Jun 16, 2010

On Writing...Well

This is a tough one, and I'm not exactly sure what point I wanna make here.

I read something the other day from a certain sports journalist that I admire. He was giving advice to young bloggers who wanted to get in the game. And by "get in the game", I mean that these young bloggers might actually want to make a living from doing this at some point in the future. Because as we all know, anyone can be a blogger.

He was pretty harsh on this one particular young man who was inquiring about a blogging gig. At first saying all the right things. "Start writing. Keep writing. Write because you love it. Practice makes perfect." That kind of thing. But he wrapped it up by telling this guy that he probably doesn't have the writing chops to join his merry band of journalists. Without reading anything more than a brief email from the guy, mind you.

Now, that's probably true. I can't imagine that it's easy writing for a living, even though many of us have dreamed that little dream. But this seemed like an unnecessarily cold way of saying it. He then followed it up with a tweet (yes, I'm on Twitter...barely) jokingly urging that we all give up on blogging for one year until we all learn or re-learn how to write.  He included himself in that mini-rant, in case you were wondering.  Still...

I don't know.  I guess it should bother us when someone is paid to write about a subject that we love, and then they proceed to do it poorly.  But when it comes to something like sports, I'm not always looking for Hemingway.  Sometimes I just want the facts, some good analysis or a funny quip.  A lot of times, that's ALL I'm looking for.  There are times when I stumble across something on a blog that I consider to be extremely well-read, and I will almost always pass that on to my friends.  But most of the time, I'm not in it for the art.

That's a tough thing right there to admit.  Most times, I just don't care.

I feel extremely lucky to have found most of you.  Ye bloggers extraordinaire on my feed reader, that is.  I consider a bunch of you to be excellent writers and good eggs all around.  Much better writers than I.  And there was a time when I wanted to be a better writer.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to do exactly that.  Write better. 

But along the way, I've become more comfortable with my voice.  I try to interact with this here blog the way I interact with the world.  Writing the way I speak, generally.  Sure, sometimes I try to put on airs.  Right there...see?  I never say "put on airs" in real life.  But more often than not, what you see here is what usually comes out of my mouth.  Foul language and all.  Maybe a little spittle too.

And I'm fine with that.  I don't believe I have the discipline to write better, is the thing.  Sure it would be nice, but I'm just too lazy.  And I'm fairly happy with what I do here on a mostly daily basis.  Even the lazy video posts and crap I steal from other sites.   Borrow...I mean borrow.

Besides, it's not like I'm looking to get paid for what I do here.  I'm doing it because I still consider to to be worth my time.  A fun little hobby.  Yeah, sometimes I wish I were a better boyfriend, friend, son, brother, uncle or magician*.  Maybe one day I will be all of those things.  And maybe one day I will become (or at least try to become) a better writer.

But right now?  Aw...fuck it.

*I don't even know one single magic trick.  The only way to go here is up!

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. See?  Even I don't know what my point was there.


Mrs. Hall said...


I was just thinking about this very subject. In the beginning my blog was all writery and I really spent a lot of time on it.

Then I got busy and well, I just like writing for fun now. I don't have so many rules anymore.

It's getting more loose and off the cuff.

best to embrace the change :)

funner that way!

RW said...

You'd be surprised though. Writing like we talk produced the quintessential American classic. We see Huckleberry Finn right now as dated and kinda twangy and foreign, but at the time it was written it was revolutionary in lots of ways.

And Hemingway said basically write the damn thing and then go back and take out all the words that end in ly and you'll have a plain spoken masterpiece. Or words to that effect. Ok I stretched that just a little, but if he were here he'd say it. Honest.


He told me.

badgerdaddy said...

I find that when people try to write in a writerly way, it reads like a big bag of dog testicles. When people are open to their inner voice, their true voice if you like, it works a little better. Well, a lot better. And practise is more about finding that voice than anything else, in my opinion.

Writing should be fun, though. That's why I don't do it much any more. Except for work, obviously.

savannah said...

harumph, harumph! nicely said, sugar! xoxoxoo

Slyde said...

So when that sports jouralist wrote that scathing critique, how did it make you *ahem* i mean, THAT GUY, feel?

Verdant Earl said...

Holly - You were even part of a "writers" blog once, weren't you?

RW - All good points. I erred when I chose Hemingway as an example in my post for exactly the reason you mentioned. Even though he was a fantastic writer anyway.

badg - Writing should be fun, that's why you don't do it anymore? Huh? ;)

Savannah - Backatcha!

Slyde - Nice try, jackass. "Were you...the little fat boy in that story? No, but I used to like to beat him up!"

i am the diva said...

Yeah, i was pretty obsessed with traffic and new readers and stats and trying to make my blogher ads pay off...(I get about $25 US a year, meh - whatever, i was writing anyway! free money!)

