Typical Blogging v Novel-Writing Angst From Another Wannabe Writer Who Knows He'll Never Rise Beyond His Mediocre Blog... Me.

As yet another blog fades into the Singaporean sunset, and a new one moves beyond the dancing shadows on the walls of the cave, I sit and ponder my own situation and the reasons for MY blogging mania.

Yes, it had to come, the inevitable Why I Blog post. Sorta.

With my blog, the entire website in fact, going down after having been hit by hackers using it to send out emails for a phishing scam, it gave me a chance to really sit and ponder why I bother. Down for two three days. No posting. Big deal. Could it be the fame, the contribution I am making to society, the love I garner, the groupies who fling themselves at me, the major advances I am making in improving my writing style...? Could it be I am bored? Could it be that I am pushing away something I should be doing instead?

I am not a real writer. By that I mean I don't write professionally, for a living. Call this living? ask the writers. I also mean I am not a scribbler or chronic note-taker, like say James Joyce was. I am flash-in-the-pan I-have-a-theory man. Here it is, a funny frustrating self-deprecating epiphany from last month if I remember it properly (or not, who cares?): let's see if there's a joke in there, let's see if I can make somebody smile...

And don't get me started on deadlines. As others have said, I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly past. Or tasks/topics. Tell me to write about THIS and I'll instantly get distracted and go off on a self-indulgent tangent about THAT.

But with MM calling it quits in order to concentrate on his writing (and family and study and work) and Madame Chiang, a/be-mused by my first short hacker-induced absence, sending me this not so subtle link about a writer giving up her blog to concentrate on her novel...

At times, I started to feel that jokes and scenarios and turns of phrase were my capital, and that my capital was limited, and each blog entry was scattering more of it to the wind, pissing away precious dollars and cents in the form of punch lines I could never use again, not without feeling like a hack. You know: "How sad. She stole that line from her own blog."

I read once on William Gisbons's blog, that he too stops blogging while writing a novel.

Iíve found blogging to be a low-impact activity, mildly narcotic and mostly quite convivial, but the thing Iíve most enjoyed about it is how it never fails to underline the fact that if Iím doing this Iím definitely not writing a novel Ė that is, if Iím still blogging, Iím definitely still on vacation. Iíve always known, somehow, that it would get in the way of writing fiction, and that I wouldnít want to be trying to do both at once. The image that comes most readily to mind is that of a kettle failing to boil because the lidís been left off...I crave the sweet and crazy-making difficulties that can only be imposed by the box, the Cornellian stage, the frame, of a formal narrative.

The Slate article has given me pause, as did the Gibson post over 2 years ago, when I had just started blogging. I do spend a hell of a lot of time on the blog - each entry takes forever as I correct the many typos and bad HTML after I put up on the first draft version. And for some reason I just can't see the errors until the post is up there in black and blue. For some reason I don't even see the FORM of it, whether it works or not, until it is posted. How would I know my novel would be good if I couldn't read it in bookform? And then revise and revise.

So instead of blogging what else would I be doing? Surfing for porn? Well, I still waste a lot of time and energy on that anyway, damn you broadband!, which is I why I am chronically sleep deprived. And hey, I do have a real job, and people are relying on me to be on the ball about modern medical image science even though I haven't worked in a hospital for 8 years. Because when I click with the Doctors and Professors, the sales-guys have a better chance of selling one of our machines. And they'll keep paying me exhorbitant amounts of money to enable me to keep living this exhorbitant lifestyle of blogging and downloading porn.

Yes, I could be writing a novel. Writing a comic? I could be the next Harvey Pekar from American Splendor. Also I could be doing the dishes, the ironing, watching American Idle.

Yes, I could write one online - I already have a working title and a URL (currently hidden) from last year's NaNoWriMo. I could. I could.

But, deep-seated insecurity rises - "Fear of Failure... Ah yes, I know it well. Fear of Being Exposed As A Fraud. That too. Fear of Hard Work," as I said to Madame Chiang. What do I know about novel writing? I was saying to MercerMachine once, and maybe I blogged it as well (how sad, repeating himself), how the fuck do I go about writing a good novel? I might as well pick up a paintbrush and expect to be able to paint a good painting. It is not going to happen. I have had no training, no period of apprenticeship, no mentoring. And fuck, I want to be both original and the best, just on my natural ability, or why bother? When younger, I wanted to be the Vincent Van Gogh of writing. Only rich and successful during my lifetime and not mad or suicidal.

But don't you have this naiive notion that writing a novel is like reading one, only in reverse? I sometimes do. How hard can it be? A novel is something that just needs a certain number of words describing a story in some form of sequence. The End. You'd wish.

And you'd think the recipe should taste like the cake.

And a painting is merely colored oils on a canvas for artistic effect. Just paint it.

Oh, I don't know. Maybe the ability is in there. Maybe it isn't. Then I read Mike's novel, and say "Hey, if he can do it so well, maybe I can too?" But I am not him.

Or maybe I can just keep fiddling around here for years, pissing away my precious punch lines, boiling away my steam...



Posted by: expat@large on May 05, 06 | 11:42 pm | Profile


If Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling can write best selling novels, anyone can.

I'm half tempted to write my own Da Vinci Code, except the original was terrible... but Dan Brown is a multi-millionaire at least. It's all about the publisher's marketing really though. I mean, now even Google are promoting The Da Vinci Code. Which I find a bit shit really, Google's supposed to be a neutral search engine for everyone, not a horrible advertising tool to the highest bidder. Or at least, they're not supposed to be so blatent about it.

Posted by: Hamton on May 06, 06 | 12:37 am

I think Google has other plans...

Their new motto: "Evil schmevil, let's stop kidding about and take over the universe."

Posted by: expat@large on May 06, 06 | 1:26 am

I thought Da Vinci Code was crap too!

Posted by: HKMacs on May 06, 06 | 8:08 am

You donít need to be anyone else to write a Novell. Just do it in your distinctive style. There is only one way to find out, if you are a writerÖ
And btw, as soon as you see your words printed, you will defenitly wish to revise and revise Ö. Maybe this is the reason, why there are damn little good books? Authors still revising.

Posted by: Timber on May 06, 06 | 12:43 pm


Notify me when someone replies to this post?
Submit the word you see below:

Powered by pMachine