WordPress 107: How I Write My Blog Posts

creative process

I can scribble on the bus, at a party, or in the kitchen, but when it is time to pull my thoughts together, a chair and table lend seriousness to what I do. Although writing brings me satisfaction and can be fun, I do not write for fun. Familiar sound is unwelcome. I cannot let anything or anyone I know compete with the voices in my head. But the strangers at the café? Their conversation is a tunnel guiding me to the place where thoughts reside.

I don’t understand creativity, the neuroscience of it. To write my blog posts, I need an idea or two, or three. Don’t believe me? Just ask Neil Gaiman.

 

Happy now? So, here’s how ideas and words cross-pollinate and become blog posts on Livelytwist.

 

Inspiration

creativity dream

Words are the last thing I want to see for I have just spent four hours editing a manuscript. I drag myself to bed at 2 a.m. Ants crawl in the space above my eyes and Paracetamol has had little effect. I hear the words, “Six is just a number,” and understand the meaning, but I close my eyes and snuggle deeper under the covers. I hear the first line, the second, and then the third. I grab my laptop. The words are coming faster than I can type, a deluge. Like one possessed, I write until 2:30 a.m., 900 words of dialogue, and then I reread. I laugh, yawn, and sleep. Later, I email a friend.

“Naughty, naughty, naughty. This will get you in all kinds of trouble,” he replies.

I wish everything I wrote came to me by inspiration. I also wish I played the lottery yesterday and won a million Dollars. Instead, I get dressed, go to work, and collect my pay cheque at the end of the month.

 

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. – Bill Moyers1

 

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

creativity mechanically

Saturday, one day before publication. Nothing, nothing at all. Experience tempers panic so its waves do not break on my shore and retreat, making everything wet. I pound away at my keyboard like a blacksmith hammering metal sheets into shape—delete, cut, copy, paste. I surf the internet. I read other blogs. I watch TV. I pray. I flip through my T.B.D.L. notebook. I leaf through my experiences and run through my imagination. I write, one sentence at a time, like a child learning to walk. I visit the thesaurus. I employ literary devices. I pull words from the well in me. I push until I reach 500 words. Eureka!

Sunday, I upload and publish. I hold my breath until I see the first like or comment. Then slowly, I exhale. The best writing advice I’ve ever received? Just start and inspiration will find you.

 

The trick to creativity, if there is a single useful thing to say about it, is to identify your own peculiar talent and then to settle down to work with it for a good long time. – Denise Shekerjian, Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas Are Born2

 

The Force of Belief

creativity belief

Something I hear, see, read, or experience captures my attention and moves me deeply. It stews in my mind for days, weeks, months even, and I read what others have to say. I examine my life for inconsistencies as conviction takes root. I determine to do better because what I write will change me. When the thoughts crystallise, a title is not far off.

I write with what I hope is restraint, in a measured tone. I know it will stir readers for it is the force of conviction on paper. It alienates or binds. Only in my response to comments, do I try toe the middle ground, to be gracious. I wrote, I am not What I wear and Other Lies we Tell Ourselves, this way. In a world of muddled grey, black or white can bring pain or gain.

 

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. – Steve Jobs, I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words3

 

All this is theory as all three elements are at play when I write, sometimes, one is more dominant than the other two and vice-versa. Some days it is hard. Some days it comes easy. Always, it is rewarding, like chocolate cake after lean meat and vegetables.

So, how do you write, or draw, or make music, or do what you do?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credit: cartoon figures from Microsoft

The Creative Process, adapted from Julia Quinn’s photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151963920732054&set=a.59952827053.71263.42811462053&type=1&theater

  1. http://explore.noodle.org/post/53323730990/bill-moyers-pair-with-this-vintage-guide-to
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Genius-Great-Ideas-Born/dp/0140109862/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403991437&sr=1-1
  3. http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-His-Words-Their/dp/1932841660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403993785&sr=1-1&keywords=I%2C+Steve%3A+Steve+Jobs+In+His+Own+Words+%28

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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48 thoughts on “WordPress 107: How I Write My Blog Posts

  1. My biggest issue with writing is distraction. I start off with an idea, and then I think of another one, and before I know it I have too many things on the go. Have to learn to concentrate on one thing at a time and finish it. Maybe a blog will be good for me in this respect. Have to finish those blog posts or else they’ll never appear. No blog posts no blog!

