Three Things Blogging Teaches

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“E.L. Doctorow said once said that, 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.'

You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” Anne Lamott

"Where do you get your ideas?""Why do you feel the need to post every day?" And the follow-up, "I don't have enough time to read you every day, so how do you write daily?""Do you really eat all of that food?

These are the most common questions I hear when I run into my encouraging, thoughtful readers.  I never know how to reply because, let's face it, I want to tell a story for each question.

Most of my ideas come during my Morning Pages.  I write and post every day because I'm trying to close the gap between good storytelling and GREAT storytelling and I still have a nice long path ahead. As for the food, well, yeah, I like to eat.

But these quick answers barely scratch the surface of what I want to say.  I want to explain why I started blogging and how starting a blog is like buying a puppy. (I wish I could link portions of speech to make my ideas concise.)

My mind runs in 1,000 directions, and, if I pay attention, I can see the poor reader slowly backing away or subtly checking their phone.  My thoughts about this whole endeavor (can I call it that?) are passionate, but largely disorganized.

And so, without much attempt at organization, I thought I'd catalog my most recent thoughts about what blogging has taught me. Unfortunately, that turned into a gazillion-word document.

You all have a life to live, so, for the moment, I'm only giving you three of said thoughts.

1 - Writing is hard

I'm a good reader so I was sort of hoping my reading skills would translate into my writing skills.

I realize (now) that's ridiculous.

I didn't expect to be a good cook because I'm a good eater, but still, the blank page can be SO mocking!

2. Writing is easier if you're not an expert

I know a ton about leading teams, television, and teaching kids swimming. I'm also opinionated about making tacos and guacamole.  After that, my expertise thins considerably.

Fortunately, I've found writing from my weaknesses provides plenty of material.

For instance, when I'm working through ideas around forgiveness, the work I see my kids doing stands in sharp contrast to my own habits- and so I write about that. The same is true when I write about blending or maintaining a good attitude. There's plenty of ways for me to grow and when I think about what I need to learn, well, the ground is fertile for writing!

3. Consider the readers

When you write, thinking about the reader is important, but it's MORE important to care about them.  When I'm struggling with something, I think about how a specific person would respond to my words.

Would Amy laugh? Would Patty feel encouraged? What would Lisa/Sue/Cathy/KD/Ryan say to me after this post? Are my tenses correct (Mom will notice)? Am I being kind (my kids are reading!)?

Would readers feel judged? Or criticized? Am I making their disposition more agreeable or less?

Am I adding to the noise of the day or bringing a brighter voice?

No wonder I want to take a nap by the time I push publish!  I'm likely not nearly as considerate as I am in these minutes in front of my computer screen.

Thanks for reading along!