Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Blogger's Block

I haven't published a post for over a week. I keep looking at my page and thinking that I must do something about it. Can't think of anything to write though. I started, on Monday, to write about decorating the attic landing. My son has moved back home and is to use it as a sort of office. We spent the whole weekend clearing, painting and generally rearranging. But after a couple of paragraphs I thought 'why would anyone want to read about my stash of French Grey?' and gave it up.

Then I thought about doing something on voting: my mother-in-law had recently chastised me for not bothering: 'People died so you could vote you know!' But found myself unable to because more thought is needed here. I'm not sure that people died so I could vote. I'm not saying they didn't die and I'm not saying they weren't fighting for universal suffrage, but...

On a similar note there's the new possibility of Scotland extricating itself from the apron strings of bossy England but again this will need sustained thought. Lots of threads to be disentangled, pulled out, drawn together; lots of assumptions to be uncovered; lots of fears and hopes to be explored; many myths to be exploded. I don't quite feel up to it at present. It's incubating though so you never know.

I could continue with my theme of self-exploration but the truth is I'm faintly bored with myself. A change is needed even if it is only a brief flirtation with a new subject in order to illuminate the old. But what new topic to choose? Music? I know bugger all about it; Literature? Studying philosophy means I haven't read a novel in aeons; Art? I only know what I like. Though has anyone heard of Kelburn Castle in Ayrshire? It's thirteenth century and is currently being covered in graffiti by four Brazilian artists. Sounds very interesting and my son and I plan to go and visit on the next sunny day.

Writing that last sentence I've suddenly realised what I need is to get out more. I feel sure that a visit to Kelburn Castle will provide me with plenty of blogging fodder. Remaining cooped up in a room in a house is no way for a writer, wannabe or otherwise, to operate. It's time to liberate my brown leather bag and show it to the wider world, get lost on country roads, sip a latte in a city bar, disco-dance in a sordid nightclub whilst wearing platform sandals, browse in a real bookshop rather than Amazon...

What else do people do when they leave their houses apart from going to work, I mean, which I have no intention of doing?


Mary Witzl said...

Here is what I do: I dig up stones. I've been doing this for ages, to the point where I believe if I got rid of every inch of Montbretia and every rock in my garden, there would be almost nothing left. Our house, I have found, is built on rocks: zillions of them.

The other thing I do is visit the civic amenity (love that expression!) in Beattock. When I really want a thrill, I go into town and order the quick half-and-half, or buy myself a treat at the gardening shop.

You can see why I spend a lot of time at home, can't you? I cannot vote here, not being a citizen of the U.K., but I do believe I would have if I could have purely for the entertainment value. Pathetic, isn't it? Talk about needing a life...

Carole said...

I liked your post about nothing. I think blogging about not being able to blog makes for good reading. It shows me a little of your soul and I learned quite a bit of interest. Your son is moving home, you don't vote, England irritates you, you have a stash of French grey (whatever that is),you haven't read many novels of late and you don't like going out in the rain. That's more than I know about most people and you said it in a relatively short period of time. You could always answer one of those weird questions that talk show hosts ask. "If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why." "If you were deserted on a desert island and could only take three things, what would they be and why." "If your friend Carole doesn't shut up, how will you make her?"

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ I feel I need to venture further than the garden. What and where is the civic amenity in Beatock, I had no idea Beatock had anything worth visiting?

Carole ~ How observant you are, I hadn't noticed the suggestion of not liking the rain. Also, I must clarify this, I love England especially the coastal bits, but I do hate the way it politically mothers Scotland. I feel that surely Scotland is grown up enough now to take care of itself, even if that means making mistakes...
Oh, and French Grey is a paint colour that I have a particular fondness for and that has now turned the attic landing into an artist's garret.

Mary Witzl said...

The Civic Amenity in Beattock is what they call the recycling center. Which is what they politely call the tip, I suppose, but 'recycling center' sounds more posh, as though you're trying to be ecologically responsible instead of just dumping your rubbish.

My husband and I have taken to calling this by its posh name just for the fun of it: 'Shall we go to the Civic Amenity later on?' Etc. As though it's the country club. It makes us laugh, you see!

French grey sounds lovely, but then grey and green are my favorite colors.

Kim Ayres said...

Blogger's Block usually comes when you're stuggling to think of something to write that is going to entertain your audience, rather than writing something you just wanted to write about.

It's an easy enough trap - let's face it, most of us love the attention the blog brings and want to keep getting the "hit" of fresh comments from people showing an interest in us.

