The other night I was writing in my journal about how I’ve felt recently about writing for my blog, this blog. I lamented my lack of focus; my ideas pass before me much like dust motes seen in the sunlight of a window. I wrote that I hoped being more consistent, once again, with journaling would help train my brain into being able to stick with an idea until it was fleshed out. Then, something clicked in my mind.
Last year I’d done quite a bit of reading about all of the things that successful blogs do. They are short, sweet, and to the point. People have attention spans less than that of a goldfish, after all, so you better get to the heart of the matter right up front and wrap it all up in a neat little packet.
“The thought occurred to me that perhaps part of the issue is that I’ve been having with my struggle writing posts for my site is that I’ve been trying to make them more commercially appealing.” – Me, The Amusing Muse, from my own journal.
Better grammar aside, the fact that I’ve been trying to cut my wordiness down to a strong 500 words has been a bit stressful. I almost feel like I’ve been brainwashed into thinking readers would be bored with my 1000-plus-word ramblings. But, isn’t that why people usually start reading what I put out on the site anyway? Because I’m honest and candid?
It was as if I was struck by an epiphany. I found myself bewildered by how those thoughts felt like pieces of a puzzle nicely sliding into place.
So, I guess that getting back to basics, at least my basics, is the purpose of this post.
Oh sure, writing blog posts for business blogs and keeping them short enough to hold the attention of a business owner is one thing, but this isn’t a business blog. This one is personal and while the appearance still shows “me,” the writing, I feel, has strayed. It’s not like I can even claim the excuse of being a sell-out because my site isn’t monetized. (By the way, thank you to those who have sent tips – they are not unappreciated, and I attended a very worthwhile writing course on those funds.)
But, back to the point. I’m wordy, at least once I get talking on a subject, one I find fascinating that is. And I saw that as a problem. I tried to whittle and shape my writing into more digestible pieces because I started to believe that people only wanted “snacks” online. Short, little time-fillers (or wasters). Low calorie and less filling.
Then it occurred to me: I’ve been trying to make my writing here the equivalent to the Minute Rice of the cooking world when really, I’ve always been more like Arborio for risotto*. Cooking it takes time, patience, some cheese (ok, LOTS of cheese… because, cheese), and still has a little bite left to it when it’s finished cooking.
Risotto is not for everyone, but it is also one of my methods for sneaking vegetables into Mr. Muse’s meals. Sometimes it’s made with stock and wine, or sherry, or just water. Risotto is versatile. It’s a comfort food. It’s one of those dishes that when it’s good, it’s really good, and even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
I feel that what I’ve written in previous years, while perhaps grammatically horrible, was more palatable than the last ten months. Writing, like cooking, is experimental. Sometimes experiments fail.
This isn’t to say that Minute Rice doesn’t have it’s place. I have Minute Rice in the cabinet. It’s a “last resort” food… it’s also used out of convenience for camping, but it’s not what I reach for if I have the time, energy, or choice. And, I have to trust that those who subscribed to this blog didn’t do so because it was a quick, easy-to-read, time-filler. One dear friend said that they always felt that reading my blog was like reading a personal letter to them.
I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy getting letters from friends in the mail. I also enjoy eating risotto. It’s time to get back to comfortable. To get back to writing letters. And, perhaps making another batch of risotto.
If you’re a subscriber – why did you choose to subscribe?
What is your favorite comfort food?
I do agree about blogging and the very limited attention span creative can expect today. For that reason I limit my posts and stories to no more than 600 words, except on the rarest of occasions. How people ever get to read a novel unless it is listed as a “Must-read” in some way I don’t know. What I can say is many fewer people read my books than my posts. Anyway, you got me going but I’ll shut up now. I do hope you’ve had a good weekend 🙂
Peter, I may not read all of your stories, or comment on those I do, but you DO wrap up your stories in a neat, enjoyable package. I have a feeling that my stories, without aid of editors and multiple read-throughs will be tomes like those of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, both of whom I’m listening and/or reading at the moment. I feel that people think they don’t have time for books because they are too busy, however, I find that more often than not, we all just waste time on Social Media.
And, I’ve had a great weekend!