Tag Archives: psychology of writing

How Writing Every Day Keeps Your Mind Sharp – Lulu Blog

Get into the habit of sitting down and writing on a regular basis as a fun and effective way to keep your mind sharp.

Read all about it:

How Writing Every Day Keeps Your Mind Sharp – Lulu Blog


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Is Blog Performance Predictable?

“Build it, and they will come.”

Some bloggers seem to have it made in the shade: they build a blog, and everybody comes to view, like, comment and follow. If you’re one of those fortunate types whose Stats page registers in the thousands, you probably don’t think twice about how your site is performing.

But for those of us whose average views rarely achieve one per hour, just climbing the tail of the Gaussian (standard distribution) curve to get to the first standard deviation – not to mention μ (mu) – can seem to be an insurmountable task.

Fun with statistics.

There’s probably no classic Gaussian curve for blog performance; a rigorous statistical analysis would probably reveal tails skewed to one side or the other.

It’s a foregone conclusion that a day with a post on it will do better than one that goes without, but how much better? How often do you need to post, to have a noticeable presence in the blogosphere? Does the time of day you post make any difference? Is there a seasonal aspect to blog readership totals?

Is it worth your time to study the effects of keywords and tags and search engine optimization? Or is it more important for blog popularity to have been lucky enough to snag the attention of an opinion molder who will re-blog your posts?

And there’s no point in comparing your blog’s performance to anybody else’s, because of the apples-and-oranges principle. After all, blogging is not a competition sport, and to make it into one is only to court discouragement.

But it can be interesting to compete against yourself: How is your blog doing now, compared to last week? Last month? Last year? Six years ago? Daily statistics are most meaningful in the aggregate: How do Tuesdays compare to any other day? Or how do weekdays compare to weekends?

On the basis of figures for three days, can you forecast how well the week will do? What do the weekly numbers forecast about how the month will do? Can your blog’s monthly performance forecast the yearly total?

The bottom line.

It has taken about six years for my Irish Firebrands blog to garner more than six hundred followers. That probably has to do with the underlying purpose of my topic: “understanding writing,” which, although perhaps being somewhat arcane, is fascinating to me. I’m just glad to have found a like-minded group of a few hundred others who apparently feel some degree of similar interest.

The best measurement of blog performance is how it makes you feel to do it. The only sure thing about blogging as a form of the Art of Writing is that it should be enjoyable: if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing it right.

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Solving the Puzzle.


Do you have “writer’s block”?

Maybe you need to look at the pieces of your story in a different way.

Perhaps you have a strong urge to write, but you have no idea what to write. Staring at a blank page and trying to make sentences come without words is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with the backs of the pieces facing up.

Words are the bits of the patterns on the fronts of the puzzle pieces. The pieces have to be turned over before you can work with them, but they have to turn themselves over. Until they do that, you’re best off leaving that blank page alone and doing something else. (Always carry a pocket-sized notebook and a writing instrument, so you don’t lose a great idea while you’re busy pruning trees.)

Don’t strain your brain: the ideas are there, but they have to assemble themselves from bits and pieces of your life experiences. In other words, if you arbitrarily decide, “I’ll fictionalize the time when (fill in the blank) happened to (fill in someone’s name),” it won’t work well, and sooner or later you’ll get blocked again. It’s like trying to force a jigsaw puzzle into a shape it wasn’t designed to fit. This is one of the hazards of trying to plan or outline everything.

Try writing by the seat of your pants: Let ideas flow, and commit them to the page, just as they come to you. You don’t have to begin at the beginning: middles and ends will do; and you don’t have to finish one chapter before beginning another, nor even one scene before starting another. This is because your subconscious mind needs time to find bits of ideas and start hooking them together, like matching the patterns, tabs and slots of puzzle pieces.

The best help you can give your subconscious is to do research on your story: learning new things helps stock your mind with information that your brain will later disassemble, sort and match, and reassemble into the false memories that constitute fiction. When each fictional memory comes to you, no matter where it belongs, write it down. Periodically comb through what you’ve written, to do basic proofreading, reorganize sections, and get inspiration for filling in blanks. Eventually, all of the holes in your chapters and scenes will hook themselves together, and you’ll have a complete story.

This is the way I wrote Irish Firebrands: all 196,000-plus words of it. I never experienced “writer’s block,” and I had so much enjoyment in writing the novel, that every time I pick up the book and read a bit of it, I can still feel the way I did when I wrote the passage that I’m reading.

Think about how good it feels to find a puzzle piece that fits. Writing should feel good. As long as we’re having fun, we’re doing it right.





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