Writing Advice: Write Like There’s No Tomorrow
A piece of advice that I’ve happened upon many times in my internet searches of “how to write blog” can be summed up as “write as much as you can…don’t be afraid of failure or mistakes, otherwise you will never improve…you will never grow.”
I’ve always skimmed over this tip but never given it much thought, always writing for this blog what I thought others would surely enjoy, nothing that would be too risky.
However, I was thinking the other night, and realized this, that
If I’m ever to grow as a writer, I’ve got to embrace the concept of backlash, the prospect of defeat, and the idea of failure. Continue reading
8 steps to write a blog for others
8. Don’t tell stories. That’s what parties are for. Stories require personal interaction; a screen between you and your reader is hardly sufficient to create a meaningful interpersonal connection.
No one wants to read about your life. You didn’t click on this link because you want to hear about my day or know about my life, do you? (In the rare instance that you do, thank you – I love you!)
But the majority want information for themselves; they read when there’s something in it for them, they click when my words offer them some incentive. It’s less of a selfish intention and more of a tendency of human nature.
It’s just something to keep in mind if you want your writing to connect with others. Stories are fine, as long as they are anecdotes, structured to demonstrate a broader point that people can relate to. Continue reading
Happy first anniversary to Never Stationary!
Exactly one year ago today, I stifled my self-consciousness and started this blog. A year later, I am still churning away at the press and we haven’t seemed to lose steam. Of course, my last few posts have been few and in-between, but please forgive me, as my knees are practically giving in under the amount of work and effort that first-semester senior year requires of me.
We’ve come a long way, yes we have. My first few posts were rather structured: if I published a poem, it had to rhyme. I tried to write at least every other day, following writing prompt guidelines very closely. My primary sources of inspiration were writing prompt websites.
Now, I write free-form poems. Sometimes I publish three posts in a day, and sometimes I’ll go two weeks without posting anything. I pull ideas from tumblr pages and who knows where. Writing has become a whim, a crutch, a go-to de-stressing activity, and I know that I am a better person because of this blog.
Now for some rumination of my own:
Keeping a blog is strange. I don’t check my stats (which indicate how many hits this site gets per day) super often, but somehow over 365 days, I’ve accumulated 404 followers. THAT’S LIKE 1 PERSON A DAY, DONTCHA KNOW? I don’t know who they are or if they know me personally, but it’s super strange to know that my posts show up in the feeds of over 400 people.
I find that the feedback I get is invaluable. People from all over the internet comment and give me advice about how to improve my blog. A couple of months ago, I shut down my blog for a few days to reformat the site. Does anyone remember novice me, with the purple background and lack of pictures? Now, we’ve got a sleek, black new background, with pretty pictures to lure readers. The picture becomes the focal point; it draws people in.
Honestly though, the greatest part about this blog is not that random people in my life find out about it and somehow read through all of my posts, but it’s that I can read back through them myself.
Coming back to the name of this blog, the central theme that pretty much every post revolves around: Never Stationary!
Every post is reminiscent of a different time in my life. Every day is a different attitude, with a different voice, and no matter what the post, some aspect of that day is reflected through the words. Reading back on a dark day, I can scrunch my nose and smirk at how I thought my life was a mess at the time, and see how I eventually got over it. That way, when it seems like everything that can possibly go wrong is going wrong, I’ll be able to calm myself down.
Oh, I don’t know, readers. This blog is such a central part of my life, yet it’s also allowed me to branch out in ways that I never would have imagined. Who knew that I’d also join my school’s newspaper and become a music columnist? Who knew that I would have encouraged my friends to also start blogs for themselves? I can think of four instances where people have seen my blog and decided to create one too. My own sister decided to follow suit. She kept it up for months; I am so proud of her.
Of course, those that like writing for the purpose of writing should not just blog. I love this website to death, and I am absolutely content with my work on here, but I am the way I am today also because I write privately. These private journals are nothing like this site; they are ranty, they are irrational, and they are incoherent. They are angsty, they are emotional, and they are more than 50% of the time in all caps. I would not be able to post a fraction of those entries on this site. One issue that constantly plagues me is whether or not I should be posting more personal entries. Ought I to mention names? Should I write about my friends, the way that I used to? (This Kid I Know, anyone?) I have continually felt conflicted because it causes controversy in my life, do you know? People get upset and constantly misperceive my intentions. But the thing is…I don’t really care anymore. Obviously I don’t want people to think badly or take away the wrong idea when they read my posts, but I don’t want to let that sort of fear limit me and what I write here. I don’t want to write timidly in fear for what could happen, because then I create arbitrary and self-defeating barriers. That’s the opposite of what I want this to be. So, that concept shall stay in the back of my mind as I post from now on.
If you’ve not closed out of the window at this point, congratulations on getting this far!
