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Recently, I came across a post written by a fellow blogger who I have never met before, and yet through her writing I often find myself expressed (take this post, for example, on being like a river, which describes me and my life better than I think even I could).  In this new post, the author discusses how she is going through a process of rereading all her old blog posts, sorting through them, reworking and discarding.  Of the pieces she has come across which she arguably defines as “crap”, she says:

The writing served a purpose, an outlet, a therapeutic way of finding linearity in the mindfield of living out loud.

This post made me feel better about my own writing and my own blogging process.  I have always lived my life out loud, but how many times have I reworked or culled old blog posts, trying to make it tidier, more polished – to make my life seem more polished, less chaotic, trying to cull out all the bits that don’t make sense to the outside world, all the rants and details and enthusatic rambles that I reneg on the day later.

But when I read of this author doing the same thing, my first thought was – don’t do it!  Don’t edit it, don’t censor your life – leave it raw, leave it imperfect.  I like it raw and imperfect – because I am raw and imperfect!  Reading it makes me feel like it’s ok to be who I am.  Inconsistent, philosophical, chaotic, spiritual, enthusastic, thoughtful, lost and yet touched by the mystery.

So often I don’t write a post on here for weeks – months! – because I want it to be perfect, perfectly structured and worded, with perfect content.  I want to wait until I have something poignant to say, or until my life makes sense and I have something whole and complete to offer, something tidy and linear.  Well, yet again I realise that the beauty is rather in the imperfection.  Life is not whole and complete and tidy.  Life is raw and imperfect.  And that is what is so amazing, so exciting, so beautiful about it.  Life is real, it is not a story or a dress rehearsal.  We make it up as we go along and we stumble and we fumble, but it is all its own form of perfection in a way, and it is all fabulous.

So I will continue to live my life out loud, unashamedly.  Sometimes my life doesn’t make sense to anyone else – often, in fact.  That’s ok.  I love it!  I love my ecclectic, heartfelt quirkiness.  And maybe, just maybe, by letting my own light shine uncensored and unblinkered, I will give someone else the courage to bravely shine their own out into the world without fear.

If I can pay that forward, then maybe my crazy little place in life makes some kind of sense after all.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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There is a kind of post-modern irony in writing a blog post about blogging.

After having a little experiment with various forms, I have moved my whole blog network over to WordPress.  I have also merged my new Yes blog with a lot of my old posts from Emily’s Quest.

Because, surely, to embrace the present, is also to embrace all the parts of your past that made you who you currently are.  After all, a huge part of what I am learning is the benefit of sticking with the foundation you have already built, rather than flitting around starting one thing after another and never building something solid.

Besides, I kinda like some of my old, confused, convoluted writing 😛  It has been quite a journey and I love it all.

A couple of thoughts on blog platforms: I had a hard time deciding between Blogger and WordPress.  Blogger kind of feels more friendly and welcoming to look at.  It also has quite a good community aspect with the ‘following’ option.  But there is something about it that also feels more… amateurish.  In my humble opinion.

WordPress is can be a bit vast and cold and impersonal – but then it also feels more polished, and has lots of great features, a good interface and preferable usability.

Actually, it just occured to me that Blogger is kind of like the Bebo of blogs, whereas WordPress is the Facebook.

Having matured beyond a brief Bebo phase a long time ago, I think WordPress also lends a maturity that is well reflective of what I am trying to do here.

There is definitely something self-indulgent about blogging.  It’s like assuming that everyone would want to read your diary.  In fact, that’s exactly what it is for bloggers like me, who display their deepest thoughts and feelings for all and sundry.  But as I was saying to someone the other day – there is something cathartic and encouraging about knowing that your deepest thoughts and ponderings are not just falling into the black hole of Microsoft Word or a notebook you’ll probably lose in two years, but are in fact a) falling on listening ears (perhaps I should say ‘reading eyes’) who can engage with it, perhaps understand and indentify with it, perhaps even give you a different perspective on it, and b) being recorded in a more permanent form that isn’t going to slip down the back of a couch never to return or be lost forever when your harddrive dies.

Especially for those with writerly inclinations/aspirations, there is nothing more gratifying than feeling your words will be read and engaged with.

So, welcome to The World of Yes on WordPress!  I promise not all posts will be quite as geeky as this one, but thanks for letting me indulge 😛

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Four days until that pinnacle of writing madness begins once again, that literary Everest, the writer’s marathon: NaNoWriMo.  An endearing if slightly geeky sounding little nickname for National Novel Writing Month – which is now actually an international phenomenon. 

The idea is this: you have the month of November.  You have an itching yearning to write but are somehow always blocked.  Solution: NaNoWriMo.  You must write an entire novel in the month of November – at least 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th.  This novel can be the most utter trash anyone’s ever read or written in their entire lives.  It’s not about quality.  It’s about quantity.  Write any crap, as long as you’re writing, and writing a lot. 

50,000 words in 30 days means you need to average at least 1,667 words per day, or 12550 words per week.  Hark back to your student days and consider writing an entire undergrad essay every single day for a month.  This is a lot more fun though, because presumably your undergrad essays couldn’t include pirates, dragons, The Archangel of Doom, or whatever else your imagination cares to throw in that day.

If you’ve ever had the secret yearning to write, this is a great way to unblock your creative juices and let them flow.  It doesn’t matter if its crap and no one ever has to read it – you can just let go and write, write, write.  The website www.nanowrimo.org has an active community, where you can create a profile, update your daily word count, and connect with real live people in your city.  They even hold real life write-ins.  Picture a handful of crazed and sleep deprived wannabe writers sitting around with laptops and coffee, spurring each other on to just write that next 100 words, and then the next, and the next.  Crazy writing literary madness!

I will be partaking in my first ever NaNoWriMo this year, and it is both terrifying and exciting.  Given that I have a basic plot idea (although I don’t know how it ends) and a handful of characters with juicy secrets and private yearnings, I seem to be doing better than most participants, who dive in headfirst without the inkling of an idea.  Still, 50,000 words is a lot of words, and 30 days is not a very long time…

Stay tuned!  And even better – join me!

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