Blog This, Not That

This week I read an article about pitfalls that new authors fall into. It said don’t wait until you’re published to start blogging. I’ve so got this <smug grin> Look out NY Times BestSeller list. It’s gonna be all 50 Shades of Laura, baby!

Then the article went on to proclaim that you should blog about writerly things, not your cat. Uh-oh, Shaggy. Your last blog was about… your cat AND your dog. And birds, squirrels, tree frogs and dastardly neighbors. You blasphemous fool, you! You’re not a real writer and you never will be. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

For every rule in writing, there are 13 exceptions to the rule and 42 corollaries. That’s why I think it helps that I’m a Catholic writer. We’re not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, ever. But, we can if we do something extra, such as say a decade of the rosary or do something nice for somebody– like not honk the horn and flip them off when they run a red light. Except during Lent. No meat at all on Fridays during Lent. Unless you are under 15 or over 65 or have a special medical condition.

See what I mean? Rule-exception, another rule- 3 exceptions. Let me translate for those unfamiliar with writing:

NO PROLOGUES– please don’t check the shelves at the bookstore, cause those books are full of prologues. The Bishops, um, publishers forgot about the rule.

ACTIVE & PRESENT TENSE ONLY. Unless you are Nora Roberts or anybody else with a book on the shelf.

NO ADVERBS. Would someone please resuscitate Stephen King and Dean Koontz? Half their books are adverbs.

Which way do I go?

And on and on it goes; a confusing maelstrom of guidelines and path-markers that only serve to make the novice writer even more frightened to wade into murky waters of their own subconscious and try to pull out a good story.

Lucky for me, I had a co-worker tell me long ago that it is far better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. I took that advice to heart, so I ignored all the prattle about adverbs and passive tense, because my story is AWESOME!

And it IS awesome in my head. Translating that visual imagery into something written is an alchemical mystery that many before me have practiced, not always successfully.  Writing is one part muse, one part perseverance, and one part cosmic unknown.

You need to be part yogi to tune out all of the distractions, and I’m not talking about the internet or tv or telephone. I’m talking about the Oreos in the pantry, the heat/cold, barking dogs, incessant laundry, the dusting, weeding, and other chores that face an at-home writer.

You have to create the story, edit the story, summarize the story, and SELL the story. You are the Little Red Hen. It’s hard work. It’s not as hard as chopping cotton with a dull machete in 100 degree heat, or collecting snake venom, but it’s still got a high degree of difficulty, if not physical peril.

Happy Bastille Day! Let’s eat cake.

About Laura Alford, PhD

I'm a recent graduate of LSU (PhD in Accounting). In addition to academic research, I also write fiction on Tuesday nights with the Asilomar Writers.
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4 Responses to Blog This, Not That

  1. You forgot the luck part. Writing–or, more precisely, getting published–involves some luck, too! That’s why so many of those published authors can “break” the rules. They are lucky enough to be on the shelves. 🙂

  2. Susan Sands says:

    Hard and fast rules change daily. Then, they change back before the book is finished. I wish someone would set a standard for those of us trying to actually follow the rules on the road to publication, so we can then break them once our stories and names are out there. I’m so confused…

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