Take 2.5: gearing up

Writing when I wanted to. Writing because I wanted to. Now it’s time to go a stage further.

I was all set to have take one, take two, take three – but I realised I’m in an in-between stage here. So take 2.5 – half-way to something new, but not there yet.

When you just write, in some ways it’s easier to focus on your own voice, your own take on things. That was my experience in take one: it was for an audience, yes, but I was pleasing myself to a large extent.

Whether I wrote five posts on one day – or none for six months.

Whether I wrote about things that were current – or just about what was on my mind at the time.

Reading other people’s blogs can give you confidence – I’m not alone in this writing game. It can also knock your confidence if you start to compare yourself. To second guess what you should be writing about.

I’ve tried not to let that get in the way – it’s still generally what I want to be writing about. But (and here’s the thing), blogging is not just about writing: it’s also about being read.

If I want to write, just for me, I can. And I did, particularly during my teens. A little of it came to light, if there was a writing competition, say, but much of the time it was for me. I wasn’t expecting to let anyone else read it.

The moment you press Publish, a few things happen.

One, in my case, is that you then start to edit again, on the basis of how the post looks on screen. Those short paragraphs are for a reason.

But more than that…you are putting out a little flag saying ‘Readers wanted’. You might even be so bold as to say ‘Stop by – I’ve got something that’s worth your while to read.’

One difference is that I also learned a bit about blogs along the way – not just from personal reading, but from the ‘day job’ of copy writing for web.

Some of the blogs that are seen to do ‘well’ are ones where someone becomes an expert in their field – and people want what they have to offer.

That’s good. It’s great to find what you are looking for – especially if you can’t as easily nip into a bookshop and buy a book on that area. (Specialist diets would be one of those areas, although there’s clearly more publishing in those areas too.)

How do you become an expert? Part of me knows the answer: slowly. One post at at time. But it’s still daunting to move towards that, even in a little way.

Luckily,  I’ve come across the right posts at the right time, as it were. (That’s where the time reading has been going.)

Brainpickings has some brilliant ones on how writers see themselves, and how many writers/artists/creatives deal with the balance between feeling the pressure to produce, and turning up anyway.

Project-Based Homeschooling has a section for adults, encouraging creativity and showing you how to get there.

I’m still working my way through all the suggestions, but they are very practical: including how to use the snatches of time you have, rather than worry that you’re not getting the longer chunks of time that you think you need to produce something.

I’ve bitten the bullet, and started looking at some ebooks about blogging. To help me think through the options a bit more, and decide what I want this space to be about.

And finally, I’ve signed up for an e-course with a creativity focus. Partly out of curiosity (there’s a lot of e-courses out there, as you discover when you spend time on other people’s blogs).

But it’s also part of that commitment to writing – and hopefully learning some tricks to support that.

Take three is around the corner. Somewhere. Perhaps even not that far away.

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