My Second Post

Why I created this Blog Page?

I was advised that it would be good practice to write a blog if I wanted to do some serious writing.  I primarily want to write about my traveling experiences.  My trips on cruise ships, and my trips down to the theme parks of Orlando Florida.  There have been some interesting observations, as well as some instructive tips that I could relate.  There has, on occasion,  been some curious things that have happened on my cruises.

What do I want to Write about?

I want to write about my cruises in detail.  The places that I have visited, the sights that I have seen.  An important part of my cruises, are the people that I have met on the cruises, as well as curious events that have happened on various cruise ships and various times.  I also want to write about the the drinks that I had enjoyed on my travels.  I also have dreamed of writing about the detective skills of Detective Lieutenant Columbo and just how he solves his cases.  I even have a title for this prospective book, “The Methodology of Columbo”.

Have I tried to Write before?

Yes, I have.  My last serious attempt at writing was just in this past 18 months.  I went on a cruise the first week of December 2016.  The cruise was on Carnival, the MS Pride sailing out of Baltimore to the Bahamas and back.  I have taken this exact cruise 4 time previously.  While on board of these cruises I would spend considerable time each cruise to fill out a newsletter for my family and friends.  I would put immense detail into these newsletters, spending 3 and 4 hours a day at it.

For my December 2016 cruise I conceived of the idea of making it a book of my cruise that I could self publish perhaps.  While on the cruise I wrote everything in a block style or at least what I considered to be a block style.  Having never taken any course in writing I was probably thinking in the wrong terms.  But basically I put down everything as a set of detailed notes.  Then after getting back I would take those notes and transcribe them.

While on board of the cruise ship I would pretend that I was an actual writer writing a novel of my cruise.  I adopted a ‘personaè’ as it were, and I amused myself with convincing people that I was writing a novel, and that they all might find themselves as characters in my “novel”.

Just What is it that I think I have been doing Wrong?

Once I had returned home, I amused myself on the weekends ‘writing’ my book (I was still working a full time job, and only had the weekends available) and adding as many flourishes to sentences and paragraphs as I could.  I felt as if I had to “dazzle” my readers and it just kept going and going.  I constructed Tables of Contents, and even Indexes, and Appendices, and, too numerous to count, Footnotes.  It was only months later after completing 70 pages that I carefully began to review what I had written.  I had gotten back a couple of comments from family and friends.  While these tended to be friendly, I realized that this was just kindness.  The terms that I myself attached to my efforts were brutal.

“Paul,” I would tell myself, “your work is diffuse, and unfocused.  You are inconsistent with your depictions of time, alternating between the military 24 hour clock and the civilian am/pm style.”  Further I berated myself with, “You keep jumping around topics, and your sentences contain a myriad of comma’s and they go on and on forever.”  Paragraphs that I considered witty at the time of writing, I now considered “contrived and condescending.”  My final comment to myself was terribly wounding, “What would Hemingway say if he could read what you wrote!”

What can I do to Write Better?

It has been several months since I engaged in the self-flagellation of my literary skills.  But I have come to several conclusions.

  1. Remember Hemingway and write simple direct sentences.  In seeking to ‘dazzle’,  I was instead spreading a load of BS.
  2. Pick a single topic, and then select the sub-topics and outline what I want to say.  And complete the outline before even attempting to begin the final composing.
  3. Forget, Forget, Forget my attempt to make my experiences look like a Thriller Novel, only to then disappoint my readers when they discover that the “Exciting Opening Paragraph” was nothing but a hook, a trick to make people read further.  That is nothing but a “Scurvy” trick and unworthy of what I want to do.  Write stuff that is serious and of actual merit.
  4. For now, forget trying to write a complete book.  I am not ready for that.  Instead, at the suggestion of my sibling.  I decided to create a blog, and to start writing in there, but writing real things, things that I know about.  Keeping my writings there simple, direct, to the point and practice the craft of writing.  This will be more along the lines of a journal.  It will be a Methodology!  And that is my aim, to write methodically about things I know, and that I want to know more about.
  5. This is going to take a while, but the first step is to design this blog.  Figure out its Outline as it were, then start to fill in that Outline with my words.  That is the important thing.  My writing, I want it to be real.  Not a bunch of contrived verbiage.  What I put in this blog is to be the REAL ME.  I guess it is time to begin the adventure and discover the REAL ME.  It begins once I press the PUBLISH button and launch this blog.

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