A Tale of Two Blogging Platforms Why I Write On Medium.

Where's the path?

Where’s the path?

You may have noticed a silence lately emanating from my blog. Words missing. Subscribers slipping. A blog on the verge of extinction. But, it couldn’t be the farthest from the truth.

I’ve just migrated over to the Medium blogging platform that has a wider audience than mine. Medium is a community within many communities. Topics abound from humor to politics to inspirational thinking. Whatever your interests Medium has a publication for you.

Each publication is an established platform with built-in followers.  If accepted as a writer, publications provide a much larger audience than your blog, which in many cases is just one voice among all the Internet chatter.

A Petri Dish for Ideas and Goals

Besides the huge platform that Medium offers, it’s also a petri dish for ideas and goals. By choosing to write for a particular magazine, you are narrowing your focus, embracing what topics you enjoy writing the most.

My blog has been a quandary for me lately. Stuck on the point of my focus. Many days flailing on the keyboard in the hopes of my fingers showing me the way to my goals. But growth and focus aren’t a quick fix. It’s more of a slow grind, a slothly approach toward your prime directive in writing that stands beneath the fancy trimmings on top. The prime directive being my love for writing. Everything else is wallpaper.

Once you have the desire to write, the willingness to defer to the obstacles in your way and study them instead of repelling them will nudge you closer to your goal, as long as your willing to put in the time and grind.

The Blogging/Writing Tug of War

I often question what it is that I seek for my writing. The immediate gratification from a blog post or the slow burn of desire involved in a longer piece of work. Since I started blogging in 2009, I’ve had a tug of war inside myself between blogging and writing.

For some writers, blogging becomes part of their goals of work already produced. Book writers write about the process. Others write about subjects that are geared to their books. But for a writer without a book and with many ideas on a variety of topics, the search for your blog’s identify can be more convoluted.

That’s how Medium can help. When you choose the tags that interest you while setting up your profile, you get a sense of what your interests are. My interests are humor, satire, politics, writing, and culture. Noticeably the topics on the sidebar of my blog. So, maybe I’m not as off-goal as I had thought.

But then the question: How do I synthesize my writing on Medium and my blog? Again, if you are a writer with a book, you can direct readers from Medium back to your blog to sign up for a mailing list. If you’re a writer with a book, that is.

So, how would someone like me without a book use Medium in conjunction with my blog?

One answer might be to publish new material on Medium (because new material is prime real estate there) and then repost it to your blog.

When I first started writing on Medium, I reposted articles from my blog to Medium, which is a huge advantage of writing on that platform. Although reposting writing from your blog to Medium doesn’t excite Medium’s algorithm as much as new material.

But another approach could be to use my blog as a publication unto itself. Write something different here than what I write on Medium. Another vexing predicament. There always seems to be another obstacle around the bend.

As I write this blog post, I even consider not publishing here at all and only airing my thoughts on Medium. The thought still lingers. A decision hangs with the fixtures. What to do? Where to do it? Since this is a WIP post, I’ll provide the thoughts while you provide the answers you’ve found helpful in your own journey.

If you thought you would find answers to your own writing problems here, you might be disappointed to find more questions instead. But I thought by thinking out loud about the problems I face in my own blogging/writing journey, I may collaterally help you work out your problems, too.

Your feedback would be most helpful if you’ve been able to get a grip on the blogging/writing thing.

Are we having fun yet?

Blog Post: Headline Not Included! Writing without a headline frees your thoughts.

When you're ADHDI used to wait until I had a headline before writing a blog post but realized a headline corrals your thoughts. Sometimes you need to let your thoughts run free. See where they lead you, not follow where your headline tells them to go.

That’s when I have the most fun writing—when I let my mind wander, and get that “jump off the cliff without a parachute” thrill while sitting on my ass. Because jumping off a cliff was never my thing, on those rare occasions, I got off my ass to exercise my legs, instead of staying on my ass to exercise my thoughts.

You exercise your thoughts without breaking a sweat or pulling a muscle. Though eye strain is possible. And some people have been known to slam their heads against the keyboard every now and then. Ouch! A Confusion Contusion.

But I’m not talking about timid writers. I’m talking about adventurous writers who live for the thrill of creating something out of nothing. Turning a blank page into a word paradise. Writers who aren’t afraid to jump off the page into an unknown place that gets the heart and mind racing, and keeps the fingers tapping the keyboard, yearning for more.

