Category Archives: Blogging

Toothpaste, Ira Glass, and the Picture in My Head

wildflowers in a field

 

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you . . . We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work . . . It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions . . . It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” —Ira Glass

 

When I was five, I decided I needed glass slippers like Cinderella. So I made some. I snuck into the bathroom and, using and Q-tips, I covered my new patent dress shoes with a sticky paint made of  toothpaste, baby powder, and baking soda. Then I did what any five-year-old would do—I put them in a donut box and hid them under my parent’s bed. Because, well, where else would I hide them? Mom was not happy when she discovered them two weeks later, rock-hard and still under her bed. She later told me that’s when she knew I had an imagination.

I was a frustrated artist. I didn’t have the supplies or the talent to create the images I had in my head—landscape watercolors, sketched portraits, painted houses. Some did make it to paper, but they always resulted in tears. (Of course, I cried about everything—not being able to buckle my seat belt was enough to provoke frustrated tears.)

And really, not a whole lot has changed.

A few months ago I tried to turn a four-hour car repair ordeal into a Father’s Day blog post. It was awful. I’m sure I could go back and do something with that draft now, but my first version was so far from where I thought it would be that I didn’t even go back for a second read through, let alone any edits.

I’ve become afraid of writing, which is sad because it’s something I love to do. I always have. In high school I had the luxury of journaling everywhere I went, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was writing long notes to friends. It was exciting to spend my entire hour of chemistry writing while pretending to pay attention. (I really hated science.)

I have all these great ideas—ideas that pull in quotes from literature, personal stories, Scripture, and my own thoughts—but I don’t write them. I jot the ideas in a notebook that follows me around every day, mocking me because yes, I had the great idea, but it will never turn out the way I want it to.

I know that I’m supposed to write constantly, even if it’s crap, because that’s how I’ll get better. That’s how I’ll find the gold, but that is SO hard for this perfectionist to do. I want to do it right and do it right the first time. I want to send it out into the blogosphere and wow everyone with my words. I want to make Annie Dillard and LM Montgomery and Philip Yancey proud. (But mostly Annie Dillard.)

How comforting to know that my struggle is normal, that my writing will improve as I work on it, that my skills will catch up with my taste in beautiful words. At least I hope they will. But hope is important. It’s way better than not writing just because I’m afraid.

So I’m actually going to post this even though I’m not completely happy with it, even though it falls short of the picture I had in my head. Because I have hope that just the act of writing it will get my next post that much closer to where I want it to be.

Turning 101

100000miles by Peat BakkeGuys, right after I clicked “publish” for my last post, WordPress told me it was my 100th post. I had planned a small celebration for that milestone, and I missed it! I felt kinda like I did when I realized two miles after the fact that my car had surpassed 100,000 miles. So I’m going to celebrate with my 101st post instead.

First of all, thanks for sticking with me through lots of writing tips, a somewhat irregular posting schedule, and a few months’ absence earlier this year. And my love of snow. You didn’t even stop following me when I dropped that bomb. Wow. You’re awesome. (For the record, I did not ask for the 7–12 inches of snow Minnesota is supposed to get tonight.)

 

(Photo credit: Peat Bakke)

To celebrate, here are a few of my most popular posts:

And a few of my favorite posts:

A few of the best books I’ve reviewed:

And a few writing tips:

Welcome to Editionally’s New Home!

Okay, when I said I was going to take a few weeks off blogging so I could work on the redesign, I didn’t intend to stop blogging for two-and-a-half months. I promise. It just kinda happened. With the after-Christmas “hangover,” being sick for almost three weeks (not all at the same time—I was sick on two occasions), and quite honestly, being a little burned out, I needed the break.

But now my design is finished—tada!—and I’m itching to start blogging again. So whether you follow via email, Google reader, or something else, make sure you’re following the new url (editionallyblog.com), keep coming back, and join the conversation, because I’ve got a lot of post ideas floating around in my head after such a long break and I can’t wait to get going again.

