Recently several people have asked me questions about blogging. Some are starting blogs, some are thinking about starting blogs, and most seem to be asking me because they know I'm a relative newbie. I've yet to develop anything like subject matter expertise, so no one minds asking me: Is it hard to do? What are your limits? How do you put photos in it? In truth these are questions many of you have generously helped me answer for myself as I've gotten started.
There was an op-ed piece in a local paper the other day in which the author denigrated bloggers, essentially saying in a tone of revolted superiority while almost visibly rolling his or her eyes, Everybody thinks they're a writer these day. And while I know this feeling very well and deal with some variation on its theme almost every day of my working life, I find I cannot share this opinion. Certainly there are bad writers and people whose opinions are not rempotely interesting. There are terrible writers, whose voices and opinions one learns quickly to ignore. Perhaps worst of all, there's a great deal of mediocrity and it takes work to winnow through this in search of value
But the big surprise to me has been how many very fine voices and thoughts there are out there. And the even bigger surprise has been that it's not just talking. It's listening. Good writers have to be readers. They have to listen. So in seeking to share insight with others, it seems to me the community is the best place to start.
So what say you, Community? What's your advice to people who want to speak here among us? What makes you write? What makes you read? And what magic binds those active and passive activities and gives rise to conversation?