By Susan Rogers
Before I plant a new garden, I love doing the research: What will thrive in our soil and northern climate? What plants won't grow into sumo wrestlers? Which ones will add colour and texture throughout the seasons? I make a list of items to get, and then go to the gardening centre where I often end up buying something completely different because some plant with the alluring name 'Dazzleberry Sunsparkler Stonecrop' calls my name.
It's a big step for me to get to the point where I actually get my hands dirty.
It's the same with writing.
I can spend hours thinking up plots while hiking or paddling, reading books about writing, researching unusual names for characters—or going to Value Village in search of a bargain. At some point though, writers must put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. One of the ways I've made sure I write consistently is to keep a blog.
Here at NOWW we're inviting you to contribute to our blog. Think of it as a community garden where writers share their thoughts about writing while practising the craft—from finding the right words to shaping ideas. Some writers will tell you it's a waste of 'serious' writing time, but I would argue blogging is a great way to dig in, find your voice, and create a short piece of work.
If you're the kind of person who is all thumbs and none of them are green, think of this space, instead, as an incubator, a nursery, a sandbox, or a bucket of Lego—a safe place to play, experiment with, and develop your writing while connecting to other writers.
Over the past year, we've had some great posts but, frankly, they've been sporadic and often kindly submitted by the same people. We want to keep the NOWW blog fresh, diverse, and make it both a forum for established writers to share their wisdom and a launch pad for those newer to the field. You don't have to be a master gardener; all those who like to plant words are encouraged to try their hand.
When I retired a year ago from my job at the CBC one of the first things I did—after giving away my work clothes and throwing a party—was to start my own blog, The Jubilant Jubilada. It's mostly a celebration of life after work but I do digress from time to time and I've posted on everything from musings on My Boss and Me to Trash Talk.
I view my personal blog as an experimental ground where I can germinate ideas, play with images, and put my writing out there, however imperfect. Most important of all—it is a prompt to write regularly. While I might be struggling with a short story, a piece of memoir, or a play, I'm committed to writing and posting two blogs a month. (That's the goal anyway.) This ensures I consistently produce a finished item.
If you already blog and want to share a post about writing, do send it to NOWW. If you've been thinking about blogging, here's your chance to get in the sandbox and create something.
As I write my blog posts, I get excited as ideas build, words multiply and, if I'm lucky, once they are out there, someone will comment and I bask in sparking a connection. Blogs are a great way to get feedback and stimulate discussion.
Other times, frankly, when I've tried too hard to be clever or dashed off a post too quickly to meet a self-imposed deadline, I know the words are withering on the vine. That's OK: just as a dead plant can be replaced, there's always the next post to strive for perfection. Not everything comes up smelling of roses.
Here's a tip for writing blog posts: Don't crowd that garden. Five hundred words is a good length. If you've gone past a thousand words, I recommend going back to see if there are some weeds you can yank. (This post is 868 words.)
Below are some ideas for topics that we'd love to see in a blog:
Here's a link to The Daily Post which includes "feedback, advice and friendly blogging chatter". They have topic ideas for posts about writing if you are looking for more inspiration.
Over the next weeks and months, we'll have blogs about upcoming workshops as well as reviews from participants about our events. We also plan to profile NOWW members from time to time. Help us make this blog a hotbed of ideas and an ever blooming space!
Send your queries or posts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Crossman - NOWW President
Following the barbeque and beach days of summer, for me, September has always been a ‘rev up the engine’ time for fall activities. Your NOWW board started their engines in August after taking July off for a much-needed mental break. The board is now energized and ready to launch another fabulous year. In the fall we have on slate, two workshops, three readings, a Write NOWW event and a pre-Christmas social. Meagan will send you, via email, details of all of these well in advance of the date. Descriptions of the fall workshops are included in this magazine.
I feel last year was a growing year for our organization thanks to each member of the board, our administrator, Meagan Botterill, and non-board members who have willingly helped us out. I look forward to my final year as president with enthusiasm.
It is impossible to adequately thank the three members of our board who are stepping down after this year: Mike Bryan, for the nine years he has steered the financial ship with deftness and integrity; Cathi Grandfield, who has organized and grown the contest and provided us with wise counsel; and Sue Blott, who has organized our readings (and has agreed to continue in this capacity). Sue will also take over from John Pringle as content editor of NOWW Magazine. Mike, Sue, Cathi and John: Please know your contributions to NOWW have been significant and greatly appreciated.
As always, if you are a NOWW member and have suggestions regarding how we can meet your writing needs, or are willing to lend some of your time to help us flourish, please get in touch with me (email@example.com).
Take a deep breath … away we go.