OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: How to Use Your Blogging to Make You a Better Writer
M- I think that my writing comes in a very- I don’t do drafts… It is written in a 20 minute period…
J- I have more extraversion… Writing is a process of discover. I start with an image, a feeling, or a scene… On the blog, it isn’t always like that, but I usually edit a lot…
S- I usually have a good idea and if I can’t keep it in my head, I sit down and write it… I get the idea, get it out, and I can go from there…
D- Does your writing come out like Mary’s, Suzanne?
S- Usually it’s temporarily planned, and it’s like a temp hard drive in my brain, and I have to transfer it to something secure…
D- do you think that blogging is more contemporary?
J- It depends… If I am working on a blog post- it’s usually spontaneous. If it’s a short story- I’ll work on it for 6 months… One thing that I like to thing about editing.. .Is that editing is a creative act, and there’s definitely a time that you have to quiet those gremlins that say, “this sucks!” In the editing phase, it’s… just re-witing and re-creaitng, and it’s like moldoing clay. I really like it!
S- I just finished an MFA and I did it because of blogging. One of my old teachers spoke about the pleasure of editing. And it allows me to re-write things and it doesn’t give me all the pressure of trying to get everything out there…
M- I am kinda like the ghetto writer in the group, so I can teach and have some hot students in my class *laughter*… I was a print writer for many years…
D- How many of you were writers? Print? Magazines? Video? Podcasts? I was a print writer… My first piece was published in a newspaper in 1975, before many people were born. I only started my blog last year, and that was a huge learning curve… I am now struggling with video, but today, we’re talking about writing. Suzanne, how did a blog prepare you to writing a book?
S- It was an activity that I enjoyed doing… It gave me freedom. I started blogging in 2005, but I began hearing people that my writing had improved… Writing is a generative activity- the more you do it, the more better you become! The more I began writing, the more I began doing freeform things… As my writing improved, opportunities came my way, as well… If I didn’t start blogging, I don’t think that I would have had the discipline to do a book…
M- the biggest thing that you can get out of this session is if you are writing everyday, it helps you become a better writer because you are practicing … Good Books: “Seducing the Demon” and “On Writing” and “Bird bite Bird”
J- I disagree that oyu have to write everyday, but for me I cannot do all of that work… Sometimes I get writer’s block… What helps me is to take a break once in a while.
D- As a writer, you do a lot of beating yourself up. Who had the inner editor that still speaks to them? I actually talked to a therapist about this inner voice, so what you have to do is befriend the voice and ask it to help you…. I have now befriended the inner editor. Does anyone have any other coping strategies for the inner editor.
Question: I call mine the Itty Bitty Shitty Committtee. Ine day I was in an art store and I found these ugly monsterhead that are now sitting on my computer and they are my itty bitty shitty commitee when they talk crap about my writing; I look up and laugh.
Question: I think you have to embrace your writing. Sometimes my shitty writing is better than most peoples’ good writing.
Question: My inner editor is a very mean person, and if I ever want to make her shut up, and I’ll start erasing it with any sort of emo blurb into my mind, and that would be really, really good writing. I OWN YOU inner editor!
Questions: Sometimes that is mine, I write all of the stuff that she says to me, and she’s gone when I hit delete.
D- I built a whole career about being an editor, so I had to marshall that voice…
S- Reading as much as possible, also betters your writing style. The more you absorb, the more you begin picking up things as you go along, and it will help you get better writing ideas…
Questions: A lot of people find that when the inner editor is chewing them out… Talking to other writers helps them out… Does the inner editor ever come in handy?
D- Oh, yes- you just need to manage the inner editor to give you better feedback when you need it.
Question: I wanted to know how you find inspiration for a good beginning. It can often shape the rest of the body and I feel like I need a good hook.
J- they’re difficult most of the time, and I have this technique and I forget about the beginning, I put aside the need to figure out what the post is, and I almost start somewhere in the middle of everything. I start writing paragraphs about these things that people want to discover… Some people might find this insane…
D- What is a good beginning? A good beginning for me is where there is action. Like starting things in the middle of the field.
M- I agree, that throat clearing is necessary… Whatever the first paragraph is for me, I sometimes just delete it… sometimes I like using the word douchebag as a sentence. It’s really good.
Question: I work for an ad agency- I am obsessed about the headline that hooks people- I wonder if how important that is versus the opening. Are they important in blogging?
S- You usually want a title to be catchy and want it to show up with that name so they can be more search engine optimized.
D- because I write for food writers, I get the food news journal in my email, and it gives you an idea of what you can use as a headline… They give you a lot of inspiration…
M- With blogging, most of my traffic comes from facebook or twitter… And SEO matters a lot. I always try to hook people in 140 characters or less…
Question: mary, you’ll write a whole blog post and take out the first paragraph. Usually, I’ll try to come in late, and get out early in a post… And it makes for a concise story.
