Tag Archives: writer resources

My Writing Process

This post ought to have been left blank because I realized that I have no process. Or perhaps there is no process.

Except that process where you have shown perseverance in spending time glued to the chair at your desk, tearing your hair (if you have any left), sighing in despair, pacing up and down the floor and sitting through the bouts of time when there has been no writing.

I realized also that you must have reached a goal, albeit set by yourself, weekly or monthly, of a number of pages/words that you decided to write, even if the writing was all gibberish, to have started thinking about a process.

The gibberish is an important ingredient to start with.  It is the one that might or might not lead to magic.

Unfortunately, I have realized through the years that there is no magic in the world that you haven’t produced yourself. But try enough times and you’ll see that for those who know how to look for it, lo and behold! “Zim zam zambowe/ Magic comes from nowhere!” (so sings the wise, white-haired, white-bearded sorcerer from the Indian children’s show Chota Bheem).

The sorcerer with Chota Bheem and his gang. The image is linked to the the image url. Thanks to The Boy for locating this image.

The following steps are solely how it happens with me. I’ll be very glad to hear how it happens to you. Continue reading My Writing Process

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On focusing the reader’s attention on your blog

OR On blog content arrangement Part 3 (after Part 1 and Part 2)

How would you guide the reader’s eye in terms of content on your blog? What would you want them to look at and for how long? Would you want to present a lot of content or only a small amount? Continue reading On focusing the reader’s attention on your blog

On a reader-friendly arrangement of blog posts

OR On blog content arrangement Part 2

We talked about difficulties of navigating blogs without proper cues yesterday in Part 1. Let’s think about a few principles of arrangement of posts on the page today.

On a reader-friendly arrangement of posts

So how can we arrange content on our blog so that it’s more accessible to the reader?

There is only one answer.

The easiest way to do this is to put ourselves in the reader’s shoes.

We won’t be able to know how it feels in the reader’s shoes unless we first know what kind of content we are generating which in turn is attracting what kind of readers. Continue reading On a reader-friendly arrangement of blog posts

On blog content arrangement

Part I

Have you ever seen a blog that you’ve wanted to see more of? You’ve tried to spend a minute or two trying to figure out how, been frustrated, and then moved on?

Haven’t you wondered sometimes how some bloggers put a lot of effort into writing a post, then select great pictures, put colourful badges, icons and a lot of other pretty things around the page and then put little thought into how the reader would navigate the blog? Continue reading On blog content arrangement

Letter from 2199: On E Reading, Books and Learning Technologies

Dear Great-Great-Great Aunt Bottledworder,

I cannot believe it’s mid-April already!

We’re nearing the end of my Spring semester. It makes me quite agitated to think that I still haven’t gotten my act together about even the first of my new year’s resolutions. That blinking reminder keeps mocking me from the corner of my screen — “Ten for Twenty: Ten Resolutions for 2199” ! Continue reading Letter from 2199: On E Reading, Books and Learning Technologies

Five observations on writing

I often think of this Indian vegetarian "thali" I had in Journal Square in Jersey City when I think of perfect writing. The ingredients come together well in each item in its own bowl and then all the bowls come together in a beautiful arrangement making the eating experience fun.
When I think of perfect writing, I often think of this Indian vegetarian “thali” I had in Journal Square in Jersey City . All parts are well integrated. The ingredients come together in each item in its own bowl and then all the bowls come together in a beautiful arrangement making the eating experience fun.

Food is fun but this post is about writing. But I’m okay with calling it Cheesy Nuggets of Wisdom about Writing from Bottledworder if that makes us feel hungry for words: Continue reading Five observations on writing

Short blog posts or long ones?

Is it possible to deal with a topic in depth in a single blog post and still be read by a substantial number of people on a blog platform? Or is a blog post meant to be short, striking, entertaining for a moment, even intriguing, merely pointing to something more extensive and detailed? Is it meant to just keep people updated, a “Hello! I’m here” as opposed to “Hey! I’m here to visit and here’s my luggage. I plan to settle in for a while.”
Continue reading Short blog posts or long ones?

Writing, moods and discipline

You’ve been deeply distressed about a number of things going on in your life lately. At the same time, you’re creating a character who is going through a crisis.

You’re euphoric about a new job, a new partner, a new plan that materialized. At the same time you’re writing a book about how to be happy.

Doable?

Not necessarily. Continue reading Writing, moods and discipline

What’s a good blog?

What’s a good blog?

For me personally, it’s very hard to tell. I know it when I see it.

