Well, it’s basically been a month since I last did anything on my blog, and I have a really poor excuse to try to defend myself. I haven’t really had anything I’ve wanted to talk about.
Okay, that’s not really true at all. More like I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the posts.
No, that’s a terrible defense. Blog posting takes a couple of minutes. This isn’t a term paper I’m writing here (though it’s probably a more accurate representation of my actual writing style). Okay, how about I say my excuse is that a blog is by nature somewhere that you post your thoughts and ideas whenever they come to you naturally, and I haven’t been hit by inspiration to write.
And that is the absolute worst excuse I could have come up with. Really, all I can say is that I sort of didn’t focus on the blog because of other projects with deadlines, and I could have just spent an hour each week keeping up. I have a personal tendency to procrastinate on things that I don’t have deadlines on, which is probably one of my own biggest failings.
Still, I can make this work. I can bring some value out of this month-long dry spell, and I can do this by talking about writing.
There’s this one nugget of wisdom I love that applies in this situation. In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King wrote, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” I love this quote because, even though it comes from the world of creative writing, I think it applies to just about every aspect of the writing universe.
It’s easy to sit around and wait for inspiration to strike, to wait for the “right moment” to begin the composing process. This sort of thinking has caused many a student to wait too long to begin their papers, their final projects, and their presentations, until the final product is harmed by the lack of effort put into the writing process.
I am very, very, very guilty of this particular sin (hence the month-long absence of blog posts). Every so often I have to remember Mr. King sitting down and writing at his desk every day no matter what and force myself out of bed and into my crappy fifteen dollar chair to begin typing.
Now I’m not saying that the writing process can be simplified into a basic tedium of pounding out drafts. There is certainly a creative process where a writer would have to stop and think. My own writing process is very convoluted, where short bursts of writing is interspersed with hours of sitting around, walking, going to the grocery store, talking with my roommates, playing video games and tabletop games, watching movies, and generally goofing off.
Sometimes my goofing off is a part of my process; either I’m gathering up ideas to put into my work, or I’m resting my brain after a bit of mentally exhausting output. But other times I’m just putting off actually doing what I need to do, and it’s often hard to distinguish which one I’m doing.
I would say that it’s at least safe to say that if you haven’t even sat down to write a single word of a first draft yet, then you might just be procrastinating. This is at least true for me. Once I’ve begun to put words into a draft, I switch to writer mode, and everything I do after that tends to be a part of my process that feeds back into writing. But the most important step is to just sit down and, as Mr. King would put it, get to work. Once I grit my teeth and make a couple of paragraphs happen, my brain switches and the rest begins to flow.
Which brings this back around to the particular issue of applying this philosophy to blogging. I do firmly believe that if someone doesn’t have anything that they actually want to say on a blog, then they shouldn’t make things up to blog about. But that’s not what happened to me. I’ve had things I wanted to blog about, I just haven’t sat down and worked. So that’s what I’m going to be doing this weekend, and hopefully for the rest of the week and the semester as well.
Yell at me if I don’t.
Oh, and by the way, Stephen King is the man. I don’t care how many of his books are terrible. The man has serious writing chops.