This is one of the biggest things that keeps me from blogging regularly. I KNOW I should, but when the day looms–I can’t think of a thing to write.
One time I tried using an idea I’d found on a writing blog. Can’t remember whose blog it was, and it’s probably better that way. What I do remember is that this blogger felt it was better not to be too controversial. Apparently some publishers don’t like controversy, and you don’t want to do something stupid, like talk about real issues that could potentially rile people up, if you want to be published.
In other words, it’s better for you and your career if you’re — you know — vanilla.
I carefully wrote out a list of topics I thought I should be talking about, so I could just, well, pick one and write about it at blogging time. (I had categories and everything! Look at me go, being all organized and stuff.)
However, one day I looked at that list and couldn’t pick one topic that I actually wanted to write about. I wasn’t feeling particularly vanilla that day. So instead of writing ‘something’ that really said nothing… I wrote nothing.
I found that happened a lot, to be honest.
Here’s the deal. I have lots going on in my life. Some of it’s vanilla, and some of it’s not. There’s writing. Rewriting. Being rejected. Rerewriting. Sometimes even being published. Dog training (or my pathetic attempts). Reading. Movie and CPAC (and other TV) watching. Exercising (!) Hating the snow and cold and planning various vacations around that hate. Dealing with (sometimes) mind crippling bouts of depression. Fighting my other demons (fear, avoidance, anger, etc). Cooking and baking. Dealing with the dying, and dealing with the living. Trying to remember the last time I fed my goldfish. Trying to figure out why I wrote 70,000 words in a novel, and then just stopped. Trying to remember the name of a song that has been going through my head for literally years.
This is just a small list. How do I pick from a list like that?
Maybe I could write about how to write. (Or how to beat down the demon of avoidance so that instead of doing that one more load of laundry, you actually write a thousand words.) Or maybe I could write about how to train a dog. (Or, how NOT to train a dog. Just do the exact opposite of nearly everything I do, and you and your dog will be fine!)
Exercising is boring but necessary (sort of like evacuating your bowels), so I will probably never blog about that. And those vacations I plan around the snow and cold hate? I hardly ever actually take them, so what’s the point of blogging about that? (Maybe I could fit this under my “demon” category. I even avoid going on vacations!)
Depression is depressing. When I’m in the throes, I can barely get out of bed. Don’t know if I’d be writing about that. But maybe I could.
And then there’s the stuff I see out in the world that makes me insane. The racism that is wound so tightly into the very fabric of our country, most of us don’t even see it. The lies we are fed by our various levels of government, and how hard they work to keep us from catching them in those same lies. The insanity of the rampant consumerism of the first world. (I mean holy shit how many televisions does one person need???) What we are doing to our food and our land and our water, all in the name of the bottom line. (And the lies we are being told about same, so the bottom line stays healthy.) The fact that a lot of people are being kept alive long after they should be allowed to die. And my personal favourite: that it’s only a matter of time before nature rears up and kills half of us off. (More than likely with a disease that we think we’ve controlled.) What about that?
Huh. Guess you can see why I would sometimes have trouble with a topic list that is vanilla.
I think what I’ll do is start a new list. And this time, it won’t just be vanilla. I’ll keep going with the stuff that’s kind of funny (dog training, ear worms, and fighting the avoidance demon) but when I need to, I’m going to write about the other stuff (everything that makes me insane, for example.) And I’ll keep a bit of a diary of potential blog posts from all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Then, I’ll have plenty of grist for the blogging mill — and if I’m not feeling vanilla that day, watch out! Rocky Road, here we come!
I’d love to hear how others handle this issue, and I’ll keep you updated on how my new and improved list idea is working out for me. (Actually, you should be able to tell from the blog itself, so come back, check it out, and tell me how I’m doing.)
Oh, and the song? I found it. Good grief. I’m being haunted by a television show from my past. Shall we all sing along, forever? I know I can.