by Janis Patterson
It's an old story. The other day I was catching up with a friend I seldom see and in the course of our conversation I mentioned that I had written five novels last year. Her eyes grew wide and she asked in wonder how could I get that many ideas, let alone in one year.
Like I said, it's an old story; I've written many times about the plethora of ideas that constantly swirl around and how getting an idea is one of the easiest things in the world.
An idea for a book, that is. Blogs are a totally different animal. I blog of three times a month on three group blogs - Classic and Cozy, Ladies of Mystery and right here at Make Mine Mystery. About once every six to ten weeks I serve my turn at Not Your Usual Suspects and I also do a guest blog every once in a while. Blogs usually shouldn't be over a thousand words and generally closer to five hundred, so you'd think that writing a blog would be a walk in the park compared to the sixty to one hundred thousand words of a book, wouldn't you?
You're partially right. Writing a blog is easy... once you have the idea. And that's where I fall flat on my face. Blogs should be short, concise and focused. Sadly, there are those of us afflicted with hyper-verbosity who can't even say 'Good morning' in less than three hundred words.
Plus, there is the minefield of subject. I usually try to stay on the subject of writing, but let's face it, after half a dozen years of writing blogs there's only so much you can say about writing without starting to repeat myself. I don't want to say too much about my personal life, and though I am a tireless activist for the political and other causes I believe in, I don't think a professional blog is really the place for such subjects. (Though I do confess to having slipped a time or two...)
Which leaves the problem of finding an idea to write about. Once an idea is nailed down writing five hundred to a thousand words more or less is a cinch. It's getting the idea that is the stumbling block. Books are easy - they're a big canvas I can paint with a broad brush and put in lots of exciting events and subplots. To mix metaphors, a blog is a surgical strike - a short, hopefully sweet focus of information.
Sigh. It sounds a lot easier than it is. But I will keep trying. You can decide for yourself if that is a promise or a threat!