Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trying too hard

Maybe I've been trying too hard to keep my blog posts down to two or three a week. It seems odd to me when I see that I mentioned "Rainy Sunday" on my last post and now it's already Wednesday. But before I get started on today's post, I'd like to point you to an absolutely wonderful blog, if you haven't already discovered it.
Taken from The Land of Linda by Murr Brewster
Murr Brewster has a post today that simply blew my socks off. (The link under that amazing sand castle will take you there.) Sometimes I have to remember, when I read a post like this one, that if I decide to write in a voice that is not my own, it just doesn't work. I wrote to Murr and asked for permission to copy this picture from the post, and whether or not she or her friends made this incredible pyramid. She replied,
Isn't that something? I have a bunch of pictures of it--and no, we didn't make it. We happened on it, just before the ocean claimed it again. It's the sort of thing that just happens in Linda Land. 
 I've been reading a lot and went to see a movie with my friend Judy yesterday. We waffled between seeing "Get Low" and "Cairo Time" and finally went to see the latter. I don't know how I feel about it; it was a quiet movie with good acting, and it dovetails right into the book I'm reading right now: Shantaram, a book set in India. Someone suggested that I read it, and when I saw it in the bookstore I almost didn't buy it, since it's as big and thick a book as War and Peace (well, 936 pages anyway). Once I started it, though, I'm having a hard time putting it down. I wonder how much of this "novel" is simply autobiographical and how much is fiction, since the liner notes about him echo the story I'm reading. I'll write a review of it once I'm done.

Plus I also have two other books waiting for my attention, "Halfway to Heaven" about a guy who climbed all the Colorado Fourteeners with his son, and a brand-new E.L. Doctorow book, "Homer & Langley." At this rate I'll have my nose buried in books for quite a while.

Back to the title of this post, though: "Trying too hard." I follow sixty-something blogs. I don't know how it happened, it just did. Several of my favorite bloggers have a blogroll or mention special blogs or posts they find intriguing, and before I know it, I'm off to read yet another new one and I've become a follower. These days I actually hesitate before heading off to a new blog, because I am already stuck in this time sink that keeps me glued to the computer for way too many hours a day.

How do YOU keep writing in your own voice? I am constantly blown away by some of the brilliance I run across in the blogosphere. Great writing that moves me, makes me think, challenges my assumptions -- these are all given to me every day. I hope I can learn some new tricks of the trade... by amplifying my own writing, not inflating it. Or worse yet, trying to write like someone else and failing miserably.


  1. I only post once a week now. And I just commented on rainy day and magically your sand castle appeared. So I'm back again!

  2. always have the most inspiring posts...and I always feel that you have found your voice, your truth, and you seem to stand in it beautifully. I found it difficult to keep up with topic for my own blog. I don't always have an amazing story to share so I don't write when that is the case. And it seems that spending too much time on the computer was keeping me from my book pile and living life to find the next topic for my blog. The thing is I really enjoy spending time online visiting with my blog friends.
    A change in the seasons will hopefully bring on some fresh topics for me...hopefully. In the meantime I sure enjoy reading your posts and visiting with you. There will always be someone out there that writes better, bigger, whatever....and I've tried not to measure my own blog by what I do find amazing out there in blogland. I think that's the beauty of blogging...we all are able to connect and enjoy each other for who we are. And I think you have the most inspiring blog that I visit.

  3. that picture taken at that moment is incredible, i'm going over to see the post too.

    i will have been blogging for two years this november. i started doing it as a way to vent some pent up feelings, but have been happy doing some creative writing now.

    i don't like to think that i'm doing it for any reasons other than my own enjoyment, but i am pretty thrilled when someone leaves a comment that makes me feel like a star.

    and seeing what's out there in the blog world is amazing. so much talent!

