Blogging is hard.
Today, I finally took the plunge and bought a domain name, something I have been putting off since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I procrastinated for a few hours by making changes to the template I chose and admiring my shiny new website, and then it occurred to me that a blog usually has, well… posts. Determined to create but unsure how to start, I opened and closed a lot of blank pages in frustration before something occurred to me – the difficulty itself might be the perfect start to my very first post.
That’s exactly what I’m doing with this post. Blogging is hard for me, and I’m going to use a glimpse into who I am as a writer to explain why and give an introduction of sorts at the same time.
I’ll start with introducing myself. My name is Dale Franks, and I’m an author, ghostwriter for an established ghostwriting company, blogger (this post gives me the right to say that), fan-fiction writer and editor. I would love to add cover designer and 3D-character modeler to the list, but the creativity that serves me so well when it comes to words seems to dissipate when confronted with an image. Even here in this blog post, you may or may not see images in the final product. That’s because 1) I’m new to blogging, and 2) placing tasteful, meaningful images interspersed throughout words is always harder than I expect.
As long as pictures aren’t… in the picture? I’m a pretty quick writer. I have to be if I’m to meet a deadline of 18 days for a 50,000 word romance novel for a client. 1000 words in 40 minutes is very doable depending on the kind of writing I’m doing, and at the very least I should be able to write 1000 words in an hour. This might not be professional-typist speed, but I’m creating a story as I type, so I still consider it quite fast.
The numbers I just tossed out are for romance. Fantasy goes a bit slower for me because I don’t set deadlines for it and the novels are more complex (foreign worlds, magic systems, etc). However, I still expect myself to be able to write a couple thousand words a day and still have time to hit the gym and absorb some meaningless online entertainment.
Editing is another challenge entirely. I’m actually in the process of developing a personalized editing checklist to follow, tailored around the places where I know I’m most likely to make mistakes in the hopes that I can expedite the process because I am SLOW. I’ve done far, far less editing than writing because my ghostwriting company has in-house editors who handle the nitty-gritty for me while I make a headlong rush to meet a deadline.
Now that I’ve given you some timetables for the different kinds of writing I do, let’s talk about blogging. How long did it take me to finish this post?
About a week. I’m going to have to get better at this.
My novels tell a story; my blog posts are intended to introduce an idea and put forth information pertinent to that idea in order to make a specific point about that idea. For example, I stated that blogging is hard for me, and now I am making a case as to why. I’m desperately trying not to ramble or stray too far from the topic, but I’m struggling. Each sentence you’re reading here could have been a dozen different sentences, and choosing the right one will only become easier with time and practice.
Let me try to sum up how I feel about novels versus blog posts.
Novels: “This is what happened in this story. There are many different ways to state what happened, but what happened, happened, and that won’t change.”
Blog posts: “Let me just reach my hand into a swirling mass of facts, experiences and opinions on a particular subject (think Pensieve from Harry Potter, but for thoughts instead of memories) and hope I pull out something useful that connects with the thoughts before and after this one.”
In my mind, blog posts have so many more possible directions than novels, and it’s harder to choose the viable ones. It’s like pulling up to a four-way stop in an unfamiliar area to discover that it’s a dozen-way stop and your GPS has stopped working.
In addition, I’ve always had trouble writing short works. Five-paragraph essays, about-me paragraphs, short stories, poems and anything else with fewer than several thousand words are often hard for me. I love expansive fantasy worlds, heartwarming, slow-burn romances and complex characters, and I prefer those with a side dish of hefty word count. Brevity is not a strength of mine, which is just one more reason I’m so excited to get this blog up and running. I think it’s important to be a well-rounded writer, and I’m hoping this will do wonders for me by brushing up on some forms of writing I’m not as comfortable with.
I learned to write by doing it. I want to learn to blog the same way, so I’ve accepted that this post won’t be perfect. Neither will the one after that, or the one after that, or the… you get the point. But that’s okay, because I’m going to grow, learn, write a little faster and feel a little more comfortable with each post.
I want to end this introduction by explaining what I want to do with my blog. I want to write about the different kinds of writing I’ve done over the years, how one led into another and how certain skills translate or don’t translate. I want to delve into my experiences with writing in general, the people who write and the people who turn the pages of the finished product. I want to share the things I have to say that have been swirling around in my head with no outlet for years. I want to write posts that will help someone somewhere as they walk their own writing paths.
Above all, I want to continue to grow as a writer, because if I’m not growing, I’m staying stagnant and opening the door to that debilitating question: “Can I really do this?”
Yes, I can, and I’m starting right now by clicking the Publish button.