One Writer’s Writing Secrets 6: Blogging or Writing?

            Blogging is not the same as writing.  I am sorry.  I know what you have been told, but I don’t care about that.  Writing is writing.  Blogging is blogging and that is that.

            I remember an article in the New York Times.  It was so many years ago, I can’t remember who wrote it, but apparently he was thrilled that he had gotten his first word processor and would not have to painstakingly type his stories anymore (I said it was a long time ago). 

            So I don’t remember who wrote it (though it may come to me), but I remember the gist of the article to this day because it was about processing words rather than writing them, and the author discovered that with no great effort on his part, he could process words to his heart’s content and never have to come up for air again; which is to say, he could just write and write and never have to bother with all of those petty annoyances like punctuation or spelling, which were all taken care of automatically by this new marvel, and he was thrilled except that after a while it got to be a bit like the sorcerer’s apprentice where the sentence just went on and on with no end in sight; like the never ending song that went round and round in his head but never managed to get to the end, and so now he was stuck processing and processing and he no longer knew if it was day or night because he could not lift his head from the screen long enough to so much as look out the window since the words kept coming at a furious pace and he dared not stop but had to put them down while they were fresh and inspired because the last person who neglected his muse… You get the idea.

            Blogging is a lot like that.  True, since those heady days, most of us have learned how to write on a word processor.  It may be that in the future, some may learn to write on a blog.  (Obviously, I am not referring to stories posted on the blog as I do myself, but actually blogging stories in the true sense of the word).  It isn’t writing.  It is transitory, once down and done, momentary feelings posted for all the world to see.  There is little effort involved (in some cases very little), and while some may be good at it, funny or entertaining or informative, it is like a breath of air – once breathed and it is gone forever.

            Now, I am not against blogging.  I blog myself.  (I blog, therefore I am)?  I am just saying that writing, at least good writing, is the result of effort, work, rewriting, honing, sweat, toil, blood and tears (thank you Winston).  It is craft, even art, and designed to have some permanence that blogging, by its very nature, cannot have.

            Writing is like the Mona Lisa.  (OK, my writing is at times more like dogs playing poker, but still)!  Blogging is more like photography.  Everyone has a camera.  Even phones have cameras.  And some photos are great, but eventually they are lost on some memory card and buried, perhaps forever.  Writing gets hung on the wall, maybe only the living room and not in the Louvre, but all the same, writing has a kind of permanence that can bring a reader back again and again.


Writing Tip 6:

So, are you a writer or a blogger or both?  I believe DaVinci would have loved a camera, and probably a blog, but we would all have to learn to read in a mirror.

5 thoughts on “One Writer’s Writing Secrets 6: Blogging or Writing?

  1. I don’t totally agree with you, but this is a delightful essay. Love the comparison of your writing to kitschy art. But blogging can be writing. I also remember the early days of word processing when purists were screaming that writing would be defiled and creativity destroyed by the mechanical beast. The fountain pen probably inspired similar diatribes. But, again, blogging can be writing. If it doesn’t limit itself to the ephemeral. If it’s given the same care for the details of grammar and language that you would give a short story or novel. Or an essay, which is really more to the point. Anyway, I’m a blogger and a writer. Just like you.

    • Maybe this is just my version of a rant suggesting that most blogging is ephemeral. For most I believe blogging is like this reply to your comment — it is like a verbal conversation put to paper without the blood, sweat, toil and tears of writing. There is no revision, rewriting, editing, critiquing, more editing, honing and tweaking before publication. Of course blogs can be well written, but I feel most aren’t, and that’s okay. Most don’t pretend to be.

  2. You’re right, of course, that most blogs aren’t well written. But most blogs aren’t by writers. One of my projects is to rewrite a series of posts I wrote a few years ago and publish them as a book. They were written to the best of my ability at the time, about a subject which is still relevant to the niche I wrote for. Heaven knows that most blog posts are ephemera, but blogging can be the basis for a book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s