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    1. Ha ha, better too many distracting ideas than none, I suppose. This morning, I was writing a piece. In the middle of the first paragraph, an idea came to me. I stopped, started a new paragraph and jotted the idea. Then another, and another, and I did the same thing, because the ideas, which were coming in ‘ready-made’ sentences, were too good. After the flood, I went back and completed every paragraph, based on the one or two ‘hot’ lines I jotted. I edited the final draft, and the people for whom I wrote the piece loved it.

      I guess in the end, everyone finds their formula. Regular blogging instills discipline and teaches you to write on demand, in my view. Way to go! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing bits of your creative process.

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  2. Oh, I hadn’t seen that chat with Neil, thanks for sharing. Daydreaming, confluence and taking notice. He makes me chuckle when I read his books, even on public transport.
    What an informative, friendly post, looking forward to future ones. 🙂

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    1. Neil Gaiman is brilliant and I’m glad I could share the video with you 🙂
      Confluence to me is akin to making connections. I don’t realize how much I observe until I sit to write. My mind then begins to make the connections that make the daydreams real . . .

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  3. Hahahaha….where did you find that video? Hilarious! Brilliant!

    Now, after a good laugh, I should say that a constant method to creativity continually eludes me. Yes, there are pathways that repeat themselves but, ultimately, the greatest fuel for my creativity is perception and a determination to follow through with an idea. Ideas are everywhere, so the cliche goes, but, it’s true. I think for artists, hard work is something we cannot wish or explain away.

    “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” I think this saying by Bill Moyers sums up what I hope to achieve as an artist. And that’s why I bring up perception, why I found Neil Gaiman’s words insightful. For me, I strive to notice what others do not notice, or to sense what others see or feel, in ways that don’t come to them. Then, the real work begins: writing, editing, writing, writing, editing, writing …. until I am satisfied.

    Timi, encouraging post. And I love the multimedia attraction!

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    1. Neil Gaiman is hilarious and brilliant, yes! 😀

      “Ideas are everywhere . . . I think for artists, hard work is something we cannot wish or explain away. . . I strive to notice what others do not notice, or to sense what others see or feel, in ways that don’t come to them. Then, the real work begins: writing, editing, writing, writing . . . ”

      Ideas are everywhere, I agree, but sometimes finding an idea that you can “own” and turn into a good story can be difficult. You’ve stated the formula to solving that puzzle- disciplined work!

      Samuel Johnson said, “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” Many times, I have found this to be true. Thanks Samuel for giving me a peek into how you unleash your creativity.

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  4. Hi Timi,
    You’re right, inspiration does not come by itself, but you need to look around.

    For me personally, the process of coming up with a topic is much harder than actually writing the piece once I know what it should be about.
    My second most effective trick for finding a topic is thinking about the current events around me which I could comment on. The first most effective trick is having the last hour or two left until the deadline.
    Had I not experienced this by myself, I would probably not believe how much good ideas one can put on a paper in several dozens of minutes.

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    1. Hi Jamie, thanks for sharing how you get your inspiration for writing. I believe you about your first most effective trick 🙂 But maybe because of the way I write, I like to have more time to ‘agonize’ over words.

      “For me personally, the process of coming up with a topic is much harder than actually writing the piece once I know what it should be about.”

      Now you mention it, I see how knowing your topic forces your hand. But do you find that some topics are so broad, you struggle to find a niche and streamline your thoughts?

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  5. I thought twice about commenting because, unlike most of your readers, I don’t consider myself a writer. I do however have tons of ‘lessons along the way’ that I enjoy sharing, and most times I’m inspired by something I’m reading, something I’m listening to, or a season I’m living through. For me there is no well ordered creative process, simply a moment of inspiration, and then unfettered and wordy thoughts poured out as fast as my fingers can engage the keyboard. A friend of mine suggested that my writing reads very much like my speaking. 😊

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    1. Hi Joseph, I’m so glad you decided to comment anyway. We apply creativity in all spheres of life. Perhaps because I focused on the writing process, non-writers may feel left out of the conversation 😦 I hoped to get responses from a broad spectrum of people about how they come up with ideas for their projects, etc.