New Look Coming Soon!

Blue Dots Header handwritingBecause I only have so much time to work on my blog, and because I desperately need to change Editionally’s design, I’ll be taking the next several weeks off posting so I can focus on finishing the design and getting everything switched over.

Stay tuned! I’ll be back in February!

What I’m Reading

Happy Labor Day! (I admit to looking this up to make sure Labor Day is about what it sounds like it’s about. It’s not a holiday you spend much time talking about in elementary school.)

To celebrate this glorious three-day weekend, I’m enjoying a grande iced chai latte (possibly my last until next year, now that salted caramel mochas are back on the menu at Starbucks) and catching up on a few of my favorite blogs.

claudiamair.com
I met Claudia Mair briefly when she came to Taylor to talk about writing. I love her outside-the-box personality, and her writing reflects that. To my shame, I’ve only read one of her books (Zora and Nicky), but I’ve never forgotten how much I loved it. It was not fluffy, make-you-feel-good Christian fiction. But it did have a powerful message. When I found out she was starting a blog, I got super excited. She’s only got a few posts up, but I can’t wait to see more.

The Small Things Blog
From My Grey Desk
I’m putting these two together because the bloggers are sisters. The Small Things blog is written by a hairstylist (I have serious hair envy! I even took her picture with me last time I got a cut.) I’d describe them both as fashion blogs, and I’m addicted. I can’t get enough of fashion blogs lately. (Sorry to all my male readers—you can probably just skip over these. Unless, of course, you want really great gift ideas).

Goins, Writer
This is the second time I’ve posted about Jeff’s blog. I’ve since decided he’s not as much like Seth Godin as I thought. But he does use some of the same language and he totally challenges my writing. I love him because he’s one of those writers who writes because he loves it, not necessarily just because he has something to say. And I’ve discovered that is the perfect recipe for quality writing.

No doubt I’ll also get around to working on a few of the books on my list before the day’s over.

What Your Childhood Memories Say About You by Dr. Kevin Leman
This is one of those free books that’s been sitting on my Kindle since before I had one (I started collecting books about a year before I got it). It’s not a page-turner, but I’m finding it to be pretty interesting so far. I think it’s the psychology geek in me—had someone bothered to explain the concept of a minor to this girl who came from a family that knew nothing about college, I probably would have been a psychology minor.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan
This is the review book I’m working on right now. I’ve always had an interest in other religions and so far, it’s super interesting. Check back in a few weeks for a full review.

John
I’ve been trying really hard to get into the habit of spending time reading the Bible on a daily basis. I started with the reading plan in Unstuck just to get in the habit of doing it every day. Now that I’m done with that, I’ve moved on to using the SOAP method to read through a reading plan my bosses came up with for the youth group this year. Tonight’s reading is John 6.

This seems like such a tiny list because, really, I have a reading addiction. Or, maybe I’m just addicted to reading materials. Every week I have to sort through all the free books I’ve downloaded and put them into the appropriate folders–contemporary fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, writing, etc. I may or may not have over 70 books just in the contemporary fiction folder . . . And blogs? Every time I think I’m going to clean out my reader and delete the ones I skip over, I add more. Without fail.

If only there were a few extra hours built into the day designed just for reading. My lunch hour and an hour or so each evening (if it’s a good day) are just not enough! What about you—what would you use those few extra hours for?

The Grand Re-Launch of Editionally

I started Editionally last August, intending to use it for everything from editorial humor to book reviews, but I haven’t quite gotten past the book review part. But that’s going to change. I’ve decided Editionally needs more content, and more personality.

So from here on out, I’m going to post more personal stories, writing advice, and anything else that comes up—and more book reviews, too. I’ve also got some monthly and weekly features in the works—so make sure you check back for those. Bear with me as I try out new things and make updates.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a “Grand Re-launch,” but changes are coming!