Thursday, August 17, 2006

Publish Or Perish?

Lately I've had a few email conversations about The Whole Blogging Thing. And inevitably, the question of books comes up - not what book we're reading, mind you, but if we want to write a book of our own.

It's an interesting topic to me for several reasons.

But before I get into why it's so interesting to me, I want to be very clear: I have no intention of writing a book. I am not a book writer. It's hard for me to even describe myself as a writer, period, because I still have that very graduate school-esque notion of how a writer spends her day: sitting in a coffee shop, typing like a madwoman, sipping on a no-fat soy vanilla latte, wearing lots of flowing (hand-knit) scarves while trying to contain her long, naturally curly hair with a clip that can't possibly hold all the lustrous auburn ringlets, constantly pushing hair off her forehead, trying to finish chapter 9, eagerly anticipating that in two hours her musician boyfriend will pick her up on his motorcycle so that they can go drink wine and admire the sunset from her spacious but cozy beachhouse that she's in the process of remodeling.

Not that I've created a stereotype in my head. Or anything.

Now I realize that it's not an accurate perception on my part...I know that there are lots of women who work on their writing while simultaneously taking care of their families and shuttling their kids around and holding down a full-time job outside of the home. And I would most definitely consider those women - who have ambition and purpose connected to their writing - as writers. I just don't consider myself as one. Remember, I am annoyingly literal, yet I realize that the sentence before this one is probably fodder for an entire day of therapy, because obviously I DO write, and obviously I DO put what I write "out there," yet I would never, ever, ever ever ever describe myself as a "writer." Ever.

Okay. Anyway. Here's the part that fascinates me (she says, diverting attention from her strange curious psychological make-up).

I know there are a lot of bloggers who are hoping to get published. Who are working on novels. Who are in the process of editing novels. Who go to writers' workshops. Who stay in contact with publishers. I think all those things are wonderful - and I have great admiration for women who can juggle all that they do and still make time for Serious Writing Business.

And I wonder: is blogging, for you, a means to an end? Is it a way to get exposure as a "for real" writer and ultimately get published? Can you be a "for real" writer if blogging is all that you do? In other words: is blogging in and of itself enough for you? Would you be disappointed if, say, three or four years down the road, your blog is functioning just as it is right now?

Keep in mind that I'm asking myself these questions, too - because the truth of the matter is that if I didn't like for people to read what I've written, I could very easily keep all my silly little essay-things in a Microsoft Word file, store them on my hard drive, and call it a day.

But I don't.

I write stuff (BUT I'M NOT A "WRITER" OH SWEET MERCY NO). And I put it on the INTERNET. Where people read it. Which makes me think that I'm kidding myself, just a little bit, if I try to claim that this blawg is just something I do for family and friends. I think it's gone a little past that with me.

Does anyone else wonder about this stuff?

And if you think I'm crazy, please don't tell me. The whole "writer" label has me in enough of a tizzy as it is.


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