It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write.

Creating something out of nothing can be scary and intimidating. Yet, most days, life detours off into places “unknown.” Places you didn’t intend to go, which should be a blueprint for writers who want to evolve. Your writing won’t get better if you stay on your comfort cushion with the indelible ass print that says, “Here sits status quo.”

Even if you write about one topic most of the time, you can push the envelope of discourse. Because I bet there are times you get bored or blocked or mad at your keyboard and hurt it instead of stroke it. That’s when you know you’ve stopped writing for pleasure and started torturing yourself.

Ideas are fragile. They need to be massaged, not bruised.

I’ve spent months torturing myself. I’ve been told by the so-called “experts” that I should write on point and keep my content within certain parameters. I tried to cookie-cut my writing, tried to squeeze my content into a box, but I don’t think inside a box. My content needs to speak from me, not someone else who thinks they know me better than I know myself.

Listening to the so-called “experts” broke my writing. For months, I was blocked. I questioned my very writing existence while I tried to focus on four or five topics. The best format for my content I was told. But the experts didn’t know me. Something that may have been best for others wasn’t best for me.

Write from the voice in your heart.

My blog is my playground, a place to think and breathe words, not to smother them. If every time I write I have to worry if a post fits into a theme or a headline, it’ll stifle creativity and the blank page wins.

All the so-called “experts” can tell you what you need for your blog or writing, but if you’re not comfortable with what you’re being told and your writing becomes stifled or even non-existent, you’re not taking advice from the most important person, yourself.

Write for the right to speak the truth in your voice and heart. Otherwise, that blank page will stare at you and say, “Why bother?”

Have you ever gotten bad writing advice?

Finding My Focus In Life And Writing

When you're ADHDI’ve always had trouble finding my way from Point A to Point B and often end up at Point Z.

With thoughts in a constant state of flux, the only way to anchor them is to purge them onto paper. If I didn’t write, my backed-up brain would need an enema.

It’s hard for thoughts to stay in one place when you’re ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). While flitting around inside my head, my thoughts are every place instead of where they should be–at my desk focused on writing.

Most days I curse the ADHD gene (my son has it as do brother 1 & 2). Yet, I do enjoy the creative component of the trippy brain bugaboo, the other Stooge-like stuff, walking into walls, not so much, “N’yuk N’yuk N’yuk.”

When my mother was pregnant with me, she didn’t send a memo to the birth procurement department asking for her daughter to be born with a circus in her head. The circus was part of the bundle my parents received when the nurse dropped me off without instructions.

I didn’t know that I had a circus in my head until the adolescent years when my thoughts traveled to distant places and followed the spotlights sweep across the tent.

Sometimes my thoughts played hooky from the circus and took a trip to the beach, usually Tahiti.

I return from a head-trip with my gaze fixed on the same wall I was staring at when my thoughts went MIA.

I say to Myself, “Myself, where was I?”

Myself finally responds after repeating the question several times.

“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me,” she says.

Myself and I have a lot in common. She has good intentions but slips up every now and then.

“You were working on a blog post,” she told me. “… You were in hyperfocus mode until you flew to Tahiti.”

Let me explain the ADHD trait known as hyperfocus, which is similar to hyperspace because you’re in the zone, a Get Smart-like dome of silence, but invisible and does not appear on TV.

When I’m in the zone, I can focus for hours, an ironic comorbid ADHD condition in which half my thoughts want to party while the other half want to work. While in hyperfocus mode, I don’t eat, shower or pee. My thoughts fuse to the computer and I write for hours (or cruise the Internet if my thoughts were out late partying the night before.)

Distraction and hyperfocus are the two most vexing attributes of ADHD. Of course, there are others: obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, lack of time-management skills, impulsivity, difficulty transitioning, i.e., etc.

On days I have an open-ended, schedule my thoughts endlessly pinball in my head as I try to catch them. If my thoughts can’t latch onto a point of focus, they disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of tangents where ships and planes are lost and a clock becomes a quaint mechanism of time.

When your body’s constantly catching up to your thoughts, time passes in a parallel dimension. One minute it’s 10 a.m., the next 12 p.m.