  4. DJan, I love reading your blog posts, I can always learn something, or have the chance to smile at your talents...
    You give me inspiration to pull up my socks and just do it !
    I have thought seriously about giving up blogging this past month, I'm finding it more and more difficult to keep up the 'comments' when reading blogs, and truthfully, if you do not leave comments, then you get forgotten.. That's just how the game works.
    I comment because I truly love the blog posts, not to gain more myself, but oftentimes I'm too tired after working to do anything other than read people's blogs.
    I started blogging just over a year and a half ago, as a way of putting down my thoughts, and sharing my heritage with my daughter and grandchildren, and I get enjoyment out of it myself, as a way to unwind...
    You are correct, so much talent out there in bloggy land.
    The sandcastle is awesome, I will stop by and tell her so ;)

  5. Jan,

    I'm not sure what you mean by this question, "How do YOU keep writing in your own voice?"

    I don't enjoy blogs with too many quotes. For instance, don't post a news column. Link to it, then tell me what you thought about it.

    I want to read original material, what's actually from the mind of the person writing.

    I blog because it forces my scattered brain to focus its thinking, and because I so enjoy touching base with some very nice blogger friends.

    I love reading about your weekly hikes and seeing the photos you post. I enjoy your posts about skydiving. What about your bird posts? I can picture you with that blast away water gun after the squirrels. Those are all your voice and I love them.

  6. I did jump over to check out The Land of Linda. After all, one must know what all the other Linda's are up too. I confess I did skim read, because, like you, I am spending too much time blogging and am not really in the market for more. But I will add this one to my list and see what's up for a while. It is wonderful writing. I confess i have never used the word 'vestigial' before in my writing. Lately, I feel my vocabulary is shrinking! I comes from being out of the work force I think. I used to be known as 'articulate'.
    I did like her talk of "wonder receptors". I do feel like both you and I have finely tuned ones. Nature is amazing.
    I blog when I have something to say or share, usually photos. Sometimes that is every day, sometime the ideas are few and far between. I can tell you that when I do see that you have a new post, I am eager to read it!

  7. i am the idiot that posts and i like to try different voices at times..they match the ones in my head...smiles. will check out your friends post...

  8. It is similar to chalk art. It doesn't last as long as chalk art but it is also three dimensional.

  9. Following your blog gives me great pleasure DJan! It's like talking to an old friend and I love your photos!

    Blogging for me is like keeping a journal or scrapbook of nature and family events. My voice is photos, a hobby I love, I'll leave the brilliant writing to others. I blog mostly for the meeting of interesting people like you DJan. The blogs I follow are special to me and I really appreciate the ones that follow me!

  10. My blogroll expands and shrinks with my interests. Sometimes, I delete a blog if I lose interest in it. Why subject my friends to blogs that no longer appeal to me?

    That said, I find your 2 blogs enchanting. Keep going!

    If you are ever in Honolulu, do give me a call so we can chat in person. I would love to meet you.

  11. First, this note: your writing is really quite wonderful and your voice is honest, strong, and warm. Second, my answer. Many of my best posts have been the product of thinking and rethinking a particular topic, requiring multiple drafts over several days. I don't have time for that right now, so I'm having to do quickies once or twice a week.

  12. DJ...I think you just write how you speak...and I believe you DO that...and your writing is exceptional...easy to read and warm!!! I love your blog!!! So don't change!!!! Love you, Janine XO

  13. I love your voice DJ - and I think you are the real deal - don't change. As for keeping up - I just can't anymore. I write when I feel I have something to share, I read when I can, but I've been trying to read more books and spend time doing other things. Computer time can have you sitting for hours, and I find that's not very healthy, even when it means losing blogging friends. The more you comment and read others, the more readers you have - that's the way of the blogging community. But I've noticed some of my favorites are closing their blogs for all the reasons mentioned here. I guess sometimes we have to make a choice.

  14. Your voice sound very appealing to me.. no matter the subject. I don't think we need to be anything but what we are. I let my photos speak for me more than my words. When I have something more to say, I'll say it. If someone listens, all the better. The blogosphere has been very kind. I wouldn't worry about voice. :)

  15. I really love the voice you have DJan. You inspire me. You take me o places that I will never be able to visit. I hope that you never stop.

