Friday, January 8, 2010

Not much to say, but seeking input

Sometimes these posts practically write themselves. Other times, they must be dragged, kicking and screaming, from whichever cortex handles verbal production. There are a few posts that gave me such fits, they simply did not made the cut. For your sake, be glad. Be very glad.

This one? It's putting up quite a fight. Digging in heels, pulling back on the leash, resisting in pretty much every way possible. I just don't have much of value to offer this week. Therefore, I'll solicit your advice on a matter I've been mulling.

I go back and forth about the whole blog thing. One of the reasons I began blogging in the first place was because I wanted to see whether I had pertinent, meaningful things to say, and whether I could create the time to say them. Well, I've managed to carve out some time. Pertinent? Meaningful? Whether or not I've met those content-related goals is your call. I do seem to keep coming up with things to say... However, I also must constantly read back over what I've written to make sure I'm not kvetching about the same old stuff week in and week out. I tend to do that, I've been told. I deny it hotly, but privately acknowledge there may be some truth to the observation.

I started to blog, all the time wondering if I had things to say and time to say them, because deep down, I thought I would have written a book by now. At one point in my life, I thought I had several books in me. Of course, that was when I was steeped in literature (teaching and studying it), before I had a child and my brain started to degenerate. Now, I think I'd be lucky to extract a single, slim volume from somewhere in that bumpy gray mass. And it, too, would likely need to be coerced into the light with some force.

I'm not even not sure what I'd write about. I seem to lean toward the sort of writing I do here: personal expression, the occasional remembrance or anecdote. But could I make a book out of this? Perhaps, but it's doubtful. I have lots of interests, but none in which I'd consider myself an expert. To further complicate things, my acceptance of Christianity as fact in the past decade has introduced the additional consideration that whatever I write should be, must be, of overall positive moral significance. It should not be a piece of work that will further degrade the populace, but something that will hopefully help them—something that might ultimately deliver them. Not to be lofty and highfalutin or anything, but it's good to have goals, right?

You can see my dilemma. Trash sells. Sappy fiction sells. Expert advice from real, live experts sells. I don't really fall into any of those profitable categories.

So, what's left? Does anyone out there have a suggestion? I have some potential story lines, based loosely on events in my own life and the lives of friends...but am I really cut out to write about "un-real" subject matters? Could real stories be successful? Is there a better direction? Does anybody have a lead on the future of publishing? (Other than it's likely to eventually become paperless?) I could use some feedback. If you know me and feel funny commenting here, just email instead.


Facie said...

In your last paragraph, are you asking about writing a book or for your blog? I think it is difficult to be a successful, published writer, but if it is something you want to do, it is worth looking into.

As for the blog, you have to do it because you want to. When it becomes a burden, stop. And it helps if you can make peace with yourself that it does not matter what others think. None of us will ever write a post that will appeal to everyone.

I am not sure I am helping you at all, unfortunately. But I am trying to follow my own advice, though, admittedly, I sometimes wish more people would read/comment on my blog. I question if what I say is interesting, well written, etc. But if I feel like saying something, I will continue, at least for now.

chris h. said...

I look around in amazement every time I go to the bookstore. So many books, so many people with something to say that someone has deemed worthy to print. Why can't I write a book? If I had the idea, I would do it. And you should, too. Whether or not it's commercially successful, write it for you. I do think there's always a market for any number of genres of fiction (trashy or not) or personal memoirs or historical writing (fictionalized or not). If you want to write and have something to say, go for it. Write a book that you would want to read and don't worry if anyone else would. (That's my attitude with my blog -- I like writing it, and reading it, even if no one else gives a hoot about it.)

Athelas63 said...

Well, I HAVE written a book of trash, actually several, and I STILL can't get them published! It's really annoying, when I look at what IS in the bookstore and think "Hey, my crap is just as good as their crap!" I am convinced it is all luck, so I say go ahead, write something and throw it out there to see what happens. Who knows? Meanwhile, I'll still keep hoping to sell my trashy stories to either a publisher or HBO...

Mel said...

hi all--thanks for responses. they are appreciated. facie, I was asking about writing a book. I totally agree it is difficult to get published, but it seems the dedicated and stubborn do often find a willing publisher. I have never heard of anyone having luck quickly or without a lot of perseverance. and chris, I try to keep that attitude with the blog, but I do think we are all motivated by a reaction from others, even when it is negative. athelas, maybe the next publisher will be "the one!" it's fun to imagine, isn't it... I'm not going to stop blogging, because I do enjoy it, but I noticed my postings have diminished significantly since I started back to work... par for the course, I suppose. and that's okay.
thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mel...and followers of Mel...who seem to be a lot of writers. As a non-writer, I find this post and the related comments really interesting. What is it about "publishing a book" -- not only maintaining a blog -- that calls to you? Is it the craft of writing and the skill required to effectively communicate with others? Is it the discipline and commitment required to create a long piece of prose? Is it the requisite "me time" involved? Is it creating a physical artifact? Is it earning money for your writing? I've never felt that I had a book "in me" that I wanted to get out of me. ;-) When you all desire to write a book, what is at the core of that desire? Just curious.

- Shell

Mel said...

Shell, it is all those things and more. I'd love money for writing, honestly. I'd love to hold a physical volume in my hand that I had created. I think the biggest satisfaction for me, though, would be simply finishing something of any heft. I've had so many ideas, so many starters, and yet none of them have come to full fruition. perhaps that's the appeal of a blog--you can squeak by on little substance and depth and short entries. but I would love to see my name on a real work about something meaningful to me. I know the impact that some fictional characters have had on me, and I'd love to know I left that sort of indelible impression on another person. even if I went for non-fiction, I can truly say that reading factual works have left an even bigger impression on me b/c that person was real, was probably just as tough or as brilliant or as stubborn as they seem to be. and yes, another appeal of writing, blog or novel or essay, is that I am forced to slow down and really examine my own thoughts, put them in order. I can't simply spout things and get away with it, because people can go back and re-read and find the flaws in my reasoning. they can pinpoint illogic, poorly supported statements, fog. I have to exercise my brain a bit more when I write, and frankly, that feels good. too much time in our lives is spent in rote, mindless repetition (my life, anyway).

thanks for commenting! and asking!!!