Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Emptying the Cupboard

One of the most difficult things to do with a consistent blog is to determine the topics to cover.  After all, there are only so many times you can discuss how to create a great title or the ways to put suspense into your work.  Sooner or later, you find yourself struggling with what to say.

I've discovered that writing for a blog can be similar in terms of difficulty to writing a novel.  My biggest problem with writing is a tendency to outrun my outline, which often leaves me grasping at straws for the next bit of the story.  Well, the same thing can happen in blogging.  No, I don't mean I outline every post, but I try to come up with topics in advance of writing them, and when I don't, hilarity can ensue.
On the weekend, I walk my dogs anywhere from two to three miles a day(and twice during the week when I'm not on a business trip).  It's during these periods of solitude that I do my best brainstorming.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, assuming I have yet to think of the upcoming week's topics, I spend this time deciding what to blog about.  My standard is to come up with three good topics since I usually blog them all at the same time and just schedule them for different days.

I also need to remember that although I have great faith in my memory, it isn't as reliable as I wish it was.  What I mean by that is that I'll often think of a great topic to blog on, and I'll forget it 15 minutes later because I failed to write it down.  I'll think to myself, "Self, that's an awesome idea.  I know that I can remember it with no problem."  I even have a little vision in my head of tucking the idea away for later use.  Unfortunately, I rarely remember such things, so I find myself back at square one when it comes to topics.  I've gotten better about writing things down, and that greatly eases my life, but I'm not as fastidious as I wish I was all the time.

And yes, I will often get ideas from others, whether that's an article I read or a conversation I had.  No, I don't plagiarize, but I will see if there's a new twist I can put on something.  Let's face it - there has already been so much said on the topic of literary agents that little I write will be brand new.  The same thing applies to book covers, the use of adjectives and adverbs, and the application of contract law.  Few of us are creating something absolutely original.

Of course, even when writing on topics others have covered, we eventually start scraping the cupboard bare.  I'll be thinking about a topic and then realize I've already covered it.  Then I wonder if there's a new way I can go into it, but I don't want to re-create a post people have already seen, so I get frustrated.  Some of this may change as I leave this beautiful island state in a couple of years and start attending writing conferences and actually publishing my book, but I still have a long time of posting to go before I get there, so I've got to rely on current experiences and thoughts to keep things interesting.

Or I could do what I do for my book ideas and just brainstorm, all the while accepting that 60% of my ideas will be crap.  That might produce some effort gone to waste, but the remaining gems should be worth the trouble.

Anyone else find trouble staying original?

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