      “For me there is no well ordered creative process, simply a moment of inspiration, and then unfettered and wordy thoughts poured out as fast as my fingers can engage the keyboard.”

      Thanks for sharing how you write. I recognise what you do. This was how I wrote when I didn’t have to produce content on a regular basis. I guess then I didn’t feel as if I could call myself a writer. Even now, it feels strange to call myself a writer 🙂

      Joseph, I’ve read your work. If your speaking is anything like your writing, you must be very eloquent. I’d love to hear you speak!

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  6. The Neil Gaiman video = Cue to stop asking Timi how she does it every week, lol! 😀

    I think your process has pretty much confirmed what I’ve been thinking all these months; that you’re human and go through the writing process the way most writers do. Alien check, pass!

    I can’t do daily posts; I spend most days day-dreaming and conjuring up novels with sequels but it all disappears like smoke the moment reality gets a hold of me. At this point I now restrain my imagination which scares me when I have deadlines to keep. How to build a bridge to connect both worlds is still a work-in-progress o. The dreams or lightning bolt everyone is talking about? Well, once in a while, while watching Korean dramas…

    But you know what’s funny? My most popular posts are those that come from the heart (like you’ve pointed out to me previously). But all these while on my bed, as opposed to your chair and table. 🙂

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    1. Lol@ alien check. Of course I’m human! 😀
      Oh, to live in your imagination for a day & probably participate in a Korean drama 🙂

      I heard Helon Habila say that at any given moment, he probably has 2 or 3 stories playing in his head. I tried using a voice recorder to record those ‘fantastic’ stories in my head. It didn’t work. Seems my brain only truly engages when I write or type. Maybe a voice recorder might work for you?

      There’s just something about chair and table . . . I’m old school like that 🙂

      Your WIP is a good one. Keep at it and we’ll be reading your bestseller somewhere down the road. Your personality shines through your writing, bubbly and passionate!
      Thanks Maggielola for letting me peek inside your head.

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      1. A voice recorder?? Hmm I’ve never thought of that. You know what, it’s on my list of things to purchase before Summer is over. And thanks for the compliment, Timi! 🙂

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    1. Certainly Steve. How many times have we sat down to write and ended up in front of the fridge, then with a snack in front of the TV or laptop? I’m more old school, it’s Mahjong Titans that does me in, not Candy Crush 😀

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  7. After reading lots of Paris Review interviews, trying to find that fortune-cookie statement that will send me on a rush of inspiration for the rest of my writerly life, and finding nothing but doubts and half-answers from the best of writers, I’ve given up my search for that elusive key to writing.

    Now I just write. I have a funny dream, I write. I see something funny, I write. I hear a funny remark, I write. Then once in a while I have a deadline and I just put my pen to paper and all of the funny dreams and funny sights and funny remarks distill into a story or an essay.

    I also learnt from reading those interviews that sometimes a writer tells you “this is how I got the inspiration for that story” and it looks all simple till you try to write one yourself and you discover it is not as easy as it seems.

    Thank you for sharing this Timi, now let me go and sweat blood and tears.

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    1. “. . . my search for that elusive key to writing. Now I just write.” I’m with you on this one. I think discipline is a big key. Discipline doesn’t sound sexy, it sounds like work! 😦

      You’re welcome Ife. Your blood, sweat, and tears are already paying off 🙂
      Thanks for giving me a glimpse into your writing process.

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  8. I just enjoy reading through the comments here as much as i love reading your posts 🙂

    Writing process:
    1. Pay attention to people.
    2. Find a relationship of sort between them and me. Quite automatic I must say; we aren’t so different.
    3. Surf the net and pay more attention.
    4. Scribble down whatever pops randomly inside my head. Or procrastinate.
    5. Wake up one morning and write for about 30mins, not thinking of what I’m writing. Something worth blogging about eventually surfaces.
    6. Publish and think “oh great that sounds really stupid”
    7. Pray that someone like you on the blogosphere will think it passably good and share their wisdom(which is inspiration for another day’s work).

