Rants

A blog? Really? Yes. Really.

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.

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11 thoughts on “A blog? Really? Yes. Really.

  1. Sounded like angry artistic frustration at first but then morphed into your word-love-fest that I’ve come to admire. Whatever medium you choose, Hol, will be eagerly gobbled up by your fans! I am in awe of your determination and dedication to your art.

  2. Hm. In the unsubstantiated, probably irrelevant, opinion of this old fart, the best you can do is put yourself “out there” and see if people want more. Whatever means you employ to do this are all relevant.
    The beauty of the written word can now be presented in so many ways. In my opinion (such as it is) you owe it to yourself to explore all those ways to present who you are. Happy, sad, angry, thoughtful… whatever may be going on.
    You do have an individuality that people notice, as well as writing and photogenic qualities that gain attention. The rest, as they say, is a crap shoot!
    And at the risk of falling in to heavy cliches, you can’t win if you don’t play the game. You do play the game Holly in your own strong, fragile, but above all, individual style. Just keep doing it my dear!

  3. Holly, you had me at “I am, after all, just as inspired by fashion models as by feminist philosophers.” Well, you had me well before that, but I really saw myself in that sentence. Can’t wait to read more entries.

  4. Well, I’m here because I know you from fandom and happen to share your “hero worship and obsession with Adam Lambert” because he’s relevant, different, and more than a “pop star.” Elvis had doubters when “That’s Alright Mama” was new, too, no?

    I completely agree about paper versus e-blather. My masters thesis was published online, and I can access it any time day or night from anywhere on earth, yet I have a printed copy filed away and another one, bound, hard cover, on my shelf where I can hold it in my hand, flip through the pages, and say here, I did this, this is years of my life, my brain power, my sanity, my heart and soul. It’s tangible and I like to feel it. When I sporadically take a notion to dabble in some fiction, it’s always scrawled longhand on paper, often the back side of extra copies of biology quizzes or some other random scrap paper, barely legible and crossed out with arrows drawn to connect the concepts on paper the same way they’re connecting in my head. I like to see my thought processes on paper – then if I take a wrong turn, I have a map to find my way back.

    Anyway, I’m really happy that you’re blogging, and I look forward to reading your thoughts. Your mind is an interesting place and I like the idea of you letting it ramble in a venue where I can watch.

  5. Thrilled you will be writing a blog. It is not a cop out at all it is simply adding more to your amazing talents. When all is said and done a writer, writes…an actor, acts, an artist, paints! The more you do, the more varied your “stuff” the better you feel because it is a passion. I would not worry about “compromise”…it simply is the way it is and always has been really… even going as far back as Adam and Eve. To get to where you want to go especially in these times….you have to first show you are willing to play…once that is done then you get to make the rules! Just write and I suspect your blogs will take you places you didn’t know they could go. Incidentally just about all the authors who come to the store, famed or not all have blogs on their website. I see Blogs as sharing thoughts and ideas…they are often thought provoking. Some are just daily logs and diaries. I guess it is because we live in such times everyone seems to be looking for vicarious excitment and living. We often seem so bored with ourselves that we feel more involved and part of the whole through blogs, facebook, etc.

    All I know Holly is just keep on writing, no matter what the form. Your abilities, smarts, talents, beauty is reflected in all you do so go for whatever you need to do!

  6. I look forward to reading this. You have a good hook. I once talked to an old guy who used to write for science fiction pulps in the 40s and he told me some sound advice: “You’ve gotta catch their attention in the first paragraph, if you dont you lose them, then forget it”.
    When you break into paper I will read it. Holly when I met you at Wizard Con you girls were selling some comic you wrote and I asked you to inscribe it with something cool…but you couldn’t. You had writers block. What was that book anyway? Bet your writing has evolved since then, yes?
    Are you over your hero worship and obsession of Adam Lambert yet? I hope so. You lost a lot of your audience with that stuff. We want quirky autobiographical stuff. observational humour. All these pop stars or whatever the hell they are, reminds me of Bukowski’s disdain for Mickey Mouse… So much to talk about.

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