Only Tangentially Related to Writing Post

I’m working on an assignment about global warming. 

As my sister would say, Geezus. 

This is scary stuff.  I’ve already been reduced to running around the house turning off lights and asking my son to show me how to change the air filter in the car (changing it monthly can save 800 pounds of carbon dioxide from spewing into the air a year.  And it that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will:  it will also save you $130 a year in cold, hard cash.)

I said this post was only tangentially related to writing, but in a way that’s not true.

Global warming is related to everything.  Because if we don’t deal with it now, everything is going to get pretty miserable in the next 50 years.

Now excuse me while I go turn out some more lights.

PS.  Tomorrow I’m going to start a list of links to some great organizations with tons of information on global warming.  It’ll be worth your while to check them out.

Short and Sweet or SEO?

We all know Seth Godin is a god (its even part of his name).  I’ve been reading his free e-books on blogging and making lenses on Squidoo. 

(Go here to find them.)

Seth talks about making blog entries short and sweet.  Good strategy.  What I find very interesting, though, is the contrast between the blog-writing manta of short and sweet and the craft of SEO web writing, which I’ve recently been doing a fair amount of. 

SEO writing is all about verbiage.  Lots and lots of it.  You’re writing to a word count, and writing original content about things you’ve probably not spent a lot of time pondering in the overall scheme of things.  So you end up writing 10 words when 5 would do and 3 would be even better.  Its all about reaching that word count–and using the key word as many times as possible.

Truth be told, its actually quite entertaining.  I find it a challenge to come up with new topics, pad the article with keywords, and still make it informative and sound natural. 

If nothing else, its great practice for overcoming writer’s block.

Burning Questions

Lost in Translation was on some random cable channel last night (its probably always on some random cable channel somewhere).  Love that movie.  Though I still want to know: What does Bill Murray whisper in Scarlett Johansen’s ear at the end?

Beginnings

My friend Sue (one of my Nashville peeps) and I have both recently started re-writing our novels.  Today she emailed me and asked what I knew about first chapters.   I told her one thing I know about first chapters is that they are hard–hard because a first chapter is the foundation for everything that is to follow.

First paragraphs in articles are hard, too.  Usually (okay, always) I must have my first paragraph set before the rest of an article will flow, and its for the same reason–all the words that follow depend on  the firm foundation of the first paragraph.

So, too, with first entries in a blog, like this one. It logically (though logic is not my strong suit, despite my love of Sudoku) follows that the premiere post should be a strong basis for all the missives to come.  It should delineate the themes of the blog, be witty and erudite, and make people want to keep coming back for more. Which makes it really hard, just like writing the first chapter of a novel.  The difference being that by the time a novel gets published, that first chapter will have been rewritten a gazillion times, and the essence of a blog is daily communication. So, to heck with it.  I’ll forget about strong foundations and all that and just dive right in.

After all, one of my fondly held beliefs is that process is more important than product, at least while one is the middle of the process of creating a product.  Its so easy to get caught up in thoughts of the product–does it sound right? will people like it? is it good?–that it can paralyze you while you are trying to be engrossed in the process.  And conversely, there’s nothing better in the whole world than those times when you are so caught up in the writing process that two hours pass like two minutes. 

This blog will focus on process, and words, and how to produce a lot of them, and a whole lot more.  After all, the word strumpet means prostitute and the word prostitute means, according to Webster’s, a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, especially for money.  As a word strumpet, I engage in promiscuous writing activity, especially, but certainly not solely, for money. Strumpet that I am, I can’t get enough of words, can’t get enough of writing. 

Hence, the blog, which will not only serve as a forum to produce more words but hopefully provoke comment.  Because another one of my firmly held beliefs is that writing is communication, and communication is a loop.  If any part of the loop is broken, something is missing, which is why writers whine a lot about how hard it is to get published.    So I am casting my words into the circle and you can keep the circle unbroken by writing back with comments.

Until then, as always, I’ll just be here writing.