Questions & answers

I’m answering the thoughtful questions on my Six Year Anniversary post slowly, savoring them.  Thank you to those of you who took the time to say something!  Today, questions about writing and blogging in particular:

Do you always think blogging will be a part of your life? Ever entertained a hiatus?  What is your favorite part of writing? And do you have advice for other writers regarding the craft of writing?

It is hard for me to imagine life without blogging.  It is so central to my life now, such an ingrained pattern, and as I’ve noted, I honestly believe that the practice of writing here has fundamentally changed the way I engage with the world.  I’m trying to do some real writing outside of this blog, and now and then I think: well, I should stop blogging, free up some time for the other projects.  But I just can’t seem to do that.  Every writing-related change and joy in my life is directly due to my work here.  How could I step away from that?

A hiatus, I do think about.  I’ve loved the last two August breaks, where I just share pictures.  I generally re-share my favorite posts from each month at the end of December.  But I guess those are not true hiatuses, because I am still coming here.  Truthfully, I do think about a real break, mostly because I fear I’ve become incredibly repetitive here.  But I’m afraid I will come back to crickets.  And of what losing the practice of this process will do to the rest of my writing and life.

My favorite part of writing is surely when I hear that something I’ve said touches a reader.  One of the central pleasures in my own life is the feeling of reading someone’s words and thinking oh, yes, that’s what I mean, though I could never express it, and thank goodness I am not alone.  The idea that I may be able to provide a similar sensation to someone else, even very rarely, is reason enough to put pen to paper.  It’s a reason to live, in my opinion.

Advice.  It seems absurd to ask that of me, who is still such a novice, such a hack, who has so very much to learn herself.  I don’t have any wisdom to offer, unfortunately, other than open your eyes and pay attention.  And then write it down.  And do it again the next day.  And every day after that.  That is all I know how to do.  That is the extent of my practice, my knowledge, and my advice.

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  1. Posted October 18, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I hear you about the blogging becoming a habit. I’ve been surprised in the last year of a new blog how the focus of it, the discipline is becoming a way of developing new ideas, practicing my voice, and acting professional as a writer. It’s a new form, a new genre, and mastering it is a worthy goal. And it gives such lovely immediate feedback–such a treat.

  2. Posted October 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    On the one hand, I don’t want you to take a hiatus because I would miss your words too much. On the other, I have taken several leaves of absence since beginning blogging three years ago and they’ve all worked out just fine. Sure, it takes awhile to renew some acquaintances, but I’ve found that most friends are there to greet me with understanding and open arms when I’ve returned.

  3. Posted October 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I know exactly what you mean about blogging being a practice, how it changes the way you move through the world, what you notice and how you see, not wanting to give it up. I hadn’t expected that part, and am addicted to it.

    And you advice reminded me of this from Mary Oliver:

    “Instructions for living a life.
    Pay attention.
    Be astonished.
    Tell about it.”

  4. Amy VanEchaute
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Lindsey, I want you to know that I cherish your posts. If I were to have commented on the many things you’ve written so passionately about
    –words that have gone straight to my heart, lifted my spirits or made me stop to think– I’m sure you’d be weary of me. I think writers are like fireflies: they transmit their uniquely encoded little pulses of light into the vastness and wait for a response. While the online comments you receive may be few, I’m quite certain there are many like me who absorb and appreciate your light. So here’s my official response, and I feel I speak for many: Keep on shining! You’re wonderful.

  5. Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for answering my questions. I appreciate it. And I love your advice about writing. It is really about paying attention and then capturing that moment on the page. But it is also about practice. Ann Patchett makes a similar analogy in her e-book on writing. Thanks again.