Blogging and writing

05 Aug

John Baker, an English crime fiction writer, invited his readers to think about the stages in creating a text, and the resulting series of entries contains much of interest and is growing. I was asked to participate, but have not got around to it, I’m afraid. One reason for this is that I wasn’t sure I had much new to say.

However, John’s request did prompt me to put up a survey about blog writing, now near enough to one hundred responses to publish here.


Confusing, isn’t it? My own answers are:

1. For the first set, I do the first, third and fourth. Most often I have in the past composed online with a fairly clear idea where the entry may go — as I am now! I have increased the number of offline compositions since starting to use Live Writer. Minor or even major revisions after publication happen quite often.

2. The last two items are interesting. I really don’t go along with not caring what readers might think, though I suppose it depends what you mean by that. I do think a sense of audience is very important. Writing, after all, is for someone, and while you don’t compromise your message if you can help it, you do try to have some antennae when it comes to how that message might be received. My belief is that “not caring” is very silly, but obviously many disagree.

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Posted by on August 5, 2007 in blogging, writing


7 responses to “Blogging and writing

  1. Davo

    August 5, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    It’s an awkward set of questions, Neil, in a “blogging” context, as it involves a long series of posts over many days and moods.

    I could put a tick on every one of of those questions, depends on the day .. or on different posts on the same day.

    As for “not caring what the readers might think” .. one has to have a certain element of that in all posts. If one truly “cared” what the readers thought, one might be too afraid to post anything at all .. heh.

  2. ninglun

    August 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    I guess what I am talking about is having some idea how people might take what you say, avoiding ambiguity (except for artistic reasons!), watching tone, anticipating problems or objections people might fairly have, not deliberately giving offence to the degree that people are just turned off, checking facts, trying to persuade rather than bludgeon, avoiding crass overstatements and generalisations, and so on.

    In short, manners, I guess.

    And given people come from many cultures to a blog, at least being aware of cross-cultural communication issues.

    This is not to say all my posts are good examples.

  3. Davo

    August 5, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Ah, but that’s the point, Neil .. (well, everything above the last line – your posts ARE good examples .. well, mostly).

    From my point of view .. I find “writing” .. well, anything long and sensible .. very difficult and time consuming, as am still at the “hunt and peck” stage (and haven’t picked up a proper pen for quite some time).

    I do, sometimes, try very hard to carefully examine what have written, trying to decide how it will be interpreted at the other end, always bearing in mind that much of what I write – even in a formal context – has much subtext belonging to my own experience .. but not necessarily that of the recipient .. but trying to “pre-imagine” how it will be received and interpreted by a stranger is not that easy.

    Which is why I said that I “don’t care”, even though am frequently accused of “bad manners”. Can’t really spend the time to choose each word, and place them carefully into each sentence, paragraph, and essay.

    Another thing that have noticed .. back in the days when didn’t have internet, and used to write/type quite long letters to friends and acquaintances .. they would only respond to what i said in the last paragraph. Very frustrating at times, especially when had spent much time carefully composing the letter full of detail.

    These days I just try to figure out the last paragraph, and plonk that on the blog .. heh.

  4. ninglun

    August 5, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Good writing is hard work, but then I do see blogging as more conversation… There is a bit more latitude there, except it is published and has nothing but the written word — leaving aside vlogs of course, and smileys — to depend on, so some care is needed.

    Given though that writing depends on practice, I am sure blogging is doing no end of good for writing skills, or could do at any rate. Funny thing is, with the death of letter writing, at least in the degree it used to be practised, blogging has probably done a lot to reinstate the written word for many people, even if in a context and genre where we are all still finding our way, where all manner of styles and forms are possible. I think that’s good.

  5. Davo

    August 5, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Conversation. Umm, methinks blog posts are more of a “statement looking for a conversation”, but even the “comments” have traps. Apparently I can’t use ’emphasis’ (as in bold or italic, have to use the crude ‘caps’ in this comment box .. but moving on .. whether blogging will improve writing and/or literacy skills is difficult to predict. Those who write well, do .. and attract the readers who understand the language. Those who don’t write well (subjective), will probably not improve much, as they attract the readers who understand and re-enforce their language.

    Have found that blogs get a bit .. umm, incestuous (not the right word :-)) over time .. or in the comments at least.

    Difficult to know what influence blogging will have on writing .. there are over 50 or so million of them. I tend to latch onto the ones that I like reading, and stay there .. heh.

    One of the biggest influences on writing and communication, methinks, is the notion of TIME. Nobody seems to have much in the way of time, and patience, these days. (nor me, either, have spent most of last night, and all of today “catching up with correspondence” so the dishes are still piled in the sink, work clothes are still gathering mould in the basket, and my trailer is still merrily rusting away .. aaaarrrrgh!)

    Haven’t quite degenerated into the WSH U GR8 DAY, M8 sort of thing .. heh. Reminds me of a song .. “Where have all the vowels gone?” Oh well.

    Pity about the olde tyme “letters” though. Who records “chatrooms”, SMS messages, emails tend to get deleted, or vanish in hard drive crashes, so wonder how the “biographers” of tomorrow will fare. 🙂

  6. ninglun

    August 5, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Just responding to your last paragraph, Davo… 😉

    Yes, historians will have a problem, especially too as it is only too easy to alter or delete electronic records?

  7. Davo

    August 5, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    There is that .. but also very easy to print out and disseminate multiple copies. That sort of thing wasn’t readily available to the quill pen and parchment crowd.

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