Coming up with something clever to say

I’ve been trying to come up with something clever to say for a while. Something that will make readers either go “Wow! Why didn’t I think of that!” or “I’ve always thought of that but Bottledworder said it first. Shucks! ”

In case you didn’t figure it out yet, I’ve been trying my best to be smart, funny and presentable all this while. Sometimes presentable light. Sometimes presentable intense. Sometimes presentable knowledgeable.

If I was a natural, this would be easy. But as you’ve also probably figured out by now, the presentability slips frequently for I am none of the above in reality. So obviously, I’ve had to think a lot and think hard about being clever.

But instead of my words coming out witty or funny or intense or heavy or whatever it is that I am, I was staring at a bit of a blank page. Like the frog that had seen the fly on the big leaf in the garden. Waiting. A long time. (Is there a story like that? An Aesop’s fable? If not, there ought to be.)

When the blank page wouldn’t go away, I blinked and started thinking about the nature of being clever itself. In a a blog post.

I know that’s not being very clever but I thought we already settled that.

I mean, any kind of writing is hard. You need to calm down from whatever it was that was bothering you, make your mind go sort of blank, then fill that blank with something, whatever it is, whether it’s the elections or the behaviour of your neighbour’s dog, and then start typing about it.

Chaos. →Blank. →Fill. →Type.

Now, there are times when the mind will get stuck at stage 2, blank and refuse to fill.

Then you are stuck.

That can happen with any kind of writing. That’s writer’s block.

But a blog is different. Posting on a blog presents special difficulties.

If you’re working on a longish project, say a critical book, a work of fiction or non-fiction, an essay or memoir, you either have an underlying argument or a story to come back to everyday.

You go to sleep at night and you come back to it in the morning. Your life gets disrupted by a storm and you come back to it after things settle.You go for the holidays. You come back to it in the new year. If you have writer’s block, it can be hard but you still have that cocoon of the whole (of which you will only write a part on a particular day) to go back to.

But here, in the blog world, you have to come up with something new to say everyday (or frequently enough). No direction for you. No small parts adding to one large whole to guide you.

The blog will say just be new and be clever each day. Everyday. Be clever for the whole week, the month, several months, the rest of the year, for many years.

Either you’re writing new things every time or you’re presenting the same old items in your post in new ways every day with admirable frequency because you have your niche. The challenge is even more if you follow the niche path, make old wine in brand new bottles. An even harder task if you ask me.

But perhaps I got it all wrong. About blogging and being clever I mean.

[And no. Not because I’m naive enough to believe writing comes from the heart. Between the heart and the pen, or the keyboard, the words travel a long distance through twisted paths and if they don’t, the flood of thoughts is rarely readable. So revision is a must.]

But why feel the need to be clever in a blog at all?

Every other public genre privileges form, presents ideas, attempts finality.

The blog is the everyday, the conversational, the eternally revisable, the everyperson’s mode of expression.

Why spoil it by grasping at cleverness/smartness/excellence/brilliance or any of those other states of being that hound us in daily life?

So, I’m not coming up with anything clever to say. At least not in this post. Not this time. Not today.

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35 thoughts on “Coming up with something clever to say”

  1. It’s “nice” to know that most people feel the same way! Eases the pressure off a little…sort of. It’s true what you and some other commenters have mentioned…to be true to yourself and style of writing.
    I’m figuring that out too…so now I don’t try to be what “professional bloggers” and “professional writers” say you must be when you write a blog. It’s different of course when one needs to write for a magazine or some publication that’s hiring you to do the writing, but our blogs hopefully can be an avenue where we can explore ourselves, our writing styles and all other manner of…..ourselves 😉
    Really nice post !!

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  2. When I first started a blog there was an underlying purpose. Yes, I felt the need to write and write, but I structured it as a “journal of transformation – California to Minnesota,” and so there were rampant discoveries, inner fretting and hand-wringing, and every day a new source of inspiration just crying for exploration. Now, two years later a subject doesn’t always readily pop to the surface, yet I am determined to make each entry a mini-essay with a “point of view” and not just a “what I did this weekend” tweet, while still adhering to what my husband calls my “bossy-pants, irreverent” voice. Not always easy.
    Perfect timing Bottledworder. I feel better already.

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  3. That was a clever blog. 😉
    I couldn’t imagine trying to write a blog daily. That would require work, and research, and honestly, it sounds tiresome. The closest thing I come to actual research is dropping by Wikipedia to double-check something I might have read or heard somewhere. I prefer to just let my thoughts flow and see where they take me, even if it’s about a certain subject. If you’ve read my blogs, you know I tend to ramble and rant.
    As for where the words and ideas of my creations dwell, they can usually be found as the bottom of a can of Coca-Cola, or in thje black, swirling mass that resides within my brain. It’s filtered through my heart and a playlist before popping up before me on my latop or a piece of paper.

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  4. Thank you for this! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared at the blank page and tried to force wittiness. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you take the pressure off. Above all, I think it’s most important to be genuine in your voice.

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  5. Why i think this was a very clever post indeed. Ya know, i think your followers will be very pleased and happy to read what you care to share no matter how properly formatted it is. It is your emotions and ideas behind the delivery and writing that really sold us in choosing to following your blog. Very well scripted verses and words are fine and dandy and easy on the eyes but are meaningless without the heart and emotions and ideals.

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  6. Very good post, and so very true. This was very enjoyable to read, and I’m wondering if it has something to do with self-discovery? Enjoying someone thinking through self-discovery? Maybe that is the most interesting and clever type of post? Anyway, great post! (By the way, it’s also equally difficult to be clever commenting on a post!)

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    1. Absolutely. Self-discovery is clever, but very difficult and very few of us can do it and that too on a public forum. The rest of us end up with confusion–like me! Commenting is even more difficult because it has to be a point on something that another person has pondered on longer and harder.

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  7. You took the words right out of my mouth. It’s very hard to be all things to all people who might read your blog, but that’s where the originality comes in – speak from the heart. Those that care will hear you. I do.

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  8. Some days are like that but you keep going as you did with this post. I’m wondering these days how much longer I can keep up my same level of blogging and still write novels. Not easy. You do give me inspiration so I hope that helps to know. Thanks.

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  9. If this is what writer’s block does for you then yay for writer’s block. Seriously though, I find that I present an honesty in my blog posts that I don’t produce in my other writings. It’s a part of me, of who I am. Okay, I admit, I love presenting myself as witty and clever and if that comes out in my blog posts it’s purely by accident 🙂
    And the great thing about blog posts is that even when you’re telling people that you don’t know what to put in a blog post, you end up with a post as honest and eloquent as this one.

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  10. How well we bloggers know this feeling! The need to say something astounding, and say them often.. But ultimately we must acknowledge we are human- and that all the lovely, witty, clever things we say are products of hours of contemplation and correction.. And sometimes, we must say the ordinary things that occupy our minds for far longer.

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  11. Sometimes being honest and human is all that needs to be said. I like to read about peoples intricacies – what makes them who they are, what they like or dislike, or are scared of, or what makes them laugh. Just be who you are I say. We’re all interesting even if we don’t particularly feel it. 🙂

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  12. I like the truth in this post .There are days I just don’t have anything to say , clever or new . Better days ahead I hope . I’m still trying to figure out what a blog is , I hope I can figure it out before I run out of things to say . Cheers !

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