Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Not everyone blogs ... or blogs freely ...

I forget that the whole world doesn't blog ... Self-centred I know, but if I cloister myself away for too long I forget the rest of the world is different.

"I find it horrifying that people live in countries where they can't blog, or blogs are censored or they can't read international blogs and worse still some people are imprisoned for what they write on blogs."

But it happens.

And that sucks.

What would it feel like to be blogging in a country where you knew you were putting yourself at risk? Would you still blog? How would it affect what you wrote?

I realise that free speech is something I take for granted, despite my sense of history. For today I am going to appreciate it. And ponder on how the blogging community can help others not so lucky ...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Does Writing Fiction Change the Journal Relationship?

I am so solidly writing my fiction at the moment, that the main characters are following me wherever I go and every thought I have. Now please don't go and get the men in white coats and have me put away. I suspect it is a common phenomenon for all writers of fiction - that the characters develop to the point of being a real part of your life. Without that feeling I couldn't write.

"But what I have noticed is that my writing in my journal and blogs has decreased significantly during this fiction writing obsession."
So ... what does that tell me about journal writing in my life? I think the question it raises is "what is the relationship between writing as work (fiction or not) and journal writing. Like I can imagine a life where I write possibly every waking hour that I am not involved in self-care. BUt somehow in a life where I also have to juggle emotional and practical tasks and relationships, my writing time is ver precious. So am I in fact choosing one or the other? I hope not ...

What makes me write less if not the fact that I am writing more in another area of my life ...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Journals as Fiction

Journals as fiction has been a bit of a theme for me lately. The ficition I am writing at the moment is the book that has been in my head for about ten years. Other writers will fully understand what I mean ... the book is real to me. The characters are real to me. But how to get it from 'real' to paper is the eternal struggle. I have started it many times and have many part chapters and musings both on my PC and in journals around the house.

I finally bit the bullet today and it is going to have two distinct parts and writing styles ... but ONE of these is the diary form.

"I bit the bullet."

It isn't as scary as I thought.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Don't Whine - Good Advice from a Fellow Blogger

Wow wow wow. Don't you just love good old fashioned homespun advice? In one of my other blogs Blog Writing Tips, I have a guest blogger writing a spot today. Her guest spot is on writing an interesting blog ... and one of her tips is not to whine. I mean how simple and only obvious when you think about it.
"It's no different than face-to-face life I suppose where it is just totally boring to be around people who whinge and whine!"

She does give bloggers an out by saying if you do whine, at least be funny about it!

That's it ... I am now officially a PB ... Positive Blogger!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Can You Have Too Many Blogs?

I'm sure that every blogger out there will agree with me that blogs are high maintenance relationships!!!! Add a family and full time work to the equation - and writing a book and articles to boot and my life is well and truly overflowing. So that begs the question ...
"Is four blogs too many?"

I personally don't hink so when they are all quite different in nature and audience. I love having a place to blog four different types of thoughts - there is just the occassional time that I feel obliged to put a posting in and that is when I wonder if four is too much.

This is where blogging - in my humble opinion - is similar to journal writing. You can have as many (or few) blank books as you want. Same with blogs. With great supports like Blogger and BlogCharm you can have as many (or as few) blog spaces as you like and all for free. So why not have more than one for different types of writing. This is excatly what I do with the plethora of blank books that line my bookshelves!

Similar to journal writing is the way each blog has its own look. Just like I would never use a good leather bound journal for something as banal as financial recoring or list making ... I would also never use a plain old exercise book from the stationery store for my daily morning pages or gratitude journal either ... that one has to be special (currently a red silk journal with hand made pages).

The environment that you write UPON is as important as the tools you use ... so that makes the template for each blog significant. (And quite honestly I think mine is boring but I have no idea how to make it more personalised so thus it stays as it is. This is a skill I have yet to learn).

So have as many blogs as you like!!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is there any point to blogging?

I am having a low week. Just tired and worn out emotionally I think. And what comes to my mind when I finally have some time to blog?
"What is the point of blogging?"