But then i was so stressed out that it wasn't even fun anymore. So, i have a good solid bunch of bloggy buddies, i write about whatever i want whenever i want. i'm much happier.

Verdant Earl said...

Diva - I don't think I've had a new reader in about a year. Probably because I got to a point where I was reading enough blogs every day that I stopped searching out new ones. No idea about my stats. I abandoned my stat counter a couple of years ago. I still use Google Analytics...but I have no idea what any of it means. :)

Heff said...

I blog simply for entertainment purposes, therefore I giveth not a damn.

Verdant Earl said...

Heff - Yea, verily. ;)

white rabbit said...

I think a lot of professional journalists hate - and I use the word advisedly - blogger and blogging is that blogging circumvents the gatekeepers. Anyone can do it, be a critic, commentator, specialist, generalist, whatever...

This is a good thing.

'...each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes (and) thus make it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic'. (Komrade Karl)

badgerdaddy said...

White Rabbit - that's half a great point there, but I have to say I don't know any professional journalists who hate bloggers. More often than not, they'll lift unashamedly from bloggers, rather than actually working for a living.

badgerdaddy said...

Oh, and Earl - yes, that's right. I quit blogging because I didn't feel I could do it freely any more, and that was no fun. So I stopped. Also, I thought with a tiny bit more free time I might write for myself a bit more - so of course, rather than that happening, I work instead. Gah.
Great WV - Thootin.

Verdant Earl said...

Wabbit - A few Marxian words of wisdom, eh?

badg - For journalists, at least sports-related journalists, who hate bloggers - see Murray Chass and Buzz Bissinger. They use the word "blogger" like a curse.

sybil law said...

Yeah, there's nothing worse than a sports writer getting all huffy about writing well. If I am on any sports site (which I admit is maybe once a week), it's to find out stats or whatever - not read someone's opinion on damn near anything. Still - I agree it was harsh. Probably true - just... harsh.

Bruce Johnson said...

Force writing never works....go with the flow. The giant redwood didn't get to be 300 feet tall in one day. .....and you could write much, much, much worse.

Mrs. Hall said...

I still bust out writery stuff now and again. I still got some chops :)

But yeah, My tagline use to read:

"I am a wife, mother, nurse and writer. I'm one of the best examples of all of the above."

Then I stopped caring so much about proving myself in the bloggy blog world and kept my description short. Now it says,

"wonders never cease"

because really, in the world of Mrs. Hall, they never do.

Mrs. Hall said...

I still bust out writery stuff now and again. I still got some chops :)

But yeah, My tagline use to read:

"I am a wife, mother, nurse and writer. I'm one of the best examples of all of the above."

Then I stopped caring so much about proving myself in the bloggy blog world and kept my description short. Now it says,

"wonders never cease"

because really, in the world of Mrs. Hall, they never do.

RW said...

Mrs Hall was so sincere she said that twice!

There is a lot of writing offline for me. Sometimes it is work, but I take it very seriously because my fiction is important to me. I'm more relaxed on the blog and just wing it there. That's just for shits n giggles.

But when you intend to create something, there are phases and roadblocks and sometimes the only thing to do is to write right through it. So it depends on what you want and what you want out of it. I write because I have to. It's going to happen no matter what, and I have stories to tell.

It's a personal thing.

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - I read a lot of sports columns/blogs/sites. There is a lot of good writing there, but most of the times I'm just there for the analysis or stats too.

Bruce - You mean if I really try? ;)

Holly - No need to prove yourself to me. Twice even. ;)

RW - I've done a little writing offline. Nothing I've ever completed or come close to completing. It's that discipline thing that always gets me in the end.

RW said...

The real stuff writes itself, but you're right - it's the rewrites to make it presentable that are hard. It depends on how bad you want to do it I think. Once you get the mojo it's hard to walk away.

Water Logged Canine said...

Fuck a blogger.

Verdant Earl said...

Doggie - That Perez Hilton character is no blogger. He's a smut-peddling whore. And I usually respect that.

Kaye Waller said...

Writing--especially writing a blog--is about communicating oneself. I personally can't stand blogs that come off like the writer is trying to win the Pulitzer. I like to feel the writer is writing to ME, not the masses. If I want to read that kind of stuff I go to the library.

I like your blog--have always liked it-- because you communicate who you are and because, yeah, you don't put on airs.

marty mankins said...

Great post. Made me think of why I love writing.

I came close to leaving the IT industry back in the mid 90's and writing full time. I had many freelance gigs and was along my way to making it all a full time job. But as with life, sometime got in my way and I lost my focus and stayed in IT, where I am now 25 yrs into this and wishing I would have stuck with my writing.

Working now to get back into it and blogging has helped hone my chops.

Constructive criticism is good as it helps the writer to look at their words in a different way. Having recently had a short story published, it's helped me to learn how to structure my words with the rules that help the story flow better.