Blogging Like a Writer, or Something Like That

blogging-as-a-writer

I’ve been writing more often here lately, which is a good thing.

I didn’t commit to anything, but I think putting my intention out there in the world helps create a space where the thought can materialize. In effect, saying I want to write more often, as oppose to promising I will write everyday, becomes a commitment but without the burden of accountability.

In my mind, I have this desire to write but I’m not pressured to do it on specific days or with regularity. But the desire is there and it’s like keeping a mental note to write when the opportunity presents itself. Surprisingly, I find that there indeed are opportunities – small pockets of time that I can devout to writing a post for this blog. Maybe I wasn’t really looking before or I just couldn’t distinguish a time to write from a time to do other things. And I always end up doing other things when I should be writing instead. (No, I’m not referring to my end-of-the-day movie indulgence.)

So if the problem of finding time to keep the blog updated is somewhat solved, let’s shine a light on another one: the actual process of writing itself.

I’m not a prolific writer let alone a good writer. In fact, I’ don’t even consider myself a writer. I’m a blogger and there is a big difference. For one, blogger can publish anything – grammatical errors, typographical errors, or just plain poor sentence constructions and all. No one will hold a blogger to a certain standard because there really is no standard when it comes to blogging. There’s just traffic, as far as we’re concerned, hehe. But kidding aside, unless the blog belongs to a news agency or an educational institution, having poorly written posts won’t ruin the blog or the blogger’s career. The worst that can happen is being called out in the comments section, or in really extreme cases of bad grammar, being shared on social media and going viral, which is actually a better scenario because it’s free publicity. Again, traffic.

So no, bloggers are not always writers. But writers can be bloggers. And in some occasions, a blogger like me can aspire to write like a proper writer. Specifically, I want to be a creative writer. But the problem is how to do it and how to do it with the amount of time I have to write. When I said I’m not a prolific writer, I mean I can’t write fast. It would take me at least half a day to compose something decent. And that’s just the draft. I still have to proofread and/or rewrite parts of the article a couple of times or more. Sometimes, I let it sit for a few days when I feel like I wasn’t able to express my thoughts correctly. Sometimes, I rewrite a big portion of the draft that the final article becomes a totally different piece.

If I write the way and the pace that I do now, publishing a post daily will just remain a dream. What to do?

Because a problem defined is a problem half-solved, let’s identify the weak points in my writing process.

  1. I haven’t find my voice and my style yet. I feel this is so important because this is the creative part of the process and the two things that can define me as a writer blogger. Or a blogger writer, whatever.
  2. I need to write fast. Which I think can be solved by writing short posts with lots of pictures instead. But that’s not the kind of content I want to fill this blog with. I want to be able to share my view and thoughts in a voice that is distinctly me and write something that is pleasant to read.
  3. I need to have coherent thoughts and solid subjects/topics. This has always been my problem. I think of a good topic and start to write. But I usually get carried away and include too many thoughts, too many points that just muddle the intended subject and fragments the whole article.
  4. I have to improve my vocabulary. I always have Dictionary.com opened in another tab because I’m often lost for the right words to use. In my head, I know what I want to say, but I don’t know what word to use to convey it. While this is not really not bad, having a rich vocabulary will help speed up the writing process.
  5. I still have to polish my grammar. Because correct grammar is essential.
  6. I’m bad at closing.  Often, I don’t know how to conclude an article. A bad ending can make a good thing look bad.

And that’s where I’m going to leave this at because I don’t know how to end this post. I told you I’m bad at closing. But really, like in this post, I’m just laying out the problem here and my intentions to find solutions for them. Hopefully, something comes up soon.

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When I Can

Hello blog.

Honestly, I don’t know how to start you – to start this blog and keep it going. It’s been almost 8 months since I wrote something here, and even that something is about the intent to overcome inertia which didn’t really came into fruition.

Is it really so hard to start a blog and maintain it?

I’m a work-at-home mom. I have a 2 year-old daughter, Yani, who can be clingy and needy if I let her, and a babysitter who takes care of her during the day so I can work. At night, when the nanny goes home, I am left with baby’s care. Often, we play or read books or watch her favorite YouTube videos. Then when I feel that she’s winding down, I watch movies on my laptop while I nurse her to sleep.

Sometimes, she can be so sneaky and would sprang back to life after breastfeeding and stay up late (like 11pm late). This means that my movie time would often be interrupted by different pleas to get out of the room, or watch something else on YouTube, or read more books – all of which I would oblige to in hopes that all these will tire her out and she will finally fall asleep (and I can get back to finish watching the movie – that is, if I can still keep my eyes open). But when I’m lucky, she’ll start her journey to dreamland right away and I would be able to understand and finish the movie before I myself become sleepy.

