Tag: <span>Writing</span>

I’ve posted about writing in the past, why I write, whether I should do more, and recently I’ve been thinking about taking this casual hobby a bit further.

At the same time I’ve been focusing more on the things I post here which seems to have equated to longer posts. Not a bad thing but it was never quite my aim and, whilst it’s nice to get some praise, I find myself a little boxed in by the informal rules I seem to have set myself.

Last night I sat down and again tried to finish a few posts I have in draft at the moment. I managed to push one over the finish line but the rest sit there looking at me, challenging me, mocking me.

In my frustration I wondered if there were any other ways I could kick-start my writing or improve my focus. Google replied, as always, with several thousand responses, one of which suggested not getting hooked up on the length of the thing you are writing, let it be as long or short as it needs.

Not a bad idea.

Enter the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

I had a vague recollection of reading something similar recently, that short form could be just as good as long, and so the idea stuck as one to try. I decided that tomorrow (today) I would just write a blog post and see what happened. Post and be damned and all that.

With a solution in place I headed for my RSS feeds for a distraction and up pops a post by Jason Snell – Bigger than a Tweet:

a lot of interesting, albeit small, stuff would just fall to the floor and be swept away with the other detritus at the end of the day: Amusing, interesting tidbits that would never be seen because they didn’t cross some imaginary threshold.

Jason also links to a post by Andy Baio which is the piece I recently read. In it Andy talks about mid-length blogging, and links to a post by Gina Trapani on a similar topic, I had also read her post. Baader-Meinhof-tastic.

I’m not sure whether what I do here is mid-length, short-form, or something completely different. I just know that it’s fun. I think I’d gotten away from that in my desire to be a ‘better’ writer which something I can, and should, pursue in other avenues.

So here it is, the blog post I promised myself I’d write. I didn’t have much of an idea of how it would turn out, I don’t care how long it is, nor if anyone reads it. It is neither a long read, mid-length, or short-form piece of writing.

It’s just a blog post.

No school like the old school. Right?

Blogging Personal Musings

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I’m always one for the latest thing, particularly when it comes to social media. So when I heard the @Ev (the man behind Blogger and Twitter) had started up something new, I was quick to check it out.

His latest venture is called Medium. It’s an online writing space.

At least that’s part of what it is.

It’s a wonderful hybrid; an excellent online writing tool (which already makes writing this blog post in WordPress seem clunky), and a shared repository of posts and articles created using Medium.

It’s a lovely tool to use and speaks to the fact that, for many people, the act of writing needs a focus and space to be allowed to flourish. There are many applications that offer this, I use Byword heavily for this exact reason, but Medium is the best online writing tool I’ve come across yet.

It does leave me with a quandary. I write here, I am (heavily) invested in this blog, but I’ve also written something there – Writing on writing – which was a much nicer user experience. Can I merge the two?

Not yet, it seems, so I doubt I’ll use Medium much more until I can find a way to archive things here as well (there is an export option on Medium but I’d prefer it to be done automatically). I’d urge you to check it out though, it’s a lovely place to play.

Start here: What we’re trying to do with Medium.

Blogging

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“Once upon a time”, it says, in that time honoured tradition of old and so our story begins.

The story tells the tale of a man making his way through life. The man meanders his way along the path of his choosing, though he is only occasionally aware that he chose it, and most of the time his travels are accompanied by a sense of carefree naivety which he happily acknowledges but secretly and quietly despises.

In this tale we learn about the man, or at least the parts of his life that are featured. We learn about his troubles, his happiness, his moments of madness and fragments of beauty. We read odd glimpses that make no sense, and delve into the infinite detail of his soul. The tale has no direction to speak of nor does it care where it is headed for this, like many other tales, does not yet know when, where, or how it will end.

The threads of construction weave tightly, characters come and characters go, and all the while the man of the story maintains. Occasionally we are allowed glimpses of what the man thinks, and the narrative arc builds and ebbs, constantly teasing us with snippets of truth, spiderweb strands of life.

The man invites you to join him in the story but warns you that even he, the main character, is unsure of what you may find. He offers no explanation or reasoning of what may unfold, and he certainly doesn’t consider his story an interesting one. All he knows is that, apparently, he is one man who is driven to tell tales.

And, with a doff of his cap, he humbly asks you to join him.

In other words, I’ve launched a new blog, this one dedicated to the more fictional writing that I occasionally post here. I’ve copied all of the posts that are listed in the Writing category here, over to the new website.

Slowly he breaks down, carefully deconstructed. The sum of these parts he is not, nor is he whole without them. He is apart and  incomplete, still searching for something unknown and out of reach. He is content and sated for now, happy with what he has, disillusionment hovering out of sight.

Childlike he studies each piece, wonder creases his face as he tumbles the shapes between his fingers, marvelling at curves and crevices, skin catching on ripped edges. Gently he places them back down, carefully, orderly and correct.

Each piece tells a story, some laugh merrily, others are inconsolable behind heaves and sobs. Some shriek and wail, others tra-la-la to an unknown tune with a familiar chorus. Some lie dormant as their time has passed, yet their role does not diminish. The naked structure gapes and glares, absorbing them all.

The pieces shimmer and shake, languid in their motion, certain in their reason, and knowing they too will return to their rightful place. None will be left behind, none will float away on the tide of change, they will be reborne and reconsidered, polished and primed.

His thoughts turn elsewhere, the light bends, dazzling and brilliant, and the newest pieces of him are borne, joining the other pieces before him, sliding into  place as if they’ve been there all along. Happy and content he can rebuild.

