Blogging and not keeping my powder dry

I took a creative writing class recently. The teacher was wonderful, and I was lucky enough to lure her out for a couple of pints with me one evening. I obviously could not resist boring her with a mention of my blog at some point. My blog is entirely different from the sort of writing we were learning in her class.

She was teaching us to be more observant and to look at the world as a series of images. Instead of snapping the images with a smartphone and sticking them on Instagram, we practised turning those images into words. It was a different way of thinking about writing for me.

Being an avid reader and even a sort of literary critic (having a PhD in English Literature qualifies me for that, right?), I thought I really ought to know about fiction writing. But I don’t. I know how to read something and write a killer essay about what it means. The creative writing class has opened my eyes to thinking more about description, image and metaphor in my writing.

And now I am seeing it everywhere. The very best journalists are doing it. The critics and columnists that I admire are doing it. And I wish I could do it.

During this pint with my teacher, she asked me: “Isn’t blogging not keeping your powder dry?”. I didn’t know what she meant at first. She explained that writers often prefer to keep all their little darlings a secret until they’re ready to unleash them on the world in flamboyant fashion. You keep your gunpowder dry so that it makes a big explosion once you finally light it.

I didn’t answer her at the time. The conversation flowed away from the question. But I’ve been thinking about it since. And sometimes I see other bloggers in our secret (not that secret) blogger Facebook groups saying how they’ve lost their blogging mojo, they forgot why they love it, it feels like it’s all hustle and no creativity.

And it reminds me that I started blogging because I didn’t have any bloody gunpowder. I didn’t write creatively at all and I feared writing. My confidence in my creative writing skills had become so undermined at some point in the past that I couldn’t stand to look at my own writing. It made me cringe.

When I started blogging I decided to face these fears and say to hell with my lack of confidence. My husband always tells me that the best way to feel confident is to fake it until you feel it. His example is when you try to pour a drink from one glass to another. If you doubt yourself, it will spill everywhere. Pour it all at once with panache, and everything will be fine.

And so with blogging I’m not wetting my gunpowder but stockpiling it. I’m learning to write in public. I’m practising my craft whilst leaving myself exposed to the possibility that someone will openly tell me I’m crap. And it’s actually exhilarating. And far more likely to lead me to the sort of writing that might actually cause a commotion.

Petite Pudding
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18 thoughts on “Blogging and not keeping my powder dry

  1. Since almost 10 years I am in the same, when I find out that I was pregnant my sense of creating and recreating was increasing … it was almost an obsecion, to the point that I stress and then when my little girl was born, and now that Is 9 years old she is part of my inspiration also among others and other things.

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  2. I love the saying from your husband of faking till you feel it. I have a similar one of, feel the fear and do it anyway! Well done you for going for it!:)
    Mainy x
    #eatsleepblogRT

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  3. Love, love, love this!!! I’m way too apologetic about my blog. I find myself saying “Yeah but it’s not proper writing though”…. It’s all practice isn’t it and that can never be a terrible thing!! #EatSleepBlogRT

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  4. I love this. The only way to become a great writer is to actually write, and blogging is a great way to force you to practice regularly. I’m not sure where my blog is leading my writing career (if I could even call it that), but it has to be a step in the right direction. #EatSleepBlogRT

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  5. I am writing a book and sometimes I regret posting things to my blog because they would be great for my book. The thing I realized is though, for my blog I keep the story more succinct to satisfy internet reader’s desires for a quicker read. I can use the same story and just flesh it out to include the more salacious descriptions and then put it into the book! #EatSleepBlogRT

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  6. #eatsleepblogRT had she asked me, i would have said ‘its better to use some powder than always wonder if you could make a bullet’. Sure, keeping it back is great – if you don’t procrastinate and never actually do something with your creative outlet. I think so many do this, weekly blogging allows me to grow, perhaps i don’t really write for an audience either all of the time?

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  7. I really like this post – it was an interesting question from your teacher and I can see her point and yet you make a really good point too – blogging is about creating the spark in you to write more if you like. I love that this is builiding your confidence and that your hubby sounds so wise. And that you found the time to go on a creative writing course!!!! Well done. xx #eatsleepblogRT

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  8. I love writing and I started blogging to write my thoughts and emotions down, so I could make sense of them. I would love to try a creative writing class out, I bet it must be so inspiring #EatSleepBlogRT

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  9. Either I don’t understand what that teacher was trying to say or I completely disagree. Writing a book and blogging are not at all the same thing. Not many blogs would make a good book and I don’t think any book would make a good blog. I know many bloggers who write books. Blogging is what they do to keep their writing in shape. Writers need to write. It’s easier to be motivated to write when someone is reading the words. #EatSleepBlogRT

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  10. I have to say we may be in the same boat when it comes to knowing how to write fiction. I love fiction, it’s mostly all I read (in books, I mean; I don’t think there are too many fiction blogs!) but I lack imagination. Period. It takes a lot of thought and concentration to bring about something original! This may not have been fiction, but it was original! I like the metaphor of gunpowder 🙂
    #EatSleepBlogRT

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  11. Brilliant, I have never heard about keeping your powder dry before but I love it as a concept. I’ve been writing my blog for around 8 years now and it is about all I feel really confident with. I recall the fist times I wrote for other websites I was so worried and as for a book that people keep mentioning, no way! It’s as if they can’t touch me when its on my blog! Mich x

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  12. I am so glad that I came across this article and now your blog. I can resonate with some of what you have written here, I experience ‘analysis paralysis’, which I would guess in some ways is like keeping the gunpowder dry and this is one of the reasons why I haven’t published any of my creative writing on my blog ever! I need to take your lead and do some stockpiling to just get it out there.

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