In my youth it was common practice in high school and college for students to “slant” their writing to please their teachers. If a teacher liked the heavy use of adjectives and adverbs the student made sure their prose was very descriptive. If a teacher liked characters in a story to be fully developed in the beginning, students made sure they did that, anything for an “A” grade. Over time, as students became adults and wanted to be more individualistic in their writing it became harder to slant their writing and easier to forget grades and write what they wanted.
This was my thought this fall as I found myself spending more and more time analyzing what made my readers happy, versus what made me happy. WordPress is great for writers that like to over analyze because it gives statistics about their blog: total views, monthly, weekly, daily numbers, as well as a daily count on each post ever written. Should I write more about my dogs because those posts draw higher numbers of readers? Or should I have a mix of dog posts, thoughts on life, photographs, poetry? Slanting my posts for an audience rather than allowing myself the freedom to simply write has been consuming my writing time. I realized recently that writing this way was cramping my style, my love for writing.
Surprisingly the posts that I really enjoyed writing were not necessarily popular, such as The Village of the Wee People. But it was enjoyable for me to write because this type of post is fantasy and therefore different.
Do well-known writers find themselves commercializing their thoughts on paper rather than enjoying stories that mull in their mind, that they want to write for fun? I don’t make a living off writing. There’s a small following of my blog, enough to give me a sense of satisfaction that indeed, people are reading my thoughts. But more and more it’s become apparent to me that I need to drop my need to be analytical, to write as if no one is reading my thoughts and have more fun in the process. If “I” enjoy writing fantasy once and awhile then I need to give myself permission to go for it. If one or two people enjoy the ride, people who understand the story or poem, then that’s icing on the cake.
When I write, the thoughts flow easily from my mind, down through my pen and onto the paper. Often I’ll take time to play with the dogs and think about what I wrote. Then I’ll come inside and copy and paste the post from MS Word to WordPress and read, edit, read, edit, add pictures, hit preview, edit again and let WordPress do a grammar check. Finally, I’ll publish the post, read it again on my blog and sometimes edit a mangled sentence or word. Does this sound analytical or obsessive? Both? My feeling is that ultimately each blog entry is my baby that I’m giving to the world. But I wonder how people write books? To me that would be an overwhelming process but it must be immensely gratifying when published and presented to the world.
But for now I remind myself that writing should be from the soul, it should be fun and not slanted toward an audience, not fearful of rejection, not over analyzed. I need to enjoy the process too and let my words go into the world.