S- Usually I have an irritating need to start in the beginning… and then mix it all up. You cannot fight the process!!
Question: I am having trouble creating leads in productions…
D- the first time I ever wrote a personal story, that I was so freaked out that people were commenting on it… and its reaffirming… and we always assume what we know- but obviously no one doesn’t.
M- I think that the difference btwn print and blogging is voice- when you are blogging- it’s all about voice and you are writing for your readers and relating to them. With print- it’s different/ With blogging, it’s a relationship that you have with somebody… When tou are blogging, thinking that you are having a conversation with a friend, that helps too!
J- Lots of details related to the topic at hand and being specific and connecting and having a relationship with your readers, somehow transfer into a universal connection to people!
D- in print, it is more anonymous.. IN blogging, it’s good to imagine your friend on the other side of the desk ,and how to write the way they do…
S- there are many blogs and the key is to see what motivates you and makes you want to come back to write more…
D- I want to talk about experimentation: I think there is a certain- the blog can be a place for your to experiment on something for you can be a longer form… Does anyone use their blog in that way?
S- I chose to do that on my blog-my writing varies from women with hairy legs and poems that mean a lot to me.
D- I started my blog because my book was 5 years old, and I wanted to do a whole chapter on blogging- and the only way to do this was to start a blog… it also gave me helpful information about my readers and when I got to the chapter of my book, it helped me see what I wanted to keep and take out…
Question: the feedback of my readers has helped me experiment and see what is good… As a blogger, how do you deal…?
M- I used to have a hard time with that.. I think one of the things to do in terms of stretching is to go out of your comfort zone… Embrace the different!
S- It goes back to what is more meaningful to you… Ultimately it is if you want to change your writing style on your blog.
D- has anyone experienced changing their blog around?
Question: I didn;t know I was experimenting when I started bloging… I started to changhe, and I started to write more of an online journal, and I did it because it made me feel good, and that’s when I started to get feedbaack- and I didn’t think about who I was writing for, but the more personal I am- the beter feedback I get.
Question: I used to feel trapped about just my blog… And I stopped loving to write.. I started writing a blog that is just for me, and I only see it and it lets me live up to my own expectations! It helps energize me to write about food…
Comment: The more I included my personal life into it, my voice was as similar to that of when I am speaking to a person.
Question: I have been struggling with my blog, and it’s been all over the place, so this week, so I have talked to a lot of people about finding your niche… What do you as a panel believe about being more general? I like to talk about the general stuff…
J- Tag your posts, and categorize them… So people can find them
Question: I have a corporate job, and as I get into writing on my blog, and I am interested in either becoming a journalist or going to the MFA route- what do you recommend?
S- I knew that it was going to be difficult, and because as a politics major, it was hard to convince them to take me to become an MFA.
J- if anyone is interested- you can join my online writing course…
D- A book is an overwhelmingly huge project- it is the same as going to school.. You don’t need to only go for an MFA… My news reporting skills really have helped me- they are the one’s that I now take advantage of now….
S- people are always looking for writing groups- and my piers are all about support, and it’s a community!
D- We wanted to cover humor- Mary and Suzanne- where does it come from when you write a blog post? Does it just come out?
M- I think the more your try to be funny, the less funny you are. There is humor in everyday life. You be honest and tell a story is kind of a way to be funny….
S- I am one of those if you are going to laugh or cry about things- I prefer to laugh, and I like to amuse myself, and I like to entertain me and I hope it does for other people, but I try to be funny…
Commenter: I have been struggling with going the instructional route, or with having something funny and the story telling route… And I find that reading food novels and memoirs help me go into that state of mind…
Question: “Writing down the bones” By Natalie Goldberg is a good book for this…
Question: I encourage people to shift as they find their own voices… And I started my blog as a weight-loss support blog… And my blog turned into something else.
Question: I feel that formatting when making a humorous post, formatting is important.
Question: When I write something, and when I go back to edit It, and when I am trying to edit 800 words down to 500, and it’s usually my wise-ass comments… How do people stay on topic without showing your own voice?
D- You know it’s just a process of refining things. On a blog, you may be taking out the wrong things- people read you to get their individual own voice… If you remember in the keynote, why women read blogs.. The main reason women read blogs is because of entertainment.. It’s the number one reason for us to read our blogs!
S- If you don’t want to be funny- don’t force it… You have to do it for yourself… Who cares if people are enterained or not? When you are trying to do something else, do what matters to you…
D- I would say that people read blogs not only for entrainment purposes, but people read it to get something out of the post…
Question: What are some ways that you have found your audience?
J- It’s like a bread trail- I look for my tribe…
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