Thank you for reading :) – Catherine
Starting to question the importance of revision
In your English class, you’re motivated by grades. There, it is essential to present a perfect canvas, concealing grammar errors and run-on sentences.
“Perfecting the personal essay is an art.”
Butt free writing constitutes a form of art in and of itself; I see nothing wrong with its public display. Spelling errors and skips in logic are flaws that serve a purpose in writing: they demonstrate authenticity.
If your goal with writing is raw emotion, there’s no reason to write your heart out and then cut all of the juicy portions away. Unless you’ve got a target audience, we shouldn’t try to restrict what is worth saying. Here on the internet, with a blog like mine, there are no academic or creative restraints. We primarily pursue innovation.
Accepting flaws is something that we should all attempt; there comes a time when your heart is saran-wrapped and perfectly packaged, but at the same time suffocating and refusing to be concealed. If our hearts are inherently scarred, a bit cracked, and fragile, why do we need to hide that?
It’s the same concept as consistently presenting yourself in a dress suit. Why not sweats? Why not ditch the earrings and pull on some fugly Ugg booties?
Or maybe I’m just being lazy today.
I started this blog with very modest intentions. I wanted a place to publish my own work, with no confines or judgment.
The moment I looked down at my lined paper sometime in my toddler years and realized that I could write the word “cat,” I knew my life would be changed forever. It blew my mind at the time that I had acquired a whole new method of communication; it surpassed the amazement that I felt when I first learned how to read by a long stretch.
Prior to the blog, I had written papers in school. I had written short stories and made several attempts at writing novels, all futile and exhausting. I made multiple confidential blogs that ranged from personal rants, secret identities, and angsty teenage posts. I was on a roll.
Come fall of 2012, I was feeling expressive. It was junior year, one of the toughest of them all. I remember one day I was feeling particularly down about life, so I took out a piece of paper and made like a proper English student – I free-wrote for 20 minutes or so.
I left and got a cup of pudding – I remember this vividly.
I came back, looked down at the once-blank sheet and felt rather satisfied by the words that I had haphazardly spilled onto the page; ink swirls, exclamation points, scratched out words.
I loved that feeling of writing what I felt, but I yearned to write for an audience. I logged onto my computer and searched for writing prompts, and started a list that is still ongoing today.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to call the blog; I finally settled and am still satisfied today. I contemplated about whether I wanted to let people know about it. I figured that if I were to go through with this whole thing, the significant portion of my audience and support would come through people who knew me patiently. And yet, I was scared of so many things; judgment topped the list.
At a time when I was very wary of myself, I am still amazed that I managed to gather what confidence I had and go through with the whole thing.
I wrote my first post in October, and published it with doubt and self-consciousness. I told very few people that I had done such a thing,
But then… I became more open. I decided that I would probably get more support than judgment, and that if I faced open, brutal judgment, that I would accept it. Critics are welcome to themselves…
So I started this blog with the intention of documenting my progress as a writer, for two types of audiences. The first is full of those who know me personally; they never would have expected that I wrote all of these posts because I probably don’t act like this in real life; but it’s a comedic surprise all the same.
The second is comprised of people from all over the world who happened to stumble upon my blog somehow. This group of people has no right to judge me; you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. Your criticism will be taken as criticism, and your praise will be taken as praise. The most valuable feedback is advice on writing, because my goal is to draw a varied audience.
I Run the Blog, The Blog Does Not Run Me
Blogs are very versatile tools, for people of all ages, for people with all sorts of interests and backgrounds, with any and every intention. Some come to write because the Internet is a remarkable forum for people to share their ideas and opinions. That being said, the optimal blog (in my opinion) is one that finds an acceptable balance between self-expression and writing for an audience.
Eventually coming to isolate a focus for your blog is a natural occurrence that will happen gradually, if you have the intention of writing for other people. Focusing on a theme means that your blog might actually have an impact, because it means that you’re not just chronicling your life or ranting about random topics and then never coming back to address them. With a theme, you are coming back to repeatedly discuss/update your opinion and experiences about a certain topic that you will become an expert about. This is not to say that you can’t write about what you want, but just that there should be a tone among your posts that stands out. Continue reading
Why Am I Here?
whn i wus in middle skool i cr8ed a blog called “thoughts” in whch i jst ranted bout my angsty 7th grade life. it wsnt 4 neone 2 read n i had no idea how to control the theme or the background. i wus all pissy bcuz i wrote bout how certain ppl annoyed me. it wus the pinnacle of immaturity, sumthin tht im rather embarrassed bout, specially bout the way i typed.
Who writes like that anymore?? Certainly not me. I’m so glad that I got over this awkward phase of mine. So glad that it was only a stage.
I started another blog the summer before junior year, which was anonymous and not very well maintained. By then, I had matured quite a bit but upon reading back through my posts, I still sounded childish in my words. The whole blog was very random and scattered, and it was boring because no one read it and it almost became a chore for me.