  16. I agree with everyone-your voice is warm and genuine. I am certain that there is much to be enjoyed and learned out there, but you can do all that while retaining your voice.

    I, like so many others, am finding it difficult to keep up with my blog and my reading. Hopefully I'll balance it all a bit better come fall.

  17. I won't come after you if your voice is not credible hahaha. I know you wrote sensible blogs DJ, it's just like sitting on a bench and talking to each other on a warm day!

  18. D-Jan,you write such wonderful posts and I love to read them.Your posts make us think,laugh,and marvel at your skydiving talent.I think it's important to write with passion,quotes are alright but most come by to read original stuff.Your doing great,keep going!

    A writer see's material in the simple things of everyday life.You write well.
    Have a nice day.

  19. I'm finding it difficult to keep up as well. I try to post two blogs a week, which really is not that difficult. But keeping up with all the other blogs is time-consuming. There is one I started to follow who posts something new and humorous every day. It's too much, in my opinion - I can't keep up.

  20. Like you, most of the time I write from my heart. And then sometimes I feel like having some fun. You have a wondrous blog and your personality shines through. Not just saying that, I absolutely admire your writing and your wonderful attitude.

  21. I no longer post every day, in the summer months there is never enough time as it is to do all the things I want to get done. When winter comes my blogs will get a little more attention.

    Your writing is always inspiring DJan. Your blog(s) is one of a few that I read all the way through and don't just skim along. Keep on writing and using your own special voice.

  22. Never try to write in someone else's voice, we'd miss out on the wonderfulness that is your own quite distinct voice! Like SquirrelQueen above, yours is one of the few blogs that I do make sure I read as many posts as possible and try and leave a mark since they're almost always fun and interesting!

    I hear you on the following too many blogs though... I too think twice before checking out a new blog someone recommends, and I try to make an effort of once every month or two to go through my blog roll and delete the ones who no longer inspire me or didn't turn out to be as interesting as I thought they'd be. But even so I'm at 85! You've just reminded me I haven't done this editing process all summer! oops!

    To keep my own voice I try to make a conscious effort to write my own post before I get lost browsing through my reading list. If I don't do that I often get so lost in other people's blogs, and spend so much time with my eyeballs glued to the screen, that I'm too tired or have lost the inspiration to write my own posts. But it's an effort I have to do each time I log into Blogger 'cause there are so many interesting things to read out there! :o)

  23. My inspiration comes from bloggers and trust. Slowly I'm able to write about my life's journey in a way that has others encourage me. I have lots to say but it needs to captivate a reader. Slowly I'm developing some style.Stop by and see what you think. Your link adds to the fun of it all.
    The sand castle is awesome.

  24. Thank you so much for the generous mention. Your voice comes through clear and authentic. If you're ever faking it, you're doing a great job! As for me--I'm told I write a lot like I talk. I don't believe that, however, because I edit myself a LOT more when I write. If I'm able to keep my voice authentic, it's because I started writing when I was already old, and I don't read very much. Not, probably, the path to success, but there you are. At least I don't imitate anybody that way...thanks again.

  25. Just write like you would be talking to your sister or a friend over coffee..write whenever you feel like it and about what ever you feel like. I am beyond impressing anyone with my writing skills..I am just fancy frills or words:)

  26. I like to read your posts because I feel you talk just like a friend would. You talk about what you did, what you saw, what you think and you are sincere. I try to keep up with all the blogs I read but it is difficult because I travel a lot. I was gone again this time to Savannah and when I came back I had to go through all my pictures to write a post, so I did not get to read all the blogs I like. Then in 2 ½ weeks we are flying out again, then the next month going out of the country again. Since I talk about travel I have enough material to last me many years – a good thing to be old and have had time to do things! My blog was to talk about my family but I am not even at my parents’ wedding, so there too I have many future posts to write.


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