writing writing

A lot of writers keep blogs, and I take "writer" to mean, people whose output (creative and/or professional) is text in cases where the writing is an end to itself. Everyone writes--that's a symptom of an information world--but there is a difference between journalists, novelist, and the epidemiologist: everyone trades in words, but for a lot of people who all work in words, the writing is a communicative medium and often not meant to be read in any orderly way. Which is fine, I'm just trying to be concrete.

Anyway, "the writer's blog" is pretty common, and I think this is really cool. The thing about blogs is that it's largely the "people's medium," so having the same people's names in your feed reader and bookshelf makes writers more accessible, more human, less distant and very much "alive." [1] This is a good thing.

At the same time, an embarrassing proportion of writer's blogs are about writing, about particular writer's experiences with the business of writing, experiences with the practice and craft of writing. Now this isn't surprising, as blogs and journals are outlets for half formed ideas, thoughts, and worries. Frankly, I'm a total hack at this whole "writing" thing, and I do this a lot. At the same time, surely, there's a better use of 'blog readers (and writers) time.

Writers, who I respect and value, give advice that's often wildly contradictory: "to be successful you have to have good follow through and finish everything you start," and "don't be afraid to let a project go if you think it's not going well," or more comically "write what you know," paired with "write something exciting, because no one wants to read about your middle class angst." I think you probably get the point.

Because, the secret of writing, of being a writer, is that no one has a clue as to how they/we do it: every piece of advice that I've heard--other than, I guess, "write more"--is ultimately superstition.

As I start to work on figuring out what projects I'm working on in light of the impending changes in my life, I'm thinking about what it means to be a writer, in a non-full time capacity. Or, similarly what it means to be a guy with scholarly interests outside of the academy. This is sort of bleak, I think March may really be getting to me after all.

I'm going to leave it there.

[1]Contra to the proclamation that "the author is dead." While I really like the implications of reader response theory (particularly since my own work in the social sciences approaches actual conversations in much the same way that reader response theorist approach the "literary" text,) as literature becomes more interactive, particularly in a popular context, I think some assumptions need to be reexamined. I mean, John Milton's authorial intent, is indeed largely irrelevant to contemporary readings, but I'm not sure the same thing can be said of people like Cory Doctorow, for instance.
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