This commitment of mine, to post on this blog every day, has been a wonderful discipline. But it has its challenges. My posts are always my original content. No guest posts, no pictures from elsewhere on the internet, and now, no weekly parties. It’s all me, for better or worse. How do I come up with a post every day of the year?
At times, I already have the idea for a post swirling around in my brain. Most of the time, however, I fly by the seat of my pants. After a little coffee, a cursory reading of my email and the New York Times online, as well as a few of my favorite blogs, I am forced to contemplate just what the heck I’m going to write about that day.
Often a thought or feeling from the day before will surface as I write. Yesterday’s post about bullying is an example. I started writing about Louise Penny and then I remembered my anger and frustration the day before with some of the reactions to the alleged bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization and I knew those feelings had to be expressed. So, my thoughts on that subject ended up being the closing words of the post.
Or, as happened the day before: I started writing about my potted plants dying and the process of accepting the transition into cold weather and I typed the words: “That does not make Claudia a happy camper.” The word ‘camper’ jumped out at me from my computer screen and I suddenly found myself writing about being a camp counselor oh-so-many years ago and the friendships that came out of that experience, which morphed into the similarities between that experience and the experience of being in a play. Which morphed into the realization that the plays I recently coached are closing this weekend and the actors are having to deal with goodbyes after making new friends during the course of their experience.
Sometimes I take some pictures that I know will be the theme for the next day’s post and the writing springs from the photos. That happened earlier in the week when Don and I took a late afternoon walk on a beautiful Sunday.
Then there are those posts I know I have to write. I knew I had to write about decorating and the competitive aspect of it that seems to be surfacing in this blog world of ours. I got up that morning absolutely sure I had to write that post.
Or the post I knew I had to write about our estranged sister. It was a long time coming and the process of writing it was cathartic and, ultimately, healing. It also turned out to be cathartic for all of you, as you shared your stories about lost family members. I love when that happens.
Sometimes, I write in a sort of ‘stream of consciousness’ – thoughts flowing freely with very little editing. At other times, the process can be laborious, with editing going on long after I’ve published the post.
Occasionally, I know I have a book review scheduled for that day, so the subject matter is a given. But I still have to write the review, making sure my thoughts are clear, giving enough information to my readers for them to make an informed choice, trying to be fair, yet honest. That’s a whole other challenge.
And sometimes, I just want happy. Happy dog, happy flowers, pretty pictures, pretty things.
This blog is a journal. Simple as that. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been successful at writing a diary. Previous attempts were futile. But somehow this combination of taking photos and writing for an audience has turned out to be the key that unlocked that door. I have to write every day. I have to pull something out of my daily jumble of thoughts that might be interesting, that might be something to focus on, but must always be written from my heart.
Today I woke up not feeling well. I still don’t feel well. And I thought, “What the heck am I going to write? How am I going to come up with something?” And this post emerged from what I was absolutely sure was a blank space that couldn’t be filled.
You never know.