Stretching & Writing

I’m not the queen of exercise, but I’ve dabbled in it from time to time.  I know that before I go on a hike, I should stretch my calves and hamstrings, or risk suffering several days of misery.  Okay, misery might be a bit dramatic, but un-stretched and overworked muscles do have a way of letting me know they’re not happy with me.

I understand that if my husband finally talks me into hiking the Grand Canyon with him (not likely), I will have to train for it.  I would have to build up my endurance over several months, choosing hikes that increase in difficulty.  Hiking mountains is much easier.  Since climbing up is more difficult, when I get tired, I simply stop and head back down.  Without proper conditioning, I’m fairly sure I could make it to the bottom of the canyon – getting back out is the problem…and I’m certain of only one thing:  my husband wouldn’t carry me out 🙂

Do I get cell reception here?

A while back, I read a post from someone who expressed disappointment in writers’ blogs without “real” publishable writing and irrelevant posts about the writer’s life.  Of course, I disagree with this view.  I don’t think it’s feasible to always post creative writing pieces just because of the amount of time it takes to craft a story.  Besides, if the writer spent all this time working on stories to post on a blog, there’s not much (if any) time left to work on other projects.  Oh, and once a story is posted on the internet, it’s considered published, so it can’t be submitted to magazines, e-zines or contests.  If a writer wants to follow these publishing routes, then why on earth would they post an abundance of “real” writing on their blog?

Here’s how I look at it:  my blog is where I stretch my writing mind.  Just like I stretch my legs before a hike, my blog topics are creative calisthenics that get my brain limber for my stories and novel planning.  My blog helped me find my writing voice and I have no doubt that this outlet will continue to spur my creativity.  This will be helpful, because soon I will write the first words of my new second novel.

My blog topics aren’t always writing-related, but I am more than my writing.  I’ve got several aspects of my personality that serve the different areas of my life, and they can’t always be separated.  Some may consider my posts trivial or irrelevant.  That’s okay because my mind is loosened up and ready to write.  And I mean “real” writing!** 🙂

** I’ve got a few stories (all less than 1,500 words) that I will post here over the next few months.  Some of the stories are contest non-winners (I hate to say “losers”) but I want to post them here since I know I won’t publish them otherwise.   I don’t enjoy searching through sources to find compatible outlets or writing queries for short stories. I’d rather spend my time writing my novel and more short stories.

I think blogs are a fun break from the writing journey we embark on alone, together.

Havin’ a snack, enjoyin’ the view

What does the “blog experience” mean to you?

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38 thoughts on “Stretching & Writing

  1. 2blu2btru February 23, 2011 / 8:08 AM

    I agree with you! A blog is your space to find your writing voice, seek answers to a writing question, work your mind around a bit to come up with a solution to a writing problem, connect with other writers, and get your mind in a writing mode. Anything beyond that is extra. I use my blogs to promote my “real” writing, and to develop a “following,” as I hear that’s important these days, but for the most part, my blogs are for me to clear my head of other things so I can write. It has also brought to mind many memories and experiences for me to mine for “real” writing.

    The best part of the blog experience has been, for me, that I now carry a small notebook and digital recorder with me. It was to keep track of blog topics throughout the work day, but I’ve recorded so many great ideas that would have been lost forever without some way to get the idea down on paper. Blogging is what you make of it.

    Great post (as are all of them. I don’t think your posts are irrelevant at all)!:D

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 8:05 PM

      Thanks, 2blu! I like how you noted that your blogs are to clear your head so you can write. So, not only do blogs make our brains limber, they offer some meditation along with it. I still like your recorder idea and I’m glad it’s working out well for you. You are right that blogging is what you make of it – I think the problem comes when we project unrealistic expectations onto our blogs. That’s where disappointment can creep in.

      I appreciate your comments and your continued support 🙂

  2. chlost February 23, 2011 / 8:55 AM

    Love the prospect of having husband carry me out of the grand canyon! Never would work here, either.
    I started my blog as a way to have an outlet for my desire to write. I enjoy it. If no none else does, so what? It is for me. If it leads to something else, that is just a plus.
    Keep up the good work and wonderful writing.
    (I have to tell you-when I first wrote that last sentence, I made a typo, and it came out “wonderful writhing”. A Freudian slip, perhaps?)

