Posted by: travelrat | August 14, 2016

Travel Theme: Writing

‘It is not good enough to write so that everyone can understand you. You must write so that no-one can possibly misunderstand you’ (N. Bonaparte) 

Diary 1

This week, we’re tasked to talk about writing. Great! Finally, something I know a little bit about. I used to do it as a hobby, then I made a bit of money at it … now, it’s largely a hobby again, although a few cents does occasionally trickle its way into my PayPal account. So, I’ll tell all about writing. You have an hour or two? No? Damn, I’ll have to concentrate on only one facet of the craft.

It usually starts with my Journals. These, or rather, the latest volume, I carry with me wherever I go. In them go my notes, first impressions and also tickets, leaflets and other stuff, to remind me of the trip. Really, it’s a sort of cross between a journal and a scrapbook.

At a slack time, I’ll transcribe my notes to my tablet, making them a bit more grammatical, and maybe adding a few bits and pieces. If I can find any wifi, I’ll upload a copy to my Dropbox.

Usually, I’ll only post a brief description of where I’ve been, and what I’ve seen/done here, and on Facebook. The main body of my notes can wait till I get home. Then, they’ll be downloaded, polished up some more, and become blog posts.

Posts, plural, that is! Many people type out a long screed, describing the whole trip, and upload it as one post. I prefer to parcel it out, and deal with one activity at once, and try to wrap it up in about 3-400 words.

I can then make longer articles by ‘pasting together’ two or three blog posts, and ‘sanding over the cracks’, as it were. And, I’ve also tried combining articles for a book! I’m not sure how that worked out, though; at the moment, I could take everyone who’s bought it out to dinner, and not gasp too much when the bill arrived!

Diary 2

This post is this week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. See more at  https://wheresmybackpack.com/2016/08/12/travel-theme-writing/

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Responses

  1. Interesting way to remember your travels and use them in a creative way later. I tend to do that with photographs. Loved your post. ❤

  2. And to your Napoleon quote I’ll add one by Mark Twain (which I have to paraphrase) ….. If I’d had less time I could have written you a better letter… meaning that it is hard to “write less” when you have time to sprawl about the page. Condensing one’s words and feelings into a sharply focussed piece is the secret of good writing. This is why so many blogs are boring, my own included, no one to edit them, no one to insist on taking out a favourite phrase (Kill your darlings, as the saying goes), and no one to cut it down ruthlessly.
    Not to say blogs aren’t good, they are, and allow us to write what we want, how we want, but I often notice when I go back in, how much I can edit from a piece I thought was good.
    I’m still writing professionally, all sorts of things, but I write differently if I want money for it!

    • When I was at school (koff! koff!) years ago, a lot of the GCE English syllabus focussed on précis writing … we’d be given a piece of about 1500-2000 words length, and told to cut it down to 500, but still get the main points across.

      I once heard that readers of blogs are unwilling to scroll down more than twice (not sure whether it’s true or not) but I try to limit my pieces to 3-500 words.

      Longer articles … for the Web 800-1000 words; about 1500-2000 for print.

      I sometimes despair when I come across prolix screeds of 4000 words or more … especially when it could easily be cut in half & not lose the sense.

      Here’s one from Samuel Johnson: ‘Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet a passage that you think particularly fine, strike it out’

      • Love that last one from Johnson. I shall keep that. I allow a certain leeway in blogs because I feel that are an indulgence we allow ourselves! When it comes to earning the much reduced fees available today though, a harder choice must be made.


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