Tuesday, March 21, 2006

State of the Blog Address

Congratulations to Pia. She has made the finals of the Koufax Awards in the Best Writing category. Very deservedly so. She has become somewhat of a mentor to me. Unwittingly or not. And a friend. I encourage you to visit the awards site and vote for her blog, Courting Destiny.

I apologize for not blogging much lately. Think I've been stricken with the worst case of writer's block since... that really bad world famous writer's block case of many years ago? Lately, everytime I have sat down to write, the only thing that comes to mind is how there's nothing to write about. I try to pretend I have a writing job and I have to churn out a column by a deadline. But still, nothing. And so, you end up with this scintillating entry.

When I started blogging, it was basically a recap of daily events. And an admittedly poorly written one at that. I even put the names of people, places, and events in ALL CAPS. Very distracting revolutionary. If you don't believe me, just check out the November 2003 archives over on the sidebar there. Yep. And now? Well, at least I don't use all caps anymore.

As I often tell people, I blogged in obscurity for well over a year. Comments were as scarce as people willing to go hunting with Dick Cheney. Last March, my blog received 41 comments. Total. For the entire month. I was like the WB of the blogosphere. Then a funny thing happened on the way to blogging oblivion. I began to write more stories. I posted a silly little post last June asking where readers were from. It got 30 comments. My most ever. Then I got 10 comments on my next post. Then six. Then eleven. And on and on.

Not that comments are the only thing that matter. But for me, someone who wants to write, they are very important. Writing isn't like so many other fields or professions. If you and I play tennis, it's easy to determine who won. If we play ten times and you beat me ten times, it's fairly safe to say you're better than me at tennis. If I go bowling and my average score for three games is 200, I would consider myself a good bowler. But writing isn't like that.

Only recently have I begun to realize that not everyone can write. I always figured if I could write something, then everyone could write at least that well. I just assumed that they chose not to. Does that make sense? It never dawned on me that I had any sort of above average ability. Because writing isn't quantifiable. Unless you write a book and it becomes a best seller or something. That's one reason that feedback is of the utmost importance.

Especially since I'm not an accomplished writer. At all. Just the opposite actually. But writing is the one thing I've found that I enjoy that I also believe I can be good at. People tell me I can write. But my confidence is very shaky. I look for reassurance. I crave feedback. You have given that to me. And I could never ever stress enough how thankful I am.

Writer's block is tough. All I ever wanted to do was write. And now. I can't? That's like telling Chuck Woolery he can't host anymore game shows. Then again, if I have writer's block, does that by default mean that I am indeed a writer?

Thinking about it like that makes my inner hairy man smile.

"Dear Sir or Madam will you read my book? It took me years to write it, will you take a look?"

20 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. For the first time in If You Read Only One Blog This Year history.... BLONDIE gets the comment cherry.

    I knew there was a reason I woke from my slumber this evening.


    You know you're a great writer. We know you're a great writer. It's accomplished, love.......... YOU'RE A WRITER. (Writer's block or not...)

    But I understand you about the comments thing...... you and I have been arguing about that all evening. ;)
    So comments is what I'll lather you up in.

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  2. OOOHHHH.
    ALL CAPS.
    Very revolutionary, indeed. :)
    Perhaps on those rare times that you DO have writer's block, you could return to your roots and see if that busts through that lil ole block? Whatcha think?

    As for writing . . . even writing a best seller won't make your work quantifiable.
    I believe EVERYONE can agree that it is not a matter of what is written, but more who is reading.
    We've all misguidedly purchased a best seller - because, of course, it has to be good - and hated it. Couldn't read it. Or read the entire thing thinking "What the buddha am I still reading this for? It's awful. Oh yeah, I paid 30 bucks for it, I'm reading it, awful or not."

    Thankfully, I've never read anything of yours that made me say any of those things.

    You are a writer.
    And when you're ON, you're on.
    You've made me laugh out loud, you've made me cry, you've made my breath catch, you've made me want to know more, you've made me - ALWAYS - feel.
    THAT, if nothing else, marks you as a writer in my world.

    Keep making us feel.

