(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Monday, August 10, 2009

is blogging the wannabe-writer's version of teaching?

there's an American expression...(maybe more than american, who knows ... well someone knows but I can't be arsed to look it up at the moment) ... "those that can't do, teach".

does this equate to "those that can't be published, blog?" gasp! yes, I said it.

yeah yeah, I know...lots of bloggers ... well some percentage of bloggers, blog and actually make money off of it. in my limited experience (being busy trying to survive and all) with blogging and the economics of writing, i've stumbled across a few blogs and bloggesses that seem to profit as well as enjoy ... the bloggess, dooce etc. yep yep.

many (okay some) blogs have moved on to book-land ... julie & julia project, dooce, bete du jour, petite anglaise, etc etc... seems to me, upon observation ... that many blogger blogs that experience bookdom seem to morph dramatically or even ! yikes ! cease to exist. those that remain seem to become an advertising vehicle for their recently published works.

but there is also a contingent of bloggers out there who have been very public in their quest for publication. and likely others that have kept severely mum. we have read of their journey...the writing, the submission, the rejections, the angst ...

the harder they strain, the more intricate their blogs seem to become. whereas before, earnest dialogue and ruminations ran rampant in their writings ... freed of the self-conscious glances over their own shoulders and second-guessing of their tomes ... now, in pursuit of loftier goals ... they vie for increased subscriptions, links, awards and followers. they employ artful approaches to increase visitor volume and blog ranking. all in the name of their art, they seem to form a culture all their own. running contests, beseeching for award votes and employing increasingly outlandish methods to gain attention.

i've asked this question before, is blogging real writing? or the near-miss author's pacifier?

i've thrown feelers out myself recently. fantasizing about interest, if any, in my adventure. all this in the wake of my severely neglected blog and writing. having gone back and read my first few months' entries, I find myself far more interesting then. but I was preparing for the adventure. or embarking upon same.

yes I'm interested in sharing that story and maybe even in a different medium than blogging. but I don't think I'm willing to expend time and energy trying to perfume the pig in order to find a taker...

what do you think?


JChevais said...

I don't like that American expression myself. It's derogatory and as I seem to have a teacher personality (seriously, have taken lots of online quizzes that tell me this) and I'm a mother who spends a lot of time explaining things to my kids, it annoys me.

As an illustrator, I was published because of the blog but then I never went into it with the intention of being "published" as a writer (though wouldn't I too love for some publishing ackshun in that regard?). My blog posts are too scrambled for that sort of thing.

In my association/group for writers, they say the best way to "learn" to write is to ghost write.

And blogging.


Dude: my wv is ditzy. I'm not kidding.

Randal Graves said...

I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to publish my blog in book form. Sure, the consistency would be Soviet-era, but it'd still make a solid toilet paper.

Oh, you wanted serious commentary. Then I'll move along for the next person.

La Framéricaine said...

I believe that it is a mistake to consider a blog anything more, or less, than a vehicle for self-expression and/or the "free" exchange of information like any human voice and ear; piece of stone and chisel; paint and canvas; paper and ink; IBM Selectric, ribbon, and/or 8x10 Georgia Pacific wood pulp product. It is the quality and commitment of the author that makes or breaks the art.

A web/log, in and of itself, in my humble opinion, is only a tool in the form of a confluence of resources and materials--the existence of the world wide web & the Internet; the, relatively, easy access to and affordability of home personal computers; the availability of PCs and of public access in libraries, schools, recreation centers, and, even, in places of employment--that permits, in a wildly democratic way, individuals and groups to participate in the greater international public conversation to the degree and depth that s/he desires, and that her or his nation permits.

It is a false construct in my opinion--using your American remark of, at root, disdain for teachers as a group, as a starting point--to counter-pose blogging and "real" writing.

Real writing has never been anything other than what the Canon, in any given country and academic environment, of the moment decreed. And people of great intellect, creative imagination, and wisdom have been beating back the narrow definition of the Canon for as long as there have been other than "dead white men" (to use a quick & handy stereotype) expressing themselves in writing and making their way into print.

However, there is one thing that any blogger-aspiring-to-print might keep in mind, as has been mentioned by Rasmenia in her own blog--publishing companies can be reluctant to contract to print anything that has previously appeared in print in any format--including a blog.

I also think that "you get what you concentrate on" and that a preoccupation with what another writer is doing, beyond admiration for her/his native creativity and hard work, is counter-productive to one's own ability to express one's self freely with integrity and authenticity.

But, naturally, that's just my two cents' worth.

Kathleen said...

since I'm right on the verge of adding blogging capabilities to the 'coach's challenge' i've been most interested in your observations about blogging. seems like everyone who does it starts out with a bang and then drifts into a more silent state of being... i think it's a good thing even if it is hard to explain and you don't feel like explaining it anyways. i find that sometimes i just get tired of talking and sometimes i just get tired of writing.. i think i tire of expressing myself and that's probably good too. so, maybe as the bloggasphere begins to mature we will see that it's just what happens. i spoke to a fiction writer recently and he told me that's exactly what happens when you write a novel... start with a bang and then you hit a natural interval and find yourself sitting at the desk for days at a time with nothing to say. I just finished a great book entitled "The Little Book"(you would love it!) and it took the writer 30+ years to write it... now, that's what I call dedication!

Jonathon G said...

Blogging is to writing what hitting the bag is to boxing, I think.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

wow, lots of interesting perspectives! and then there's RG...lol, but seriously you all should read his blog and then you'd know that he doth protest too much ...

you've all given me lots to ponder.

Gpops said...

If blogs are diaries, as yours seems to be, then the medium could spin out some classics. And with millions of monkeys hitting the keys, I don't doubt there is more than one Samuel Pepys yet to be widely discovered. If you write from the soul, you are a real writer whether you kill trees, paint it on a wall, or blog, no?