At first I figure it's just me being down ... then I think more closely and it is actually a fair question. And a good question to ask in terms of the research for the book. People ask journal writers all the time "why do you write in a journal". So honestly ... what is the point of blogging? So many people do it. I'm too burnt out right now to care about answering. But it needed to be recorded for someone to answer ...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How To Part With a Good Book

Ever since my very relaxing Christmas break this year when my partner bought me a great novel to read, I have really got back in to reading in a way I haven't since I was a teenager loosing myself in good stories. I've always loved reading. It has always been a "place" to go to in my head for me. Essential to my well being, growth and sense of self. For many years as an adult I found myself reading more non fiction - especially during years of study. But as my kids have gotten older I have found myself drawn back to fiction again. Even some really bad fiction!
"When my partner bought me a book for Christmas of a new author that was "just right" it reminded me how much someone really needs to know you to buy you a book if you are a real book lover."

Anyway, somehow this act sent me in to a spin where I have been reading at my old teenager rate. Which brings me to the awful side of reading. When you really get in to a good book you have to say good bye to it at the end. I hate that. I really hate it. So I thought I would sahre the one technique that really works for me ... that might work for any other book lovers out there. When I am up to the second last chapter of the book I stop reading it. I put it aside for a couple of days. (Shock horror this is obviously hard to do!). However ... during this couple of days I start the NEXT book I am going to read. I read enough of it to feel like I know the characters (or at least identify with one of them). Then I go back to the book I was originally reading and it isn't so hard to 'say goodbye'.

So what does everyone else do? Or am I the only nutter out there reading????

Monday, March 13, 2006

Interactive Blogs

There is no way you would call this a particularly interactive blog. There are only ever a few comments - but there are a few shy people out there who email as well. I have also had the pleasure of many many more people chatting with me virtually, due to the survey. I have been thinking about the differences between blogs and journals and one of the main things is the audience.

We all know that having an audience does change what you write ... but I think that more importantly there is the audience who give you feedback. For me? I would not have expanded my blogging from two blogs to four. I would not have thought of as many things for the book - but I also would have written different things in the blog.

"Some people blog for the fame or being quoted. I think that I blog for the sense of virtual community."

The blogging community (whether as a writer of blogs or just commenting on them) is naturally interactive. I have seen some blogs with major feedback happening and people genuinely interested in each other and their lives. How cool is that? I suspect that the social impact of blogs is only just beginning to emerge ...

And to those who interact with me and this (and my other blogs)? Thanks for the e-friendships that are emerging ...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Writing By Hand

It has been interesting being without the computer for a few days. (Do notice how I can be all positive about it now I have it back!). Writing by hand is such a different experience don't you think? My daughter and I were talking about it today - I was mentioning that my handwriting is terrible (she disagreed which was nice of her!). I learnt to print in one country - then we moved to a totally new country and they had already learnt to hand write. Well of course it was really difficult to pick it up ... and just as I was starting to get the hang of it we moved and I had to move schools again. I have always sort of played around with how I write. I can write in quite a few different ways quite comfortably ...

"What I can't do is write by hand for long periods of time."

I suspect that with the advent of cpmuters as the main source of writing these days I am not the only one who can't write for a long period of time without getting a really sore hand .. and then a "I can't be bothered" attitude to go with it. I even write my letters on the PC (tho that is rare with most people having email these days anyways).

There is a difference in what I write or perhaps what I think about as I write when I am in front of a screen or in front of a blank page. What about the rest of you? Do you notice a difference? There seems to be this pressure to have everything 'just so' on a screen. When you hand write that pressure just isn't there ... and I am sure I am more creative by hand ... if only I could still write for hours on end ...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sorry for the Break In Transmission ....

Oh my god it is great to be back! Thanks to some very clever but painful script writer I have been off line due to a virus on my PC. Oh yes I do all the maintenance I can, and absolutely have the most up to date virus and spam software I can ... but as you all know these things happen even to the best of us ha ha.

"I was unprepared for the impact of not writing on my blogs for four days."

Sounds pathetic huh! Only four days and I am spoilt enough to a) have internet access at work to at least still use the 'net for other things I am reliant on it for like my banking ... and b) I have a notebook copmuter for my other writing. I am actually so spoilt that I COULD link my laptop to the 'net but I choose NOT to. It helps me keep focused on my book and other commercial writing by having a split. I know it is being terribly spoilt ... but the PC is a family one shared by four of us ... (excuses excuses).

Seriously - I miss the process of writing and working on the blogs the same as I do my paper notebook. And that fact came as a surprise to me.

I am happy to be back and have also been really happy to return to some surveys ... a big thank you to Notebook keeper JHP. Your email was fantastic.

