Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Word (or Two) on Writing

Writing a daily blog about no particular subject, which is what I do, is not as easy as I once thought that it would be. I used to envy the columnists in the daily papers, both the national, as well as the local ones. As a matter of fact, I have a lot more respect for the local ones, who have a much smaller pool in which to fish for daily ideas. The major columnists have the whole world as their domain. But even they, I suspect, sometimes have trouble sorting through all of the stories that come their way.

These are my observations on the subject, made after almost 2 years of doing this blog. (March 29th is the 2nd anniversary.)

Writing a blog is a daily thing, though it wasn't at first, but I came to enjoy it immensely. It usually takes me about 1 hour to post a book review. But it takes several days to read the book. In the interim I have to find something to post each day. When I finish the book I scan the cover into my computer and then transfer it to the blog. Then I start to write, sometimes flipping back through the pages looking for the correct spelling of a name, or the exact date of a certain event. Often I have slips of paper which I have left throughout the book, intending to make sure those parts get mentioned in the review. Usually, and ironically, these are the parts which most often don't get mentioned at all.

Movie reviews are easier, and more fun. Aside from getting the names of the cast and the director correct, most of a movie review is based upon my "feelings". I either liked it, or I didn't. And if I didn't, I usually don't review it. That doesn't mean that every movie not reviewed here is lousy, but more likely that I haven't seen that particular film.

Travel stuff is fun because I went somewhere interesting, but I need to make sure that the historical portions are correct, as well as engaging. So most days I spend about an hour actually composing the blog, but only after I know what I am going to write about. That's the hardest part.

But my all time favorite type of post is when I write something spontaneous, and it flows out quickly and without error. There are not too many of those, but when they do happen you just keep typing, until the story reveals itself. That's magic. And the funniest thing about it is that those stories take about 15 minutes, start to finish. A rambling post like this takes about the same. The hardest part of this one will be finding an illustration for it. As of this moment, it will be a big surprise to both of us!

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