I started out with Heather Fitzgerald talking about blogging as a way to build a platform for an upcoming novel, then I featured Deanna Brown who talked about blogging as a way to share a personal story or journey. Today, I’m featuring a young writer, Raelea Hiller, who is going to share her blogging story with you. For Raelea, blogging is all about sharing who she is. Her story combines elements of both Heather’s and Deanna’s. She is a beautiful writer and I look forward to many years of reading her doddles, poems, and hopefully a full length novel. Check out her blog here. Read some of her poetry, check out some pits and pieces of her upcoming story, and even get a few peaks at some of her art work. This is one talented young lady! But, more than that, she’s a good friend.
Next Tuesday, I’ll feature Josh Magill who blogs more like a paper editor.
And now, Raelea Hiller:
First, I’d like to thank Abby for inviting me to guest post on her blog. A new adventurer in the world of blogging, I was excited but also rather daunted by the task. Abby can testify to the fact that I tried to pick her brain concerning what to write about specifically, but, like a good blog host, she only smiled and refused to give me any particulars, other than “just write about why you blog.” Why do I blog? Such a simple, unassuming, and straightforward question… but not really. I could give you the short answer. Actually, let’s start there—it’s as good a place as any to begin. I blog because Abby told me to.
Abby heads up a writing group, whose members meet up on a monthly basis for goodies, coffee, writer accountability, a good old-fashioned gab, and sage writer-wisdom from Abby herself. The first time I attended, she spoke about blogging as way to gain exposure, connect with other bloggers, and receive feedback. I took her words to heart, and jumped in headfirst. And by headfirst, I mean that I dove off the edge of the cliff without so much as a pair of arm-floaties, straight into the torrential cascade pouring over the edge, praying fervently that there would be a nice deep pool at the bottom and no jagged rocks. The Starlit Forest is the first blog I’ve created. Why a starlit forest? Because I am a wood elf (or maybe a dryad) at heart. Because I spent my childhood pouring over old tales about Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Because the beauty of a starry night sky fills me with wonder and awe. And because there is something tranquil, peaceful, and a trifle melancholy about branching silhouettes stretched out against a dazzling masterpiece of light.
But back to the main question: why do I blog? I began blogging initially as a way to share my poetry—to get my work out into the open. It was hard at first. Because, let’s be honest, it’s difficult to take a little piece of your soul and dish it up on a platter for everyone to see and peck at. There was a horrible, deep-seated fear in my heart that no one would like my writing and that no one would want to read it. But do you know what? One of the most beautiful and encouraging things about blogging is that you discover you are not alone. Pause for a moment, and just think about how utterly glorious that thought is. You are not alone. You are not the only wacky, quirky, odd, creative soul in the universe. There are others as well—others who are ready and willing to process, contemplate, and reflect upon the barrage of creative matter you spew forth into the wide vastness of the universe. I began blogging as a way to gain exposure and to share my work, but that is no longer the only reason I blog. I also blog to keep myself accountable, to energize myself, and to keep my creative spark alight.
I don’t have to tell you that writing is hard work. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. In many ways, the idea of writing is simple (like the unassuming subject of this blog post). As Ernest Hemingway so aptly put it, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” But the truth is, the simplest and most uncomplicated things are often the most challenging. It takes dedication and commitment to write and to keep writing. And that is exactly why I blog—because it keeps me accountable. A commitment to blog a certain number of times a week is also a commitment to brainstorm a certain number of times a week, and commitment to write almost every single day. Do you want to excel in writing? Then write. Write every single day, if you can. It doesn’t have to be genius level; just write about the little things. Describe the patchwork of blue sky behind the latticed branches of the tree on your front lawn. Write about the insufferable eternity of waiting in the 10 items or less lane at the grocery store, when the woman in front of you clearly has 32 items. Record the conversation you had with your best friend—the one that left you both wheezing and with cramped sides from laughing so hard. Explore the endless sea of faces as you walk from one class to the next. Notice the laugh lines crinkling at the corners of your father’s eyes. Recount what it felt like to lay under the vast and glorious night sky, the Milky Way a stripe of brilliant light framed by sharp mountain peaks. Listen to the chattering and merry voices of the stream, as it leaps from rock to rock, dashing away, speeding ever onward to the turquoise lake below. There are stories everywhere, if you will only pause a moment and take the time to notice them. Write. Write every single day. Pour out your soul in words and lines—even if you’re afraid that you’re not much good at writing. Even if you think your work is rubbish, and are afraid that no one else will ever want to read it. Write your bit of rubbish—explore a thousand ideas, and then explore a thousand more. You’re afraid your work is rubbish? All creatives are possessed by the same innate fear, so don’t let that stop you. Write.
After all, if you want a nice cool glass of water, you can’t get it by just staring at the faucet. You have to turn the faucet on. Go ahead. Twist both handles all the way, till you’re afraid you might fracture the chrome plating and tear the very handles themselves out of their sockets. Let the torrent of water gush out. It might be downright tepid at first but, sooner or later, if you let it run long enough, that water will grow cool and refreshing. If you want to be a writer, you must write. Let the ideas spew out, and write them down as they do. Why do I blog? I blog because I claim the title of writer—because blogging forces me to write, even on the days when I don’t feel like writing. I blog because it keeps the tap turned on, keeps the ideas flowing, and stretches me to assemble those ideas in ways I never imagined possible. Blogging reminds me how much I love writing, it reminds me that I am not alone, it keeps my creative spark lit, and it provides a way to share that little corner of my soul with others. And that, my friend, is why I blog.
Again, the main thrust of the advice from bloggers is Write! And if this article doesn’t set your britches on fire, I don’t know what will. One thing Raelea keeps me constantly encouraged in is to write beautifully. We’re both Tolkien geeks and I think Tolkien must have believed in writing with beauty. I hope you enjoyed Raelea’s thoughts and found a bit of inspiration for your own blogging.