Importance of Blogging About Writing
How did you first get started as a writer?
Well, I’ve written every since I was a kid. I used to write short stories on my summer break from school. I would write horror stories in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving. I also wrote some comic books, too.
Who are the writers you grew up wanting to emulate?
Edgar Allen Poe was my first influence, then it was Harper Lee. I found To Kill A Mockingbird to be so jarring in that it was a really engaging story—it was truly entertaining—but it also made a profound statement about issues that were important.
This is the kind of work I want to create: work that is both entertaining and meaningful.
That’s hard to pull off—but it’s what I’m determined to do.
What do you feel sets your blog apart from other blogs out there? What keeps readers coming back?
Judging from the feedback I get from my readers: it appears to be my honesty and the love I have for writing (and its power to help my readers).
I’m lucky in that I figured out at a young age (I’m in my late 20’s) what my true passion is: writing. It is my calling, it’s what I was born to do.
I’ve also learned to use this calling in service of others.
This is key: use your passion in service of others. That’s really the secret to true success, if there is any secret.
It so happens that a blog is a perfect way to use my passion to serve others.
So, if your asking why it is readers keep coming back to it, I think it’s because the blog is serving them.
I am serving them—and they sense that.
And because I’m passionate about what I’m doing—because I’m passionate about this type of service—they know that it’s the best kind of service I can give them.
People really respond to that sort of thing.
What advice would you give young writers who might be having trouble putting pen to page or fingers to the keyboard? How do you motivate yourself to write when it’s tough?
This is the most common question I get from my readers.
So, I’ve given many responses to this question. There is actually many different answers depending on the person and depending upon the type of situation.
What I’ll say is this: if you don’t feel motivated to write today, try not writing at all.
I know, seems counterintuitive, but here me out:
If you don’t feel motivated to write, don’t do it. Wait until you are moved to write. Wait until you feel like you MUST write. Wait until you are about to burst—you can’t take it anymore—you must EXPRESS your deepest thoughts and feelings. Or you MUST tell that story that’s been rattling through your head day and night.
And then write. Usually it all comes out flowing and wonderful.
Now, if you don’t have the luxury of waiting for motivation, then don’t think about writing—just do it.
Try to write before your mind has anything to say about it.
This is what I call “bypassing” the mind. It’s a great trick that can be used when you want to motivate yourself to do anything.
Don’t think about doing something, just do it and learn by doing.
Do you consider yourself an introvert? If so, how do you utilize that trait to your benefit as writer?
Yes. I’m totally an introvert.
Well, it’s beneficial in that it forces you to be the observer of life, rather than an active participant. Writers are observers: we pick out the things that not everyone can see. That’s our job: observe and report. I suppose it’s very journalistic in that sense.
But this can cause trouble because we are not just observers in life, but active participants.
I admit, I often forget that. I end up being a person seeing things happen instead of a person making things happen.
I don’t have trouble utilizing my introvertness to help my writing—I struggle with using my extrovertness to help with my writing. I need to be more extroverted, honestly, and I’m not the only writer who struggles with this problem.
We need to be active in life, or else we can’t write about it. And yet, as writers, we are the most comfortable when we’re simply observing life.
We need a healthy balance of writing and life.
In fact, my blog, Courage 2 Create is all about trying to find that balance.
What’s the next big project on your horizon? What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
No new projects, no new resolutions—just the same ones that have yet to be completed.
I’m hoping to get feedback on my novel soon. I also am awaiting feedback on an eBook I wrote that was inspired by the blog.
I am anxious to get both of these projects polished and finished.
But, for now, I’m still stuck in this awkward stage of the writing process where suddenly your work is no longer in your hands. You are waiting for others to sort of take it where you left off—it’s like you’re in a relay or something.
This stage feels very strange and vulnerable to me. You feel kinda lazy, but then what can you do? You can’t have too many projects going on at the same time, or you’ll lack focus and procrastinate. But you can’t move forward yet—you need to have someone else’s perspective on the work, or else you don’t know what you have.
So, you have no choice but to wait.
So, I’m focusing on other things in the meantime, while all that sorts itself out.
There are some great things on the horizon for me, but they are still being finalized, so I won’t reveal them just yet.
But it should be good. Stay tuned.
Ollin Morales is a writer. His blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles his journey as he writes his first novel. His blog offers writing advice as well as strategies to deal with life’s tough challenges. His blog was named one of The Top Ten Blogs for Writers by WriteToDone two years in a row (2011, 2012).