Thursday, October 11, 2007

The "Five W's"...


Every writer knows (or should know) about the "five w's", right? Who, what, when, where & why - the basics of any good story whether it be fiction or non-fiction. But in all reality, how many writers have taken those "five w's" and applied them to themselves?

Here's the challenge: Take the "five w" questions below, spend a few minutes thinking about each, and then write out your answers. If you have a blog, make it a blog post as I am doing below. If you let me know about your blog post, I will link to it in a future post here.

C'mon, it'll be fun...

My "Five W's"

  • WHY do I write? Because I can, and I can do it well. My knack for writing is part luck, and part hard work. For some reason, I have never had a problem saying what I want to say, whether in writing or verbally. The interesting part is that the majority of my writing sounds like me when I talk. This is where the hard work comes in. I have spent the better part of my writing career focused on making sure that I write like I talk. Of course, I polish it up a little, dropping the bad grammar I tend to use in everyday conversation. Writing "What up, yo?" or "You got no reason to be hatin'!" doesn't make for very good writing. Unless, of course, it is something a character I am writing might say. Then it is perfectly acceptable.

  • WHAT do I write about? Everything and anything I can find to write about. Normally, I try to stick with the convential writing wisdom, "Write what you know". But the fact is that I have written plenty of pieces on things I know nothing about. That is the beauty of fiction. If there is something I don't know that I absolutely must in order to write about it, there is always the Internet. Thank god for Google! It also helps to have an opinion, and those that know me best know that I am VERY opinionated. About a lot of things. Otherwise, I try to let loose with personal diary style writing. Like my blog header says, "Nothing is sacred." While this has gotten me into trouble from time to time (like the time I wrote about my ex-wife, and her penchant for farting in her sleep), I find it to be cathartic and an all around enjoyable experience. I know I have reached "The Zone" when I begin writing and the words pour out. I don't care about sentence structure or spelling. I just let loose. Usually that is where I find my best writing.

  • WHEN do I write? I have been known to write at all hours of the day and night. When inspiration strikes, that is when I write. When inspiration is being a sonofagun and fails to make an appearance, I sit down and force it out. This may happen at two o'clock in the morning (as it is right now) or as the sun sets. It can be a pain to deal with sometimes, particularly when the writing bug hits right in the middle of House, M.D. or Big Brother. Nonetheless, I go with it. I also find it helpful to sit down and write at least a rough sketch whenever a new idea comes to mind. I have also been known to start writing before bed, only to finish the piece when I get up in the morning.

  • WHERE do I write? In the beginning of my writing career, I would write anywhere I could find enough space for my notebook or journal. Usually it was in a corner of the lunchroom on breaks at work, sitting in my car or at the kitchen table. When I started writing with a computer, I was pretty much tied down to the nearest desktop, whether it was at home or at work. With the purchase of my laptop, I found I could write anywhere, and I do mean ANYWHERE. A warm laptop goes a long way in keeping the legs warm while you sit on the toilet.

  • WHO do I write for? In general terms, anyone that will read what I write. I am not one of those writers who needs a personal journal that stays under lock and key in the underwear drawer to keep anyone from reading it. I LOVE knowing that anyone in the world can read my latest rant, or about the latest article I am working on, or the aforementioned sleep farting episodes. Of course, this is when I write for me. Otherwise, I focus on my audience when writing non-fiction pieces, and in particular, the editor of whatever publication I happen to be writing for. After all, the ultimate goal there is the check at the end of the assignment.

So, there it is. My "Five W's". I hope completing this exercise will give you the enjoyment that it has given me. If nothing else, you will certainly understand a little more about yourself as a writer, and this information will undoubtedly be useful to you later on in your own writing career. If you do this exercise and post it on your blog, take a moment to let me know about it in the comments section, or drop me a line at I will be sure to link to your "Five W's" in a future post right here on The Writing Geek.


Obviously, my blog is still somewhat new and, although I am not completely new to blogging and most certainly not to writing, I have been taking extra care to research the blogging issue as fully as possible. I am also trying out various techniques throughout the blog and hope to improve as time goes on. During my research, I have come across so much information in the form of useful websites and other blogs, and I want to continue sharing them with you here. has a great new post by Raj Dash called "41 Reasons Why Your Blog Probably Sucks". Not only did I find the article itself interesting, but from a writer's standpoint, I would urge you to take particular note of the headline. Raj does an excellent job of grabbing the reader by the throat (or in this case, perhaps the balls...) and demanding attention. Especially from a relatively new blogger such as myself. Kudos to you, Raj. I look forward to more.

Speaking of newbie bloggers, be sure to check out - the guide to blogging for bloggers who aren't quite probloggers. It has some excellent articles on getting started in blogging and, in particular, making money from blogging. In addition, PreBlogging blogger Becky S. has provided us with the "5 Step Guide" to getting started in blogging. Just good stuff!


On a personal note, we heard back from the real estate agent today. Apparently the sellers didn't like our offer. They turned it down without even considering a counter-offer. While it sucks, I guess I have to look at it as an opportunity. As of tomorrow, my girlfriend and I will once again be burning up the shoe leather in search of the perfect place for us to start our lives together. We do have another house which we have already looked at that we are strongly considering placing an offer on. We'll see how that goes. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens, right?

Until next time...

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