By: suchitra M On: December 11, 2011 In: Blogging, Life, Writing Comments: 42

Blogging is very new to me. I have done a lot of business writing (large proposals, analytical reports, endless information forms and long emails) but had never actually sat down and written for myself. I got introduced to this whole new world when I became active on Twitter – and with a little bit of push and a whole lot of support from my Twitter Fairies, I plunged in.

I have now written one post a week for five weeks and here are a few things that I have realized :

Takeaway #1 : Writer’s Block is a Myth – Even for someone like me for whom writing does not come naturally, the key is to get started and keep going. Decide a topic close to your heart and let the words flow. As Seth said :

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better. Write like you talk. Often.

Takeaway #2 : Discipline, Discipline, Discipline – Setting small goals and sticking to them helps. I decided to post once a week come what may. I see a lot of abandoned blogs (with excellent posts) and it makes me sad – enthusiasm needs feeding and discipline is a great way to keep the enthusiasm alive.

Takeaway #3 : Little Rituals set the Mood – Develop your own rituals to get you into the writing zone. I keep aside a favourite diary and a pen gifted by my dad for writing my blog. I write in lists of five to keep me focused. Rituals do help in channeling creative energies and act as triggers for inspiration.

Takeaway #4 : Creating vs Curating Content – Curating content is interesting but creating your own content and seeing it shared and discussed gives a BIG high. If I find something of value I love sharing it, but sharing my own content gives me immense satisfaction – it is so much more fun.

Takeaway #5 : A Blog is another window to the World – This is one of the biggest benefits that I have got from my blog. Through comments and shares, I have met people with common interests and different views. It is a great conversation starter and a pointer to wonderful people and writing that I would not have otherwise stumbled across.  What better way to improve writing than by reading what has been written?

So, what I have realized in my blogging journey so far is simply that much like anything else in life, in writing too – you get what you give. It is best captured in the quote below (I love quotes :)) :

“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.”

— Harlan Ellison 

Please do share your experiences on blogging – what prevents you from starting to write, what inspires you to write, what keeps you going, how has blogging changed your world ?

42 Comments:

    • Vicki Flaugher (@SmartWoman)
    • December 12, 2011

    You are right on, I think, Suchitra. I am guilty of #2 and I will, based on the inspiration I have received from you today, fix that. I will ping you with the new posts. As always, a great read – I love watching you flower in your creativity. Bravo!

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 12, 2011

    Hello Vicki,

    Thanks so much for dropping by – your early guidance has helped me find my voice (and guts). Discipline is difficult for me too but creating something is so addictive that I am motivated enough to stick to my goals so far. Will wait for your next post or “ping” you back soon 🙂

    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Andrew | Redtype (@redtype)
    • December 12, 2011

    #4 & #5 spoke to me. It’s one thing to curate and share content that you and your community relate to but the creation of which inspires others to press on and not give up? +100! thanks 🙂

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 12, 2011

    Thanks, Andrew. I like your line : creation of {content} inspires others to press on and not give up?
    That is such an amazing way to connect the goals to a purpose to create a vision for the blog – have to think about this more.
    On #2 – welcome to the gang 🙂 lets keep reminding each other.
    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Gary Loper (@GaryLoper)
    • December 13, 2011

    Absolutely perfect timing as I have cleared most of the other projects aside and learned the best time and settings for me to write and be creative as I capture my thoughts for my blog posts. I will keep your takeaways with me as reminders. Appreciate you

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 13, 2011

    Hello Gary,

    Thanks so much for dropping by. I am so thrilled that my post is timely and useful enough for you. I think you have also given me an idea for another post – best times and settings (a subset for my #3 takeaway)…..

    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Judy Gombita
    • December 14, 2011

    All right my dear kindred Twitter Fairy, here is my explanation as to why I “kind of” have challenges with #2 and #4.

    Re: #2, over the years I’ve learned I work best with FIRM deadlines and it’s better when they are imposed by others. That’s because, otherwise, I will spend hours and hours in the research and thinking and conceptualizing stage, rather than in the actual writing. For my PR column on Neal Schaffer’s Windmill Networking blog, we’ve worked out some firm publishing dates and submission deadlines…which is good for me. On PR Conversations, more times than not I am in the editor’s role (and note that I find editing waaaay easier than writing. I always have in my professional life.) That means I’m the one imposing the deadlines on the guest contributors. Oh, and if you miss one of my deadlines…watch out! 🙂

    Re: #4, in both of my blogging roles what I seem to be doing is more a “mashup” of research (or curating) and original content. I like to think that’s where my finely honed (from university days) research and critical thinking skills can kick into high gear. In this “information obese” social media world, I really don’t want to be writing about the same things as everyone else. And if I am writing on a common topic (like “crisis communications”) I want it to be my own take on the topic (which is usually a lot more pragmatic than others), backed up by proof points.

