Get passionate about something.
- Spend more time researching stuff.
- Ask my readers what they’d like to see me blog about.
- Solicit guest posts so I don’t have to write anything.
- Post more pictures.
Most likely, by the time next week rolls around, I’ll have forgotten all about this post and will end up writing about the new driveway we’re having built at the house.
Till next week,