Eric Mayer

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Blogging vs Fiction
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Were I to chart the work I'm engaged in -- whether primarily legal writing or fiction -- would I see a correlation with my blog entries, or lack thereof? Mary and I have, for the most part, spent the past couple weeks plugging away at what we refer to as our Victorian occult thriller and my blogs have been scarce as cool days in August.

The biggest factor in whether I blog or not is probably just available time. The busier I am, at any sort of work, the less I'm inclined to stop and reduce a stray thought to coherency.

There's no doubt, though, that both legal writing and fiction writing put me in the wrong frame of mind for blogging. There's no need to explain why an activity as inherently uncreative (even anti-creative, since one doesn't dare make up one's own laws) as legal writing should have that effect. But, strangely, fiction writing seems to me nearly as far removed from blogging as legal work is and probably more inimical.

Writing about oneself, I've found, is vastly different than just making things up. For years I've written personal essays, mostly humorous, for amateur fanzines, newspapers and even magazines. Now most of my personal writing is for this blog. My personal experiences from a very limited palette indeed. Using them to create anything remotely of interest is a challenge. Typically some verbal gymnastics are required, to decorate the truth. You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but you can embroider it.

Contrast to that, writing a novel. Rather than straining to make my boring life sound intriguing, or panning the sluggish, murky stream of my thoughts for a grain or two of insight, I can imagine anything I want! Is it any wonder blog entries peter out when I'm actually writing a chapter of a book? It's hard to abandon my imagination for reality.

I understand it's common for beginning authors to write their autobiographies and call them novels. I can't fathom why. Considering how slowly I write the process would be like reliving my life in real-time. Besides, personal essays are possible only because they are short. For maybe 1,000 words I can maintain the illusion that my life is interesting, but beyond that, exhaustion sets in, I run out of tricks and diversions. I feel the urge to make up something that might keep a reader awake.

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