Writers Write

Stephanie got me a card on Wednesday to thank me for being such a great husband while she’s been sick. It felt very nice to be appreciated in that way, but I also felt kind of silly. Had I really been that great? I was sick too, and I hadn’t really picked up that much slack around the house. What had I done to deserve such a gift from my wife? I pondered it for a bit and then I decided that, in situations like these, you’re just supposed to be happy. Be happy that she loves me, be happy that she thinks I’m pulling my weight in our relationship and then some, and be happy that she bought me a card to tell me all of this. So, I decided to be happy.

Something I was decidedly unhappy about was this quote that Beth related to her readers in a recent entry. It comes from the modestly named site, The Best Page in the Universe:

The word “blog” is literally shorthand for “boring;” a vulgar, overused word that strikes your ear with the dull thud of a cudgel to the soft spot of a child. It’s an abbreviation used by journalism drop outs to give legitimacy to their shallow opinions and amateur photography that seems to be permanently stuck in first draft hell.

Though the article this quote is taken from is often hilarious, and I can sympathize with the author on a great many points, I take issue with the self-hate that rants like these are are inducing in struggling writers who blog. Sure, the writing on blogs is generally horrible. Yes, most of the stuff we write on these things comes off reeking of the stench of a first draft. But we have to remember that we write first drafts to get to second drafts. We all have to suck at the beginning in order to learn how to suck less later. And if we use our blogs and journals as a sort of scratchpad for ideas, taking note of the entries that seem to find the most success (however you end up defining success, be it by pageviews, comments, or the warm fuzzy feeling you get while re-reading an entry), and building off of the things we write in these spaces, then I don’t think there is any harm in blogging. In fact, I think blogs and web journals can be an exceptionally valuable tool for a young writer.

Back in March, I quoted from an interview with Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman in which Ms. Waldman offered the opinion that her short-lived blog was killing her fiction. And I’ll stand by what I said then: “For me, blogging is about getting it all down while it?s in my head, so that I can come back to it later for reference.”

So, bloggers of the world, or at least those of you who have writerly ambitions beyond the confines of the World Wide Web, mine your blog’s archives for material and, most importantly, just keep writing. Write and revise, revise and write, and then revise some more. A writer, very simply, is someone who writes. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

And to the haters out there I say: If you don’t like it, don’t read it.