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  3. I've only been blogging since August/September, and I know what you mean about seeing your comments increase. It's nice. That is my goal now is to up my readership. But how? Do I rent my blog like Southie? Do I just keep writing and don't worry about it. I try and comment on every post I read on blogs, but it's so hard to keep up with sometimes; like homework! Kind of like TiVo when you feel like have to sit down and catch up on all your shows!

    I haven't checked out your archives, I'll have to do that! And yes, still write when you're bored. I do - then again, maybe I shouldn't! :)

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  4. You hit it right on the nose when you wrote:

    People tell me I can write. But my confidence is very shaky. I look for reassurance. I crave feedback.

    That's EXACTLY how I feel. I've gone back and forth on the entry I posted last night. I've been thinking about writing that for a few weeks now. I've tried forcing myself to write as you have (with the deadline attitude) but then my writing sounds forced and choppy and I think the quality is poor.

    On one hand, I'm sorry that you have writer's block, but it sucks eggs, but in a way, I find a small measure of comfort, knowing that I'm not alone in this creative drought.

    And yes, if you have writer's block, that does indeed make you a writer.

    I enjoy your blog immensely. You've got a good writing style. ;)

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  5. *pokes head in shyly*

    I never comment (well, until now), but I'm a faithful reader (thanks to xihner for link), you are bookmarked in my favorites and I always enjoy your blog entries.

    So, I said all that just to say I bet there are a lot more readers like me who don't comment for whatever reason (maybe because we know we are not good writers, lol). I think you are a great writer, Bone.

    *retreats back into the shadows*

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  6. The only thing I dislike about your blog happens to be the mechanics of commenting

    Will agree with things said above--make me laugh out loud etc etc; sometimes even make me think.

    And thanks for the plug. I deserve it.

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  7. Blondie: Thanks, dear. Can never get too much positive reaffirmation.

    Meghan: Thank you for that wonderful comment. I'm not confident enough to assume people like my writing. It's much much better to hear someone say it. Thank you.

    Mappy: I never really knew how to play the blog game, so to speak. I pretty much just kept writing and didn't worry about it. I'm sure Blog Explosion helped some. And commenting on other blogs. But, the bottom line is you have to have something to keep people coming back. There are 31 million blogs monitored by Technorati.

    It just took mine longer than most, for some reason.

    Chickadee: One of my problems is that the things on my mind are things I feel I can't blog about.

    Some of the best advice I've been given is just to write. Whether you think it's good or not. Whether you post it or not. Just write. Writing is a craft. And it takes practice.

    Sassenach: Ooo, a lurker! Thank you for stepping out of the shadows. It truly means a lot. Especially while I'm going thru this writer's block.

    Pia: Yeah, the comments changed when I changed templates awhile back. Hopefully it's not too much of a hindrance.

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  8. I think we all have these thoughts when writing on our blogs. In the few writing classes I have taken you get to hear the good and the bad feedback. Here we fall into the mercy of the blog-gods hands...

    You, Sir, always write the best when you express your heart. When your true thoughts are conveyed... whether they be funny, sad, or memories of a moment in time... this ability is what made us fall for your writing...

    Don't fret, Sir... everything is gonna be all right, you will get past your block and once again remind yourself of what a delight you are to us.

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  9. Alright! I love it when I'm the referral source! :-)

    I like your writing style. It's conversational, descriptive, and informative. I find my own writing to be a bit dry and boring and always wish I could make things seem more interesting. You manage to make things sound interesting.

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  10. Hey Mr. Bama,

    I have read some really awful books that were Number 1 Best Seller's.

    I've read genius blogs that rarely receive comments.

    And I'd like to think that you would keep writing whether or not you received comments. You should write for yourself. Comments should just be the cherry on top of your self-created sundae. You shouldn't believe that the number of comments you receive on a post is the calliber of your writing ability.

    With that said, I think you are a great writer. I think that you get better with each post. And I hope you get over your writer's bloc soon.