Sudan(?) Monkey riding a rhino
A blogger is a friendly person who is telling me a few things in a way I can trust (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

But what am I looking for?

One thing I know for sure–when I’m browsing a blog, I’m also looking for a good experience. Continue reading What’s a good blog?

Words, wit and writing

For the past few weeks, I was posting quotations that I like on my Facebook page.

Many of them were from my witty friend Oscar Wilde. Then I thought why not quote Bottledworder? All I need to do is to look inside. So here are some words of wisdom from BW’s Good Angel and Bad:

New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Guide for Writers

Some of us want to write more, and more, and more in 2013. Others would write less, but well. Some of us would like to become famous writers. Yet others would like to hit that jackpot deal with publishers. Many of us would like to win that literary prize or at least see our names in print in that journal that never publishes anyone. Others would just like to go viral no matter what the subject matter.

All good.

English: New Year's Day postcard mailed in 190...
English: New Year’s Day postcard mailed in 1909. It reads: “A New Year’s Resolution / Jan. 1st / Good Resolution / Each resolution that I make / My conscience surely troubles / Because I find they always break / As easy as Soap bubbles” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But when we think through the parts of the big plan, what New Year’s resolutions might be useful?
Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Guide for Writers

Improve your writing on the web

Some things just become better with practice. I never realized the importance of this dictum until I started this blog myself.

There were some tenets of writing on the web that I knew theoretically but never really felt the importance of until I put those ideas into practice myself.

Through numerous trials and errors and experimentation, I’m afraid, on my extremely generous readers, who have always been ready with their good words, I’ve come to make the following observations about blog writing specifically and writing on the web generally:
Continue reading Improve your writing on the web

How to come up with topics for your blog

How?

The truth is, I don’t know.

So I googled the words how, blog, topics.

Some excellent blogs about blogging came up. Some of them talked about how to find popular topics to make money. Some talked about how to find subjects to write about. Some were descriptive, some were prescriptive, some suggested how to find the perfect match between you and a topic while some were trying to encourage you to just get going. Some provided actual titles like essay questions. I was impressed.

But I guess I was looking for something a bit different.
Continue reading How to come up with topics for your blog

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.
Continue reading Coming up with something clever to say

Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad

Points to ponder

♠1. Good girls and good boys rarely grow up to become good writers.

♠2. The good in good person and the good in good book is almost never the same thing.

Evil Eeyore
(Photo credit: ybnormalman)

Continue reading Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad

Telling Stories (Part 1: The Confusions)

How is it that you tell a story?
What stories do you tell? What stories get left behind?
A myriad questions come to mind when I try to think of a story. Or stories. To tell.
Ultimately, I stand befuddled in tongue-tied confusion. Wanting to tell all and able to tell none.
All those stories in my head.
Recently, I’ve been able to figure out why. It all dawned on me in a single moment.

A woman thinking

I’m getting out of the train at the World Trade Center PATH station. It’s waves of people rushing out the doors stepping out with me meeting waves of faces waiting to get in. It’s waves of arms, legs, backpacks, boots, elbows, yellow caution lines and discarded metro cards on the floor (being trampled on incessantly by boots), a confusion of emergency phones on pillars, maps and defibrillator boxes all rushing at me in the crowd as I move forward.

Then, the feeling of moving up flights of steps and ramps and wide concourses, rising with the tide of people all the while saving my feet and elbows from getting jammed against suitcases on wheels and pointy heels and sharp corners of cardboard boxes. Finally the lightness of being deposited like a cork with the tide at the turnstiles.

Then moving up, and up, and up on the great escalators towards the surface from the bowels of the earth.

It’s then, when I’m very high above the turnstile level that something happens to me and I turn back. Always. Continue reading Telling Stories (Part 1: The Confusions)

On Writing and Complexity (Part 2)

Continued from On Writing and Complexity (Part 1)

peonies
(Photo credit: tanjaillustration)

How do we react to the following writers who might be trying to say they’re happy?

Person A: Awwwww. How sweet. That’s the best thing ever! Red roses are my favourite.
Person B: The flowers made me so happy.
Person C: My felicity was assured by your gesture of goodwill expressed by the earlier mentioned red roses at my doorstep.

Believe it or not, person C’s do still exist amongst us in the twenty-first century.

But usually, in the everyday world, C’s are really A’s or B’s rather insecure about what to write or trying to get an edge over A’s and B’s. What else can they do? It’s a competitive world.

But no matter what their intention, what do these styles make us assume about the people behind them?

Continue reading On Writing and Complexity (Part 2)