I have learnt a lot about writing in the nearly 3 years that I have been blogging, much of which I haven’t realised until I started writing for other avenues.
I am in the process of finishing up one conference paper, reviewing a journal article on the basis of peer review and researching for another conference paper. Both conference papers have to be submitted for publication in the proceedings, so a full paper is required.
Lesson number 1 – writing is not as easy as it may seem. Or rather, good writing isn’t. I have come to the conclusion that I need to be inspired, or at least greatly motivated to be able to write half-way decently. Which probably explains why my blogging tends to be sporadic, rather than regular posts, as I am not always motivated to write.
Lesson number 2 – I can write when the pressure is on, but generally its not very good. Point in case, the paper I am polishing now I had trouble starting, but I got it down. When I went back to review it, I was amazed to see how bad it was – of course, I went back to in a time of motivation, so I was seeing it through more creative and critical eyes.
Lesson number 3 – good writing will take you over. When I feel like writing, I will write everywhere. So not only am I working on those three things, but I’m blogging here and I will be going off to post on some other blogs as well, with items that have been sitting in my to-do pile for a while.
Lesson number 4 – I can be as temperamental as any artist. Writer’s block seems to happen for me on a regular basis and in those times (with arm across forehead and dramatic flair) I just can’t work!
Lesson number 5 – Distractions are a problem only if my writing motivation is lacking. If I’m having trouble writing, then anything will distract me, but television and a book – any book, are key distractors. When I’m motivated, nothing will distract me, in fact it will be hard to keep me away from the computer.
Lesson number 6 – I create best on computer. I learnt to touch type in high school, one of the best skills I ever learned. Now, all those decades later and still with a healthy typing speed, I find I write better with the keyboard than with pen and paper. My fingers type well with the thoughts flowing through my head and they don’t get as tired as they do if I am writing the same amount with pen and paper.
Lesson number 7 – I review better on paper. Again back to the paper I am polishing. It was created on computer, but when I went back to re-read it, I was better able to do so on paper. Then out came the red pen and I went to town on it. Don’t know why that is, but that’s the way it is.
Lesson number 8 – I have to believe that what I am writing will be good. I can put out some good content, not from the very word go obviously, but I can get down what I want to say in a way that people call relate to. Not that I am anywhere in the same league as great authors, in either the wider publishing world or even the library publishing sphere, but unless I believe that I can communicate in a way that people will be engaged by, then its not going to happen at all.
Lesson 9 – I am enjoying writing more than I thought I would. Despite the anxiety caused by writer’s block and fast approaching deadlines, when the mood takes me I really enjoy putting my hands to the keyboard and creating content. Not that I think I would ever make a career out of it, but rather it gives me the ability to express my passion for what I am doing and to share that with an audience who hopefully relates to it.
Lesson number 10 – there will be many more lessons as I continue to learn about writing. I am very fortunate to have a range of opportunities to hone my craft. As I continue to look for and take up these opportunities and learn from my experiences and those of others, my writing will continue.
So these are my learnt on the fly lessons. Would love to hear of your writing experiences and other lessons you have learnt. By doing so, you help me with lesson 10! Thanks!