Last month I received an email in my Waking contact gmail account. The writer said something along the lines of- “Hi LA. Love your blog. It’s so good. You’re so successful. Can you give me tips on how to write?”
I stopped, I looked around my living room, and then back at my ipad screen. This was immediately followed by my best DeNiro/Taxi Driver “You talking to me?” which was followed by “What? I don’t know how to write a blog. I just throw my thoughts on a page.”
And when you think about it- how do you teach someone how to write a blog? How do you write a blog? And that’s basically what I said to Midlife- I don’t know how- I just do.
But since that fateful day when I realized someone might actually want my opinion (as opposed to my daughter and husband), I have tried to think about my writing process. So here goes- the waking formula for writing:
E= Essence. Plain and simple, you must have a topic. What do you want to write about? What do you want to say? Without a topic you are trying to do the blog equivalent of “Seinfeld”. How many successful shows are there about nothing? How many successful blogs are there about nothing? My overall theme is how age has shaped my thinking process. My topics are things I actually think about. And think about. And analyze. So the first thing you must have before you open laptop, tablet or phone is a topic/idea. Seriously- do not open up your writing section unless you know what you want to write about. Otherwise it’s just a really frustrating time staring at the blank screen and blinking cursor.
M=Mode. How are you going to write about a particular topic. Funny? Intelligent? Poignant? In your face? Your style, or voice is extremely important- it’s what sets you apart from other writers. As people tell students about writing their college essays: throw a pile of blogs on the floor- if people can tell which one is yours by style alone, then you’ve done your job. There are probably only four stories out there in the world: man/woman v nature, man/woman, self and machine. How you tell that story is the difference.
C²=Content- You can’t be style without substance: your words must back up your idea. What are the actual ideas that are going to back up what you are setting out to do. They don’t have to be facts, but they must be supporting statements that make you seem like you know what you are talking about. And, to be fair, it’s your topic that you chose to write about. You should have an idea as to why you chose the topic and what you want to say about it. Try to stick to the topic. I tend to meander- I have to reign myself in every day. But seriously- keep the same thread running through your blog from start to finish. Stay on point.
There it is: Take a hypothesis, back it up, write about it in your own individual way.
What’s that you say? Not that simple?
Well- here’s the thing: Nothing is simple. Nothing is easy. If you want to write, you sit down and write. Sometimes it’s good, often it’s bad. But does it matter? Isn’t just putting words on the page and hitting publish a success? That’s my theory every day. Every time I come up with an idea, write 500 – 1000 words and hit the blue publish button I consider it a success. So maybe my mindset is my greatest asset- maybe one person out there thinks I’m a good blogger because I have the guts to hit “Publish” every day, no matter what I’ve put on the page.
Which is what I’m about to do now…