    It does help though that i have introverted feeling, so what i write is more or less an avenue to share what i wouldn’t ordinarily tell people unless asked.

    I should add that i tend to think of the big picture first, before the details(if i ever get around to that). I’m guessing you’re the opposite? So i don’t pay a lot of attention to literary devices and juicy embellishment. My thought is really as plain as i am. If per chance something literary finds itself in my writing(halleluyah!!) it’s because that’s exactly how i thought of it, certainly not a conscious act.

    I’m talking too much. Thank you for a wonderful read, Timi.

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    1. Uju, you’re not talking too much. Thanks for giving me insight into your writing process. I like numbers 6 and 7. Insecurity that doesn’t paralyse us can drive us to perfection. It’s interesting that writing enables us say what we wouldn’t ordinarily say 🙂

      Like you, I think of the big picture first. I write my first draft freely and the details come in my various reviews. ‘Embellishing’ my writing comes ‘naturally’ to me. When I review my drafts, I’m looking to show and not tell. If we keep writing, we’ll keep improving. I’m happy you enjoyed reading.

      p.s. I like reading the comments as well.

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  9. am really inspired by this blogger and each post from her is a walk into the human subconsciousness, my inspiration comes from creative writer’s like you and ifeoluwa, arguments which most times prompt me to take a stand, and in attempt to answer mind bugging questions arising from chat with friends and those I eavesdrop into……though still practice to meet perfection. creating and putting the words into a readable permanent form is a prison am willing to forever be. and thanks for being a source from where inspiration is drawn

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    1. Thanks Freeman, it feels good to know I inspire you. Sometimes my ideas come from conversations with friends too.

      “Creating and putting the words into a readable permanent form is a prison am willing to forever be.” Wow!

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  10. My seven-step creative blogging process:

    1. Believe I’ll never think of a topic again
    2. Get hit by invisible lightning
    3. Write furiously, proof furiously, look for pictures to steal off Google furiously
    4. Publish
    5. Re-read it the next day and realize it is the worst pile of garbage I’ve ever written, even worse than the previous post, which is now the second worst
    6. Be surprised that no one complained
    7. Believe I’ll never think of a topic again

    My nine-step novel-writing process:

    1. Procrastinate
    2. Think of an idea
    3. Sit on it for two years, or at least work in fits and starts
    4. Get hit by invisible lightning
    5. Go on a mad writing blitz
    6. Think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written
    7. Start my second draft
    8. Realize it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written
    9. Procrastinate

    My one-step songwriting process

    1. Somehow have songs in my binder without remembering writing them. I know I must have, because they didn’t exist once and now they do. Weird (there are bits with noodling around on guitars and humming melodies and typing out lyrics, because I have flashes of memory doing so, but I can’t link any of those memories to a specific song I’ve written).

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    1. Ha ha, I read your writing, so I don’t believe your blog or novel writing process. Your song writing process on the other hand . . .

      Seriously though, how does it feel to get hit by invisible lightning? 😀

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  11. Neil Gaiman could not have said it any better. It is mostly day dreaming, at least for me it is. Sometimes, it is fuelled by the desperation to write because writers cannot not write.The rest, I think is skill. The skill to be able to write about how you write and make it sound interesting. Hats-off :).

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    1. Day dreaming = imagination and skill = practice (+ talent) 🙂
      You write beautiful poems. I would like to watch some of your day dreams in HD!

      I saw this definition of a writer, which ties in neatly with what you said, a writer is someone who writes.

      Tomi, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found this post interesting.

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  12. I’ve thought a lot about the creative process over the years, Timi. And I think you’ve done a great job of capturing it. I think it helps to have a wide background. The more you’ve had in the way of experience, the more you have to write about, and the richer the texture you can provide. But ultimately, its about making connections… both real and unreal depending on subject matter and genre. And its about imagination. (Neal Gaiman’s werewolf biting the chair and the chair turning into a werewolf is a great example of both.) Gaiman, BTW, is one of my all-time favorite authors. I not only read his books; I read them over and over. Thanks for a great blog. –Curt

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    1. Experience . . . making connections . . . imagination, so true. William Faulkner said, “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.

