Friday, June 25, 2004

On Writers and Writing

I check out a lot of different blogs each day. Mostly I do it here at work, as a time-killer. Last night I was surfing through some at home, because I didn't really have anything else to do and I wasn't ready to go to bed yet. I like to see what people are writing about, to see the wide variety of interests out there, and to get different perspectives on things that a lot of people are talking about.

I think blogging is great because it encourages people to write about whatever is important to them, and then allows anyone in the world to read what has been written. It's really interesting, on a sociological level if nothing else. Some people write about politics and world affairs; some write about entertainment and pop culture; some write about their own personal lives; some (including this one) write about a combination of all three and then some. You never know what you're going to read or find out about, and it's fascinating.

I will say, as I'm sure I've said before, that there are a great many poor writers out there. They have as much right to the webspace as good writers do, of course, but I for one am not going to take the time to find out what they have to say. It's too tedious to try to decipher meaning from someone who can't be bothered to take the time to write a well constructed sentence, or to at least spell words right. It's a pet peeve, but it's widespread and disheartening. Many sites are shot through with web shorthand and the inexplicable phenomenon of mixed caps (LiKe tHiS). They aren't being read. I'm sorry if this seems insufferably high-minded, but that's how I feel. In my opinion, if you want your writing to be taken seriously, you should take care and do it right.

Also, the following words are used a lot by bloggers: random, rant, ramblings, musings, venting. I'm guilty as well, but I'll try to control myself.

That tangent aside, there is a lot of good stuff out there if you look for it--good thoughts, good ideas, good writing. Sometimes you even find all three in the same blog. If you read widely, you definitely won't agree with everything you see, but I think that's good. Healthy. It's always good to challenge your own beliefs: either you change your mind or you reconfirm your original stance, but either way you're a stronger person for it.

Anyway, last night in my surfing, I ran across the website for one Joshua Minton. Josh and I had several classes together at BGSU, and he was a hell of an asset to every one of them. I see from his writings that I don't agree with much he has to say politically, but he's a highly intelligent and well read son of a bitch, and he's guaranteed to challenge you and make you think. Also, he's a heck of a nice guy, and a good writer. I haven't had a chance yet to fully explore his site, but I see from his links that he's offering some of his fiction online, and I'm looking forward to diving into that, having probably read some of it before in writing workshops.

A lot of the stuff you read in blogs is thought-provoking in a different kind of way. I was reading one last night (I didn't keep the link, although I wish I would have) written by a lady who's having marital problems. I've read several similar ones before (from both a female and male perspective) that were nothing more than bitching and blaming. This one wasn't like that. She talked about how she could see her husband trying to make things different/better, and they just weren't connecting. She wasn't angry and hurt so much as she was sad and confused. It was compelling to read, I really couldn't help but feel for both of them.

I love reading stuff like that (not the negative aspect per se, but just accounts that are honest and emotional) because it inspires me. That blog was full of the kind of emotion that I try to inject into my fiction. For fiction (at least, the kind of fiction I write), good or bad doesn't matter. It just needs to be real, and reading stuff that is real helps me get a feel for how to strike the right notes.

Of course, while we're on the topic of fiction....

Lately, I've been writing a pretty fair amount in this blog. I'm proud of that, as I didn't know when I started (nearly five months ago) whether I would keep up with it or not. However, I'm sad to say that I haven't been doing much writing otherwise, including fiction or just my own personal journal. Here I'd like to publicly take myself to task for that. I still harbor hopes of "being a writer" someday, and right now I'm not making any strides in that direction. I could list a litany of reasons why, but they would all be nothing more than excuses, each more unacceptable than the last.

That being the case, and with the month of July (not to mention my 27th birthday) swiftly approaching, I'm hereby making the following half-year resolution. Starting July 1 (if not sooner), I will find or make time each day to write either fiction or poetry (which is considerably less likely). Journal entries are acceptable as well, although I would prefer to keep on the creative side of things. A further goal would be to start submitting work for publication as soon as possible.

With all the creative stuff I've been reading (and listening to, since I'm also inspired by music, as I mentioned yesterday), this has been building in me for a while. I think it's time to stop brooding on it and actually do it.

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