He turns his thoughts to the task at hand and the air crackles as the energy builds. One by one, the pieces start their journey, each is paused for a second, a final inspection, a last glimpse of the separation and purpose, before once again being consumed. The structure slowly fills, orderly and considered, the new jostling with the old.

Some time later he sits on the bed. Quietly contemplative of himself. Each part of him nestles in place, content and happy, complete.

It is somewhat timely that, as Post of the Week has died a death (lack of interest, unfortunately), another website that focusses on good writing has been born, Writers’ Bloc.

It’s still new and shiny, but like most of these things it will live and die by the likes of you and I, and your friends, visiting and contributing. On that note the submission guidelines are nice and friendly:

With a title like Writers’ Bloc – even though it’s a dreadful pun on suffering from a lack of inspiration – it would be mean-spirited to insist that your work should not have been appeared anywhere else online or in print before it reaches us. We don’t care about that, and in fact we tend to loathe that rule of literary magazines, especially if they’re all about ‘discovering the best new writing’. All we ask is that you retained the original copyright, since we don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.

So go and have a look and, if you have ever written something that you feel deserved (demanded!) a wider audience then perhaps consider submitting it, what harm can it do?

The act of writing fiction, of considering the flow and cadence of certain words, the structure and pace of a sentence, the building of a paragraph, laying the foundations for something bigger is something with which I flirt. Most of my flirtations make their way here in the form of odd and completely random blog posts.

A few people have said to me that I should consider writing something longer, bigger in scale but my attention span doesn’t really lend it to such a venture. I’ve made my peace with that as I think I’d have to quit my day job to have anything approaching a chance of writing a novel, but it’s only just occurred to me (yesterday morning) that I might be able to tackle a short story.

Now, at the risk of getting my Mother all excited (she’s my biggest fan, obv), the idea has a lot of appeal. It’s not something I’ll be able to tackle at the moment but I might do some background research anyway…

I should point out that I have the beginnings of a short story already in place, something I’ve dipped in and out of for a long time but I never really (weirdly) considered it a short story as such, more just a consistent place to enjoy the process of writing.

And no, I’m NOT going to publish that little piece of nonsense.

I know a few of you have written short stories (and a few of you have books, gasp!) so if you have any tips or advice I’d welcome them. I’m not overly bothered about getting published (modesty suggests I’m not that good) but I would like to take a proper stab at it… if I do it at all, I fear this may be another flash in the pan idea but, whilst the iron is hot.. no wait, which metaphor am I using??

The childlike wonder is written on his face, the gentle corners of a smile and wide-eyed fascination. He watches the magic float and dance before him, cosseted and warm, whilst long slender tendrils tease at the folds of his scarf.

His face upturned to the thin grey canvas feels vibrant, singing the easy lyrics of the breeze, wafting from chorus to chorus. A tender moment, a subtle and shallow movement is all he can see, as deep within him something stirs, a memory dislodged on the wind.

He knows what this is, he knows why and how this happens yet the wonder it conveys, the soft and transculent nature has him spellbound. The tiny crystals shimmer, pulling his focus this way and that, a sprinkling of wonder on an everyday postcard.

Lost to his memories he breathes in the sounds, hears every one and a million others from times gone past. He is now and then.

The taste of the air, the tang of cold fills his lungs as the glorious dull ache throbs at his fingertips. He glances around and watches them fall, each one doomed, a shattering moment of beauty all they can offer. He watches them fight the onrushing ground, shifting and pirouetting on the breeze, desperate to be noticed, to be seen.

And still the sparkling magic falls, glinting shards marking each tiny story as they knit together, cleaning everything they touch. The light builds and builds, crisp, brilliant, dazzling, as everything is washed white, virginal, pure and untainted.

He breathes out and watches his breath float away, and all around him the snow falls.

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I’m boring myself with this blog now. Not the act of writing posts for it but the act of writing posts ABOUT it. So I’ll stop. Thanks for the thoughts and comments though. You really DID help. Yes. You.

I’ve been trawling through some draft post ideas, scribbles and ill conceived stories and figured that, as a means to an end, I’d be as well posting them here. No, I’m not sure what end this would be the means of but let’s not dwell on that.

I have quite a few rambling beginnings of stories, borne from my love of words and cadence, which will never amount to anything more than a few paragraphs. The following is one such example. Your thoughts, comments, hysterical laughter and mirth, are all welcomed.

The average man
He wanders through the streets, past the gentle glow of the houses, under dark and slanting drizzle. He has no purpose, no destination, and can barely remember where he started but this is all he knows, this is his life, his motion. He hunches forwards as another car drives past, plucking the droplets clustering on the edge of his hood and shining them like jewels.

His motion is fluid and organic as he ambles over the pavements, lightly stepping on cobbles and kerbs. He has been here before, he knows, been round this place more than once. He knows it well, too well perhaps, but like an old friend he enjoys the comfort it brings, the familiarity that makes it all too easy to slip into this place one more time.

A break in the clouds above and spears of light arrow down and smash into puddles. He pauses, splashed by scattered light, bathing in the warm glow of the rain, capturing every detail that he can. Processing them quickly in a vain hope of capture, knowing that few will remain with him but one or two will penetrate deeply enough to stick. Moments of beauty to add to the collection, fractured and precious he holds them dear. The very phrase echoes of her.

Almost as soon as they part the clouds start again to weave together, a blanket of gloom restored, drenching all beneath it.

Off he goes once more, without direction. Something that is neither required nor sought, instead he trusts he will find his own way. He has been lost before and found his way back.

The streets are quieter now and he fills his head with sound, pulling memories of pain and pleasure (never pleasure and pain) to keep him on track. Other times his head remains empty with nothing but the dull echo of his thoughts to keep him company.