Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reasons to write

Next week, Random Distractions will celebrate its seventh birthday. For the first four or five years blog posts appeared on an almost daily basis and, looking back over them, they were of a reasonable standard of either writing or interest and sometimes both. I am surprised at what I used to produce! Then came the slump. I ran out of something: ideas, enthusiasm, time? The grandchildren came along and I started knitting and sewing and taking lots of photos and, before I noticed it happening, RD had transmuted into a domestic blog. I have nothing at all against domestic blogs, I am an avid reader of several, but that wasn't my intention when I took my first tentative steps into the blogosphere and I think that is why I sit here at my desk, day after day, wondering what to write about and then switching off.

I have, several times, decided to close RD. Some of my favourite bloggers have already done the same, feeling that 5 years is probably the life expectancy of a blog. I was really saddened at the latest exit from my group of online friends: no more Letters from a hillfarm from Nan. I have, however, discovered a new blog that is a joy to read with its eclectic mix of interesting, informative and entertaining articles. Across the Way reminds me of the many random distractions I used to share. I love it but it also is a painful reminder of my current laziness.

In yesterday's writing group, my friend and writing mentor, D of 60 going on 16, asked us to consider our reasons for writing. I am, actually, finding it much easier to put pencil to paper than fingers to keyboard! However, I thought I might explore some of the reasons to write here, maybe sharing them with others will help clarify what I should do about Random Distractions.

My current bedtime reading is the Slightly Foxed Quarterly. I just have time to read a couple of articles before nodding off and last night I came to the final article, Flouting Destiny by Roger Jones. I almost jumped out of bed when I realised that the subject matter was reasons for writing. He begins by telling us that British publisher turn out 200,000 new titles every year and advises that anyone contemplating adding one more book to this print mountain should ask themselves why they are doing this. He goes on to explore the reasons that other writers have given:
  1. According to Dr Johnson, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."
  2. George Orwell suggests REVENGE as a motive. Roger Jones expands this  to mean the writer's desire to order things into a more satisfactory form than that in which he has experienced it.
  3. A desire to change the world by moulding readers' thoughts.
  4. The desire to arrange one's own thoughts.
  5. Vanity.
  6. What he calls the Ancient Mariner scenario - the urge to tell someone something.
Well, as far as blogging is concerned, money isn't a motive. A few people have made a financial coup from their blogs but I'm sure that 99% or more have no such motive. I think that my reasons would be a mixture of 4 and 6. I suspect that there might be a touch of 5 in my posts about the grandchildren and the things I have made. I shall ponder some more.

I would love to know your reasons for writing. What has Mr Jones missed?


  1. I don't consider myself a writer, more like a coffee-talk gabber. I do appreciate the connections I've made through blogging. Makes me think of the C.S. Lewis quote, "We read to know we're not alone." As long as you're here, Maureen, I'll read what you have to see. xx

  2. *say. Geez, see what I mean about not being a writer?

    1. I like the coffee-talk gabber image, Jodi. If I lived close enough, I'd love to join you. Perhaps writing, certainly in blog form, is a social activity. We'll make that #7 on the list.

  3. I know when we spoke by email last night I told you that tornado warnings were forecast for here in TN. None came up our valley but we lost power about 3 a.m. and didn't get it back until midday at which time I began turning on all things electric! Just now had time to check blog friends' new posts and came immediately here. You surprised me by mentioning my blog, especially in the same paragraph as Letters from a Hillfarm. So thank you so much for the link to my blog. I have mourned the ending of Letters from a Hillfarm also.

    Congratulations on Random Distractions' 7th Birthday approaching! That is such an accomplishment, especially when I think about having only blogged for 3 months now and begin to panic that I might not have anything else to say. I have been back through much of your early posts as well as skipping around via your labels and have to tell you that I have enjoyed it all, even what you call the domestic bits as that is what most interests me about women and men who blog.

    I'm so interested in the reasons for writing you listed above and your thoughts as you have pondered this question. Surely it is important to identify our reasons/motives, for our own satisfaction. I think #4 has to be the biggie here for me as far as blogging as it has helped me feel that the whirling thoughts in my mind have been put into neat little bundles and are no longer floating around waiting for a home. And yes, vanity; it is so exciting to actually see words I've written and pictures my husband has taken actually be there--on screen!

    As far as the writing I have attempted over the years, I would never think of it as "revenge" but more as you listed Roger Jone's explanation of ordering life more satisfactorily than one has experienced it. I am of the Norman Rockwell school of thought when I write novels. I do not want "life is real, life is earnest." And that, of course, is exactly opposite of what sells today! So I keep writing because I'm not happy when I don't.

    I'd better stop this comment before it takes up too much space here. Selfishly, I hope you keep writing as I love this look into your life in Devon and I look forward to our emails. One of the other bloggers on my blogroll, Our Southern Country Home and Farm, recently revealed that she was leaving blogging, in essence, as I remember, to live life instead of blogging about life. I understand that decision and may sooner or later come to it myself if it (blogging) can't be kept behaving like a good little child.

    Hoping to see you here for a long time to come,

    1. Thank you, Dewena, it is good to feel appreciated! I'm interested to hear you say you write novels, do tell me more either here or via email. I would love to read something you have written.

      It is said that everyone has a novel in them but I have never been tempted to write fiction. But I love to read it.

  4. 4,5 and 6 hit home :0)

    I think I treat my blog as I treat my Diary... I write when and as the mood takes me and a lot of posts get no further than my mind (which could be a great relief to the World!)
    I don't write nearly as often as I'd like to but I enjoy reading others blogs and there are a small selection of blogs I enjoy as "friendly blogs" pleasant exchanges that happen when we "bump into" one another's a lovely opportunity to have pleasant chats to friendly people who have similar or even different likes and dislikes ..without any Geographical even if your blog has changed and you only visit occasionally ..I really enjoy bumping into you for tea when you are in town :0)

    1. It is nice to meet up for tea now and then, Val. I'm so glad you share your diary with us! Yours is far more interesting than mine since I retired, I seem to fill my days with boring appointments while you do exciting things in the snow, brake limbs and have fun with dogs and children. Keep it up, I like to live vicariously!

  5. I live vicariously through Val, too. I've always wanted to see Alaska. I like viewing it through her eyes. Oh, and Maureen, happy 7th blog birthday. xx


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!