If I were writing on paper, the wastebasket would be overflowing with crumpled blog post drafts. Since I’m at a keyboard, cyberspace is awash in electron static whirling off my hard drive as my brain spins and my fingers flail, trying to gain purchase on the page.
Each of those posts began with a great idea that I may eventually find a way to develop. Right now they are flat. Flat as a pancake. Flat as a board. Flat as stale beer. Flat as the hat an elephant stomped. You get the idea.
I think I know the problem: I’ve been reading blog posts and advice articles with titles like 7 Tips for Captivating Readers, or Bore into Readers’ Brains for Keeps. (Don’t go searching for these articles. I made up the titles. Besides – why would you go looking for something I just described as trouble?)
The advice wasn’t bad. The concepts they espouse are solid and useful. Maybe. Sometimes, for some people. Trying to follow those formulas drained all the life from my words, sucking them dry. The resulting posts sound like they came from fill-in-the-blank templates. They are preachy and BORING. They sound like I’m determined to write until I reach a certain word count.
The problem is they lack passion. They lack heart. They take someone else’s idea and try to embellish it beyond what it deserves and that makes them preachy. You deserve better.
They violated a key rule in the first chapter of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing:
There is no write way to write.
Try lots of things. Find what works
for YOU, and run with that.
Obviously there was one key piece of advice missing from all that wisdom:
Write from your heart first, then apply the craft.
If that sounds like a formula, it is, and it’s the exception to the rule. It’s the one formula that will prevent blog-by-number posts and same-old, same-old stories.
That’s the story, that’s the message, and that’s all that needs to be said.
Write now: strip a story down to its basics and write those, only those. Don’t embellish in any way until that story is finished.