Writing to the Abyss

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When I need to say something, my mind can not find the words. Even if I rehearse, the words will escape me in the heat of the moment….a real disadvantage in a debate.  Extemporaneous speaking would be my worst nightmare. If on the other hand you give me a keyboard, 26 characters and a few punctuation marks, I can tell you exactly what I think in short order.

Allowing these pent up thoughts to escape through writing seems the perfect solution for souls such as mine. Even still there are perils. Namely, you are writing to a vast unknown world of readers….an abyss.

The hardest part of writing for the abyss is….it is an abyss. You never really know if the readers want to hear what you have to say. What if anything going on in your brain will be found interesting? And with the massive numbers who write to the abyss, it seems a miracle we are even heard.

Research indicates you get the most traffic when you post on Monday morning between 8:00 and 10:00am, and that traffic dwindles as you get later in the hours of the day and days of the week. Well, ok…. but sometimes I don’t have anything else to say again until Friday.

The most popular post I have written was about Morton’s Toe. Who knew? I say to my husband, “Don’t they know all the other great topics I’ve written about?”

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Even when the topic is clear in your head, the process of getting it right can be brutal. My husband was home one day as I prepared a post. He watched while I agonized over the pictures, the paragraphs, eliminating extra words…. without sacrificing the story. He said, ‘I wish I hadn’t been here to see this.”

Understandably, not everyone relishes the thought of writing. Those are usually the ones that can easily carry the conversation all the way through dinner and into the night. My son has to write papers for school and he frets over finding at least 500 words for a topic. He can’t believe I have to whittle my thoughts down to 500 words – probably regardless of topic.

Still the challenge remains to write well, to captivate your audience to the very end.

This morning when the news broke that Tom Clancy had died, I felt the world’s loss even more so than before I began writing to the abyss. He was perhaps one of the most compelling of all storytellers and we will surely miss this gentleman of a writer.

He was only paid $5000 for his fabulous first book, The Hunt For Red October. Mr. Clancy said none of his success came easily, and he would remind aspiring writers of that when he spoke to them.

My husband sent me the news by email with a quote that I felt all writers to the abyss would appreciate:

“You learn to write the same way you learn to play golf… You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired – it’s hard work.” You just have to keep doing it over and over and over again until you get good. No shortcuts.

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Tom Clancy

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One thought on “Writing to the Abyss

  1. Excellent post about writing. I totally identify. I didn’t know about Clancy’s death. Thanks for pulling out his quote about how to get good at writing. Reminds me of the 10,000 hour rule.

    Like

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