Every writer has his or her own special quirk or technique. Hemingway and Shakespeare needed copious amounts of fermented grape juice to get them going. Others needed a special city to inspire them, others a particular time of day. The list is endless, but what all the successful writers have in common is discipline. Yes, yes, yes, inspiration and a gift for words doesn’t hurt either, but if you don’t have the discipline to sit at your desk every day and churn something out, it will take you ten years to finish that book.
It was around the sixth grade when I started journaling seriously. As an only child, I didn’t have any siblings to pour my heart out to, share the exciting events of the day, or to keep my secrets. But I had a big fat notebook, and then another, and another… I was half way through my first journal when I realised how important it was for me to write everything down at the end of the day in as much detail as possible so I could return to the pages later and relive the memories like a movie in my mind. The blue eyes of the boy on the morning bus who never looked my way, the enviable fashion of the girls on the third stop who always seemed to have stepped out of a magazine, the nauseating smell of certain colognes, or how I felt after botching up an Algebra test.
Journaling became crucial to my well-being in high school, especially when I began having trouble with my parents. During the rebellious years, everything I wished I could have said to my parents in my face ended up on pages instead, and I am so glad it turned out that way because it would have been almost impossible to mend the bridges if those words had ever been spoken or shouted.
Fast forward a few decades and enter the age of blogging. Wow, I loved it from the very beginning! Here was a blank page for me to mould as I please, and be an outlet for creative writing to my heart’s content. I quickly fell back into the daily routine of journaling, except now I was blogging and sharing my work all over the web. Scary and dangerous, but the magnitude of the internet also forced me to choose my words carefully and do my research properly before letting the sentences loose. This was 16 years ago.
I am not ashamed to admit that blogging keeps me sane, has helped me grieve properly, and possesses limitless potential to heal whatever is broken. When done properly, honestly, and passionately, a blog entry forces you to sort out your thoughts and emotions as you translate and transfigure them into words. So that by the time you finish, you might have stumbled on a new perspective or a solution.
My blogging world is one of the most power tools to maintain the writing discipline. Snooze, you loose is true in more ways than one, because if your blog goes dormant or fails to develop, your audience gets bored or disappointed. Keep them guessing, eager to find out what will pop up on their screens the next day, seduce the audience with the honesty of the words and emotions, and most importantly, always remain to true to yourself. Note that I refer to proper blogging, not micro-blogging or social media posting. That is not writing, that is glorified texting. No, I mean sitting down in front of a blank screen and composing proper paragraphs with structure, form, and a cohesive theme.
Of course it is hard. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but think of it as our daily creative writing workshop without the nagging teacher breathing down your back. Besides, you get to choose the topic, set the tone, and best of all, the sky is the limit.