I know. Sometimes I, too, am in awe of the fact that I’m still doing the lunchtime bloggy blogs. In addition to the joy I know (I hope) it brings you, it fulfills a vital role in my life as a writer–it cleans the crap out of my brain and lets the other ideas for the other stories I’m working on flow more freely.
No. I did not just say that this blog is like a cerebral septic system. I’m sure that was just a miscommunication somewhere along the way. OK. It totally is. But it’s the fun kind of poop-thought poop!
Nope. I can’t even take that one any further past the line I’m sure I’ve crossed with some of you. If you’re still with me, well done you! You have built up a tolerance to the shenanigans that will somehow make it to the page long before my brain has had a chance to process it and say, “Whoa! Holy Rage Bacon Fatman!! We can’t write THAT?!?”
Some of you might be wondering how I come up with the lunchtime bloggy blogs. Others might be wondering why. We’ll address the how for now.
Usually it works a bit like this. On a good day where I can actually take my full hour for lunch, If I’m not going out anywhere to get food, I spend the first 15 minutes or so actually eating the food I have for lunch.
If I do have to go get food, all bets are off. I may or may not have time to get any blogging done before I have to be back at my desk doing what they pay more.
Pro Tip #1: Plan ahead. If I know I want to write, I make sure I have a lunch packed.
Now that the food has been consumed, I start the writing. There is one important aspect to this. Even though I have largely finished my food, I still leave some around, as well as a napkin that I can use to wipe my mouth. This ensures that to the world, I’m still in the process of eating my lunch, or haven’t quite finished it as the case may be. This is important for people who want you to shorten your lunch to work on something for them right away that actually isn’t an emergency, they just want to cross it off their list.
Pro Tip #2: Set the environment. It should look like your’e at lunch the whole time, even if you’re really writing for 3/4 of the time.
Another key item is the headphones. It is a social forcefield. People will think twice about interrupting you if you have headphones on/earbuds in. They don’t have to actually be playing anything, they just need to be on your ears. This is key because the headphones also give you permission to ignore someone that walks up and just starts talking to you. If you expose one ear after about 3 minutes in to their spiel and let them know you missed what they were saying, it’s about 50/50 that they’ll realize they’re cutting in to your lunch time and feck off.
Pro Tip #3: Headphones are a social Force Field. Use them. Even if there is no music playing.
Once the base elements are in place, I start writing. The topics vary and can be influenced by anything from something that happened on the drive in, a weird dream, odd food….really just about anything.
I learned a new term this weekend. Discovery Writing. It’s a nice way to say someone is a pantser. A discovery writer discovers the story as they are writing it. As the characters reveal themselves and the story. Very little, if any, planning goes in to discovery writing. It sounds much fancier than saying ‘I’m a pantser.’ Not to mention it sounds much less like something that would cause my name to end up on some kind of state registry, so there’s that.
One thing I’ve found in this blogging journey is that some things will resonate with you, the 13 readers that normally hit this page, and some things won’t. And the irony of it is, the things that I think are the throwaway-get-this-shit-off-my-mind posts are usually the ones that strike some kind of chord with you, the readers. And the things I really feel passionate about or feel like you should want to read them, just sometimes fall flat.
And the key to the lunchtime blogging….the absolute number one key–you have to write like it doesn’t matter who (or if anyone) actually reads it.
Pro Tip #4: Your Blog is for you. If people read it and like it, cool. But ultimately, it is, at least for me, a way to clear my head. And in the end, the person doing the blog has to want to do the blog.
For me, I have to just get things out. There are some cobwebs that I clear out only in a paper journal either because they are too personal or too polarizing.
The point dear reader, that I’m trying to make, is that it’s about writing. I don’t really have a system that I follow when I’m writing this blog. I wrote a post yesterday morning that didn’t follow any of my pro-tips. But I wrote.
I write to discover. Sometimes I discover my pants. Sometimes I discover things in my heart that haven’t yet healed. Sometimes I discover things that have healed and it’s finally time to write about them.
It’s a journey. And I’m glad you’re here for the ride. To be fair, I’d write anyway, but it’s better with a traveling buddy.