We feel that unless we can offer them an appropriate amount of entertainment in return through funny, insightful or thought provking posts, then they won't bother coming back and we'll lose it.

You can tell I've thought about this can't you...

Of course the reality is that people started commenting on our blogs when we were just writing what we wanted to write and before we had an audience. Our style of writing is what appealed. It was by being true to ourselves that we attracted our audience.

But as soon as we start focusing on that audience and trying to write for them rather than ourselves, the pressure mounts and we actually run the risk of moving away from the very thing that attracted people in the first place.

So, dear Eryl, just be you. Just be Eryl who loves philosophy, hates bills, loves her husband and son and never votes.

You have permission to be you and to go on any journey you want - whether it's to Nirvana, or just the corner shop. When you write about you, your thoughts, your outlook, those who enjoy that will stick around and eventually tell their friends.

And Carole and Mary - the same thing applies to you. I know you've been thinking about it.

Mary Witzl said...

You bet I have. But I've always been a reckless, brazen thing that just likes spewing off, saying whatever I damn well please. If anyone pays any attention to me at all I am flattered to bits.

I am of the firm opinion that you can write about anything -- or absolutely nothing -- and still have a good time doing this. But what am I saying? You've read my blog so you know this already...

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ Ahh, the tip, I'd forgotten about the tip I used to spend many a happy hour there when I first moved to Moffat. I must revisit it. French Grey sounds like your perfect colour as it is greenish grey.

Kim ~ Crikey you have thought about this. I think my problem was that I didn't have anything to write about that interested me enough. Or, rather, that I had thought through properly but I felt that I ought to write something.

But you are right about the tyranny of the audience, I guess I am a bit afraid that I will alienate people and they will cease to visit. And, actually, this gives me an idea for my next post. Thanks.

Carole said...

I also have concerns about what I write. In fact the other day I tried to start one that was just a journal, private from all but me so I can say what I want to say about some stuff that I can't just do on my regular blog. But I couldn't figure it out. So onward and upward. I am pretty sure you wouldn't alienate me though and I imagine that is true of most of your readers, perhaps all of them.

Kanani said...

Let's see. Lately, my life has fairly dull. I work, I go to school, I stay home and work on the final draft of my novel, I go to yoga, I do the kids. I even took a month away from the university because ack... I was getting sick of my peers!

What I could use is a bit more nature. I was always happiest gardening, which I'm doing once that man at the soils yard delivers it (soon, I hope).

My kids are of the age where they just don't hop at the chance to do a bit of hiking anymore. How things have changed!

Anyway, about the blog. I never have a shortage of things to write about, as it's my primary tool of procastination. So I go with whatever comes first to mind. Today it was whales.

The problem is sticking with what I'm supposed to be writing!

The other day I googled a favorite writer, Joan Didion. One of the items I came up with was an especially venal piece written in 1988(!) by a journalist who is now dead. She tore Didion apart, limb by limb. Listed many reasons not to like her, most of which were personal.

I looked up the journalist who wrote it. (FYI...it's posted as part of an example for a University curriculum in criticism). The journo is dead, and Didion is still writing.

But what I thought of was ...what a perfectly shitty thing to be remembered for once you're dead. And I guess it points to the fact that everything one writes on the internet is pretty much here forever. So perhaps...as I've told my snotty peers... what's not said is as important as what is.

(Hope lunch with Mary was nice).

Eryl Shields said...

Carole ~ I've tried on and off all my life to write a journal. I usually go at it madly for the first few days and then find myself writing things like: Got up far too late as usual; avoided having to leave the house by making beans on toast for supper; forgot to put a wash in. Now I try and begin with a quote from someone else but I end up pondering for hours, sometimes days. The latest is this from Irvin Yalom: 'A life never goes wrong because of a false trail: it goes wrong because the main trail is false.' Yikes!!!

Kanani ~ I've noticed you never have a problem finding things to blog. You're the most voracious blogger I've come across so far! Keep up the good work you're an inspiration.

You're so right about what is not said being as important as what is: gaps inevitably get filled.

Mary Witzl said...

Eryl, I've kept a journal for ages, and believe me, I've got plenty of posts about beans on toast, putting clothes on to wash and then forgetting about them, etc., ad nauseam. The good thing about keeping a journal is that when something interesting does happen, you just naturally sit down and write about it because writing has become second nature.

Eryl Shields said...

Mary, you're right I really must get more organised, or systematic or... Less lazy perhaps.