Category Archives: Writing + Creating

First Quarter of 2013: Giving Up on Brevity (Once in a While)

I had a meeting this week where I was asked to break down what makes a good blog. My answers surprised me:

While brevity is certainly appreciated most of the time, I think pacing and spacing are much more important, but that’s just my personal opinion.

I came up with my list of blog-writing tips mostly from instinct and memory. What stuck from my internship? What lessons have I learned from blogging? But I did have a moment when my stomach started folding over. I am not a successful blogger, I thought. I have no business telling anyone anything ever. 

Yet there I was. It was a normal workday and, on the clock, I was being paid to give my opinion on what good blog-writing looks like. I got to spend a half-hour analyzing web content (blogs by managers, directors, and vice-presidents) with a colleague I admire. I left that room feeling like my diplomas were suddenly worth their weight in papyrus.

The opinion I gave to a communications professional? It’s not just what I think “blog experts” want. But I think there’s no one way to live life, writing imitates life, and there’s no one way to write either.

So I’m going to give longer blogs a fair shake. I think it fits my writing style a little better and will give me room to exercise judgement. It might even inspire me to post more often, but let’s walk before we run.

What’s been going on since January?

MARCH: good news!

I’m converting from part-time (3 days a week) to full-time (with benefits!) at my job. I’m communications support staff for the Language & Culture program, but I will also support other teams like the community service team and the board of learning advisers.

This is huge. There is a 100% shift in my feelings toward tasks. I’m under less pressure because it’s not hourly, but have more responsibility because I own my time. Instead of every hour being worth X amount, some hours are worth $10 and some hours are worth $100. I wake up ready to work, and I go home with a willingness to do more. 

Launch and Learning – received a little TLC this week

This week, I worked on my online portfolio. I gutted everything that didn’t work–besides, WordPress has had 2 billion updates since then–and made a new menu. Notably, I took out the editing tab. At best, I’m a good beta reader. I am available for freelance digital strategy and design work. But only for 2 projects or clients. 

Visitors to D.C. this month: my parents, Beth and Bernadette, and Jessie.

Also, I now have a sofa! Yes, I went 6 months without one. (I used an Aerobed.)

FEBRUARY / JANUARY: going from memory

  • I went to the Detroit Institute of Art — definitely didn’t make it to all the exhibits so I’m planning on going back for the photography exhibit. 
  • I saw Shen Yun at the Detroit Opera House — more political than I expected, but beautiful and sometimes surprisingly humorous dances.
  • Phase One of Travel Hacking is resulting in 70,000 miles from two credit cards. I’m also close to reaching two free nights from Starwood hotels. Phase Two involves signing up for the Travel Hacking Cartel.
  • Visited my girl Kayla in Richmond, VA
  • My dance instructor Chris came to DC for a week. I do believe that taxi driver learned a valuable lesson: take the money.

Just. . . write.

I did not know that writing could become so important to me.

I did not know when I was little –and maybe this is true for you, too — that I would grow up to care so much about words. But it all started so early: reading books non-stop (even in the dentist’s chair during cavity fillings!); taking a calligraphy workshop at summer camp; creating surveys about dress codes and class songs; and carving out whiny, self-indulgent, and wonderful websites in HTML 1.0.

I did not know I would want to actually study writing in a formal-ish setting. I say -ish. I mean, come on, Professional Writing majors are hardly ever even decent, let alone formal. How else would we learn?

We are funny, us humans.

We document everything. We all talk! We chat, text, tweet. We email. Notebooks filled with love letters, lists, observations. Diaries, private online journals, blogs. Downloading fanfic, listening to podcasts. Lyrics, scripts, plays, poetry. How we live [communicate: use: define: control: learn: treat: etc] language is just so. got-damn. brilliant.

Linguists know. Language is living, and we’re spending our lives in an intimate relationship with the dame. (I’m calling her a dame.)

Not everyone cares to the same degree, though. Some people make their living because of their unique interest and connection to words. Others simply treat it like air–precious, necessary, but mostly out-of-mind. I believe the dame is okay with that.

She’ll get the last word.

This is a declaration. I care about writing. Writing is my personal helper, always finding new ways to make me happy. I have just enough ability to keep learning about ‘er. When I’m very, very lucky. . . I get to use writing to share an idea or a goal. Even get paid for it sometimes.

But I’m going to admit that I’m not in love with blogging.

Blogging is an amazing platform. It is saturated for good reason. For me: it is kinda… hard to do. There are a lot of supposed-to’s and excuses and confusion. I don’t want a blog just to have one. If it’s not a medium I can enjoy writing right now, then it’s time to move on. 

….Not yet. Still have a lot of tricks up my sleeve. I’m just saying that I often don’t feel satisfied when I write blog posts. It could be the topics I’m choosing or the expectations I set or the whiny voice in my head saying, “I’d rather be watching Doctor Who.”

Guess I’ll just. . . keep writing.

Question for ya: How does blogging inform (shit, sorry, academic word) or shape your writing? Or is it the other way around? And is it just me or does the word “blog” suck just a little bit?