This post is a desperate attempt to find a reason to use the term “Hodge-Podge” in a way that doesn't require double-quotes. Success is by no means assured.
I have been blogging now for about six weeks and have recently been dealing with a minor bout of writer's block. It's my first, so I'm not entirely sure what to do with it; is there a protocol or tradition for dealing with your first bout? Are you supposed to frame it and put it on your wall like the first dollar that a fledgling business earns, to forever be a reminder that, yes, things have sucked worse than they do now? Or is the inability to get past the blank word document a dirty little secret that you need to take to your grave, since talking about it is considered a grievous faux pas like mentioning a no-hitter during a baseball game?
As a complete non-sequitur, I really like abusing semi-colons. I feel like every sentence deserves one. Besides, I think that commas are overworked and that it's a good idea to give them a break unless they start a revolution and overthrow the world's governments. I, for one, welcome our new comma overlords.
It's not that I don't have any ideas on what to write, I have lots of ideas for posts. In my drafts folder on blogger, on my work and home computer's word processors are snippets, thoughts and orphaned titles of posts that are germinating in my brain but can't seem to get out of the grey matter. There is no greater feeling of creative helplessness than staring at a blank page or canvas without the faintest idea of what to fill it with.
Even the Blog Azeroth Shared Topics, normally a goldmine for any Warcraft blogger that is feeling lost for a topic, have eluded me. Last weeks topic “An Open Letter To…” stumped me for a solid week, and after each attempt was mercilessly aborted for being completely awful, I just threw up my hands and walked away from it. I thought that a topic with completely endless possibilities would be fantastic, but the lack of direction ended up taking my mind in so many directions that physicists are going to have to create a few new dimensions just to accommodate them all.
At least with the current one “Are Five Levels Enough” I can simply say, “Yes” and move on. Hey, does this post now count as my response? I can already feel the link love.
After six weeks of writing for my blog, I've managed to observe a few things. First of all, this project really is the first real writing I've done since university. I worry that my style has become, well, rather staid and boring at times, having something to do with the fact that the major source of actual, real writing that I've done for the past ten years have been professional letters for work. Inserting some personality and humour into a serious post can be mind-numbingly frustrating, and at the same time I wonder if small, throwaway posts like this one aren't worth the bother since why waste everyone's time? There is always the nagging self-doubt hanging in the back of my mind that when I am writing something personal nobody is really all that interested in reading it, and that I'm not enough of an expert to write the IMPORTANT POSTS.
Still, I've really enjoyed writing again. It's always something that I've enjoyed but never did, so this has been a wonderful outlet for me. To both of the people who have read this far, I truly appreciate it.
Another thing I've observed is that Twitter is enormously distracting when you want to get any real work done. Want to sit down and write a post? Oops, Twitter has a new message. Need to do the job you get paid for? Wait, what is twitter saying about Wil Wheaton? I always feel like I'm missing something vital and game-changing when there is a new, unread Tweet. I get this weird burning in the back of my brain when I can't click on it to find out what it's all about.
In the past, whenever I've been feeling creatively stagnant, there have always been a few places I could go for inspiration. For my photography, I could go to an art gallery or peruse any of the dozens of books that I have on the subject. If I just wanted a buzz and a boost to my overall creativity, I would read U2: At The End of The World, which for some reason works on my brain like putting a packet of Mentos into Diet Coke: everything gets all fizzy and starts spewing out uncontrollably and eventually you'll end up sticky.
For writing, however, there really is only one book worth picking up; only one book that energizes me enough to face the demon of the blank Word document. (There you are Semi-colon, my pretty. I've missed you). Douglas Adams's The Salmon of Doubt, which in a sense is not a proper book: merely a collection of writings from one of the most brilliant minds to ever postulate that sticking a fish in your ear was a good idea. The articles in the book itself are wonderful to read, but most importantly, The Salmon of Doubt shows me how to be a writer. There is no trick, you just have to write. You need to write all the time, about whatever comes to your mind. Vomit it on the page (or in this case laptop... who writes longhand blog posts?) and see if there are any undigested chunks of good writing in there.
I picked it up last night and started reading it, and well, 900ish words later here we are. In case you haven't guessed yet, this post has nothing to do with WoW and the title was just to draw you in (I'm sneaky, aren't I). But as a new blogger, and a person who only recently started to think of themselves as a writer, I felt I needed to get this out. I think there are at least one or two readable bits here, although I'd be careful... it might just be some corn that I ate last night.