      Neil is witty, and he drove the points home with his ‘impromptu’ example.

      I read about your adventures and sometimes wish I had your experiences. But, good writers take you on their adventures, you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what they do. Curt, I must say you and Peggy have taken me to the desert with you through your words and photos. I’ve been made richer for I’ve plugged into your experiences 🙂

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  13. Really enjoyed this, Timi. Feels like one of your best here in terms of skill, too – but that’s hard to say given how you never disappoint. =) My process turns out to be very much like yours. I’m a slow (careful) writer – love the simile of a child learning to walk. And some of my posts are the result of months’ worth of brewing. A privileged glimpse into your mind.

    (a chair and table lends seriousness [plural subject will lop off that s at the end of “lend”.] Please delete this part of comment!)

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    1. Diana, a compliment from you means a lot, thank you.
      Samuel Johnson said, ‘What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.’ I’m all for slow (careful) writing that produces rich dividends. We owe our readers no less.

      Thanks for the correction. You are meticulous and I like it. Even the most careful writers need an extra pair of eyes. No, not deleting, because I think someone needs to see this 🙂

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  14. Some writing pops into my head . . . almost fully formed, requiring only that I take down the dictation, and give it a quick nip and tuck.

    Other writing is pulled from inside out . . . kicking and screaming like a tiny toddler in the throes of a tantrum. Sometimes it settles down. Other times, it has a “time out” in my draft folder. 😎

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    1. I like it when writing pops into my head almost fully formed. Those moments are gold and I don’t think we can ‘make’ them happen. Yes, I know about the tantrums and time outs too 🙂 Nancy, I believe you blog everyday? Don’t know how you pull it off, but kudos to you!

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      1. Here’s how I pull it off:

        1. I’m verbose. Oops . . . I’m mean I’m prolific.

        2. If I had to write every day, I would NOT post every day. But sometimes, when I write, I write and write and write, scheduling posts ahead of time.

        3. I take Saturdays off . . . by posting jokes shared from others via e-mail. I just tidy them up a bit and add graphics.

        4. I don’t ever stress about it ~ if I don’t have something to say, I don’t feel like I have to come up with something to entertain the troops (or the troupes). I just take a day off.

        5. Many of my posts are short snippets, or quotes, not carefully crafted pieces (like yours).

        6. This is FUN for me.

        7. I enjoy the interaction and feedback, but I’m not looking to carve out a name or a niche or a platform for myself. So there is no pressure to market my wares.

        BTW: I loved that clip you shared of Neil Gaiman. He’s got a way with words. You do too.

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        1. “Verbose. Oops . . . I mean I’m prolific.” 😀
          I’m glad that it is fun for you and there’s no pressure to market your wares. Like you, I enjoy the interaction and the feedback. I think without it, It’d be hard to stay motivated. Thanks for giving me insight into your writing process.

          Because I craft (at least) 500-word pieces, I post once a week. Other commitments leave me without enough ‘free’ time.

          Yeah Neil Gaiman, he’s witty too. Glad you enjoyed it.
          Thank you for your kind words. Now I can smile all day long 🙂

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  15. It is really nice of you to share this Timi. Basically, I do what I do by inspiration and sometimes by decision to answer some specific questions which may have arisen from my discussion with folks around. I think writing regularly (weekly for instance) makes you better really. That’s when you have to write whether you feel like it or not and like you said, inspiration follows when you sit and decide to write! Thanks Timi. More grace for you!

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      1. Inspiration before writing, not always, but like you said, it always come later, maybe in the form of a quote to be added or something… I post on my blog once every week and sometimes twice…

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        1. So you have a consistent schedule. I’ve also found that consistency helps me hone my craft and then ‘inspiration’ comes easier 🙂 Thanks for sharing your writing process. I like that you’ve found your niche and stuck with it.

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