I am going to begin this blog by saying that I fucking hate blogs.
I know – hypocrisy, right? So why start one? It’s been a long, hard road in convincing myself to do so.
I’m a writer by nature. I’ve been a writer for nearly twenty years. And I still use pens, paper, and journals before publishing – also on paper. Perhaps this makes me primitive. But it’s something I can POINT to in accomplishment: a stack of computer paper with red marks all over it, notebooks filled, a drawer full of magazines featuring my articles.
It’s always made more sense to me than vomiting word-stuff into cyberspace without really looking twice at each sentence.
I was talking to someone at a party recently. He asked what I do. “I’m a writer,” I told him, as I often do.
“Oh,” he said. “That’s great. Do you have a blog?”
Er. Since when did having a blog become proof of the profession?
To me, blogs have always been the newspaper columns of the web – once you have a gimmick going, it’s easy to bullshit your way into a regular audience without really saying anything of substance. And since web publishing is universal, anyone worth a pie stain can write a blog, regardless of credentials.
I have serious issues with people thinking that writing and/or editing is something just anybody can do. I can write. I can also boil pasta, but I’m not about to apply for a chef position. I know I’m no good. I cook for myself, but I would never serve it to people for dinner. When I charge for editing, I am charging for the fact that I know what the hell I am talking about.
The internet is a good place for unprofessional writers – especially in fandom, because people aren’t really in it for the prose; they’re reading to see two people ‘get together’, or realize their epic love, or otherwise resolve something that was left up in the air in the original [this is not to knock fandom – I continue to write my share of fanfiction, because it’s FUN]. Blogging, too, if you’re doing it to convey events and ideas rather than flabbergast with your use of language, is a fantastic exercise. But it’s not a medium to brag about. It’s not something to point to on a resume as proof of success in the field.
That being said, bloggers are the people getting book deals these days. Bloggers, by basing publications on pre-existing concepts, seem to have no problem breaking into the actual paper market. The dude who writes Shit My Dad Says, the chick from Cake Wrecks, that guy who put out The Book of Awesome – these are the successful writers right now. The rest of us are stuck making chapbooks on printing presses in the basement.
There are musicians who have figured this out – that in order to do your own thing, sometimes you have to start by doing what everyone else is doing. Lady Gaga can be the picture of bizarr-o-drama she is by creating catchy, mainstream pop tunes. Adam Lambert and his ridiculously glam self caught the public eye by appearing on, of all things, American Idol. Miyavi’s first solo single was the poppiest, most publicity-pleasing song imaginable – and now he’s blowing his colleagues out of the water with inventive, explosive guitar riffing.
The point? Sometimes you have to compromise in order to afford your own artistic vision.
So I’m biting the bullet. I’m starting a blog. Since my own writing takes on so many forms – essay, poem, short story, comic book, collage – I am expecting this blog to be similarly varied in content. I am, after all, just as inspired by fashion models as by feminist philosophers.
And I do not plan on quitting my paper pursuits. It still gives me much more of a giggle to see one of my letters published in The Sun than it does to receive upvotes on my Facebook status.