Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Do I Do All Day? I Blog

images Obviously.

Why do I do it? It feels right. For example:
  • I am productive, creative, and sometimes even influential when I blog.
  • I become engaged in life, as opposed to dispassionate about life.
  • I feel that I am sometimes helping people when I do it, and this makes me all warm inside.
  • Against my better judgment, and despite the knowledge that I should not base my happiness on the approval of others, I relish the positive feedback I receive.
  • I am networking and meeting people when I do it, and this satisfies my modest need for human contact, much of which had been lost when I stopped working.
  • Since I’m an introvert, and rarely initiate communications with others, this is a way for me to update friends and loved ones about what is going on in my life and/or in my head. This way, I need not take any drastic action like picking up the phone and calling someone. Oftentimes even Kim learns what I’m thinking through my posts.
  • I’m able to learn useful and interesting things from readers’ comments and emails.
  • I’ve become introspective through the process of collecting, organizing, and acknowledging my thoughts and feelings before I write them down, as opposed to running on emotional autopilot (which I am prone to do at times). I’m not certain, however, that this is always a good thing. Ignorance and denial have a certain appeal in the world of the chronically ill.

2009 152 My Process

I sit by the ocean and wait for inspiration to strike. No, not really…

I have a Microsoft Word file where I keep all of my future posts, half written posts, poorly written posts, and posts I may never post. I try to publish at least once per week. To meet this goal I begin formulating my post on the weekend or early in the week, whenever an idea emerges from the recesses of my brain, or maybe from something I read, heard, or watched.

I go to my Microsoft Word file, and I start writing, which for me is actually dictating using a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. My first pass is sometimes just a collection of random ideas, or it may be a lengthy narrative. But either way, it’s utterly unreadable and suitable for my eyes only. Then, over a period of a few days I keep going back to the piece several times a day and make another pass at it, each time improving it a little more. If the piece is long, I try to cut it to below 1000 words, or under 800 words if I can. Interestingly, this paring process usually improves the quality of the piece at the same time it reduces the quantity of words. I try to take the perspective of the reader. Am I being clear and unambiguous? Will the reader give a damn about what I am writing? Can I be more succinct?

I usually post in the evening. Earlier in that same day I put the finishing touches on my writing. Sometime after dinner, when I think I have it ready for publishing I email it to Kim, who is likely sitting on the couch about 5 feet away, for review and proofreading. It’s funny, even though I may have read over a piece twenty times, Kim can find a glaring grammatical error that I missed in each of those passes. It’s a classic forest and trees situation.

Once Kim has helped me find any errors, awkward sentences, or outright lies, I make the final edits in Microsoft Word. I then add graphics and hyperlinks, and generally jump through a bunch of hoops to get the product from Microsoft Word to my blog page.

When I’m ready, I click the Publish button, and the post goes live.

I have a couple of programs that I use to monitor traffic at my website. Don’t worry; I can’t see your name, IP address, or what you are wearing when you visit my blog. But I can see where you are visiting me from, and how you got to my website (Google search, hyperlink from another website, Facebook, etc). I particularly enjoy the comments and the emails that I receive from you. Keep them coming. Don’t be shy.

Thanks for being a reader.

(726 words)

This is the sixth in a series of posts about how a disabled person like me passes the time at home, now that I no longer work.

Here are my other posts in this series:

1. I Watch (mostly) Quality Television
2. I Digitize and Archive Family Photos and Videos
3. I Read Books
4. I Attend Courses at Top Universities (sort of)
5. I Nap
7. I Read Other People's Blogs


  1. I am typically a very horrid commenter person...but I love to read! I read your blog each time you post....I like to read your perspective. Keep it coming!

  2. Edit your work? Hmm, what a novel idea. Seriously. I don't think I have ever revisited a post to make revisions once written. It's a very poor habit.

    I just write my posts off the top of my head, with maybe a post-it in front of me with notes to jar my memory. It likely explains why I don't have a lot of readers.

    I never miss Enjoying the Ride, Mitch, and I truly enjoy going on various outings and vacations with you and Kim.

  3. I am like Webster... I seldom edit.

    I find blogging about grief and MS both take a toll on readers.

    Love your blog!

  4. An introvert? You've said it before but how can that be when we feel we know you so well! I just don't believe it, frankly.

    Anne Lamott, author of the writer's handbook "Bird by Bird" would approve of your technique. You'll especially like Chapter 3, "Shitty First Drafts." And you are definitely my hero in the regularity of your posts department!

  5. You'd have made a great student in my writing classes. I taught the five-step process: prewriting, draft, revising, proofreading, publishing. I need to do more of it myself! I usually just throw words on the screen, read it back, send it to the blog, add a pic, and publish. I'm getting lazy.

  6. Good Lord, always the engineer! Your readers wouldn't care if you just started yapping and quit later! You are taking the place of our limited social contact, too, so it could be just chat. Can you really enjoy doing this if you have so many "rules" for yourself?...........Ginny

  7. Sherri, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you like my blog.

    Webster and Have Myelin, you are natural writers – no need to constrain yourself with a process like mine.

    Daphne, oh yes, I am an introvert in person. But when I take on this virtual persona of Enjoying the Ride I suppose I come across as less so.

    Muffie, I do love to have a process!

    Ginny, you misunderstand :-). My readers might not care if I abandoned my rules but I would! I don't view my process as self–limiting, but rather as a catalyst for my writing. I couldn't function otherwise. Hell, I'm proofreading these comment responses I'm writing right now (although I'm throwing caution to the wind and not asking Kim to proofread them too). It's an engineering thing.

  8. I do understand....It's Mitch being Mitch. What I wanted to say is that if things get to the point that you cannot use such exacting methods, everyone hopes we will still hear from you, even though you are not satisfied with the process. (Hi Phoebe and Kim.) Ginny

  9. Ginny, thanks. Phoebe and Kim say hello.

  10. Hiya Mitch! Glad you keep posting! Appreciate the thought and effort it takes to do so.