Monday, December 17, 2007

The Corrosive Effects of Blogging

Speaking for myself, I think the following is unfortunately and largely true:

...a lot of the habits blogging implants really are pretty destructive. I've obviously decided it's worth it to keep doing it, on net, but I try to remind myself of all the unhealthy tendencies blogging encourages. Most obviously, it is just absolute poison for a writer to get too accustomed to reading and writing in chunks that average 300-500 words. As you get hooked on the instant gratification of firing off "pieces" that each take a half hour, your inclination and facility at crafting sustained arguments really does get degraded. This is compounded by the bloggy focus on timeliness: It always feels as though the most vital thing you could possibly be writing about is whatever all the other bloggers are discussing right this second.

Hat Tip: Stuart Buck

4 Comments:

Blogger Mary Beth said...

Well, it depends. If you are going from writing lengthy, well-crafted pieces to blogging, then maybe so (although the person who commented at the original post that maybe one shouldn't look at the 500-word piece as the unit but at the blog itself as the unit seems right to me.) If you're going from writing NOTHING but emails to writing blog posts, then it can't help but be a step forward AS A WRITER.

Last year Cindi and I taught a class and a couple months later she revealed that we would be writing a book. What!?! She said "Didn't the class write itself?" I admitted that it did. She said the book will too. Hmmm. My powers of concentration and ambition aren't that great. BUT, now we've started a blog and are writing everyday. IF we write a book we will be using some of this material and getting feedback from readers (if any) as we go.

I've been reading books, having ideas and not recording them all my life. This seems like a step forward, not back.

As for unhealthy trends as a PERSON, well, I've been a little obsessive about it, and haven't been cleaning much, and have been more withdrawn, and have been completely uninterested in dating (which since I'm single is not a problem). As a writer, I've gone from Zero not to 60, but to something higher than 0, anyway.

I see that you've added my name to your blogroll. Thank you!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Cindi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

The other thing that's been really positive that I have noticed in my one month of blogging is that I have become a much better (closer) reader. It's like the difference between reading a book and reading the same book when you know you have to teach a class on it. Right now I have the contents of 4 books in my head because I haven't blogged about them yet. When I say the contents, obviously not word for word, but I can tell you the general outline, the thrust of the arguments, some of the chapter titles, much more than I'd have otherwise. Without the blogging I would have already forgotten all that stuff.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Cindi said...

This reminds me of when I worked in television news. As an associate producer, a big part of my job was writing copy -- every news story that wasn't a big enough deal to send a reporter out, and every update on a reporter story that needed a daily update. And you think 500 words is small; in tv news, the basic unit is a 15 - 20 second piece. Two or three sentences. And those sentences have to be factual, express who, what, when, where, and why, and not have big words of complicated sentence structures. The downside is there isn't much room for complexity of thoroughness, but the big upside is that you learn to be concise and relevant and timely, and that you actually write -- a lot. Since our Enneagram Agency blog is pretty much the only one of its kind, we don't worry too much about what else is going on in the blogosphere, and if we want to write 3000 words on a topic, we just do.

11:18 AM  

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