In a world where I consider blogging far past its prime as we use photos, audio and video as the clearest ways to communicate a message, I still choose to write. “The writing’s on the wall,” you say, a smugness in your tone as you note the play on words, “You can make so much more money on YouTube!” But that’s not what it’s all about for me — when I write, I treat it like anything else I put together, carefully and methodically, much like I would when working on a detailed art piece, trying to get every little details just so to help my audience truly get inside my head.
Recently, my friend and fellow BiSC-uit Kelly Leaman of [Insert Clever Title Here] emailed me, seeing if I wanted to join a blog hop on writing. Much like the chain mail of days past, blog hops start with a blogger and an idea, tagging other bloggers to get their thoughts and so on.
In this particular exercise, we answered four questions on writing:
- What am I working on?
- How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
- Why do I write what I do?
- How does my writing process work?
Almost 12 years and over 2,000 posts later, I hope these answers give a little insight into why I keep blogging, and the things I’m planning next for my little corner of the Internet.
Specific to writing, my friends can tell you I’m always found with notebook in hand, scrawling every idea that comes to mind. Two of my more ambitious writing projects right now include a 25-post series about blogging better, and a 31-post series on life lessons I’ve learned so far to celebrate my upcoming 31st birthday. I’m currently transforming my site from a blog to a proper website, showcasing all the different parts of me — the Casey who dabbles in code as a side interest; the Casey who doodles in the margins on his meeting notes, dying to take it a step farther; the Casey who’s invested thousands in photography gear, yearning to capture amazing things with his lens. My writing feeds into all of these, giving my projects the proper voice they need for my audience to understand the alphabet soup that is my mind.
TL;DR: I’m working on 5-10 projects at any given time, and they all bring me blissful joy. If I got paid what I do at my 9-5 to just create all through the day, I’d take that pay cheque in a heartbeat.
At the core of my argument for this, I think it’s my level of neuroticism over my work that sets me apart from most bloggers. I’ll write 30 drafts of a post before I’m ready to make it public; I’ll strive for perfection before I call anything done; until my work yields an emotional response from myself, I can’t honestly believe that anyone would like it.
Yes, I’m absolutely obsessed with creating content that bleeds my soul through every word, and its reflection of myself is what keeps it so individual.
In an industry so obsessed with its niches, a blog without one is often seen as a failure. All the best practices, guides and tutorials tell me I should fit into a certain-shaped box to find a specific audience for what I do, but that’s not me. I rather be painfully honest and clear with my ideas than to try to change myself to fit what others think I should be.
I’ve written for a dozen years now, feeling compelled to do so by forces beyond my comprehension. At times, I’ve thought I did it because of potential wealth, fame, or simply to prove that I could, but the answer’s far deeper than that.
In me in a primal urge to create — a need to tell stories that resonate with others. Where others see social media as an advertising platform and a way to dip their hands in others’ pockets, for me it’s a soapbox. It’s a stage. It’s where I perform my latest routine, aiming to capture the unsuspecting public, unaware of the tricks up my sleeve or what I’ll pull from my hat next.
I want to lead a life most extraordinary, and for me, writing is my path there.
It’s not the most logical reason — it might not even be concrete — but it’s why I do it, and that’s good enough for me.
One day my infant son’s going to grow up and laugh at his father, for he’ll still be penning his thoughts — quite literally — on a pad of paper, likely from some antique shop by then.
My thoughts flow better when I write them on paper. I can type — somewhere around 80 words per minute with my unorthodox typing style — but it’s not the same. I’ll type a funny tweet or I’ll type a pensive Facebook post, but these are snippets of information at a moment in time. If someone were to look back at my work several decades from now, I wouldn’t want their opinion founded on my Instagram posts or my Foursquare check-ins — it’s my blog where my soul really lives.
Most blogs start with an idea, or a sentence, or a line from a song. Something will set me off and it’s off to the races, pen furiously scribbling as the flesh valiantly strives to keep up with the mind.
It’s not always perfect — I can go days and only muster a few lines — but this piece, for instance, I wrote in one of my better spells where I wrote 20 pages (double-sided) in a single day.
Much of my content’s governed by my refusal to produce anything mediocre. I’ll have grand ideas of things that would knock my readers’ socks off, and I don’t stop until I’ve done just that. Sure, I’ll post things in the meantime to let the world know I’m alive, but otherwise I scribble away, scratching out words, elaborating in margins, draining ballpoint pens1 like some private war against ink.
I’ve gone from hundreds of drafts on my WordPress site to dozens simply by sounding ideas out on paper first — by the time they hit the computer, they’re far closer to completion.
And if they’re not? Print off a draft and edit some more! (I know. I’m the worst.)
1 If you’re in the market for something affordable that writes really well, look into the Pilot Better Retractable Fine. It’s an excellent choice.
So Why Do I Write?
I write without abandon, because my mind needs release and the world’s better off when you share your ideas and not just bottle them inside. I write without abandon because I believe in my words, and think they’ll improve the lives of at least some of my readers out there. I write without abandon, because my soul would hurt otherwise.
Why do you write? As this is a blog hop, I found some other bloggers who can tell you why they do it — Christine Pantazis and Christina Wallaert, two bloggers from the Toronto area who know a thing or two about blogging from the years of writing they’ve put in so far. Here’s a little something about them!
Given a second lease on life after a motorcycle accident in 2002, Christine regained her ability to walk and talk through rigorous discipline and determination. Not only that, she reached the top of her class for a certificate in Web Development and Design; got her Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario Certificate; and awarded a Community Member Award by the Toronto Police Services Board for her role in helping save a woman from a suicide attempt. She’s a friend, a peer and a blogger known across the General Toronto area for her work!
Christina’s worked in the Retail and e-commerce industry for many years in a variety of jobs. Some people think she’s addicted to shopping, but she prefers to think of it as a hobby! From her expertise, friends and coworkers always asking her for advice on where to shop and what shoes to wear with what outfit. She love clothes, shoes and accessories, but also loves having things that no one else does. Through her love for the hunt and the unique items she finds, she’s aligned with small businesses and retailers, giving them visibility through her blog and share their talents and creativity with her audience!
You can hope to see some insights on writing soon from both of them — everyone writes for a different reason and sees it in a different light!
Until the next,