Blogging Insights — Rules for Writing

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from English playwright, novelist, and short-story writer W. Somerset Maugham.

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

How does Maugham know that there are three rules if no one knows what they are? Maybe there are five. Or two. Or ten. But what do I know? As Tanya pointed out in her post, I have three started novels on my laptop, but none is finished. So maybe the only rule that counts should be finish what you start.

I like to think that I’m good at coming up with characters and at writing dialogue. The problem I have is with plot, and being able to devise and sustain a story arc sufficient and engaging enough to produce a novel. Hell, I can barely write enough to sustain a blog post, which is why the average length of my blog posts is fewer that 250 words.

Maybe I should just publish a book that is an anthology of my flash fiction posts and call it a day. Yeah, that’s my rule for writing: just do it!

Blogging Insights — Hard Work: Yes or No?

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from author Dean Koontz.

“The desire to write well cannot be fulfilled without hard work.”

I have, on more than one occasion, attempted to write a novel and I can attest that, while the desire is there, it is a lot of hard work. I suppose the fact that I have three started novels on my laptop, but none finished, is indicative that, while I have the desire to write a book, I have not dedicated myself to putting in the hard work required to do so.

Blogging is a different story. I’m not a professional writer. My livelihood doesn’t depend upon writing. So not putting in the hard work that Dean Koontz says is required to fulfill a desire to write does not apply to me. Because I love expressing myself “in writing” — and, truth be told, I’m better doing so than I am expressing myself orally — blogging is not hard work. It’s a hobby. It’s a pastime. It’s something I do because I enjoy it. But it’s not hard work.

Still, on my blog, I try to write well, and hope that I write well. But if I ever start to think of blogging as hard work, that’s when I’ll hang up my spurs.

Blogging Insights — Just Do It

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from author Ray Bradbury.

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of Ray Bradbury’s quote. I know what the word “intuition” means to me, which is like having a gut feeling or insight about something. But to try to put it in context for this quote, I Googled it.

According to Merriam-Webster, intuition is “the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.” Dictionary.com defines intuition as “direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process.” Yourdictionary.com defines it as “the faculty of knowing or understanding something without reasoning or proof.”

Dare I say it that all three definitions sound more like religion or faith than what I think of as intuition? But maybe that’s just me. Maybe what Bradbury is trying to say is that you need to have faith in your ability to write. Maybe he’s saying, as the Nike tagline says:

By the way, my core advice to bloggers is “just do it,” so perhaps I agree with Bradbury’s quote.

Blogging Insights — Subbing for Dr. Tanya

Dr. Tanya usually appears in this time slot with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. However she let us know today in this post that she won’t be doing a Blogging Insights post today. But don’t worry, Dr. Tanya says she hopes to be back again next week.

So, in her absence, thought I’d take it upon myself to fill-in for Dr. Tanya, who provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote. I didn’t ask for her permission, so I sure hope Tanya is okay with this.

The quote I chose is from author Gustave Flaubert, a French novelist who was a leading proponent of literary realism.

“You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.”

My blogging buddy, Jim Adams, says that he writes for himself and doesn’t care all that much about what others think of his posts. That may be true for him, but I believe that most of us who blog do so because we love writing and do it because we are driven by our love of words. At the same time, we keep our prospective readers in mind. Our blog posts provide a platform for us to create something at least compelling, if not beautiful, and to share what we write with our blogging community.

Flaubert, who died in 1880, didn’t write in the age of the internet, where writers get instant feedback on their writing via views, likes, and comments. But as bloggers, we do get information from our stats, almost in real time, and those stats help us gauge whether what we write engages our readers.

So from my perspective, I do write for myself, but I also keep my readers at the forefront of my mind, and I hope they find my writing somewhere between passable and beautiful.