Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mastering the Art of Blog Writing

So last night Wendy and I watched the movied "Julie and Julia", a lovely, supposedly true story about Julia Childs in the 40's and 50's, struggling to publish a cookbook, and Julie Porter(?) in the 2000's, who is inspired by Julia Child's recipes and stories as she struggles to "become a writer".

I identified with Julie for many reasons: she's working a regular day job and trying to write in her spare time; she has a wonderfully supportive spouse who can't quite make up for her own lack of follow through; her delightful wit stems from having a certain contentness in her insecurity; she's sensetive and introspective (moody and selfish) and she makes a mess every day in the kitchen.

So Julie starts a blog, and within a year she has lots of readers, gets featured in the New York Times, and then offered deals for books, movies and stage shows.

I watched her for the whole year - OK, two hours - and I thought to myself, this should be Easy!  I could do this!  All I need is a gimmick! 

That's what Julie did.  Julie's gimmick was that she made all 500+ recipes in Julia Child's book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year, and blogged about it every day.  All I need to do is find some adventure I can do every day and blog about it.  The possibilities are endless.

The most obvious is home repairs and improvements, because that has already produced so much comedy (stupidity) in my life.  But that's a bit more expensive than cooking.  I could write about my exercise plan (Walking, Yoga, and Shovelglove), which I'm going to start as soon as I find a compelling reason, like a coronary bypass.  I could write about parenting, but I'm sure I would offend the six most important people in my life. 

So the endless blogging possibilities immediately whittle themselves down from overwhelming to managable, to nothing.  And worse than that, in addition to a topic, I'm missing all the rest of the ingredients essential to this blogging success recipe: time, focus, and passion.

The difficulty with time is obvious, I'm sure you all have smilar challenges when you consider adding an extra hobby into your life.  I have a full time job plus 10 hours a week commuting; I have a wife whose company I enjoy and five kids in the most active stages of life; I have scouting activities with Chad - this year bicycling;  I serve in the church; I have a home and a yard to maintain and chickens to feed. 

I don't know - maybe I just don't have my priorities straight.  Julie was certainly able to put everything else on hold.  Of course she had a small apartment, no church, and no children, but that's beside the point.  She focused and got it done.

Focus has been a challenge for me since I was about 17.  I'm always victim to the new thought, need, or distraction that comes along.  This can be fun in writing humor, but it's not so helpful in getting things done.

Passion.  What do I really care enough about to share my excitement with others?  Hmm - let's ask it another way.  Do I ever get excited about anything?  Nope - nothing outside of ice cream anyway.

But I do have one possible solution to the topic problem.  I have a new harmonica and I'm learning to play.  I have the hymnbook and the primary children's songbook.  I could learn to play a song a day and blog about it for year!

What do you think?  You are getting excited to read about this aren't you?  Maybe this will work!

Well, I might try that later.  I'm going to see what the chickens are up to today. . . . and I'll get some ice cream on my way out.


Wendy said...

Actually.... it was funnier and much better than you led me to believe.

Terry said...

Great Blog!!! I am on a mission to find and follow 10 new interesting blogs a day for a month.

I am now your follower, I hope you stop over to my blog and follow me back. Terry
My Journey With Candida

ElizabethM said...

I just happened to check your blog today John (I guess it's been a while, what up with that?), and by coincidence I just watched that movie 2 or 3 days ago. Strange. Maybe this is a sign I need to do this too. I have the same thought you do about it. I need a gimmick. I like your harmonica idea. Darn, that idea is taken. Maybe I will go feed my chickens (my children), and think on it.