Monday, July 11, 2005

Does blogging affect good writing?

C found this interesting article "Writers make good bloggers, but does blogging affect good writing?" by Tom Dolby. I do agree with Dolby that the immediacy of publishing online is gratifying. I'm still waiting on some comments from my sister before I send off "His Tube Ate My Boob". I've only published in college newspapers and magazines, so I don't think I count as published yet.

However I'm fully aware that my blog doesn't contain my best writing. Is that fair you might think reading this blog? Well, yes, because you see, you have the immediacy of reading something I write almost everyday, and you don't have to pay anything to read this beyond Internet access. "Long form writing" as Dolby puts it, well it takes a long time. You write one draft, then you revise it, then you give it to some people to critique and if they're good, they say "Well, Thida, this bit is muddled and this bit needs expansion." and ask other questions and state other things that show that it's not quite the beautiful baby you hoped it was. And sometimes they disagree, and you revise it again and again, but in the end you find the heart center of your piece and it's much better for it. And that's even before you submit it for publication.

After writing the bit above, I realised I'd created this myth in my mind that I'd never published before, forgetting about an article in a college magazine, the college newspaper, where I eventually became editor in chief, and how I'd interviewed for a reporter job in Philly. Writing for a weekly or daily newspaper is a different beast than writing for a literary magazine or a novel. Closer to the truth is that until recently I was to scared to subject my writing to close peer review and therefore make it good enough for someone to actually pay for my writing. I do know enough to realise that's required. Obviously there was editing for the college newspapers and magazine, but not to the extent one would hope for in a professional setting. Perhaps I'm naive about this. We'll see.

So my point is that yes perhaps I'm "spilling some blood", some good ideas that might germinate into a fully grown novel or story. But I can also ramble on with no editor to tell me to cut that bit, revise this bit. I like that. I also don't find it the sapping of fertility that Dolby seems to find it, because I believe that part of the "alchemy of writing" is that painful critiquing and revising process.

Perhaps most importantly, blogging keeps me believing me my writing is a stream and not a well. It's the belief that I won't have enough that paralyses me. As my friend Jenny said "You have many interesting things to say. You don't have put them all here [in "His Tube Ate My Boob"]. You can cut this bit out and expand on it in another essay."

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Having read both your blog and "His Tube Ate my Boob", I think your blog writing is actually better. It's more thoughtful, as in "full of thoughts", and the sentences are more fluid and complex.

As an exercise, notice all the times you say "I" in the Boob Tube essay, and how many times you use "I" in this piece. That's just to point out that your blog entries are less "I did this. I did that." It's funny, because that's the type of writing one expects to find in weak blogs, and it's not evident at all in your blog.