This project has led me to meet so many interesting people on the internet. I love it. So many ways to explore our lives through notebooks and blogs. So many regular readers, and so many people with blogs as well who I am now lucky to have to liaise with.

This 'place' (if you can call the internet and blogging community that) is really a very supportive space if you just choose to and learn to use it. I missed it even for four days. And am glad to be back!!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

What Has Blogging Done To Me?

My goodness. This whole blog experience I now have in my life was totally in response to starting to seriously write The New Century Notebook. It was supposed to be an on line journal about the book writing process and learning how to blog and all sorts of interesting things.
"I don't feel like I have acheived any of that."

So what have I achieved? Well I now have FOUR active blogs I write on nearly daily. I have excuses for these like The Blog of Lists is my blog for fun to just have a blog that in some small way contributes to recording events in my life but in a slightly creative and non identifying way ... Then there is Journal Writing Tips which came from wanting to give back to regular readers who are really keen on journal writing ... and just because I am genuinely excited about journals and want to share with others (whether I get paid to or not) ... and then because I had feedback from those readers about journals and blogs having different techniques I started the sister blog Blog Writing Tips ... I mean it does all SEEM to be reasonable.
But I have FOUR BLOGS. That's ridiculous isn't it? Or greedy? Or something? It has taken me right off in to a new world ... and a new hobby ... it wasn't meant to do that!!!! (Ok all you blog addicts out there ... stop smiling at me knowingly!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Strange Relationships

I am having a strange relationship with the book at the moment. I have had some serious moments of doubt about structure and also that perenial question for writers of "How Long"? I seriously wonder if it's three books, or two books and a magazine series or ... See? I am letting myself get confused.
"I usually only get confused when I let myself slip away a little from the project at hand. "
And I dare say this is what has happened. For those of you writing part time while working full time you will understand the struggles of stopping and starting all the time. Then add a family stress or two and there is little emotional energy left for the project. These are never bad moments in the writing process. I just know that for me I need to be careful that it isn't a new period of procrastination commencing ...

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Journal and The Blog

Wow. Simply - Wow again. I have had an amazing week in terms of creative thinking, events and seredipity. I have had the most amazing feedback through your surveys. I am now looking for more ... so it's time to ask all my networks to do some more surveys (PLEASE!) and send them to THEIR networks for even more feedback ... (I still want more!).

But, I have been blogging enough now, (and have four blogs to my name thank you very much!), and read enough of the early survey responses, to have to make some decisions around blogs and journals.
"There is such a difference between a blog and a journal! "
Even if you just compare the personal blog and the journal the big differences are the use of technology and the audience. When you write a paper journal, you have great control of the readership. Apart from nosey housemates, spouses or siblings you are usually pretty sure who the audience is - either just (your future) self, or some survey respondents also said that they were writing for audiences such as their children.

With a personal blog, if you have it out in the open internet community, you are totally aware of the audience. You may or may not adjust what you write for it ... but you are aware of it. Bloggers considered their audiences to different degrees. Bloggers who use their real name or heavily identifying material (such as photos), sometimes told me about their fears of who might be reading their blogs - spouses, parents, kids who might accidentally come across their blogs. One blogger claimed that they had a special username for thier erotica blog hoping like crazy their spouse wouldn't find it somehow from the history mechanism on thier internet browser.

So when you have an audience ... how does it change what you write? Many people said blogging restricted them - others said the opposite. Some claimed that having an audience made them write more often and more clearly. Others found that have a loose theme to their blog meant they found it easier to focus their writing. I even found this years ago in my research - once I KNEW my personal journal would be published, it changed what I wrote some days.

One of the main advantages to the paper based journal appears to be the lack of restriction due to technology. Now isn't that interesting to us blogger freaks! We feel our blogs help us to explore and be creative ... but it was clear from the survey responses so far that people are far more creative with their paper based journals. Partly due to the lack of audience except one's self ... but partly due to the ability to use them for such a wide variety of tasks and in such a wide variety of ways. Blank books seem to be used less by survey respondents (though of course most surveys were from people who found the survey on my blog and thus were highly likely to have one themselves) .... People who used blank books ranged from using them for drawing, cartooning, scrapbooking and pasting in daily souveniers ... to writing in them for as many purposes as there are people ...

This study is facinating ... I wanna read more .... send me more surveys ....

See the link on the right hand side if you want to know more about this project - or email me and I can send you a survey!