Monday, February 15, 2010

A request for your opinions

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?


  1. I've occasionally read those denigrating author comments concerning blogging. I still can't understand the uppity attitude.

    The problem is that they lump all Bloggers into one group, where obviously there are different formats. Some people hock wares. Some people use it as an everyday journal. Others use it as a tool (such as I) to improve on their writing. And yes, some people do believe this makes them professional writers. As with every media outlet, you'll have the good and the bad, just like A-list actors and record label musicians versus the D-list hams and garage bands. It doesn't mean anyone should give up their dreams or entertainment if it's not "professional."

    My advice to every person considering blogging: 'Speak loudly and write for yourself. Don't allow anyone to tell you that you can't do this no matter the subject matter or level of education you have. Do things that make YOU happy.'

    Sorry for the long comment. Great post!

  2. Doesn't that just frost your buns? As if all writers in other media are uniformly wonderful. I would gladly pit the best writers on the internet against almost anyone.

    As for your questions, I'm afraid I don't have too many strong answers. My reasons for writing mostly have to do with ego.

    I like my writing. As a matter of fact, I'm one of my favorite authors. Therefore, I expect others might like me, too. I suppose if you don't care for your own writing, then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.

    Originality makes me read. Attention to detail - spelling, for instance - will keep me from immediately leaving. How much of yourself are you willing to divulge in public? That's important. Can you tell a good story, preferably with humor? These are all good things to consider.

  3. Well, my stars. You both had me speechless for a minute, although as you know that never seems to last long with me.
    Michelle, no need to apologize for the length of your comment. I'm honored you would share your insights, and agree with you completely about using this metier as a means of honing my own writing skills.
    Suldog, excellent points about attention to detail (spelling errors and typos drive me crazy, especially my own) and humor.
    To both of you, heartfelt thanks for writing from your hearts, and for supporting the notion that there is truly fine writing out here, as I believe the presence of each of us demonstrates.
    Thank you, thank you!

  4. I was just thinking about this yesterday. My husband came home to find me at the computer and I said "I'm reading". I realized I no longer make time for reading books or magazines. When I "read", I'm reading blogs. And given the blogs I'm drawn to, well, as far as I'm concerned the writing is of no lesser quality than the classics or that which is on the NYTimes Best Seller list.


    If some lady out there can make me laugh or cry or fill my heart with her writing done at her kitchen table, well, then she's a WRITER.

    I never, ever, considered myself a writer. Ever. But I started this blogging thing last year and although I still wouldn't call myself a WRITER, I've found a medium of expression and connection and creativity and healing.

    And my guess is that's why real writers write. Right?

  5. Oh. One more thing.

    I would love to hear you sing :)

  6. Michelle, news flash: you ARE a writer. And I am grateful for your thoughts here. Almost every day I make time to be grateful for your thoughts on your own blog.

    And if you send me your snail mail address (you can email it to me at I will send you a CD of the trio I sing with, the MadriGalz. It's Christmas music, but it will do.
    Love, love.


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