Walking With Pseudolus: The Forum as a Source of Inspiration and as a Tool for Honing Your Craft

A funny thing happened on my way to ‘the forum’.

Having recently been fearing that my time and attention there was at the expense of constructive posting in   my blog, the realization hit me……….visits to the forum have made my blog better.

The “forum” of which I speak (write) is whatever special site on the internet which enables one to indulge   in subject matter appealing to ones’ interests; avocations or hobbies.  A “forum” is basically a club for devotees of  a common subject….be it a make or model of car; a personality profile; a zodiac sign or a particular hobby.  That it is a “forum” connotes its’ encouragement, within stated rules, to opine; comment; or remark on what the common subject means to you.  Indeed, I believe there is a ‘forum’  within WordPress in which its members can pose questions; post answers to the questions of others and communicate freely with those of like interests.

I visit several automobile forums primarily for research of a technical nature.  There is another forum I visit daily…..for which the subject is a particular  Jungian personality classification.  I happened upon it at about the same time I started to blog.  As it must surely be with other forums, say, for a given Zodiac sign, the membership is diverse in age; vocation; geography; interest and temperament .  The listed “thread” topics are myriad, and one can poke around for hours on matters both serious and trivial.

Until about a week ago, I began to fret that my commitment to my blog was suffering for spending too much time “kibitzing” with other members in this forum.  It occurred to me just the other day, however after my most recent couple of posts, that my rapport and familiarity with nameless members has made me a better blogger.

How so?  A couple of reasons stand out to me:

1)  Posts in a forum are just that…posts.  The word-count of several hundred entries on varied topics has helped me to be more cogent, concise and clear in the messages I want to get across.  I’m writing!!   Time spent agonizing over a new draft, or the right title for a new ‘baby’ in my blog has been put to better use posting varied messages, of differing tones; voices; and moods.  Feedback is freely given.  The lack of the ‘gravitas’  which exists in the self-conscious publishing of a new blog posting enables a volume of output unhindered by ‘stage fright’.

2)  In interacting with a dozen or so people at a time within a given thread, and, over time, meeting those same ‘avatars’ in other thread topics, it becomes apparent that they like to write, too.  Dialogue improves with interaction with various styles of writing, and posts begin to become naturally tailored for whatever ‘audience’ you happen to be communicating with.  To be able to adapt ones’ style and syntax to the audience being addressed is surely a most worthy exercise for any blogger intent on writing on more than one issue or topic.  As a result, I feel much more comfortable with my original goal of blogging on a wide array of categories.

3)  The humor; expertise and experience of those within a forum community can be a rich source of ideas for the subject matter or theme of new blog posts.  And, in particularly gratifying exchanges of bon mots; trivia and data from Google searches or Wikipedia, done out of the pleasure of a debate rather than the toil of a research project, expands; broadens and enhances ones’ knowledge overall.   In point of fact, in writing my most recent blog  post, it occurred to me that an entire paragraph from a forum thread I had visited only once would be a perfect fit.  A portion of my blog post had already been written, and I didn’t even know it!  How cool is that?

So, especially to those who, like me, are recent additions to blog ownership…….remember the cardinal rule…..always be writing.  You do not have to be in ‘draft’ mode to practice your skills.  Find a forum for a niche; a hobby or a topic you have interest in.  Communicate with new and interesting people.  Have meaningful dialogues.

After all, in the end, isn’t that what all “writers’ want to do?