I don't usually read Leah McLaren's columns as she writes in the entertainment section, a section I rarely get to.
But this column caught my eye. In this column about blogging McLaren explains why she "decided to swear off the blogosphere." Apparently, what got to her was a search in Technorati. She searched her own name and the names of several other writers she claims to know and admire. What she found was -
... countless chat rooms full of bitter unpublished writers venomously slagging published ones -- their terrible spelling, poorly constructed sentences and outrageous amounts of displaced hatred and envy a testimony to why they became bloggers in the first place.
This hasn't been my experience. Not even close. In fact, quite the opposite. I find most bloggers to be encouraging and supporting toward other writers - published or not. And if someone doesn't like a book - what can be done?
I do agree with McLaren on one point - most blogs are boring and not well written:
The dominant quality is tedium: writers without editors, fact-checkers or paying subscribers to keep them in check. As Butterworth succinctly puts it: "If the pornography of opinion doesn't leave you longing for an eroticism of fact, the vast wasteland of verbiage produced by the relentless nature of blogging is the single greatest impediment to its seriousness as a medium."
But when McLaren asks why bloggers blog and reaches the conclusion that it's because what they write is unfit for publication, I disagree again. Not that what bloggers write is fit for publication, but that the reason doesn't have to be one or the other. I know many bloggers with no real aspirations in publication. But even the ones with such an aspiration don't necessarily blog what they would like to publish.
When McLaren asked a well established writer, David Eddie, why he blogs, here's what he had to say:
"It's a good way to limber up. You get up in the morning, fire up a blog, write the thing in 15 minutes and then you know what's on your mind. I think it was Nabokov who said, 'How do I know what's on my mind until I write it down?' "
McLaren ends with some point about blogs being fragmented, not sphered, not connected. I'm not sure where she was going with that one.
However, what I found most interesting is that the reason McLaren swore off blogging in the first place was the slagging of writers by bloggers only to turn around and seem to do the same in her column. And as for editing - did she mean slagging or slogging? I still wonder.
Categories: writing, blogging, publishing