Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Important Comment on the Way We (Bloggers) Write

I normally don't repeatedly link to the same source, at least so close together, but I feel this has to be done.
Steven Pressfield has expanded his blog, and as well as commentary on the war in Afghanistan, he's instituted a "Writing Wednesdays" post, on writing (of course). His first entry, this past ... (wait for it) ... Wednesday, was one of the best things I've read on any type of writing, but particularly for us bloggers.
You should read it.

"Writing Wednesdays": An Experiment

Pressfield's has quickly become one of my favorite blogs, and I'm watching what he has to say closely as, so far, I think he's been very much on point. I promise, however, that I will stop fan-boying with this entry.

As someone who writes both Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction, and uses his blog as a venue for those pieces, as well as observation and opinion pieces, I have fallen very much into the trap of ego that Pressfield describes in that entry.
Not only do my readers have a hard time separating my truth from my lies, but I have trouble separating myself from my bullshit, which hampers my bullshit. I seek to create really good bullshit - Well turned bits of phrase and narrative that compel, interest and expand the mind of my readers. I was aware of several other things hampering this (such as my continual difficulties in being able to proof read and edit, yet rushing to post), but my ego was in the way of seeing my ego.
A valuable lesson.


Hat said...

I thoroughly approve of his idea of being too close to one's characters, etc. This is a trap I've fallen into, and it's quite frustrating.

At the same time, I'm not sure what I think of his idea of "professional blogging." It's as if bloggers are supposed to be an elite group of e-writers, and blogs aren't supposed to just be that- brain/thought dumps. It shouldn't matter how they're written, really, unless you are in a professional *Capacity* that demands professional writing from you.

Nagrom said...

I think it depends on what your aim with your blog is.
If you are strictly blogging for yourself and a few friends, then no, I don't think you need to worry about it. You are, in essence, having a conversation.

However, if you are trying to develop a larger readership, and write to an expanded audience, then a level of professionalism is (or should be) necessary.
If you want expand peoples views, challenge them on something, teach them something, then there is a burden of professionalism necessary in one's writing. Even if one may not be a professional, or blogging professionally in the true sense of the word.
It just depends on what you seek to accomplish.

Here, I want a middle ground - Something that, to my friends, feels like and can be a conversation, but that to outsiders is both that welcoming, and to a higher standard of writing and information sourcing. This is the blog of a would-be professional writer, and I could do better on that front.
On the BFE Labs blog, I go much more for the professional stance. But that is easier - Being strictly a professional, semi-technical, blog makes maintaining a dedicated level of professionalism a lot easier.