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  11. I actually wrote a similar thing today. My last few posts sit there empty, crickets chirping in the background and I felt hurt. But because those particular posts were emotional work for me and particularly close to my heart, that lack of comment felt like lack of validation. I think you were the last person to comment on my blog.

    For me your posts are like visiting a brother that gets me. Your stories touch me, and I love your writing style. You use vivid descriptions and gorgeous prose that evoke personal connection to your stories. I hope you do write a book someday. My sister, Scone is a free-lance editor. She's married to slap-happy from 'bama. She's linked on my site.

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  12. Writers block...I think everyone gets it. I was going to equate it with another male performance anxiety issue but I won't.

    Your writing assignment project for the next entry is that you must go out and do something you've never done before and then tell us about it. K?

    Write on brutha!

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  13. OC Girl: Thanks for the comments. The feedback is really helpful. And I will get back this writer's block. I hope writing about it will help.

    Xinh: Thank you very much for the referral. That's very cool. Making the uninteresting seem interesting. Haha. That's what I attempt to do. For sure.

    Crystal: You're right. It's not number of comments that matter so much as it is the sincerity.

    Dorothy: Oh wow, that's really cool! And I apologize, not only to you, but everyone, for not visiting and commenting as much the past couple of weeks. Everything has been busier, it seems.

    Carnealian: Only you would have gone there with this.

    I don't even know what to say. Csfykco! (That's my word ver.)

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  14. A buddy of mine is a relatively well known author. His advice to anyone who asks him how to be a better is simply "write." He gets up about 9:00 am (being a writer is how he earns his living), and writes through late into the night. That's how he got to be as good as he is. He's told me before that when he ha writer's block he sits at the computer and writes whatever is in his mind. Usually the first bit is complete crap, but it leads him to where he needs to go.

    A comment on comments, the lack of comments doesn't bother me. My blog is more to just write freely about anything and everything. None of my friends know about it. It's nice to have a place where I can speak my mind with total anonymity.

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  15. I know how you feel.

    At my first address I had a very passive audience. I had many hits/day but few commenters. Now at a new address, not much has changed.

    Wonder why people are so reserved about sharing their opinion?

    Writers block is tough. But rest assured you will come out of it. I really like your writing style, and judging my the number of comments in this post, looks like many others do too.

    Take care,
    thanks for sharing

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  16. Big Man: That's good advice. Several people have told me that: just write.

    Sometimes I wish I'd kept my blog completely anonymous. But when I started, I had no idea how it would evolve.

    Libby: Well obviously, we all have lurkers. We know people are reading, but it is nice to hear from them once in awhile.

    I think sometimes people want to remain anonymous. Sometimes they may not know what to say. Sometimes they might be intimidated. I mean, there have been blogs that I have read and didn't comment on for a long time. Especially more popular ones.

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  17. OK, you must have infected me with this blog block too. I'm dying for something to write...I mean, I just planned my own funeral for goodness sakes! Talk about desperate for material.

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  18. Bone,
    I like the way Megansdiscontent said it, "You've made me laugh out loud, you've made me cry, you've made my breath catch, you've made me want to know more, you've made me - ALWAYS - feel." and as always, better than I could have expressed it.

    I'm sorry you're going through a bit of a block - but when the timing is right, you'll have something you want to write about. In the mean time, read a book, go fly a kite, walk a new trail...we'll be here when you get back waiting to hear about your new, or different, experiences - or whatever you want to share. Whatever it is.

    I know I don't comment as often as I used to - you have so many comments anymore, I find that everyone has said what I felt already - better. So, I lurk. But always know that just because you don't get a comment from everybody who reads your blog, it doesn't mean that they're not affected or impressed with what you've written. We're interested.

    :-)

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  19. Lass: There seems to be a lot of it going down. You know what I was thinking when reading your entry? Writing my own obituary. I think that would make a good post.

    Cindy: Thanks, Cindy. You were one of my earliest and most frequent commenters. And one of my only ones for many months. Thanks for letting me know you're still here.

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  20. I do agree that you are very well written, and that just shines through in this post about nothing that's very interesting! You impress me!! And I, like you, love the comments and feedback, so it'd be wise of you to subscribe to my blog sir.

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