By: Marilyn L. Davis
Blogging, Life, and Writing Lessons
Begin at the Beginning, Even if You Create It
If we stay trapped in just those components, we will end up with a flat piece that no one wants to read. I know that some of my earlier articles here fall into that category – just the facts, places and people. I wrote them like that because I was afraid to insert me into them, and I know that’s a common fear of writers. Even without fear, we wonder how much of our feelings, impressions, and insights to interject without coming across as egotistical, boring, or too revealing.
It is the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and ideas that make creative non-fiction come alive. Even when we embellish the facts, or heighten the emotions, if it’s truthful, so what?
What Do I Know?
“We write what we know” seems obvious, but that is where we begin. If you’re an expert in something, qualify it for me.
Not just with letters behind your name, but tell me your process, your struggles, and your accomplishments – and then how you felt during each stage of that process. __
Everyday Brings a Realization
For instance, think about a mechanical engineer who worked on a space shuttle mission. There’s room for a human interest story to accompany an article on advancements in space travel and how those advancements translate into everyday conveniences for the rest of us, all without once describing the function of space travel.
- Did that calamity prompt our engineer to design something better?
- Was he feeling guilty, so he improved something that today makes our lives easier?
- Did he get angry because his cautioning words went unheard?
Expand on Your Known Facts
Find Your Angle in Every Topic
I’m like many of you; I understand the computer enough to write. I have a trusted computer expert to fix the problems, and I’ve used his services for over twenty years. Not only does he fix the problems, but he also gives me great analogies or metaphors for what happened. When I had RAM issues, he commented that my desk was always clear and organized. I might have a cup of coffee and one or two reference books on one edge of the desk, but that my usual method of writing was organized and uncluttered.
- All my references books stacked up on it
- My dog’s leash because she will have to go out during my writing
- Several snacks in case I got hungry
- My laundry in a pile as a reminder to start it when I take a break from writing
The ‘Aha’ Moment for You and Me
I laughed and said that no, all that would be distracting, and would slow down my process for writing. He then told me that I had an overly mess, disorganized, jumbled RAM desk; I used that desk is a messy manner. Although the RAM was a big desktop, I slowed down it effectiveness with all the “might needs” that cluttered my desktop.
I had large files for images, drafts of pieces, sites to visit, and several browsers open. Who know when I’d need a link for a piece? I’d have eight or ten Word documents available, too. Who knew when the darling of last week would work?
Then the fifteen tabs to game sites. Ah, I see the problem.
Make a Process Relevant for All of Us
In other words, just too much stuff working at any given time. My computer was messy when I wrote and I was expecting my computer to run too much at one time. I’m a woman who thinks anything beyond adding and subtracting for a checkbook is too much math, but I was overloading my computer’s ability to process, much like advanced math is for me.
He then told me the facts – do this, do that: start bookmarking sites and files, and that when I need something, it was in the file cabinet or drawers of the desk – those hard drives or history, or searches. He made sense; it wasn’t like I had to walk somewhere to retrieve them. Either search or history told me where the information was, and if I didn’t need it, then it was filed and ready for another time. Now, I’m organized at my virtual desk, too.
First Blog? What Do You Know?
Write About Your Passions – It’s Contagious
- Did that information enrage or engage you?
- Do you share the article’s perspective?
- Can you write about a counter-point?
- Do you have more current information?
- Can you expand on the information?
- Could you write about the subject better?
- Is the article or blog true from your perspective?
- What do you know about the issue from an insider’s view?
Remember the Feelings in Everything You Write
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing