Monday, April 24, 2006

The Writing Show

The object of the game is to refer to your 101 Things About Me list, pick one of your "things" and tell the whole sordid tale. I don't yet have a full 101 Thing About Me list, but do plan on growing one. So when I play Me-Me Monday" I'll add to my list.

28. One of my favourite quotes is from Hugh Prather in his book Notes To Myself: "If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire is not to write."

I used to keep that quote from Hugh Prather in my writing space (it was there along with dozens of other snippets of inspirational quotes that I stuck up all over the place, on the window sill, the back of my door, the bedside table). I'd gone sticky-note crazy after reading an article in Writer's Digest magazine. This was back when I was a bachelor and I could have all kinds of messy notes and other garbage on the walls. Among all the quotes, though, I found the one from Hugh Prather the most motivational. And, in an ode to the messy "sticky notes" from my old bachelor days, I've kept this quote in the footer for this blog. From it, I took the following: I can only call myself a writer if I am actually writing.

I've gone through times when work or either life itself was too busy and hectic to write. Ironically enough, it was those times when I think I would have benefited more from writing than from letting it slip. Because it was often the writing that helped me deal with the stress -- it was the writing that gave me an outlet, a funnel, a channel -- it was the writing that took those little silent screams inside my head and jotted them down on paper.

These past nine months or so, work has been absolutely stupidly crazy. But I have been writing steadily. All thanks to this blog.

I started the blog a little over a year ago partly as a means to ensure that I wrote every day. Then it became addictive, and I was writing, but mostly just on this blog.

Then I was able to define a balance. A write/blog balance. (Yes, just like there's a work/life balance people aspire to, I think many of us bloggers struggle with a blog/life balance, too -- I'll talk more about that on tomorrow's post) But with me, the issue has been trying to establish a write/blog balance.

Blogging can be addictive to a writer. And for good reason. Blogging can give writers something they love: readers. But for me, while I take great satisfaction in writing for my blog, it doesn't seem to sit so well if it's not accompanied by actual writing (I hope no bloggers take offense at the way I termed that phrase -- but for a non-pro blogger like me, actual writing would be writing projects, fiction, etc that are destined to be submitted to a publication market and not just this journal-style writing)

Sure, I credit my blog for returning me to steady and regular writing. But I find that writing posts on this blog are more like just opening a vein and letting whatever's inside out -- it's a great warm-up to get in to more serious writing efforts, which are very much like this at the beginning, except with those, I end up going back and re-editing and re-writing them dozens of times before they get released into the world. Blogging is more raw, and often more exciting, because there's no need for that editorial red pen.

In any case, I've enjoyed blogging, and being a part of the blogosphere. I've met a lot of wonderful people through my blog, and enjoy visiting and reading different blogs. So blogs have helped me connect with wonderful people from all over the world, and they've also helped put me find inspiration and like-minded souls.

For example, there are fun writing-related sites such as Melly's All Kinds of Writing, which is a mixture of writing advice, commentary, market tips and sometimes just plain fun. I've also joined The Writer's Blog Alliance (a brain-child of John Evans & Deborah Woehr) which has not only been inspirational and fun, and kept me in contact with other writers, but has led to me selling a couple of stories to a UK anthology called Naked Tales.

It also led to a recent addiction within the blog/podcast world. And that is: The Writing Show: (Where writing is always the story). Paula Berinstein, the host of the show, not only has the perfect voice for podcasting, on par with the best on air voices that CBC Radio employs, but her interviewing style and technique are superb, and she has gathered some great topics and wonderful guests.

I've only started listening to the show since last Thursday, but I've already consumed 4 podcasts, and have downloaded 3 others that I'm eager to get to. Yes, the podcasts are eating into the commuting time that I'd normally be reading Wil Wheaton's Just A Geek (a book Wil sold thanks to his impeccablee writing skills on his blog) -- but I've found them tremendously inspirational, informative, but best of all, entertaining and enjoyable to listen to. I highlyrecommendd this show to writers. I'm sure you'll find at least one or two or three topics which Paula has covered intriguing and informative.

Hmm, seems like I have another addiction I need to deal with, lest, like so many other things, it takes away from my actual writing time . . . now, what was that quote from Hugh Prather again?


Melly said...

I love how you put the write/blog balance, just like work/life.
And thanks :)

lime said...

i was warned that blogging is like a bad crack i'm tellin ya, toooooo true

Paula said...

Hi, Mark,

Thanks so much for your kind words about The Writing Show. As a result of your post, I'm going to see if I can get Wil Wheaton to come on the show!

Paula B.
The Writing Show, where writing is always the story