The lessons I’ve learned from ‘opening a vein’


When I first got the idea for this blog and launched this site six months ago, I was looking for a way to release some of my creative energy and to get back into the habit of writing for enjoyment. I think I’ve found my outlet.

This blog marks my 52nd post.

Over the past six months, I’ve learned a few things from the experience. Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

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–As much as I know about communications and good writing, I’ve also realized that I know next to nothing. There have been pieces that I thought were wonderful that received only so-so feedback. In the same token, there have been pieces that in my mind were mediocre at best, that friends or family members had questions about and really seemed to like. Each time this has happened, I find myself stopping, looking at them incredulously, and saying, “um, why?”

–You just never know what’s going to touch someone.

–The golden rule of writing is definitely true: shorter is better. Use five words, instead of ten. In the words of Strunk and White’s classic writing style guide,  The Elements of Style, make every word count. Unfortunately, I’ve consistently broken this rule, rambling on-and-on like the reader has nothing better to do with their time. My deepest apologies.

–The blogs that I’ve enjoyed spending the most time on have also been the ones that have hurt the most. They’ve forced me to open a part of my heart or explain a story or an experience that my normal introverted self would rather keep under cover, hidden from the outside world. The great American sports writer Red Smith is credited with saying: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” I’ll never be as gifted in my phrasing as Smith, but I can certainly understand the pain. When I’ve been fortunate to open a vein of creativity or passion, I’ve been rewarded ten times over with content that I might never have been able to mine or harvest. My hope is that the writing has been for the better too.

–I started the blog because I thought it would get me working on my novel. The novel remains in a rumpled folder on my desk. I still think that I’ll get to it one day, but so far, I’ve been having too much fun with the blog. No John Grisham rags-to-riches story for me. At least for now.

–My two favorite blogs have next to nothing in common. I wrote the first one twenty years ago and set it in a drawer. My other favorite played around in my brain for two weeks. I thought about it every spare second, on my way to work, during my lunchtime run, grocery shopping, everywhere. And then finally when I sat down at my laptop, it came rushing to the surface in a ten-minute flurry of writing. The two pieces:

I love what these two pieces say about courage . . .  and life.

In any event, thanks for reading and checking out my blog. I hope you’ve gotten something by coming to the site.

 

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2 thoughts on “The lessons I’ve learned from ‘opening a vein’

    1. I just think it’s putting it all out there on the page for everyone to see. It’s writing honestly, no matter the topic, or how raw the emotions might be or even who might read it. It’s similar to the sports analogy of giving it all, of leaving nothing left in the tank. At least that’s how I look at “opening a vein.”

      Liked by 1 person

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