All of October 2012, I contemplated making a new blog. I could start fresh, make each post as high of quality as possible. If there was nothing very personal on it, the whole world could read it. If I just wanted to write about my day and what happened in my life, why would anyone want to read that? Would a notebook not suffice? I could make it applicable to anyone who read, of whatever age, of whatever race, gender, or geographic region. I could even show my friends and family. I gathered the courage to start this blog, and now, over six months later, here I am, still writing.
I’m here on WordPress because I tested other blog systems but I found this one to suit me well. I love Daily Post, and the wide variety of prompts that they give me every day. My readers are genuinely wonderful people and I’ve found that there’s an astoundingly huge online community of people just like me, who love to write.
I started this blog with the intention of pushing myself to produce more creative writing pieces. I generally don’t write poetry, and whenever I did, I limited myself to simple 4-liners with alternate rhyme. Gradually however, I started stepping out of my comfort zone. I’ve started to think more professionally about the things that I write, and none of this would have happened if I had never started this blog.
What I initially was very timid and nervous about turned into a project that profited in every sense.
I feel more confident about myself and the future.
The reflection that I’ve had to go through when writing my posts has allowed me to make decisions that bring me out of misery.
I’ve encouraged a modest number of other people to start blogs or at least give free writing a try.
I’m here because I absolutely love writing and want to share it with anyone who is willing to read.
More importantly though, this blog is all mine. I run the blog; it does not run me. It’s freedom in a sense that I am free to choose what I write about, yet contained in an air of maturity and civility.
I Sort of Cringe When I Reread Old Posts
Featured picture is somewhat irrelevant but I just like cats, so.
I’ve always tried to be very strict with myself concerning this blog.
I make spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes. It’s true.
It will be very early in the morning and I will be doing the Daily Prompt.
It could be very late at night (maybe 2:33 AM) and I could be just writing furiously about who knows what.
Sometimes, it’s not really about whether you watch your comma splices and run-ons; whether or not you spell it “principle” or “principal” can be almost irrelevant. Sometimes, it’s more about the vocabulary that you choose to use.
Sometimes, even the vocabulary that you pick becomes negligible and it’s more about the raw thoughts that you manage to capture in ink.
So excuse me if sometimes I let a run-on slip past me; please forgive the occasional spelling error that arises from my rushing to write down every image that enters my mind!
Now that I’ve admitted my problems, I’ll also acknowledge that the way that I conduct this blog is very specific, and it is very severe.
I have reread my previous posts time and time again. Some are well-written – clearly dictated, flowing smoothly, and precisely opinionated.
Others though? They sound childish. They sound…incomplete. Some are biased and written from one point of view – and it could be quite obvious if you read it for yourself.
Some have spelling errors. Some have places that don’t make sense because I probably forgot to actually type a word.
Confession: I actually don’t proofread many of my posts. Is that bad?
Revision is good, that is for sure. But if you’re racing against the clock minutes before the start of class, is it acceptable to just click Publish and let your words make their way into cyberspace, for anyone who wants to read it?
I suppose. I could be stricter with the editing and revising that I do for my posts, but what I lack in pre-publishing I make up in post-publishing.
I won’t touch my previous posts. I won’t fix the spelling errors and grammatical faults, but they aren’t much of a slap to the face.
Rather, they are an indication of who I was at a particular time. I will force myself NOT to add pictures to posts without any (the first 10 or so, before I made the homepage centered about the images attached to a post). I will force myself not to go back and change my opinion. I won’t delete a post without any legitimate reasoning. I won’t be ashamed of the things that I’ve written, as long as they are arbitrarily respectful to anyone who chooses to read this blog.
I’ll keep everything the same – the picture, the content, the tags, the title.
To go along with the theme, this blog is Never Stationary. It is also never stationary. It is constantly changing, and I want to keep everything that I write in the past to document my progress. I think that in general, the only trend that this blog will show is improvement. Improvement of what, you ask?
Vocabulary. Cohesiveness of thoughts. Appropriate length. Relatability (actually just made up that word). Etc. etc. etc. Oh and of course, the occasional grammar/spelling error. Logistics.
Today, before I posted this, I skimmed it quickly and read it aloud to myself. Yay! Progress!
Embracing Your Amateurity
Will someone buy me a cup like this? I’d love you forever.
(Amateurity isn’t actually a word, but I’ll unofficially define it as the state of being amateur)
I woke up and saw the notebook. I was so very drowsy, and so I only wrote three words down.
“such an amateur” Continue reading
Keep On Writing, Everyone
Some can pick up a microphone and demonstrate their natural talent for singing.
Others can indicate their affinity for dance as a method of self-expression.
Me? I can sit down for hours and write non-stop.
It is 2:07 AM. Continue reading