    But doing that (i.e., #4) takes a lot longer than banging something out…which means that often I have trouble with #2–deadlines!

    But I agree with you that when you create original content that provokes discussion (pro or con) it is incredibly gratifying and satisfying….

    I remain so proud of you about not only publishing your fifth post, but in doing such a freakin’ great job writing original posts, both creative in thought and gorgeous in their prose and “illustrations” (quotes or graphics). Keep it up!

    • Joel Don
    • December 14, 2011

    Echoing Judy, deadlines can be your friend. They cut through the ruminating and impose finality when you’d perhaps crave yet another day to research, write, polish and…write a bit more. I enjoy reading writers on writing (I think there’s a book or two with that title). Harlan Ellison — one of the best, and so much truth in his words.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 14, 2011

    Hello Joel,

    Thanks for dropping by. Agree with both you and Judy on deadlines, I would never get anything done otherwise. That’s why I set my own and it works well.
    I think I will do a separate post on Harlan Ellison – there are so many gems in his text. Here is one more that I really like (describes what I feel before I hit the publish button so eloquently) :

    “When you’re all alone out there, on the end of the typewriter, with each new story a new appraisal by the world of whether you can still get it up or not, arrogance and self-esteem and deep breathing are all you have. It often looks like egomania. I assure you it’s the bold coverup of the absolutely terrified.”
    ― Harlan Ellison, Shatterday

    Thanks again, Joel – and so glad I met you through Twitter – serendipity at work again.
    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 14, 2011

    Hello Judy,

    I have been waiting with bated breath for your comment – you put so much thought and authenticity (your unique stamp) into your feedback that anticipation is part terror and part eagerness. I can now safely take a BIG sigh of contentment. Thank you for being you as always.

    It is interesting that you made a reference to your university days on how you are making use of your skills in research and critical thinking for curating and creating documents. That is what I was reminiscing about too when I wrote about #2 Discipline. I did a degree in engineering and frankly if there was no deadline of exams, I would never have completed my degree. All the studying was done on the night before exams 🙂 rest of the semester was spent in cramming in all the “experiences” that one could possibly experiment with. So, “deadlines” definitely rings a bell – a call to arms.

    I had sort of stifled my creativity bone over the years and I have you and many of my friends on this page to thank for pushing me back into the zone. Proud to make you proud – the best is yet to come..

    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Andrew | Redtype (@redtype)
    • December 14, 2011

    Judy, I echo your thoughts on the firm deadlines that are imposed on us by others. In design, the most challenging work you’ll ever have to do is when you do it for yourself.

    As designers, I find that we hold ourselves to such an exacting standard that makes it difficult for us to create designs for ourselves. One method to address #2 is to create a “good enough” version of a particular design and place the project on a backburner so that I can keep chipping away at it.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • December 14, 2011

    Or maybe, Andrew, use an external reviewer that you trust to be responsible for the “GO” decision ?

    Suchitra

    • Judy Gombita
    • December 15, 2011

    Suchitra, Andrew and Joel,

    I love the way we are all in synch (but in such different ways!) about deadlines–our friend, not our foe, as per Joel.

    Which reminds me of a piece of advice given to me by Mrs. Ross (who was featured in my guest post on @marketingmel’s blog re: her term “friendlies”). I was moaning to her about not getting everything I wanted into a paper. Her great advice (paraphrased):

    :”Judy, I have no idea what you meant to say. All I have in front of me to judge is what you did write, how you made your argument and the quality of your writing. And it does not appear to be “lacking” so don’t sweat getting everything in all of the time.”

    On another note, Suchritra, why am I not the least bit surprised that your degree was in engineering? (My father was an engineer–he studied “engineering science” and worked in the field for awhile before going into teaching. He did almost everything himself re: building things and servicing the family cars, often with me as his “helper.”)

    But you aren’t just any engineer, appreciating the structural aspects of things…you are like a poet engineer!

    • Martha Giffen (@MarthaGiffen)
    • February 02, 2012

    So proud of you for getting that blog going! Noticing the date on this post though. Is this your most current? If not, be sure and put the current link over on my page SO we will all be on your most recent post. IF this is your most recent post, it is WONDERFUL but keep going!

    You are on to something BIG!

    • Kimberly Cardeccia
    • February 02, 2012

    Fabulous post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • February 02, 2012

    Thanks for dropping by Martha. This is not my latest post but the one that i thought would be most suitable to share on your forum.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I am starting to get the same sense too 🙂
    Regards,
    Suchitra

    • Jeanne Kolenda
    • February 02, 2012

    Great! Your blog has a clean layout, and you’ve done a good job getting started. It’s a journey you won’t want to end.

    • Jeanne Kolenda
    • February 02, 2012

    Oh, I meant to leave you my blog address: http://jeannekolenda.com I wrote an article this morning that is very dear to my heart – our online reputation.

    • Suchitra Mishra
    • February 02, 2012

    Thanks, Kim. Glad the post resonated with you.

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