I've been doing a lot of packing here at the dime store to move my family from Virginia to New England. I haven't been doing any writing, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing. It's the biggest challenge (well, besides lugging boxes down four flights of stairs...) to get all your stuff to run out at the same time, like shampoo, brown sugar, pickles, laundry detergent, etc. Sounds like the fixings for a pretty repulsive casserole. But it reminds me of writing a book and the need to finish off different plot lines at the same time and have it appear natural. Packing stuff in boxes reminds me of character traits and themes. As soon as you put something in, you can't always remember where you put it. It helps to group things together in places that make sense.
Because I had two lonely lasagna noodles left in the cupboard I made lasagna shortly before our move. It was heavy on the Ricotta with a thin dusting of mozzarella. My husband liked it; I didn’t. So I could take a few lessons from this. Use what you’ve got because there are a lot of different tastes out there. On the other hand having the right ingredients, but the wrong proportions makes for a disappointing experience. And just because you have something on hand (like an idea or a nice turn of phrase) doesn’t mean it belongs in the dish.
Right now my belongings are scattered in three different places (kind of like my thoughts). When we were putting things in storage, there were things I wanted to throw out, but couldn’t bring myself to because they have value. In writing, it’s so hard to throw things out in the revision stage too. It takes courage.
A plot has to move forward--and so do we…
Monday, June 6, 2011
How often should you update a blog? Three different sources I came across this week had three different answers. Every day. Once a week. At least twice a month. A friend of mine follows over 100 blogs and finds it hard to keep up if they’re the Centrum types (one-a-day). Another friend won’t read a blog that’s not kept daily. We may disagree on numbers, but the constant here is the pressure to produce. Pressure is what turned prehistoric ferns to coal and the occasional diamond. So it’s a good thing right? It also, in a lot of cases, just hardened layers of sediment into plain old rock. But rock also has its uses. I guess we just have to ask ourselves once in a while are we creating a blog or a clog?
I keep thinking about Professor Robert Thompson’s comments about universities becoming deputies of twitter and facebook. Since everybody is on these social networks, the rest of everybody feels the need to get on them. With Indie publishing, it’s the same concept. Got a book? Get a blog as part of establishing a platform. So we’ve got lots of platforms to dive off of, but not enough pools. For Konrath and Hocking, blogs are a big part of their success, but does that mean that any success automatically depends on a blog? It would be interesting to see some studies, some hard numbers about correlations.
It’s all about finding a balance. Writing a book and keeping a blog use different muscles, and require different habits. I find it invigorating and a little scary to switch between the two. The one is about writing and writing and revising, revising, and revising then subjecting it all to review by other writing professionals. Blogging is more spontaneous, performing without a net. To mix metaphors here, novels are round tumbled gems with the edges worn off. Blogs aren’t as polished, but you just might find a diamond or two in the rough.