On not writing a blog post

There’s a very friendly facebook group called The Bookshop Cafe, whose members from time to time post photographs of beautifully arranged bookshelves and comfortable, coordinated reading corners. But oh dear, here’s a picture of mine, and however artfully I crop the photo, it won’t look any better. Instead it provides a clue  to the dilemma I’m about to describe in this article. 

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What to write, what to write? It’s not that I’m short of ideas – they and the notes for them already take up six different drafts on the “for my eyes only” pages of my WordPress blog. Salvation may lie in the half squashed guide to Mindfulness for Dummies, which could help to focus my untidy state of mind. Select party of readers, lick your lips in anticipation.

When to write, when to write? Almost certainly first thing in the morning would be best, from the point of view of clear ideas and flexible typing fingers. But some days I’m at work and the other days I’m having breakfast in bed on principle, simply because I can. My thoughts trail from the cereal bowl to last night’s unfinished Evening Standard crossword (which I can always complete in the freshness of morning), and from the second cup of tea to commenting on whatever dashes past on Facebook before I lose it forever. Arbitrarily, I seem to have settled on posting on a Friday. Tiny little band of appreciative fans, please take note (but don’t hold me to it).

Where to write, where to write? My study is the intstudy floorended place. But what’s the collective noun for things that arrive from real life and get in the way? Could it be an “interruption” of papers, or a “bureaucracy” of bumf? These piles increase more than they diminish, and sorting them out takes precious minutes hours days weeks months years of my life… For some reason this always involves crouching on the floor until the joints freeze into the filing position. Then they can only be unstiffened through repeated use of the yoga mat which fortunately has been left rolled up next to the bookshelf. Faithful followers, you may have to wait while I roll my shoulders and bre…e….e…eathe.

How to write, how to write?  I’m so impressed by the stern colleagues on blogging advice sites who say: “Blog a coherent sequence of themes”. But my highly exclusive little fan base will know from previous posts that I’m a bit of an anti planner. In other words, I like to catch an idea as it happens to butterfly past, gather a few images (concrete or metaphorical), bung in a prissy bit of moral tone and some rhetorical fulmination, and embark. I note these random ingredients and tug them into some sort of order sandwiched by a starter’s flag and a finishing line. But I often don’t know where they’re going to lead me when I begin, so the racing metaphor, although apt for a deadline beset blogger, goes off piste here. Maybe that’s where the excitement lies for my loyal fan(s)?

And yet, I seem to be writing. Have courage, small group of expectant readers! Because Who To Write For – is you!

But now I’m distracted by my son coming in. He mentions needing to get something from the loft today. Ai caramba! I can’t get into the loft without help, so here’s a rare chance to sift through generations of family photos whose copyright NOBODY can challenge and which are therefore invaluable for blog articles. Loft 2And they’ll lead to all sorts of new possibilities – posts on gardening, on tennis, on dust and insulation, on assorted crockery and mouldy cushions and paintings I no longer want on the wall, on why paintings work on the wall for a while and then don’t, on the seaside, on studying, on travel, on domesticity, on childhood, on friendship, on generational similarities and differences, on work, on work outings, on dumping work and possibly missing work … and of course while I’m up there I’ll be ambushed by boxes and boxes and boxes of books.

Meanwhile my son will just quietly retrieve what he came for and wait, and my dwindling group of readers will sigh… and sigh………please let me know you’re still there, fans, readers, tolerators and incidental visitors by posting a comment. Do any of you also live like this? In return, I promise a blog post a week and a second novel (one day).

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© Jessica Norrie 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “On not writing a blog post

  1. lovely to “meet” you in this strange virtual world. Why won’t you lay your bits and pieces of writing out somewhere spacious and jiggle them around … I’m sure they’ll be full of coherent threads and you can publish!

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  2. I read your post while I was having breakfast this morning, facing one of the tall bookcases in the dining area. Prompted by your post, I really looked at the shelves. My bookshelves are not unlike yours although I think yours are probably more organised.

    There are overstuffed magazine files; loose piles of painting and embroidery magazines that don’t really have a home; English dictionary and grammar book (rarely consulted because it is so much easier to look online); cookery books (and old magazines) that are never used (who am I kidding, I don’t really like cooking and the favourites I do use are in my head or ‘filed’ in a kitchen cupboard); and box of pens and pencils and some cheap A5 sketchbooks, some already filled with nothing worth keeping; some ‘how to’ art books that are lovely to look at but rarely opened; and some music books, most of them for a keyboard that is stored behind the sofa in a case sporting a thick layer of dust.

    Behind me is another, wider, bookcase. This one is stuffed with embroidery and other craft books; two rows of CDs (again rarely played because the CD on the hi fi no longer works and I have Spotify anyway); and other various little books and bits and pieces that don’t have a proper place.

    A clear out/tidy up is well overdue but to be honest I’m a bit of hoarder (an understatement). I really don’t like to get rid of books, especially ‘reference’ ones, even ones that are no longer referred to.

    The clear out will probably not actually happen. I will start. I might just try to put things in some sort of order or even move them (that is just stirring the contents; they don’t actually leave the premises) or possibly I will look inside some of the books/magazines (just to make sure they can go out). I will find something interesting – and that will be the end of the clearout.

    Then it will be back to where I started. Oh dear. I don’t dare go up into the attic. There is so much stuff there, if I start looking in boxes I might never come back down.

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    1. Gosh – nice to hear someone else has the sane problem. I bet you dont have a French dictionary so old it’s never heard of computers though! Thank you for your time and effort in telling us about your bookshelf and good luck with the clear out!

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      1. Jessica, I feel we are kindred spirits except you’ve gotten it together long enough to publish a book. Oh my would that be nice. I may have ten already written, stored away in spiral and three ring binders, files, journals, and on pieces of scratch paper who knows where. Write on. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. Oh and I even enjoyed reading one of your reader’s comments enough to try to connect. That’s rare.

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    2. Janni, I enjoyed and understand what you wrote a little too well. It could have been me writing it. I tried to find a blog so I could follow you but was unable to do so. I’m at lifestoriesandbeyond if you care to check by and connect. Thanks. Lisa

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