Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Value of the Blog

Is there value to blogging for writers?

Charles Gramlich and Stewart Sternberg have been discussing that with degrees of levity mingled with serious contemplation.

Let me weigh in with a yes. I don't know if anyone's bought a copy of my War of the Worlds, or listened to a free sample due to the link at the right, hint hint. Or if it's driven anyone to dig up some of my older stuff, but blogging's kind of an Emily Dickinson thing.

I think I'd write here even if there weren't eight or nine people reading it every day.

It's a little less disciplined, but this is pretty much what I used to do when I was a newspaper reporter.

I mean generally I talked to people all day and wrote what they told me. I had to, you know, be concerned more with facts than opinion, I guess. Though I did write a column for a while that was sort of like a blog. It was just once a week or so and a few more people scratched their heads as I mulled over things like Procol Harum lyrics. (Wayne Sallee's posting about six degrees of separation. I think Karl Edward Wagner once wrote a story called "At First Just Ghostly" taking a line from "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Maybe that's serendipity and not six-degrees, though it's one degree removed from yesterday's post, keep scrolling.)

Getting the junk out
An account rep for an ad agency we work with on my day job once said some of their creatives had to "get the junk out" of their heads before the really good stuff came. Stream of consciousness blogging certainly allows that. It's as free form as it gets, and I think serves a purpose similar to "morning pages" advocated in The Artist's Way. Before blogs, journals for writers were a must.

A sense of community
Beyond the rambling, blogging also allows a coast-to-coast sense of community and communication.

If I had to connect dots on a map to the friends old and new I'm now in regular Web 2.0- communication with, it would zig from the South to the West Coast to the Midwest with a long though occasional zag over to the British Isles. Maybe I better not draw all those lines, it might summon Cthulhu. (Speaking of elder gods and in keeping with stream of consciousness, wouldn't this make a great gift?)

"Wow, I thought he'd never shut up."

In conclusion, I think there's value in blogging, just in doing it. 'Cause someone said writing equals ass in chair. It doesn't have to be a means to an end other than that, no, uh pun intended, though I'm thinking Stewart's new "Weird Addiction" writing challenge could get me started on a pretty good short story.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've found blogging personally beneficial as well. For one, it's fun. But I've also come up with the seed of half a dozen columns for the Illuminata newsletter that I write for.

Clifford said...

I've got even fewer people reading my blog than you do...though one of my friends recently added it to Technocratii (sp?) -- which I assume is a repository of tech links...jand I got a comment from someone who likely found me there. It's a little disconcerting, as I consider my blog still in "beta" mode. Like you, I like the stream-of-consciousness aspect of it.

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

Another reason to blog:

Writing is lonely. A writer doesn't have people applauding for him at a nightclub. There is no Woodstock or Monterey. Sidney isn't going to set fire to a notepad for a finish. I'm not following him onstage to better him by rolling in excrement as I mutilate myself with papercuts from a Hemingway novel. Wait..that just got too weird for even me.

What I'm trying to say is that blogging gives you feedback and a connection with a reader that you don't get most the time.

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