Tell Your Own Story
Conor O’Reilly – If I Had a Minute to SpareMake Your Submission to Writing & Me
For the past six or seven years I have considered myself a writer, before that I only imagined I could be one. But, up until about two years ago I really didn’t write that much and I don’t think that I was a good writer. I still don’t think I am, but I’m becoming more confident. Much of this new assuredness is thanks to blogging.
There are many people who write as a hobby, yet also have some aspirations for their writing to become more than this. I am one of these people. About two years ago I started a blog as a way to more. I had read it could help my writing. Before I even filled in the form I was pretty sure that the thing wouldn’t even last a month, or even a week. I am the kind of person who has a tendency to make plenty of great proposals, but with a similar tendency not to follow them through to their finish. Despite my assumptions, my blog has grown and grown, and I am now the proud holder of more than 13,000 hits with 20 subscribers. My blog is approximately 18 months old.
The blog that I write doesn’t really serve any function other than as a space for me to write regularly. I write about anything and everything, and I try to post at least once a week. Many of my posts are long, personal, prone to ramble, irrelevant, and poorly punctuated. That’s beside the point; I write a lot and the hit count on my blog stats keeps pulling me back. Knowing that someone is reading is one of my main motivations for keeping it up.
Like any blog, it requires time to grow. Sure, if you link it to your Facebook account it will attract readers automatically, but for it to garner independent readership do not expect an overnight success. Because I deleted my Facebook around the same time that I started blogging, I was left with many lonely days with only two or three hits. Now, less than fifty is a disappointment.
As much as the rise and fall of my daily hit count excites me, my blog has had a much more important function. It has armed me with the skills necessary to approach and complete real writing tasks; over 25 articles published in magazines and newspapers in one year here in Korea are a testament to this.
Of course, there are genuine problems with relying on blogging to improve your writing. For starters, I don’t have an editor to tell me what is worth reading, what is well written, and when or how I should be punctuating. I have to rely on myself for these important aspects. There’s the possibility that I could bury myself in bad habits which are difficult to get out from.
There’s also the problem with the amount I write. A hidden although often irritating blessing is a word count that demands accurate and brief work focusing on the task at hand. In saying that, one of my favourite things about blogging is being able to really let loose and ramble on with a two thousand word post, the kind of luxury very few writers are offered from editors.
This freedom of topic and word count has allowed me to explore my own ability as a writer. It has given me the confidence to experiment with style and content, and to trust my own judgement on what is good and what is not good. The same confidence has encouraged me to submit more and more of my poems to magazines in Ireland and abroad, where I’ve also succeeded in being published. The more I write on my blog, the more I realise how much I want to write everywhere else. It is a very satisfying process.
To be a successful writer, you need to have skills and ability, which goes without saying. But, more importantly you need confidence. Without confidence you are less likely to submit work to editors, and you are less likely to continue writing tenaciously. Without confidence you are less likely to accept your mistakes and struggle harder to improve on them. Blogging provides me this confidence free of charge, and it’s why I am a better writer today.Make Your Submission to Writing & Me
(c) Conor O’Reilly, December 2011.
Originally from Dunboyne in County Meath, Conor O'Reilly is a lecturer in English language skills in Kyunghee University, Suwon, South Korea. Armed with a BA from UCD and Masters in 20th and 21st Century Literature from the University of Southampton, Conor is an avid writer of all sorts, but he is most at home with the frustrations of completing a good poem. On top of writing and teaching responsibilities, he is also chairman of the Irish Association of Korea.
For more of Conor's writing visit http://ifihadaminutetospare.wordpress.com