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 8:10 PM

      I like your attitude about your blog; doing it for personal satisfaction is a great way to ensure that the experience is fulfilling. Thank for for your nice comment about my blog, Chlost.

      Love the Freudian slip; I actually laughed out loud at “wonderful writhing” – sounds uncomfortable 🙂

  3. Addy February 23, 2011 / 9:01 AM

    Oh Janna, your completely right about the process of blogging! I couldn’t help but imagine but compare the beginning of the post to the movie “127 Hours” 😉

    I started to blog just to express my thoughts and feelings that again invariably and rather directly influences your writing style.

    Will definitely keep an eye out for the stories…

    Best Wishes,
    Addy

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 8:19 PM

      I haven’t seen the movie “127 Hours” – I’m curious about it now 🙂

      I do like your posts, so I’d say your blog is definitely serving its purpose. It’s funny how we go into it anticipating one thing, but then realize the blog has affected us in a different way.

      Thanks for your comment and support, Addy!

  4. Hilary Clark February 23, 2011 / 9:59 AM

    I agree with you and 2blu2btru. My blog is a place to exercise my writing mind, to seek guidance from other writers’ when I run into a roadblock, and to clarify the things I’m learning about the craft of writing by writing them out. If I spent all my time focused on “creative blog writing”, I’d never make any progress on my novel.

    Well written post (as usual!) and great food for thought.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 8:36 PM

      I’m glad you liked the post, Hilary.

      I like the uses you noted for your own blog. When I visit blogs, I enjoy a mixture of tips, triumphs and trials. I love to feel the personality in what I read, regardless of if it’s a story or a regular post.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic 🙂

  5. nrhatch February 23, 2011 / 10:25 AM

    You say: “A while back, I read a post from someone who expressed disappointment in writers’ blogs without “real” publishable writing and irrelevant posts about the writer’s life. Of course, I disagree with this view. I don’t think it’s feasible to always post creative writing pieces just because of the amount of time it takes to craft a story.”

    I didn’t read the post in question, but I suspect that he/she was not talking about the type of posts that YOU write.

    Your posts are entertaining, humorous pieces of creative non-fiction. They are, in my view, “real” publishable writing.

    What might he/she have been talking about? Posts with no “value” to blog readers. A recounting of the mundane without any humor tossed into the mix. Posts that are so boring that it hurts to read them.

    Your posts have value, humor, and I always feel better after paying you a visit.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:18 PM

      The post in question was rather lengthy and I suspect it came off overly critical because of the person’s own disappointment with the blogging experience. I’ll email you a link to the post and you can check it for yourself, if you want.

      I didn’t take the views as directed specifically to me, but I’m not bold enough to think that my posts are enlightening gems of wisdom that would automatically be excluded from such criticism, either 🙂 The person also stated that they would be checking out real pieces of writing and not necessarily the latest posts. I didn’t clarify the intent with the author because with this post, comments were closed. There was an email address given, but given the tone of the post, I thought it best to leave it alone.

      I do appreciate your kind words about my blog, although “compliment fishing” is not the reason I did this post. My goal was to state my intended purpose of this blog. A secondary curiosity was to find out what purpose others saw in their own blogs.

      As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nancy 🙂

    • nrhatch February 24, 2011 / 10:01 AM

      Thanks for sending me the link. Your interpretation (not my assumption) seems closer to the intent of the post.

      Her decision to close the comment section makes sense if our sole (soul) goal for blogging is to WRITE . . . 😉

      But, just as we are multi-faceted individuals, we can be multi-faceted bloggers:

      1. Stretch our writing muscles on a regular basis.
      2. Share what we’ve learned about life with others.
      3. Exchange ideas and observations.
      4. Promote our published work.
      5. Meet other writers.
      6. Offer support and guidance.
      7. Receive support and guidance.

      I started blogging because I like to write. I am interested to see where it leads . . .

      • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 9:46 PM

        I like all 7 of the reasons for blogging you listed, Nancy. My reasons can change by the day, but this list is comprehensive.

