Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blogging is Writing

Blogging is writing. Someone told me that. Still there is something I find nauseatingly banal about blogging; it strikes me as not writing, but distilling into form a diatribe best left unwritten, unspoken, unsung. I write every day (or so I tell people), and I genuinely do try every day, but there are days when the prose will not come, when it is swallowed up by life, by work demands, social demands, when I cannot concentrate as the television is on too loudly next door and the sound of it cuts into my thought. I also go on long walks, passing the miles, five into ten into fifteen, and when I return sometimes I am simply too tired to write. Sometimes I just have to finish that novel I am reading. It is in these interstices I am told I should blog. ‘It’s still writing’, but the tone of their wording, the implication of that sentence is that blogging is writing without intelligence. I cannot write without intelligence. I do not think anybody should write without intelligence.

I last blogged in April, when I was finishing off Grass and Ember, my second novel. So what’s new? I’m still finishing off Grass and Ember, or rather I’m writing the third novel (again), thinking about finishing off Grass and Ember, and working too much. I’ve also a fourth novel on the go (some of the time). And a PhD (again some of the time). There is a lot of writing going on. How can a blog fit into this crazy hectic life? Because I have my reading too – and I have a separate blog on which I review those books that I read (see I do blog, I just don’t tell you).

Today I submitted an opening paragraph (from the fourth novel) on Nathan Bransford’s website (like totally the best blog about agenting in the blogosphere) for a little competition he’s running: go check it out like now. (Why I’ve gone all teen-USA I do not know).

This is my theory see – you blog, you try and make an impression in a finite number of words and you end up either a) sounding like an idiot b) sounding like a teenage girl (which works if you are teenage and a girl) or c) sounding like a complete and utter who-the-hell-gave-you-a-blog bona fide with-brain-removed-and-replaced-by-jelly-and-whipped-cream idiot. I’ve used almost four hundred words and said nothing. How is this writing?

The other day Herta Muller won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I’ll admit, I’d not heard of her. Visiting my local bookstore I asked if they would be getting any of her works in, only to be told no. Well, they would, just two, but they expected not to be sold and would be returned. I asked does nobody read those who win the Nobel Prize? “When Doris Lessing won we sold some. Nobody’s ever heard of any of the others. If they gave it to James Patterson we might sell some copies.” So Herta Muller, you may have some more money now, and an international reputation, but still, they’re not reading you. In the UK, as I write, only one of her novels is forthcoming. How can that be right? Perhaps she should start a blog, then people might care.

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