Friday, September 21, 2012

On Blogging


It’s been just shy of four months since I entered the blog world, so I thought I might take a look back over my experiences. 

The online writing world dwarfs New York!
It’s been an exciting period, actually, since I’ve learned so much – both about writing and about the massive internet writing community.  I find it exciting to discover that there are so many other people, sharing their creativity and their advice.  It’s sort of reassuring about the general state of the world, that we can make connections in the sparking lines of the world-wide web, and then through those connections offer each other help. 

So what have I learned?

1.  There are a lot (a LOT, a lot, a lot…) of writers out there.
 
It’s been interesting to make this discovery – as obvious as it may seem – because I live in a somewhat culture-starved area, and so I don’t necessarily stumble across other writers every other day. Realizing that I do have so many comrades in the writing endeavor makes me happy, of course, but also makes me realize why everyone says…

2.   Getting published is a total gamble. 
 
I’ve stumbled across several agents who run blogs, as well as many writers who have managed to find an agent (sometimes even a publisher), and they all say, ‘Don’t get too over-confident, because getting published is a long struggle, especially in a tough economy.’ This is something I had already guessed in the back of my mind, but it has been enlightening to see basically every blogger confirm the thought. I feel a bit daunted by all this, but also I’ve learned…

3.      If you work to perfect your writing, apparently somebody will eventually take an interest.

This of course assumes you are good at righting, but if you are, then the somebody is usually an agent. While it’s not an automatic guarantee that you will find a publisher even if you do find an agent, still I can’t help but imagine that the latter’s professional approval, encouragement and direction must give a writer a huge confirmation that he or she has true talent. However, agents aren’t blindly accepting, so in order to capture their attention, you have to submit a story that is absolutely the best you can do. And this of course, brings me to conclude that…

The fish is confused by my analogy!
4.  Revision is to the would-be-published writer as water is to fish.

I’ve always known the importance of returning to something I’ve written after it’s finished – and probably has rested in peace for a while – so as to smooth and rework its weaknesses and flaws. However, I never quite understood just how meticulous this process must be until I saw it confirmed over and over on other authors’ blogs. Of course, we have to consider our plots, our characters, our points-of-view, our style; of course we have to check our punctuation and spelling and grammar. All of these matters I was aware of, but I’ve now also discovered…

5.  Writers have to consider even the tiniest details when correcting their own work.

I went to a high school which encouraged an extremely formal, even Victorian/Dickensian approach to writing. I grew comfortable with long sentences, proliferation of adjectives, liberal sprinkling of adverbs. I'm also probably better at telling than at showing. Now, after reading the reams of advice out there from editor and agent bloggers, I have realized that I can’t even take my own style for granted. I have to challenge myself to remain true to my voice and at the same time update my methods to reflect the modern writing climate. I’m about to start a reread of one of my novels, in fact, solely to search for stray and unnecessary adverbs.

6.   All of these new elements to consider can become a bit overwhelming.

This is especially true since my general tendency is to write literary fiction. From what I gather, if you take all of the above considerations, you get what genre novelists have to worry about. Then you multiply that by 3 and you discover what literary novelists have to keep in mind. However, the wonderful thing to counteract the temptation to depression is…

7.   The online writing community is overall supportive, interested, interesting and very helpful. 

A few people have kindly watched me (and I’m so grateful to them), and they are generous about commenting frequently so as to inform me of their ideas in response to what I’ve posted. Moreover, by traveling around the world of blog to meet new people and writers, I’ve been so impressed by how talented and artistic and thought-provoking some of these writers are. Even when I’m feeling a bit low about the prospect of endless revision and agent querying on my hopeful way toward publishing, a trip around the blogs I follow wakes me up and turns me from moping toward creating.

This is me: a small creature setting out jauntily in a big world!
So in short, I’ve been really pleased with my blogging experience so far.  I’m happy to have entered a new community and to have discovered so many peers.  It's also such a pleasure to have learned so much about the technical and monetary side of my craft.  I hope everyone else has also enjoyed such a positive experience in their blogging careers.  Wish me luck as I continue mine!

3 comments:

  1. a renga:

    2012 is not
    the 1960’s - good? bad?
    just ‘way’ different

    computers and bright fire
    channel energy by ‘men’

    poets and writers
    have big dreams - strive, stretch, leap
    to adapt their art

    JP/davh
    inspired by:
    http://chiarasbalancingact.blogspot.com/2012/09/on-blogging.html
    also posted:
    http://julesgemstonepages.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/september-22/

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  2. I'm glad to hear that blogging has helped your development as a writer. It has for me too, although I know I still have much to learn...

    I wish you every success, of course, in your blogging career...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the good wishes! I'm actually amazed by how much blogging has taught me about the writing and publishing process. It's quite exciting to look forward to learning even more. I'm glad you also share the experience.

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