Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 11 July 2013

Taking Stock

Well... Would you look at that?

Would you look at that blog? And that one? And crikey that one’s a bit of a corker, too!

I’ve been trickling back through my posts, taking stock a little bit.

It crossed my mind, this morning, after reading the latest comment on yesterday’s post, that my blogging has taken a bit of a turn, and I was beginning to wonder what I thought about that, and what you thought about it, too.

I always knew I was a bit political. I even knew I was political on lots of levels, not least on social issues, and even on quite individual, and some might suggest personal levels. I always knew that I could be opinionated, and that I didn’t mind sharing those opinions.

The one thing I didn’t actually set out to do was write such a political blog, though. I set out to write a blog about writing, mostly, and about ideas. Musings on writing and other stuff, that’s what my mission statement says. 

When was the last time I wrote about writing?

I did this post on favourite words, but still managed to use the sentence, “Words are power”. I wrote this blog on language, a sort of rebuttal of something Stephen Fry had done, but it was really a polemic on education, and there was this piece on writers’ chairs, which ought to have been innocent enough, but it was really about the psychology of writers and how messed up most of us can be. OK, that one wasn’t strictly political, I suppose, but you take my point.

The question is this: After four-hundred-and-odd blogs, over eighteen months, do I want to review my mission statement? and, almost more importantly, do you want me to? Should I be more disciplined about sticking to updates about the whys and wherefores and the practicalities of actually sitting down every day and writing for a living? Is that better for me? And, more to the point, is that better for you?

It has become my habit simply to get up in the morning and write about whatever’s in my head. That has made this blog very personal at times, which I’m sure is a mixed curse for all of us. It has made it pretty unpredictable, I’m sure, and possibly inconsistent.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s made it rather dull. Perhaps, by now, you all have a pretty good idea what I’m going to say, which way my opinion is going to come down on most subjects, and what I’m likely to snark about. Perhaps I am, after all, an open book.

One of my followers on Twitter sent me this tweet the other day:

I like your blogs, I learn so much from them.

I was really touched and very flattered, and I thought about that and then replied:

Thanks Joe. I learn so much about myself writing them.

And that’s the truth. That, in the end, is what’s in it for me. It’s one thing having the thoughts that I have, and walking around with all these opinions; it’s quite another thing writing them down in a way that seems coherent, so that other people can clearly understand the ideas that I’m trying to convey, and so that I'm absolutely clear about what I think and where I'm willing to contradict myself.

Thoughts and ideas are for sharing, and, in a blog, it’s actually possible to know whether my techniques for sharing them have been successful. As a writer, I haven’t had that luxury before, and I think that’s one reason why this blog has become the monster that it has most assuredly become.

I never really know whether my stories have been understood, but I often know whether a blog I have written has been by the responses that it garners, and I often know very quickly.

Blogging is a fascinating process, and the feedback is a big part of that. I think, in the end, that blogging will make me a very much better writer.

Do, please comment, and if a new mission statement is required then I shall write one... In fact, let’s write one together... I shall always have the floor up here, assuming I don’t hand over to guest bloggers, although we could always include them in any new mission statement, but you have the floor down in the comments section, so go ahead and use it... go on, don’t be shy!


  1. I think the mission statement is fine as is.

    Your content is varied, your musings and opinions honest (whether people agree with them or not) and your output alone puts many of us to shame. Why restrict yourself?

    I'm happy for your mission statement to remain as it is, but if you're up for a challenge, why not occasionally take suggestions (say one a fortnight) for content, be it art projects going on somewhere or a book review (although to be fair you could sign up for Goodreads for that).

    It depends on whether your up for taking on a random challenge every few weeks. Whats life without a little challenge etc.

    1. I love taking suggestions for blogs, and have solicited them via my Twitter feed on several occasions in the past, and, indeed used them. Perhaps I should be asking for ideas, here, too, since, clearly, not everyone who visits also has a Twitter account.

      Watch this space, and, by all means contribute your own suggestions. The more the merrier.

  2. I'd like to see what sort of other work you do and how you got that work in order to write for a living. Plus I like the whackiness :)

    1. Crikey! I'm not sure I've ever been called 'whacky' before!

      As to 'what sort of other work' I do. Mostly I sign Non-disclosure agreements on that stuff and I'm simply not allowed to talk about it. Sorry. I can say that, other than being the husband's first editor, my entire income is now derived from writing of one sort or another.

  3. I agree with Mr. Carmine, there. Variety is the spice of life. Well, internet-life, at any rate.

  4. The variety is a sizeable part of what keeps me coming back. I don't always agree with what you have to say, but I love reading, or hearing a well thought out opinion, regardless of whether it lines up with mine, or not.

  5. I haven't been as faithful a reader as I should be.I blame it on the fact that we are from different time zones.(You see I follow u on twitter and that's my reminder to read) I have so much to say that I'd need a blog of my own to respond to yours.I Think you summed it up well. It's your blog and your in charge of it, but it's also nice to hear that I'm included in it in the comments section. long story short.I don't mind it being off topic of your mission statement

  6. Due to the sheer volume of posts you produce, Nik, I think that limiting yourself to writing-related topics would get very dull, very quickly. I like reading your political views and opinions in general. Even if I don't agree with you, your reasoning is well laid out and it at least gives me an opportunity to examine an opposing viewpoint - and don't you think that is a vital experience for a writer?

    An option might be to set aside one post a week for writing, or one for a roundup / political rant / cute cat pictures. A lot of bloggers seem to take this approach and it seems to work well. Having said that I don't believe there is anything wrong with the way you are currently doing things, either.

    You have, however, reminded me that I really need to get my new website up and running and the blog started again.

  7. as wise man once say, "I wanna know what you have to say ..."

    that pretty much sums it up for me :D

  8. While social media experts will no doubt disagree, I have found "mission statements" more of a problem than a solution.

    Post about what makes you passionate.