As of July 1, Mots Justes is one year old. Here is what I set out to do twelve months ago. A little has changed since then: Twitter and Facebook (I’m now on both) seem to be the preferred modes of communication over blogs and MySpace. But the mission remains the same: to find the right words.
The goal has been to find the right words through columns on grammar, punctuation, and usage; writing exercises; reviews of books on writing and editing; recaps of author readings; and random musings on writing and editing. I’ve also connected with the larger writing and editing world by linking to and Tweeting about news stories and blogs on related topics.
Posting, though, has been sporadic, including an extended hiatus while I finished my thesis at the end of last year. Life gets in the way. Meanwhile, I haven’t always been able to find the right words—i.e., the words I most want to write.
Which brings me to a troubling issue: there comes a point where you just need to stop reading about writing and writing about writing and thinking about writing and just write. Guilty of all of the above, and not wanting to contribute to this vicious cycle for others, I feel the need to justify the continuation of Mots Justes. It’s not generating income. Readership, although lovely, remains low. What am I getting out of it, other than yet another tool for procrastination?
- Well, writing—Although not necessarily the words I most want to write, when I post to MJ, I am writing. When it’s going well, I’m forming a writing habit. And I’m publishing—what I write can be read instantaneously by anyone with an Internet connection, not just by my writers group. There’s gratification in that, a sense of accomplishment.
- Education—By posting on sometimes admittedly dry topics such as grammar, punctuation, and usage, I’m not just providing information to others. I’m also gaining a deeper understanding of rules or guidelines that I previously have just had a feel for, and often I’m learning something new. I’m also reiterating advice from successful writers. I’m discovering new writing prompts. I’m exploring the creative process and immersing myself in a creative life.
- Business—After working as a professional writer and editor for more than a decade, I am currently freelancing as a writer, editor, and consultant. Part of my goal for MJ has always been to serve as a platform for this expertise. Version 2.0 will include more emphasis on this aspect.
- Networking—Through this and other blogs, through Twitter, through the power of the web, I am meeting other writers, editors, and bloggers. I am learning from them while I hope they find something to take away from MJ.
As MJ enters its second year, I’d like to hear from you: Do you blog? If so, what role does it serve in your writing life? You’ve just read what I get out of MJ, but what do you get out of this blog—or would like to? I look forward to reading your comments!