How Not To Write a Blog Post

Sleeping in Brain 2

I guess the only way to get back into this writing thing is just to roll up my sleeves and post something.  I keep waiting for inspiration to strike me, but that is kind of like waiting to win the lottery (without buying any tickets) or waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right to appear (while never leaving one’s room), or even Waiting for Godot (if you’ll pardon an obscure reference).   No, I’m just going to have to write something the hard way … by actually writing it.

When I was a youngster, I heard the expression, “Nothing succeeds like success“. I have pondered that expression off and on my entire life, wondering exactly what it means.  I finally decided it was a rather cynical way of saying, “Of course successful people know how to succeed.  What they did worked for them.  Someone else might do the exact same things and fall flat on their face.

But I also chose to take this positive nugget away from that tired old saw:

In order to succeed at something, you must actually do that thing.

We live in a culture that assures us that we can succeed at things simply by  believing that we can.  How many movies and books and songs are there that tell us we can have something simply by believing something hard enough and sincerely enough?  How many artists do we see on those “best singer” type shows that, when asked why they should win the competition, sob and sniffle and say, “Because I just want this so badly!”

Well, that’s not how life works.  I really wish that it did.  If it did, I would be a wealthy and adored published author, living on my nearly-inaccessible lighthouse off the coast of Maine.

But I’ve never been delusional.  I have known all my life that if I wanted to be a published author that I would have to work at it morning, noon, and night with the obsession of a bee making honey.  But I allowed myself to get distracted by things like earning a living, eating, having a nice home, etc.  Writing not only took a back seat to other things, it had to follow along by hitching a ride on the rear bumper of a dilapidated old Trailways bus that was hundreds of miles behind.

This blog is a metaphor for my writing “career”.  I don’t put much effort into it, but expect success anyway.  I expect each little post to grow and thrive and blossom and to become some amazing, brilliant sunflower, big enough for everyone to see.  But the fact is, I don’t water it or fertilize it or even look at it much.

That’s not exactly a recipe for success.

So, I could rewrite the “nothing succeeds like success” aphorism to say

Nothing fails like not striving for success.

 

 

6 comments

    • Thanks, Andy! And you’re right. I have been trying to force myself to post anything, even if it is meh. That goes against the grain, but I try to convince myself that doing so will lead to better writing down the road. So thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one with this problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Another well thought-out post. In my career, I have always drawn or written for others. (my dream was to have a daily comic strip) Now my blog is a way to indulge my, quite often, silly or dumb ideas. I have found it freeing and fulfilling, after years of having to tow a certain artistic line. I love drawing for myself now as opposed for doing it on spec, which was alway fraught with tension, deadlines, rules, etc.
    In all honesty, my drawings are neck-in-neck (or is it neck and neck?) with my writing: but drawing is definitely more FUN. There is perhaps a stigma attached to drawing, which can be perceived as a more juvenile, and therefore, more ‘futureless’ endeavour, which accounted for my not drawing for years at a a stretch. Now, I am never not the only one to be drawing in Starbucks LOL.
    There is definitely a skew in society towards success, as opposed to failure. IOW everything is geared toward your not trying new things bc it might end in failure. This reply is all over the place, sorry. The point is, like your blog, I don’t really put TOO much effort into it, though my family might say otherwise haha. Like running, which I love, my blog is something I need to do. Someone said, meditation is doing something that involves 100% of your concentration. That is what it is for me, because God knows I can’t sit still and do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Wilt! It is amazing to hear the perspective of an artist, for I have always believed just the opposite. I have always wanted more than anything to be a cartoonist, but my brain is literally not wired for it and I couldn’t draw a stick figure even if someone put a gun to my head. Therefore, I have always had so much admiration for people who could draw and just assumed that people were much more enthusiastic about an artist’s work than they would be about a writer’s work. I suppose this is a “grass is greener over there” situation. I think your artwork is awesome a very funny and just the sorts of things I would do if I had any artistic talent whatsoever.

      So thanks for an artist’s perspective. It seems the struggles are the same for both writers and artists. Perhaps we can take some kind of weird solace in that?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I began my blog, my stated intention was “to learn how to write.” I knew what that meant, so it didn’t make any difference if others knew, or not.

    Even at the beginning, I believed the only way to learn how to write was to write. I have no idea how I came to that belief, but I set myself a once-a-week schedule for posting, and forgot every bit of advice that was current at the time about what makes for a “successful” blog. Now, almost ten years later, I’m beginning to get a grip on things. We’ll see where it goes from here.

    But what I really want to drop off is this quotation from artist Chuck Close. I’ve had it in my files for many years, and read it about once a week. He nails it:

    “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me,
    is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.

    If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.

    If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.

    You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work,
    and I find that’s almost never the case.”

    Ain’t it the truth?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Linda! That is very good advice indeed. I find I tend to write the most when I write what I like to write (no surprise there). I once wrote a thousand page novel just because I was enjoying writing it. But was it readable? No.

      The trick is to straddle that line between writing what I like to write and writing what others like to read. Some days that is harder than others. The very act of writing a blog forces us (more often than not) to straddle that line, because obviously we want to write the things people want to read. Otherwise, we would just write in our word processors or on our legal pads and the stuff would never see the light of day and we would be okay with that.

      Thanks again for your comments. They always make me think. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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