Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who is qualified to write about writing?

First thing - the monster cold seems to have mostly cleared up, and [almost] all of the cotton has been cleared out of my skull! It feels so good! Also, the weather for the upcoming week is looking extremely promising: the day after next, it's supposed to get into the high thirties and actually stay there. I am so ridiculously thrilled. Minnesota winters are just brutal.


My question for the day is whether or not it's productive to assign levels of qualification when it comes to writing about writing. It's kind of meta, I guess.

Most successful writing blogs that I've seen have been run by one of several kinds of people. There are the authors, the ones who without a doubt have the greatest authority when it comes to dispensing advice on the nuts and bolts (hmm. I think I might hate that phrase) of writing. They're the ones that newer writers look to when we want to know about the creating and refining process from those who have been there. Their advice is a step up from those who are on the same level as the unpublished writer because whatever they've done has, obviously, worked for them.

Then there are the veterans of the publishing industry, the agents and editors. Their perspectives are invaluable for learning what to expect from the querying point onward. An author can tell you how to survive on a demanding book tour; an agent or editor can tell you what needs to be done to make the tour a reality in the first place.

This question, however, is one that I've been struggling with for a while, especially as it pertains to my prospective place in the blogging world. (I refuse to say "blogosphere". I know it's the correct term. I just...refuse. Ugh.) Specifically, am I qualified to have a blog on writing?

On one level, of course I am. Anyone with an interest or hobby is well within their rights to write about that interest, even in a public venue like a blog. The process of writing out questions and issues encourages deeper, more critical thinking on those issues, and stands a good chance of increasing the likelihood of their solving. Furthermore, if one can establish a rapport with a group of readers of like minds, there's much to gain from the sharing of these ideas. It's a positive learning cycle, and I'm of the opinion that it will be an absolutely essential tool for me as I work on improving my work ethic, my understanding of the publishing world, and, most importantly, my writing.

However, as anyone who's read the first post of this blog knows, I am not a published author. I'm not even close. I'm a youngish writer struggling with one of the biggest impediments a writer can have: a reluctance to actually write. Starting so far at the beginning of the process, I have to wonder if perhaps I'm shooting myself in the foot before the race has even begun. I'm not likely to garner much of a readership here, and I'm okay with that - frankly, I don't think I'm at the point where I could really handle one. But one of my biggest fears is that this blog will fizzle and die, and I'll be left with yet another unfinished project to discourage me in the long run.

To prevent this, I've put together a long list of topics that I'm planning on tackling in future posts with every ounce of raw, inexperienced enthusiam I've got in me. A couple of them may even turn into series, and I've decided that this blog will be updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm going to dedicate to my collaborative blog, Songs of Silence, and the weekends are going to be for me. In between, I'll make short posts on word counts, just so that I have a record of them. My goal is to write approximately 500 words a day. It's not a huge amount, but it should be enough to get the ball rolling. I'll make my first word count post later today, as an addendum to this.

So, to conclude: Sure, I'm qualified to write about the process of writing. It's a shared experience that anybody can discuss, and it is most definitely counterproductive and defeatist to tell myself that what I have to say about it isn't worth sharing. What I am not qualified to do is dispense writing and publishing advice that I don't have personal experience with.

Words written today: 320
Category: Miscellaneous fiction

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