It is during this end-of-the-day movie indulgence that I often find myself thinking, “Should I just write a blog post instead? Am I wasting precious time watching movies when I could have used it to keep this blog updated?” Honestly, I don’t know. And I always choose to continue watching the movies anyway, instead of turning them off to write a post. So I guess that shows my priorities, eh? Or maybe, it’s not that simple.

Watching a movie vs writing a post, let’s try to dissect this a little bit.

Watching a movie is a mindless activity. It can be relaxing (although not always calming) or stimulating (depending on the movie I’m watching). But in general, it is a pretty dumb activity – a way for me to keep my brain busy but not engaged. It’s like doing light exercises at night to relax and tire your muscles at the same time to help you sleep better. I have to choose the movies I watch at night though and make sure they are not too disturbing or emotional. I like feel good movies or Sci-fi/adventure flicks because they are easy to digest and won’t provoke any unwanted emotions that might stimulate my mind and keep me awake and thinking. I stay away from heavy dramas and horror films for obvious reason.

Writing a post is the opposite of a mindless activity. It requires a lot of mind. Sometimes, writing in itself is a taxing process. Even if, let’s say my muse is pleasantly doting and my vocabulary is suddenly generous, writing engages my brain too much which ironically doesn’t make it feel tired and sleepy but makes it want to keep going and going and going and you know where this will lead. I won’t be able to sleep until I write every bit of inspired thought that crosses my mind. And if my brain is really fired up, those thoughts won’t stop crossing.

Of course, writing is just part of the process of writing a blog post. I also need to proofread and find/take pretty pictures to adorn my article with – because a textual blog content isn’t always enough. And these also requires time and a lot of mind, both of which are critical in my chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

So… yes, I know you understand now.

But… of course, there’s always a but.

When can I write? How can I maintain this blog if I don’t have the time and energy to write a post on a regular basis?

I write when I can. Like today, while waiting for something work related, I decided to burn the hours by writing this post. I know saying “when I can”, “when I have time” doesn’t sound determined or definitive. But that’s an honest answer. I can only write when I can, when I have the time. I wish I can say something more resolute like “I promise to write every day” or “I promise to set aside time to write blah blah”, but that would be making promises I don’t know if I can keep.

But here’s what I’m thinking. Maybe if I find more of that “when I can” opportunities, I’ll be able to write frequent enough to a create a semblance of a “maintained” blog. And maybe, if I write often enough, I will develop the habit and find it easier to write more often. And maybe, I will get my groove on and rock this whole blogging thing! And maybe… Okay, I’ll stop myself there.

Bottomline is, I still don’t have a plan on how to write regularly. The best thing I can do, I guess, is to try to find (or create) more of these “when I can” moments. Let’s see how it goes.

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Overcoming Inertia

overcoming-inertia

It took me almost 3 months to write this 2nd post. If that’s any indication of how things are going to be for this blog, then this doesn’t look good at all. But I’m not giving up yet. In fact, the reason why I finally took the time to write this 2nd post is because I want to get the ball rolling.

I’ve had this idea and dream for the longest time: to have a successful craft and lifestyle blog that has both a local flair and a global appeal. I dream of blogging about crafts, sharing beautiful things that I made with my hands, talking about things I’m passionate about, sharing anecdotes of my family life. You know, stuff that lifestyle blogs are made up of.

But for the longest time, I didn’t find the discipline to commit to making my ideas and my dreams, my reality. I’m stuck in the dreaming and planning stage. What I always find are excuses for me not to start anything – I’m busy with work, with family, with life. I don’t have the right materials. I’m not in the right frame of mind. I have writer’s block. Etcetera.

Every time I visit some of my favorite lifestyle blogs (which I do regularly), my heart is filled with longing and envy and wishful thinking. Some of you know how that feels. It is frustrating.

So here’s my first step to overcoming inertia. It’s not much, but it is a step in the right direction.

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The Beginning

Sort of.

I honestly don’t know how to begin this blog again. Yes, that’s right – again.

If you’ve stumbled upon Sweet Simple Joys before, you’ll probably remember it containing different posts. Truly, in the many years that I tried to get this blog off the ground, it had undergone many shapes and forms. But when I bought the domain many years ago, I had a clear vision of what I want the website to be. For some reasons, I kept losing that vision and the website suffered from identity crisis each time I tried to restart.

But in my heart, I always knew what Sweet Simple Joys is. And hopefully this time, that’s what it will become.

This is Sweet Simple Joys saying ‘Hello World! Here we come!’

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