The Cancer of Cycling–The Crack of Writing

After reading my husband’s recent post on drug doping being the cancer of all sports–an analogy made by Phil Liggit, himself, it got me to thinking: what of the writing world? What is our cancer, our crack, our nemesis?

Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Friendster, Amazon, Hi5, Youtube, Author Nation, Posh Mama, EmpowHer, Blogger.com and, yes, even Youporn.com…the number of on-line communities, many of which offer writers of any conceivable writing ability the opportunity to publish their thoughts via the ever popular weblog, are popping up faster than the dandelions in my backyard.

But what should we make of all these virtual communities, and the quality of writing that is showing up in these places?

I have, on much more than one occasion, found myself cringing and actually hollering at my computer screen in response to what I’ve read on-line. The arguments otherwise strangers get into. The hipster lingo that, unless you’re extremely techno-savvy and/or were born after 1985, comes across as an untranslatable foreign language, made up mostly of acronyms and emoticons. (If you don’t know what emoticons are, you’re SOL.)

So, I have to ask–here in my very own blog–is the practice of blogging, and interacting with people with screen names like MagicMan and PuffBird and Hot Guy, the Crack of the writing community? Is it so tempting, so intoxicating, so addicting to see your name, your thoughts and your work in print, that this practice of placing your mental ramblings–often unedited and certainly unabridged–in the permanent virtual form, that the practice has become commonplace, if not expected of today’s active writers. And not just writers. Anyone from any walk of life can have a blog. And anyone from any town, city or country, can read that blog.

And what of the traditional publishing industry? What of magazines and newspapers that we writers aspire to get our articles, book reviews and editorials into? Do they legitimize the work that writers place on the web? Do they value articles posted to on-line magazines like Glam and New West Net and Baby Center.com in the same way as they would items listed on a writer’s more “traditional” resume?

For me, the practice of sitting down at the computer every day and pounding out a few lines–whether on my blog, my new book project, or a five minute free write is all equally important. It’s all instrumental in keeping the muse alive. But, in doing so, I take care with what I write. Especially when it’s something that will find a place on the (ever permanent) WWW.

So, IS this blogging, on-line community craze the Crack of the writing world, or just a really, really good bar of Belgiun chocolate or a bag of Lays Sour Cream and Onion potato chips–something that’s so good, you just can’t stop after the first bite.?.?

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2 Comments

Filed under Writing and Publishing

2 responses to “The Cancer of Cycling–The Crack of Writing

  1. I think it could go either way. We can let an online discussion/argument distract us from writing a piece about what we really need to express.

    But on the other hand, there is something so freeing about being able to express yourself without the legitimizing consent of an editor, to be heard by people who didn’t have to pay but are reading and responding because they love to participate in a connection of minds. There is something so exciting about this kind of interaction, so immediate and serendipitous. It’s no wonder we feel we can’t get enough!

    And isn’t it meaningful? Even though a personal blog doesn’t carry much, if any, weight in the publishing world, isn’t the act of impacting another soul the whole point anyway? I think gaining wealth, fame and respect for one’s writing would be unbelievably wonderful, but honestly, from a cosmic viewpoint, would it mean as much as those reactions by individuals when they say, what you wrote touched me, made me think, changed my perspective?

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post! I needed a fix… 🙂

  2. Elena,

    What a lovely comment. And yes, the more I interact with others through these various social media outlets, I see the “cosmic” benefit more and more. It certainly is a way to make the world feel a bit smaller, isn’t it?

    And the idea of having someone say to you, “what you wrote touched me, made me think, changed my perspective.” THIS, if nothing else, is the CRACK of all writing experiences.

    I have started to receive this type of feedback from women all over the country –about how much they relate to the stories and experiences laid out in A Dozen Invisible Pieces…and those responses tell me, if nothing else, one thing: I made the right choice to publish the book.

    It is truly the rare occasion in a writer’s life to reach fame and fortune via their craft. But if you reach people, reach their inner beings in a way that you know changed them somehow…even if for just a moment…that, in a writer’s existance, is success.

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