Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sucking dust

Suppose you were a blogger and your goal was to publish at least one essay a day.

Nearly all human endeavors are subject to ebbs and flows.  I decided to not "save" essays.  I would puke them out into cyber-space as they were written and risk the day when I ran out of things to say.

What do you do when the barrel is nearly empty?

Easy.  You cheat!

Mrs ERJ and I were sitting in a cafe eating.  A gentleman sat down at the table next to us.  He did not have a companion.  We had a tiny bit of polite chit-chat before the food showed up.

He finished first and beckoned for his bill.

I turned and asked him, "George, I need to ask you for a favor?"

He said, "Joe, what do you need?"

I told him, "I need a topic for today's blog."

His eyes lit up.  He is a fellow writer.  More accurately, he is a real writer...published and everything.

His advice was to write about...when the words don't come.  When the words do not spew forth and cheerfully fill the screen with glorious abandon.

His preferred technique is to empty his brain, to let go.  This technique works because mind never stops working.  If there is a mental "block" then it can only stifle output when it is firmly anchored in place.  Emptying the mind untethers the block so it can float away.  The words may sneak in as whispers but you will be able to hear them.  Once heard, the voice gets louder.

Another technique is to "Fake it until you Make it".  Just start writing.  Be prepared to throw away 90% of your words.  Somewhere in those 2000 words is a great 200 (or 500) word essay.

A third technique is similar to FIUYMI.  I call it getting on the bicycle.  Suppose you are astraddle a bicycle halfway up the hill.  Your goal is to ride the bicycle over the hill.  We quickly learn that it is more effective to start riding the bicycle before pointing it in the direction we want to go even if it means riding away from our goal at the beginning.  

Sometimes the essay that falls onto the page is different than the one you originally envisioned.  It is like working on a project when the pre-work takes four times longer than the actual job.  Maybe the core of the essay you thought you were going to write ends up being one or two sentences of the essay you did write.

And you can always cheat and ask random strangers what is on their mind.

Blogging is a very forgiving medium.  You can go elsewhere if I make you angry or bore you.  It takes no money out of my pocket if I publish an essay that is off-beat or unusual.

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