Blogging can make you a better writer

I haven’t written about blogging on this blog about writing for some time now. Of necessity my blogging activity has been rather limited over the last 12 months because of my studies. Getting my Master of Arts in Creative Writing has taken precedence over blogging. Despite that, my three blogs continue to tick along quite nicely.

In the previous 2 years I was blogging daily. In fact, I was almost a full time blogger, which kind of hindered my other writing. Writing an average of one article per blog per day  over two years has had some interesting flow on effects on my general writing.

  1. I am now far more disciplined in my writing life, especially in the amount of writing done each day.
  2. I am far more productive, turning out far more words per day than ever before.
  3. I can write ‘on demand’ and rarely wait for inspiration. The act of writing generates its own inspiration and I can also write a lot faster with fewer mistakes.
  4. Searching for ideas for my writing is no longer a problem, because constant blogging generates a momentum of its own, with one article often generating many more.
  5. My writing skills have vastly improved. One of my lecturers commented many times that she can see that my blog writing has helped my other writing develop too.
  6. I have gained a great deal of satisfaction from the comments of readers and the interaction between readers.

There is no doubt in my mind that blogging can vastly improve your skills as a writer. I’m not the only one who thinks along these lines. Jenny Cromie has written an excellent article as a guest blogger on ProBlogger. It’s worth reading.

Good writing.

Writing Goals for 2009

I believe in setting goals for my writing. This is an important part of a writer’s life – and for almost every other pursuit in life.

Short term, regular Goals

On a regular basis I set daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals for my writing. These include:

  • setting goals for the number of words written
  • setting goals for the number of hours of writing
  • setting goals for inservice training such as attending conferences, workshops, reading and other forms of self education.
  • setting target dates for the submission of manuscripts.
  • setting minimum number of posts on my blogs

Long term goals

Late last year I took some time to map out some longer term goals for my writing career. I set some goals for each year for the next five years. This may seem a long view of things but it helped me to clarify where I am heading with my writing. These goals included such things as the number of publications I would like to accomplish as well as some projected – and hopefully realistic – income goals over the next five years. All these goals are flexible and wil be adapted to suit changing circumstances.

My specific goals for 2009

It is always good to set some specific goals for the immediate future. Some of my goals for this year include:

  • Completing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing – this is well under way with one year to go. I should be finished by this time next year.
  • Writing a 40,000 word novel – this will be my thesis paper for my degree. The novel must be of a publishable standard. That’s my big challenge this year.
  • Submissions to publishers of manuscripts written during my course last year. This includes several picture books, a short novel for young children, dozens of poems and several short stories.
  • Continued posting of articles on my three blogs (see the links in the sidebar).
  • Averaging 1000 words per day for the whole year (up from 700 per day achieved last year).
  • Averaging 5 hours per day on my writing, a target I achieved last year. This might not seem much until you try – to average 5 hours per day I actually had to  do many days over 10 hours to achieve the average. There will always be days when no writing is achieved due to illness, holidays, family responsibilities and so on.

I can see that it will be a busy year – again.

Good writing.

Happy New Year

Adelaide International Rose Garden

Adelaide International Rose Garden

Happy New Year to all of my readers.

I hope that the coming year will see you have much success with you writing endeavours. I am looking forward to completing my Master of Arts in Creative writing this year.  My thesis will be a 40,000 word novel for children – stay tuned for the process I go through to complete this major undertaking. I also plan to send off many manuscripts written over the last year to publishers.

Good writing.

Adelaide International Rose Garden

Adelaide International Rose Garden

Writing success – well, sort of

One of the assignments I had to complete last semester for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing was a research paper on some aspect of writing. Graduate students were able to negotiate their own topic.

Point of View

I decided to write my paper on the importance of ‘point of view‘ in any piece of fiction. I also planned to cover the different forms of point of view and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. An ambitious project; whole books have been written on the subject. I only had 2000 words. I must have sounded convincing however, because I received a Distinction for my paper (and only one mark off a High Distinction).

The importance of Point of View

Here is a small extract from my introduction:

Point of view is of vital importance to all writers of fiction. Point of view may appear to have little to do with plot or structure, beginning or ending and even characterisation, but it can impact upon the effectiveness of those elements. Point of view is how the story is told, who tells the story and how it sounds to the readers. ‘To put this most simply, point of view is merely a decision the writer makes that will determine through whose eyes the story is going to be told’. (Elizabeth George, crime writer) This is a fundamental decision that needs to be made by the writer right at the beginning.

The effects of Point of View

The point of view chosen by the author fundamentally affects the way readers will respond emotionally to the fictional characters. For example, if the story is told from the point of view of rapist, this will differ markedly from the story told by the victim. It will totally change the mood, tone and voice of the writing. It could also impact upon how the characters are depicted by the author.

I may write about this topic in more detail in future posts. Let me know in the comments or via the contact form if you’d like to read more on this topic.

Good writing.