Today we have the first in a series of guest posts by the incomparable Lindsay Rom, from Adventures of a Modern Cavegirl. Over on her blog you can catch Lindsay discussing the Paleo lifestyle, staying healthy, and meditations on spirituality. Somehow I’ve talked her into doing four guest posts on blogging, each releasing on consecutive Fridays. So stay tuned…there’s more to come.
Take it away, Lindsay!
Writing. Writing about writing. This can only end well.
From the moment I could hold a pencil, I was forever scribbling down ideas, one-liners, poems, lyrics, and so on. My mom encouraged me to deepen my enthusiasm for writing by giving me journals– I have quite the collection now, nearing 15 actual journals, not to mention the VAST number of writings I’ve collected on my Mac that could easily fill another 6.
Recently, I’ve taken the need to pen my thoughts to paper… or in this case, type my thoughts into a computer… and started chronicling my experiences with eating a Paleolithic diet and living a Paleolithic lifestyle. I write a regular blog called “The Adventures of a Modern Cavegirl” and fill the vast, empty space the internet provides with insights, information, recipes, and shameless photos of “food porn”.
I love sharing the joy I’ve been having with cooking; the post I did on Blueberry/Almond Butter Omelets meant I got to spend a morning cooking something new, eating something fabulous, and mercilessly taunting others with photos of the what my efforts yielded before I shoveled the whole thing down my throat. It’s my way. But let’s not be delusional here: for as much as I enjoy blogging, I tend to go through a rather grueling process when it comes to settling down to write about my food exploits.
Content Is King:
You can take as many writing course you like, fill the caverns of your mind with materials, discipline yourself to mastering technique and language, but all that study can’t teach you what to say. Whether it’s a blog, an article, a short story, a poem, a song… hell, a full-on magnum opus, the novel that will change the course of literature and human history itself, it’s ultimately meaningless unless it’s fueled by passion, motivated by something that you think other people should find. (Otherwise, why would you be putting it out into The World for The World to see?)
It is vital to keep your horizons expanding; understanding how other people (readers and authors alike) can interpret the same topic– fresh food, flying dragons, true love– gives you more clarity and a better ability to add your voice into the song. Even though I don’t write the same genres as my favorite writers (Aaron Sorkin, JK Rowling), I still pull inspiration from them. As writers, they understand that their job is to be the funnel for the vast amount of knowledge they’ve amassed, honing it into something comprehensible for all. They write from a place of authority, their understanding of their material born from endless research, yet they never pretend to be all-knowing. (JK Rowling is in the process of taking all the “leftovers” from Harry Potter and putting them into a new website called Pottermore.com. “The West Wing”, one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and award-winning television series of all time was also comprised of “leftovers”, materials that Sorkin couldn’t use up completely when he wrote the movie “The American President”. If Sorkin had said all he wanted to say in the movie, we might never have understood the joys of Root Canal.)
And While We’re On The Subject Of Materials…
Have the balls to write your ideas on your own!
Nic and I have a friend that is currently in a spot of bother: he discovered that one of his coworkers had been plagiarizing almost all of his work-related materials for months, if not longer, creating a giant work-place drama where it didn’t really need to exist. Since that particular job is nothing but coming up with fresh interpretations to relate to the public, it’s incredibly maddening to me that this douche-monkey is claiming credit for work he flat-out did not do.
Yes, you are going to have moments when you can’t think of a single thing that would sound better in your voice than it would coming from someone else. Yes, you will be making your point along with millions of others, and someone may find a way to make it more impressionable to a larger public than you. But your voice is yours for a reason. The experiences you have, the opinions and conclusions you form, the glasses through which you see The World, the defining moments of your life can be told and shared by no one but you. Why let someone else say it for you? Why steal someone else’s efforts?
I recently wrote a blog about the Paleo lifestyle being more than just a “diet”, but rather a spiritual exploration, figuring out how you want to use the Earth while you’re on it and the condition you’d like it to be in when you leave it. There are hundreds of Paleo nutritionists and scientists that have made their points, thousands of conservationists that have put their ideas of how to save The World into action, and millions of spiritual/philosophical/religious gurus that use their lives as a template to benefit all Humanity. Doesn’t mean that what I have to say on the subject isn’t important. You may want to write about a topic that’s been beaten to death by millions of other writers– sometimes well, sometimes not so much– but their work doesn’t take away from your opinion. Writing may very well be the opportunity you will feel the most like Yourself, serving as the chance to understand all that you are as a living being with a defined moment in time in existence. Why would you want to cheapen that by using words that don’t belong to you?
Up next, I’ll get into The Aesthetics of Writing, exploring the visual components and the “sound” of any piece, making it a fluid work for your readers.