What are the themes that run through your life, like the leitmotivs in a symphony? Have you ever stopped to look for the pattern that repeats rhythmically in your experiences? What is it you’re always struggling with below the surface? What are the phrases that define all of your stories? Twine your life and your writing tighter with an awareness of these answers.
Too many of us take on blogging as a chore which we believe is necessary to gain a readership for our fiction, or from the velleity to “generate passive income”. These are certainly admirable aims, but I think that blogging is a time-consuming way to achieve them if you don’t find intrinsic value in the practice. While struggling with the desire to make my blog as useful for readers as possible, and at the same time work on my novella series, it occurred to me that with a little management it wouldn’t be too difficult to repurpose some of the “by-products” of novel writing, and turn them into (potentially) valuable blog posts. At the same time, you can encourage yourself to think deeper about your novel, your writing process and your readers, and hopefully spur yourself to greater feats of literary excellence. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll also get in plenty of writing practice! :)
Note: You may be able to adapt the technique to blogging a book (i.e. blogging about a subject with the intention of turning it into a novel or non-fiction book) but that is not its main purpose. Also, I won’t be going into detail on how to start a blog or any technical details pertaining to its maintenance, as there are so many great posts on those subjects already.
The Writer’s Advantage
As a writer you already have several advantages over someone approaching blogging from a different discipline. You’re used to…
Writing a lot.
Writing in a way that draws the reader in.
All of these are important to blogging, but even better, you already have many novelling “by-products” that you can share with your readers on your blog if you can only rethink them a little.
Look through your novel notes. What are some subjects you’ve researched? Do you have tangential pieces of fiction that you’ve written but never shared? What notes have you made about the writing process?
Blog Post Criteria
I fully admit that striving to fulfil these criteria may take away from your novelling time, but putting some thought and work into your blog posts is well worth your while in the long run. As such, I recommend checking your post ideas against the following criteria…
Each blog post must do at least one, preferably all of the following: Read More
Your harddrive is littered with languishing stories; I know it is! You believed in those stories in the beginning and built them up word by word, suffering when you had to run errands or go to work or even sleep. What happened? Don’t doubt that starting spark. This worksheet will help you resurrect the love and enthusiasm.
“You can’t have art without resistance in the materials.” – William Morris
Experimenting with different points of view can be great fun and hugely rewarding, but settling on a POV for a long piece? A little scary. A point of view that doesn’t quite fit your story, or one that doesn’t ring true with you can really cause you problems and make you want to kill your characters. Don’t become a murderer – download this worksheet now! ;)
I’ve been collecting rose poems for some time, and have finally completed this anthology of 100 rose poems. I’m sure you’ll discover at least one new favourite within! The ebook is currently available as a PDF, but if you would like me to format it for MOBI or EPUB, let me know and I will see what I can do. Here is the introduction, which may or may not convince you to read further…
Introduction to the Anthology
“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” -Richard B. Sheridan
Centifolia means “hundred-leaved” and is a species of rose famous for its full petals and rich perfume, also known as the “cabbage” or “provence” rose. Although the poems in this anthology span more than a hundred pages, and reference many different roses, it seemed an apt title. The English word, anthology has floral roots too; it comes from the Ancient Greek ἀνθολογία (anthologia) meaning, “flower-gathering”. The Turkish equivalent is güldeste, “rose bouquet”. Gül (“rose”) will be familiar to many readers; the sweet songs of the oriental bülbül (“nightingale”) have paired her with him for many ages in both love and rhyme. This vein is represented not only in Hafiz and Omar Khayyam, but has also been adopted by western poets, William Thackeray, Henry Newbolt, and William Henley among them.
There is a further Turkish literary tradition called the gül-i sad berk (from the Persian for centifolia) in which pieces of prose or poetry are collated into hundred-fold anthologies. Such is the long-standing love affair between literature and flower arrangement.
My criteria for choosing these poems has been fairly loosely-tied, allowing for personal taste more than literary concerns, and not being too stringent in distinguishing between poems that mention roses, and poems that are about roses. “Old Herrick” as Robert Frost calls him, has no fewer than six poems included in this centifolia, and I could not behead a single one. Several other poets are similarly over-represented (though not overblown) but I have spread them artfully (I hope) through my arrangement so that they won’t offend.
Many of the poems begin in the rosy-fingered dawn, perhaps suggested as much by the English “arose” or “uprose” as the morning’s association with youth and newness. The sun is more prevalent than the moon and light than dark, and the poems cycle swiftly the full round of the seasons. It’s time that hardly skips a poem, and Edgar Lee Masters sums it up beautifully in his “tick tick tick” of “the same old thought”:
The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished; And what is love but a rose that fades?
Those who come to this anthology looking for love poems will find them, of course, but it is striking how the short-lived but brilliant beauty of the rose has driven poets again and again through the ages to belabour the theme of the beauty of youth and the passing of time. Reading through the poems in quick succession gives one the impression of being smothered under the rose petals of Heliogabalus: individuality disappears and what is left is one single, urgent expression of transience made real by intense emotions of regret and longing. Which is to say, all is not rosy in rose poetry, and one might, after all, be better off reading prose.