Image: Chris Wightman via Flickr
I am dedicating a page of this blog to helping us become better bloggers. It is designed for weekend warriors and non-writers like me who want to be great writers but can’t quit their day jobs and live the life of a starving artist. It is complete with writing tools and guidance for amateurs who want to become better at the art of writing. But I am no expert, I simply invite you along with me as I learn from an expert I am following from a distance.
How can I help? First let me explain a little about how I ended up with a blog and why I am even interested in writing. I will get to what is in it for you after a brief introduction.
How I Began Blogging About Infertility
I blog because many years ago I wanted to be a writer, or at least convince someone to pay me to read every day, all day. Reading has always been my passion and the way I choose to spend my down time.
I majored in English Lit my first year in college. In only one semester I realized you can’t earn meaningful money writing or reading. Since I liked and needed money more than literature, I switched my major to Business and eventually earned my MBA. While the desire to write never left me, I squashed it for close to two decades.
That changed in January 2014.
That was when I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin opens by telling the story of how she walked out on the field of law after clerking for Sandra Day O’Connor because she realized she didn’t love her job. Rubin found that her lawyer friends would research, read and discuss the law outside of work because they loved the law. She didn’t share the love. She refused to spend her leisure time reading briefs. Rubin’s passion was writing. So she quit. She left law behind her and dedicated herself to her dream.
The book made me think, what am I passionate about? To answer that question I began to explore what it is I do when I have a choice of how I spend my time.
I love my job, I just no longer want to read books about the banking industry in my down time. I did for many years and I’m done. I don’t care much about Jamie Dimon and his career or how Lehman Brothers fell. Outside of work, I also enjoy long-distance running. But at 37 I won’t be making it to the Rio Olympics in 2016. I am not so dedicated to the sport that I want to write about it when I unlace my shoes. As far as motherhood, I love being a Mom more than banking, running, writing, and reading added together and multiplied by infinity. I simply don’t have a desire to write about my experiences.
What does that leave?
While I despise my own personal struggle with trying to conceive, I love the science behind the process and all that I learned along the way. Over the last 7 years I clicked thousands of sites and read as many books as I could find. I totally missed my calling as a Reproductive Endocrinologist but I don’t want graduate Med school at a time when most my friends will be seriously contemplating their retirement age. However I can write about infertility which serves two purposes. Infertility provides an interesting topic that I have stashed away some knowledge about and writing on the subject allows me to process a difficult personal struggle in a positive way.
And there you have it. My topic. My niche. My passion. At least for now.
How My Blog Can Help Us Become Better Bloggers
If I do something, I endeavor to do it well. I may have started college as an English major, but when I finished school the language I mastered was one of numbers and symbols. I wrote quite a bit in my career, just not creatively. Business writing is somewhat different. My ink well is not dry, it could just use some stirring.
To improve my writing, each week I read and complete the exercises for one chapter in Writing Tools. 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. If you want to be a better writer without going back to school for your MFA, all the research points to this book. Its not about perfect grammar or appropriate citations, those are not my concern. The book is about giving prose more power through a variety of techniques.
Under the Writing Tools Tab I share the weekly concepts with links to posts I wrote to put them in practice. I will not paraphrase each chapter or provide a great deal of additional detail, if you want that you should buy Clark’s book. I will however share a sample of my writing and comment on what I learned. Its just a little teaser but hopefully a help to those interested in writing well. Or at least writing better, like me.
I have repeated this post on the page to explain the exercise. Just scroll down to the bottom of the text to see the first three tools and please join me if you like by checking back there on a weekly basis to see what is new.
I welcome you to post links to your own work, ask questions, and provide feedback on our progress. My goal is to connect a community of writers. You don’t have to be infertile to participate and enjoy the process.
School is in session and anyone is welcome!