Wednesday, April 19, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog

Sarah Hepola has a piece of interest for many bloggers, I'm sure, on Slate today. In it, she writes of how she recently stopped blogging in order to focus on book-length projects she'd been hoping to write.

As someone who harbors increasingly dim dreams of his own book-length projects (and who, like Hepola, nurtured those dreams for a time in the unlikely milieu of Dallas, where the great majority of books contained diagrammed football plays), I figured I would strongly relate to her feelings about this online enterprise. But two of her thoughts kept me from it. The first is this:
At times, I started to feel that jokes and scenarios and turns of phrase were my capital, and that my capital was limited, and each blog entry was scattering more of it to the wind, pissing away precious dollars and cents in the form of punch lines I could never use again, not without feeling like a hack. You know: "How sad. She stole that line from her own blog."
Hepola also mentions that she published some fiction on her blog, so it's clear she was using the medium as a testing ground in a way that I'm not, unless I want to write a 400-page book about Counting Crows, which -- good news for absolutely everyone -- I don't. (The fact that I haven't attempted anything fictional on this site is something all of you owe me thanks for, much more than you can ever understand.)

Then, Hepola ends with this:
As much as I loved writing online, it's a relief writing offline: taking time to let a story unspool, to massage a sentence over an afternoon's walk, to stew for days—-weeks, even—-on a plot line. What a modern luxury. Now, if I could just turn off the TV, I think I could finally get started.
It's a funny line, but I'm sure there's more than a kernel of truth to it, and it's another reason I haven't been able to muster any feelings of guilt about blogging, despite expecting to have mustered them a long time ago: It's absurd for me to believe that it's keeping me from meatier projects until I start spending more time on said projects and less time watching Letterman and the ESPN channel that repeats the same half hour of highlights all night long.


Blogger helen_boyd said...

TV's way worse for writing than a blog.

but it'd definitely different - there is no pressure to develop a thread. now that i'm working on a book, organizing 300pp worth of material (80-100k words) seems gigantic in comparison to being clever or pithy.

writers who aren't writing will blame the sun, the moon, & the stars, but the only problem when you're not writing is that - you're not writing.

9:06 PM  

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