Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just to Write

I'm finding more and more how helpful comments are on blog posts. Besides boosting the writer's esteem, insightful comments on a particular topic often shed new light on matters and entice you to look at different angles.

I wrote a post some time a go on Blog Traffic Stats , which basically concluded that the overriding reason we write blogs is for self-therapy, especially (but not only) us BiPolar sufferers. Recently, one Bob Grummin (who surprisngly doesn't have a public blog) added a comment exposing another reason, I had overlooked, for why we blog: To hone our writing skills.

Good Point. If you've got any inkling of an aspiration of being any kind of writer, honing your skills is the best way to start. Want to be a good athlete - practise every day. Want to be a good musician - practise every day. Want to be a good writer - practise every day. It's a no-brainer.

Me, I definitely fall into the hopeful author class. I've had 2 books published so far but no notable success as yet. Notwithstanding, I've got another book in me just bursting to get out, and as I sit here now, I can confidently say that if there is one thing I'll regret that I hadn't done when I'm lying on my death bed - it'll be writing this book.

But I've hit a lot of blocks with my writing. My main problem to date can be best explained by borrowing on some investment terminonolgy: the "Top Down" approach versus the "Bottom Up" approach. The Top Down approach is the Big Picture view, you build up your investment portfolio by first analysing the world economy, then different countries, then different asset classes within those countries...until you finally know what shares you must be looking for. That's the approach I've used with my writing - Starting with the main plot and drilling down into each chapter until I've got my writing cut out for me. But I find this way tends to stifle creativity and bolster writer's block.

The Bottom Up approach works opposite. Here you randomly look at different companies, until you think " My fck - this is a good one", and you add it to your portfolio. For me, the Bottom Up approach to writing entails just sitting down and writing, taking each sentence as it comes. Sure, you've got a general idea of where the story is going but you also leave room for the story to write itself.

And it's the Bottom Up approach that blog writing strengthens. Just to sit down with a blank post facing you every day and start filling it with words which come to your head there and then is probably the best thing you can do.

5 comments:

  1. right on! blog comments are certainly valuable, and i appreciate the ones that you left on my site. blogging is indeed great therapy. i am not myself a bipolar sufferer, but i have a few mental/emotional problems of my own, the primary one being chronic depression. i don't feel the pole fluctuation to the degree that you do, but writing in a public forum helps alleviate some of the "down-ness." i wish you the best of luck on the book!

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  2. I know what you mean that is exactly why I blog!:)Thanks for coming to my site:)

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  3. On target as usual, every bit of it. I've been holding back on commenting lately because in my current state I don't feel I have anything to contribute. But who am I to judge? We'll never make a contribution if we don't offer one.

    I have a tendency to judge what I'm writing before it is even written. "Will people like it?" I wonder.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Mage

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  4. I also prefer 'The Bottom Up approach'. Because it's creative. You can let your subconscious decide which way to follow. And suddenly you realize you got an answer you didn't think you were seeking.

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  5. Comments are cool. It's neat to get a little email notifying me I got a new one, I guess that will wear off after a while...

    Great post.

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