        I’m interested in seeing where your blog leads, too 🙂

  6. T.S. Bazelli February 23, 2011 / 10:33 AM

    We ARE more than just our writing. I think the best part of blogging is getting to meet other writers, and see what we’re all going through. Maybe our creative processes will be different, but that’s ok. Blogging helps me get into the writing state of mind. I think it’s very valuable.

    The writing blogs I don’t like are where writers (published or unpublished) say “This is the right/only way to do things. You must write this way.” instead of “This works for me, and it might work for you.” This blog fits the latter. It’s the kind of blog I like to read 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:27 PM

      Thanks for your kind words, T.S. I’m with you on the blogs that dictate writing rules, although I haven’t come across many of those.

      “Blogging helps me get into the writing state of mind. ” I like how you worded that…it’s so true!

  7. Carol Ann Hoel February 23, 2011 / 10:53 AM

    I think your blog writing is what it should be. We express what’s on our hearts. We are multi-dimensional beings. Writing is part of many of us but doesn’t represent all of who we are. Blog writing is whatever we want it to be. I enjoy your blog. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:33 PM

      Thanks for your comment, Carol. I agree with sentiment that blog writing is whatever we want it to be. We determine how solitary or connected we are.

  8. Tori Nelson February 23, 2011 / 12:39 PM

    I have always been irked by the perspective that “real” writing needs to be published and deemed worthy by its content. “Real” writing to me is any and every post, article, book, shortstory, or single sentence diary entry that is heartfelt and honest (regardless of where the work ends up). The blogging experience for me has been the ability to get ideas onto paper (or laptop)and feel proud that I could turn the idea into something!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:42 PM

      Tori, You’ve certainly found your way with the ‘mommy humor’ – but I like that you can be poignant and funny at the same time.

      I’ve learned over the last several months of blogging that the world is filled with talented writers. Just because a person isn’t published doesn’t make them less of a writer.

  9. Cities of the Mind February 23, 2011 / 1:14 PM

    Janna,

    Hike the Grand Canyon. You should never miss a chance to experience something of such unreserved grandeur. It’s worth a few sore muscles. Do you really want to look back all those years from now and remember the time you could have hiked the Grand Canyon?

    I understand the lack of “real” writing on blogs, in the sense that there’s no reason to polish and revise a story you post on a blog, but I think stories with publishable concepts should occasionally make it into the line-up. A good writer can sacrifice a few potentially winning ideas in the name of readers. There’s a balance to be found, I hope.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:47 PM

      How ’bout flying over the Canyon in a helicopter? Would that count? 🙂

      I agree that a blog shouldn’t be a wasteland of so-so stories. Posting some great stories can attract readers (I’m thinking it’s kind of like Costco; they cut their losses on samples in order to sell more product in the long run. It works…my freezer is proof.)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cities!

  10. J. P. Cabit February 23, 2011 / 8:33 PM

    The blogging experience has meant mainly one thing to me: Writing Buddies. I really appreciate my blogging buddies, and if my whole author-platform thingy fails, I still have all you guys. (awwww!)

    So that’s what it boils down to with me…breaking my fear of the internet, putting myself out there, and meeting all kinds of new & interesting people on the BLOGoSPHERE.

    And you’re so right about the whole “real” writing on blogs thing! 🙂 If I were going to write something “publishworthy,” would I honestly want to ruin my chances of publication by free-publishing it?

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 9:57 PM

      “Awwww” is right! I do like the sense of community in blogging. Even though I don’t “know” the people I interact with online, I “feel” that they have good intentions. I also like the diversity. I’m still a bit paranoid about the internet, though. I don’t accept candy from strangers 😉

      I’m not opposed to putting “real writing” out here once in a while, but geez, it takes sooooo long for me to write something decent, I wouldn’t be able to keep up a regular schedule.

      Thanks for stopping by, Seph – I always like to know your thoughts on the subject 🙂

      • J. P. Cabit February 24, 2011 / 8:00 AM

        Ya know, I’m paranoid about it too. But I’m not as paranoid as I used to be. (Good? Maybe…)

        • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 9:37 PM

          I think letting your guard down a little is okay…you can be open but cautious!

