I usually receive many comments from friends and family suggesting new topics to write about in my post. One of the things my friends and family members want to know is how I developed the discipline of writing a blog, including posting every week although I have a full time job. The question comes up quite often when I am in conversation and people learn that I am a blogger.
I admit that I wanted to write a book first, not a blog for a long time. I mainly wanted to share my knowledge with my son, family, and the world in general. As all of you know, it is hard to talk to your children nowadays, without competing distractions. When my son was away at college, I barely could talk to him. He didn’t call as frequently as we wanted unless he wanted something. Even when he called, the conversation would be short and direct. We tried to correspond with him by email, but his response would be usually one or two words. My wife and I tried texting but with limited conversation as well. When he comes home, he usually calls his friends and hangs out with them. In addition, with our fast life and social media revolution, it is almost impossible to compete with professionals of social media who are masters in the art of attracting the attention of our young people. So, after many days and months of thinking, I asked myself: how can I transfer my wisdom to my son? A problem every dad and mom face in this world. I decided that if you cannot beat them, you need to join them! I decided to write a blog.
I faced a problem many writers encounter and that is finding a topic and carving out time to write. I was also uncertain how to go about it. I had no idea how to begin, so I started reading books about how to write a blog. The book market is filled with such books instructing you how to write and publish a blog. I went to Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and ScribtD. After reading several books and becoming a little bit knowledgeable, I decided it was time to begin!
I decided to use Word Press. It is really very easy, and it does not take time. But having decided to write the blog, I still could not write it because of my tremendous fear, a fear that the blog will be so bad and without any readers. This fear kept circulating at the back of my mind until I read a quotation by Anne Lamott in a book when I was browsing at Barnes and Noble.
“Perfection is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you disconnected and whiney for your whole life. Unless you fight back, and the way you fight back is to make MORE mistakes, and messes, more failing and flailing.”
This statement summarized my fear: looking for the perfect time, place, and subject to write my blog. I discovered as a lot of writers do that there is no perfect time, no perfect location, and no perfect topic to write about. I have to make many mistakes until I find the best time and location.
I used a calendar trick made famous by Jerry Seinfeld. I printed a calendar and labeled it every day. When I finished 40 minutes of writing, I would mark the calendar with a big X. My thoughts came fast, and I could not keep them in order. Every time I felt the topic was not the same as the last day’s or had no connection, I started writing a new post. Many times I would write a post with five to six paragraphs without any connection between them! At that time, I was not interested in the logic of the post as much as writing everything down. Many times I would stop and check the facts from books I had read. I would also check Google for any update on the topic.
I want to answer the following three questions sent to me by a friend:
1- How do you have the discipline to publish every week? Even if it is short?
I did not have this discipline, but I decided to develop it. I consider my blog is like a car driving in the dark. I have enough visibility to see the first mile ahead of me (the current post). I don’t think about the 5 to 10 year commitment of writing a blog; nobody can.
2- How are you willing to put your ideas out there, even if you are still unsure of them?
Even when I publish my post, I am still not sure about it. Each post represents an honest attempt to explain something I believe in. It is an opinion, and it represents the state of my thinking. It articulates my knowledge, desire, and intellectualism supported by experience and scientific facts. I usually stay away from politics, religion, and sex.
3- How do you choose a topic with a manageable scope and length?
When I select a topic, I usually don’t know how big the topic will be. I usually make my post from 500-900 words (a recommendation I read in a book). People don’t have time to read more than that. Therefore, if the topic becomes bigger, I shorten it or I divide it to two or three posts.
After I write each post, my wife goes through it proofreading and editing it. When you write a blog you should have the courage to expose yourself to criticism. You have to accept some kind of vulnerability. You have to live with going beyond your circle of comfort. After all, it is not a big deal when people don’t like your post. Try to be comfortable with rejection and criticism. I am happy to say that my son and his girlfriend read my blog. I receive a lot of comments from them.
Finally, as my skills develop, I am looking ahead to new goals. I hope that some day in the not too distant future that I will be able to realize my dream of seeing my ideas in print.
This blog is published every week on Saturday before 10:00 pm. US Eastern time. Thank you for reading my blog. I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email at Thefutureofcreativitynow@gmail.com