Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Writing Life: Deciding What To Post

A friend and I were talking about blogging and she asked me how I decide what to post. She said it seems I post whatever I feel like writing about at the time. This is true though I've been trying to steer this blog a little more lately. She asked me what makes a good blog post and it was difficult to explain. I wanted to try to write down the elements just to clarify in own my mind what makes a good post:
  • The post has to be a complete piece of writing in itself, able to stand on its own. This seems obvious but I've written drafts where I didn't know where they were going or the ending was really weak and have chosen not to post them. I realize I probably do put up blog posts like this from time to time but the ones I decide not to use are really bad.
  • I still write for myself but I've become more relaxed about writing for my readers over the years and I usually try to think of what will be interesting for them. On the other hand, certain posts like my conversations with my brother and the Mr. Gryphon posts are just for me. I get a huge kick out of writing out conversations with my brother and posting them even if they are strange. Mr. Gryphon posts are a way for me to keep in touch with that aspect of my personality that he and the weird world I've created represent.
  • The post has to be interesting to me. I've started posts and then abandoned them simply because I realized I wasn't interested in the subject matter after all and noticed my writing had gone down the tubes during the drafting stage.
  • There's a particular mindset necessary for me to get into while writing for this blog otherwise the post won't work. One thing I've noticed is the more I write, the easier it is to get into that mindset even if it's late at night and I'm tired or in a bad mood or have no idea what to write. The act of sitting down at the computer and opening up a "New Post" screen is usually enough to get me there.
  • I try to keep the posts balanced, thinking of what I haven't written about in a while. This can be tricky because I lose track what I've written in the past, a sort of blog post tunnel vision.
  • The post either has to move me or give me a little zing when I read it even if it's one of my "Junk Mail" posts. One thing I love to do is read my blog posts (and stories) out loud. It gives me an enormous pleasure to hear my own words spoken. If I don't feel that pleasure then I don't post.
I realized just now that the previous list doesn't really explain much. Blog posting for me is such a subjective process and it's very difficult to explain why something works and something else doesn't. I will say that I do post most of what I write. There are relatively few entries that don't go up.

Thoughts about the types of posts:
  • Pictures. Pictures are important and I dare say I've become a much better photographer while taking pictures for this blog. There should be plenty of pictures, particularly about San Francisco and the Bay Area. I had the idea that people enjoy coming here to see the City from my viewpoint and I'm planning on adding more San Francisco posts in the future.
  • I like to write about my interests here though I don't write about all of them. I don't see this blog as a showcase for whatever project I'm working on unless it's about the writing but it's fun to throw in posts about my other interests here and there.
  • Emotional stuff. I'm always worried about whining too much and so have been trying to pull back on those posts lately. My friend pointed out that ranting and raving posts are good sometimes and I shouldn't leave them out altogether because they likely resonant with others.
  • Surreal Shit. This is the only place where I write anything surreal. They are always about something in particular and I have a lot of fun with them. They're important to do every now and then as a writing exercise.
  • The Writing Life. These posts are very important to me and I use them as signposts for my own writing progress, ideas, and attitudes as they're evolving. Whether anyone else finds them interesting and/or useful is completely beside the point though I'm happy if people like reading them.
  • I really enjoy using this blog as a chronicle for my major trips. I still haven't finished all my posts for this year's trip to Europe.
I haven't posted on my other blog, Fainting in Coils, in a while since I finished "FailSafe." I'm going to write another long story sometime in the beginning of next year and will post it there. Though I don't post there regularly it's very important for me to keep that blog up because it's only forum for these stories.

I do wish I could draw. I'd be creating illustrations for my stories for sure and I would enjoy posting pictures for you but I'm a lousy artist. I'm pretty good at copying/sketching other works but can't create something of my own.

I sometimes ponder the differences between posting here and FaceBook. I used to include surreal notes there but don't anymore. FaceBook is all about skimming through statuses and posting your own. Plus, I know everyone on FaceBook. Many of my friends on FaceBook don't even know I have these blogs and I'm reluctant to share that information for some reason. I think it has something to do with worrying about what those people would think of me if they read this stuff.

Thanks for reading and I hope you are all enjoying your Holidays.

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