And you scream, “Holy Shit! I missed an appointment. That’s why many ADHDers use tools like timers and/or medication (Concerta, etc.) to manage their thoughts.

That’s what it is like to be ADHD, a lifelong condition. The traits don’t suddenly appear one day while you’re shopping for spaghetti. They’ve always been a part of you along with that birthmark on your ass.

Are you ADHD?

What tools do you use to manage the symptoms?

Why Writers Write

Salkin -Full Sunset Through Trees

| Moment Catchers | Word Shapers |

Many of us didn’t choose to become writers. Writing became us. It is an intricate part of who we are that inspires us to become better writers and therefore better people.

Writing is therapy, a self-motivating, actualizing process that helps us understand the world and ourselves, by observing then assessing from a creative perspective. It is a way to get to the truth, to uncover things we don’t want to see, and then report our analysis with words that hold a reader’s attention.

You can’t fail when you write.

You can only learn from your mistakes and mistakes are how we evolve. You can fool yourself into thinking there is nothing more to learn. That you know everything about writing you need to know, but you’d be deluding yourself. When you stop learning, you become the opposite of what a writer is — a passionate observer, an inquisitive seeker with an insatiable lust to learn about the world and ourselves, always searching for ways to perfect our craft and crystallize our perceptions.

Writing is a gift that should be embraced, not dismissed. It allows you to observe the world from the creative platform in your head, and then describe what you see with words. If you try to turn off the creative spigot, you’ll lose an intrinsic part of you. On days you don’t write, your mind will overload to the point of dysfunction. You’ll become cranky and restless. Life will look dull, and you’ll lose your visceral connection with the world.

Fear appears in many forms: failure, insecurity, commitment, criticism.

Don’t give into the impediments of creativity. You were always meant to write, to create something from nothing, to air thoughts that intrigue you, that if you don’t express, will haunt you.

Not everyone will agree with what you say, which should be expected and accepted, but do not write for fear of others criticizing your work or your point of view, would be an injustice to yourself. If you write for acceptance, your words will hit the page with a thud, and you will disappoint yourself and distance your readers.

Whether your goal is to publish your words or purge your thoughts, if you stop writing, that invisible appendage that’s an extension of you will always feel like it’s part of you.

Don’t let the moments slip by that others miss. You were meant to catch them.

A Draft From My Fleeting Thoughts

Jenny looking out the windowI tried writing a blog post today and ended up floating through social media sites, adhering to the parameters of my short attention span.

On Twitter, I attempted to write 140 characters of prose for the 1st-line Wednesday hashtag game. Instead, I wrote 116 characters, which included the hashtag #1linewed, falling short of my 500-word goal.

Writing is hard. I know this and have accepted it, embraced the work ethic required that I haven’t yet mustered.

I castigate myself every time I get distracted and end up on the Internet. “You’re better than this,” I say.

If only I listened to myself.

I know I should disconnect when I’m sitting at the computer or use a distraction blocker to keep my focus on the screen, but I don’t. I allow the allure of whimsy to attract me.

I allow my thoughts to get stuck in the dusty light of fleeting things and end up writing something only 116 characters long, not worthy of the word “accomplishment.”

Why do I let myself slip into this redundant behavior of idling nothingness, the place self-control gives in to a quick digital fix? Why do I embrace the instant gratification of a social media high after which I drop into a hole so deep I can’t climb out?

Why do I allow my attention to mindlessly float in a sphere of whimsy? A conscious coma in which my thoughts slip into a montage of talk show appearances where I promote that book I never wrote.

Fantastical mind-wandering thoughts that float in my head like pond scum, eventually get stuck in the drain suck of inertia where passion nods off.

A sudden reflexive jerk snaps me back to another meaningless hashtag game, the rush of instant gratification gone as soon as I leave the page.

Nothing gained from my mindless wandering. Just fleeting thoughts of fancy that embrace you while you drift, then slip away.

Drifting is pleasant. Writing is painful. It’s black and blue. Dark and light.

It’s acceptable human torture when you’re not in the zone. Getting there requires discipline and a workable routine. That’s hard to harness when you’ve got time to squander on a week off (without pay).

A rigid time-constrained schedule keeps you within the designated lines on which you need to write. Without them, you fall off the document into the gray moat around the page.

How do you discipline yourself?

Do you have a regular writing routine?