Monday, January 25, 2010

Theoretical blogging: let's talk about the process

I'm not sure I've done much talk about my writing process. Perhaps I don't typically feel qualified to offer advice. The sort of thing I'll usually talk about here amounts to tips, or pointers to what I feel are useful resources.

But I'm convinced that one of the great things a blog can do is document the writer's artistic development, throwing those notes out there into the void to be found later by someone else who happens to be at the same stage of development, or dealing with the same problems.

I'm reasoning from the analogy of how web search helps when you're making a physical object. Let's say you're building a model kit, and you want to get some help with that. You start with the instructions that came with the kit. And they are a start. But you can go to the web and get much more:
  • photographs that show how someone else finished and painted the model
  • tips from someone else who tried the instructions, where they explain what they thought was confusing
  • problems someone else encountered as they attempted to construct it
  • variations and changes people have made
  • reviews of the quality of the parts and the instructions themselves
So when you throw your thoughts out there into the Zeitgeist, I don't think they need to be perfect examples of anything. Your experiences (and mine I hope!) have value: report them and throw them out there into the world for sharing.


  1. I'd like to think this is true. But a big difference is that you can see people building the exact type of model you're trying to create, whereas no one is trying to write the exact same story as you (hopefully). So the most you can share are techniques and tribulations. The former are tricky b/c writing is so personal, especially fiction/creative writing. There's a craft, but it's hard to separate from the art for novices. Sometimes I find the shared struggles reassuring, but often they are demoralizing. It would help if there was ever any feedback, but most people on the Internet seem to have forgotten the basic concept of thanking someone who's posted info helped them in some way.

  2. To be fair, though, I do tend to like it when you post this sort of thing. But I'm pretty familiar with the way you think and we share similar goals in terms of writing, so there's not a big translation gap there.