  11. Aligaeta February 23, 2011 / 8:33 PM

    I don’t have any lessons for writers. I read many blogs, as I do yours to learn about writing on another level. My blog, for me has proven what I have to say is interesting enough, not only for me but for others, to laugh, to smile, to learn, and sometimes to cry sharing life’s experiences.

    I regret that a lot of my writing is dark or that my experiences have been such. Many blogs I read are humorous and I like to make fun of my hardships (today I didn’t succeed) adding a humorous twist. But some lessons are simply painful. Even with the pain, I think I write mostly to express hope.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2011 / 10:05 PM

      I remember the post you did about your loneliness at Thanksgiving. I could feel the ache and I just had to reply. True, some of your posts aren’t upbeat, but they are always heartfelt – I don’t think that’s something to regret. To me, good writing isn’t based on whether it evokes a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ emotion. Good writing makes me feel something, whether it’s anger, sadness, laughter or joy.

      Thanks for sharing what your blog is for you, Aligaeta 🙂

  12. Amanda Hoving February 24, 2011 / 9:12 AM

    “I think blogs are a fun break from the writing journey we embark on alone, together. ” Grea line, Janna, and one I agree with completely. I started my blog to be a part of a bigger writing community. Great post!

    • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 9:43 PM

      Thanks, Amanda! Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Blogging gets us writing practice and community. Not bad, eh?

  13. SuziCate February 24, 2011 / 11:06 AM

    While I believe in quality over quantity, and don’t feel everything is meant for publication, I think a blog is whatever the owner wants it to be. I have found that many publications will NOT publish pieces that have been published even on a blog. I use mine as a place as you put it to stretch.

    • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 9:50 PM

      I agree in quality over quantity also, which is a main reason I don’t post every day! Remembering that posting on a blog can rule out other publishing options is a good thing to keep in mind when sharing work.

      Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts, Suzicate!

    • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 9:58 PM

      Thanks for sharing the link, Nancy. I’ve never done sci-fi, but I’ll have to see if something comes to mind 🙂

  14. Kavita February 24, 2011 / 8:03 PM

    hahaha..this was so relaxing and refreshing, Janna… Our blogs are indeed our little place to vent out our creative capacities (ta least us writers/poets/artists)… But we are so much more than that alone.. aren’t we?? 🙂
    It was awesome reading “about you” here, J… makes me feel I know a real person.. and that’s a great thing …

    Thanks for sharing this honest one, my friend…
    OH.. and the exercise bit.. I’m totally with ya.. that really ain’t my thing…and yet, I have my own ways of “stretching it out”… 🙂

    • Kavita February 24, 2011 / 8:04 PM

      oops… no clue how half the comment got “bold”.. teeheehee.. I am sure I goofed up somewhere…

      • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 10:06 PM

        I wish I could tell you what happened, but I can’t do bold or italics when I comment! 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 24, 2011 / 10:05 PM

      Thanks for your kind words, Kavita! Our blogs do have a way of weaving our personalities into our creative products. Now, if I only I could write shape poetry like you do…

      P.S. – I’m glad I’m not alone on the exercise thing. I do just enough to keep guilt at bay 🙂

  15. SAS Fiction Girl February 25, 2011 / 2:42 PM

    Your mention of the blogger who complained about a lack of publishable writing on blogs sounds familiar; I wonder if I read the same post.
    I agree with you that the amount of time it takes to write a publishable story precludes daily posting of nothing but fiction.
    Personally, I like to read about other authors’ journeys. It’s nice to know we’re all working to improve, find our voice, and find our audience.

    • jannatwrites February 25, 2011 / 4:10 PM

      I like to read about others’ journeys too! I like to feel like there’s hope for me when they succeed, and that I’m not alone when they struggle. As for feedback, I don’t write just for feedback, but it is kind of nice to know what type of writing reaches people and what doesn’t.

      You may have read the post. I’m fairly sure the person visited your blog too. I do hope this person feels fulfilled in their writing journey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the blogging experience, Jen 🙂

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