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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday, 30 December '08: The future of writing looks good

Virginia Woolf famously said that to write "a woman needs money and a room of her own." Eric de Jong noted that to write one only needs to start. "Make the commitment to sit still in solitude several hours a day and inevitably your muse will visit." Abigail Thomas, memoir writer and writing instructor, recommends inventive exercises, "Take any ten years of your life and reduce them to two pages. Every sentence has to be three words long - not two, not four, but three words long."

All surely good advice.Over the years, I have read so many hints about How To Write. In fact, I have spent so much time reading them and copying the inspiration into my notebook, I never got going.

Now I have found the answer! Just start a blog and the creative juices flow.

On 1 January I shall be celebrating my first blog birthday. What a treat this adventure has been. After years and years of tight, rigid academic writing (part of my job), where every statement must be subtantiated and referenced a la the abbreviated Harvard style, here I am just banging away. After months of waiting for those dreaded peer reviews which crit your masterpiece of research from every side, after tarrying still longer months for the article to appear in print, instant publishing at the press of a button seems a dream.

After dire reports in newspapers and educational journals about the demise of the art and skill of writing, blogs have done what no Education Reform has managed. They have dramatically revived the craft of writing at a time when most people's best effort is reduced to an enigmatic SMS on a cell phone screen: "C U @ 8."

Not only are bloggers writing, we are publishing the equivalent of illustrated glossy and very expensive-to-produce equivalents of coffee table books. Historical records of life in the 21 Century. Sociological commentaries. Intimate records of our daily emotions, hopes and fears. And it all makes fascinating reading.

What's more? We have connected: North America, Africa, Australasia, Europe, Asia, all woven into a network of kindred spirits. I love it!


Smilingsal said...

I began blogging this past June, and I delight in it. It's a combination journal/scrapbook/letter-to-friend kind of thing. I'm happy to have "met" you too!

Poetikat said...

This is such a nice, concise little article that tells it like it is!
Your journey seems to be quite similar to mine, except for the earlier jobs. I was a teaching assistant/supply teacher and then followed that with mainly office-work where I had no chance to write - just data entry sorts of things.

Blogging has given me a tableau for a long-forgotten and buried God-given talent. In expressing that, I have connected with the most amazing people! As well, I seem to have somehow located people of Christian values and moral judgment (in the main) - or people of faith of some sort. There are many "believers" on blogs. It's wonderful!


Becky said...

Great observation! I totally agree. I just love getting to know folks through their blogs. It gives me a view of the entire world I would not have imagined just a few years ago! Becky

Neabear said...

It amazes me how many people I have met through blogging. I have met people in South Africa(that would be you), Sweden, Germany, Israel, Japan, England, Scotland, Malaysia, Canada and all over the United States too. It just blows my mind away as I read others blogs about life in their little corner of the world. Thank you for that observation. Happy New Year!

The Quintessential Magpie said...


One of the great pleasures of blogging is meeting such interesting, friendly people, and you certainly qualify as both! I'm so glad we met by chance, and if you will allow me, I want to keep visiting and will remember to if I have permission to add you to my blog roll (my menopausal brain has difficulty remembering addresses otherwise). Is that okay with you? We missed you in Blue Monday!

I love the fact that the world is that much closer due to blogging; it's really a lot of fun. And you're right, it encourages people to flex their creative muscles. That's one of the best things about it. That and meeting such creative people.

By the way, I love your header, and if that's your cottage, I am in LOVE with it! That roof! Be still my magpie heart! It's WONDERFUL!


Sheila :-)

Carrie said...

Yes, I agree...blogging provides such a wonderful outlet for expressing our ideas, delights and concerns.
I wonder, would this have been something I could have used years ago as a young academic? It seems that each of hour of the day was filled with activity, so I might not have been able to use this great outlet for personal communication.
Wishing you a Happy New Year,

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I'd not thought of blogging as reviving interest and skill in writing - that's another good outcome of it all!

I find blogging helps me to be concise (definitely not something I'm known for!!) It's also great for self-discipline.

And all the other things you mention - it's like a kind of vein of positivity running through the world.

Ms.Daisy said...

Eleanor, What a wonderful observation! Yes, writing has been revived and I am glad for it. I began blogging (urged on by daughter, Jillian, of Jillian's Pages)in May of last year and have met so many people and read their lives, loves, hopes and dreams. Very humbling. So very glad I met you, my friend!
A very Happy, Healthy New Year to you and your family.


Barbara Martin said...

You will find with the blogging that your creativity for your fiction work will improve, and that places which stumped you before will just disappear. I recently had to do edits on a short story I had submitted and found my trepidation ill-formed...they went like a breeze.

Happy New Year and good writing.

willow said...

Happy Blogoversary! I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you, Eleanor. I feel we are kindred spirits, indeed.

I raise a cup of kindness to you, dear bloggy friend. Happy New Year!

Betty said...

Congratulations on your upcoming bloggaversary...

A few years ago I would not have imagined that I could converse with people all over the world...what a blessing I enjoy.....

MARIA said...

Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Rhondi said...

Hi Eleanor
Congratulations on one year of blogging. I am so happy that you've found an outlet for your writing talent. I have really enjoyed getting to know you.
I hope that 2009 is a year of answered prayers, joy and abundance in your life.
Hugs, Rhondi

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am glad we "met" this year and I wish you a truly Happy New Year! May it be filled with all kinds of joy!!

Ordinarylife said...

Happy blogaversary!

I agree, I love blogging for the people I have met, and the things I have learnt. Getting write, whether people read it or not has also been great for me.