Monday, September 2, 2013




I have written many blogs before, of course, but never managed to be consistent. Not good!

Consistency, which gives the reader predictability, is the first rule of blogging. People like to know, if they take the trouble to check out your blog, that you will have written something fresh.

It would be nice if it was good too, but they expect something—and they are forgiving of the occasional substandard entry. In fact, if they like you, they will settle for almost anything—for a while 

Maddening to find nothing—and not to know when the next entry will appear.

I flinch! True, I was learning—but I still feel bad about it. I feel great loyalty towards my readers. I owe them—you—everything (don’t take that too literally). But I certainly owe you a great deal.

Though I wrote some quite good blogs prior to this series, I was never entirely comfortable with the format. Something was missing. It turned out it was spontaneity. I had been trying too hard. I planned; I thought deeply; and I experimented to find some magical formula.

The magical formula was to have none. Yes, that pretty much defines counterintuitive.

How ironic! The SAS (those guys) have a saying: “Piss poor planning prevents proper performance”—whereas here was I advocating no planning at all. Decidedly strange—even to me. This approach wasn’t based on logic. It was pure, undiluted, visceral, instinct.

What the …!  Quite so.

For this series, I challenged myself to write one blog a day—albeit I would have to write in arrears sometimes, because I was unwell, or traveling, or whatever—and to write about whatever came into my head when my fingers hit the keyboard.

Now you might think that would have induced Writer’s Block—that legendary scourge of the writing profession—but I found the challenge of not knowing what I was going to write about in advance had the opposite effect. It was a challenge for my brain to show what it could do—when not relaxing in a deck chair with a gin and tonic.

Actually, I don’t know what my brain drinks—though I am damn sure the thing imbibes something. Here, I had better explain that I tend to think of my conscious brain and my subconscious as two separate ‘people’—with my subconscious doing most of the work. The rest of me just follows orders—and, by the way, I prefer wine.

No, I don’t literally think of my conscious and subconscious that way—I don’t want to be dragged away by strong people in white coats—but I do find it a helpful literary device.

So now you know (nearly) all my secrets. Go forth and write! Better yet, read! But first keep reading this blog—and spread the word.

An additional secret is to have a really good friend who encourages you to keep going. I am singularly fortunate in that regard.

I have said it before, but it is worth repeating: No one does anything worth doing entirely alone. Support may be no more than an encouraging word at just the right moment—but such gestures make all the difference. Talent is a fine thing, but it is never quite enough. 

It speaks well of humanity that such is so. We writers, poets, sculptors, and artists may revel at our solitude—and the truth is that we really do—but the reality is that we all belong to a community based upon mutual support.

It took me a long time to fully appreciate that. Now I find it comforting. That said, I still revel in solitude.

A whole uninterrupted day to write! How much better could you define paradise?



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