David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

The Purpose and Utility of Author Blogging

Authors generally come in two varieties:

  1. Authors for whom writing comes easily and naturally
  2. Authors for whom writing takes a tremendous amount of effort and concentration

Which flavor am I? Well, here’s a clue: it’s taken me about five minutes to get this far in this blog piece already. I’ve rewritten the first sentence three or four times, backspacing before I even got to the colon. In this paragraph alone, I started off with “which camp do I fall in” before realizing that the camping metaphor clashes with the “two varieties” metaphor in the first paragraph above. (And now, here I am, re-reading through the article again two days after I started because I didn’t have time to finish it earlier.)

Sketch of a writer smoking a pipeI’m slow. I’m not going to say that I agonize over my words, because that implies a degree of discomfort and displeasure in the process. But I certainly concentrate intensely on my words. They don’t just come gushing out. (Just changed “flowing” to “gushing.”)

And so when I find myself falling into a prolonged silence on my blog like the current two-month silence, it’s hard to get going again.

It’s especially difficult (changed from “hard”) when what I really should be concentrating on is finishing up the first draft of Geosynchon, the third book in the Jump 225 trilogy. I don’t do this writing thing full-time, and it’s difficult to find the time to blog. It’s about to become all the more difficult because I’m about to become a first-time parent. I have no idea how I’m going to find the time to write when I’ve got two squealing (changed from “screaming”) babies, and a bunch of bills that are overdue because I’ve forgotten to pay them, and a burning desire to occasionally have a, you know, life.

So how do I continue blogging on a regular or semi-regular basis?

It doesn’t help that I don’t approach blogging the way most bloggers approach blogging. Unlike, say, a newspaper column, the whole point of publishing a blog is that it’s immediate and unfiltered. Here’s what I’m thinking today! Just saw Sarah Palin say something stupid on TV, boom, here’s my take on it! What did I think yesterday or last week or last month? Who cares? It’s all now, now, now!

I’ve always resisted the impulse to publish that kind of blog, just like I’ve always resisted the impulse to write those kinds of book. Not that there’s anything wrong with the stream-of-consciousness technique; it’s just not me. I don’t want people to know what I’m thinking on a minute-by-minute basis. I don’t want to showcase my snapshot reactions to the latest flap in the news. Why? Because my off-the-cuff (changed from “snapshot”) reactions are just like everyone else’s. They’re tinged by raw emotion. They’re based on incomplete information. They’re predictable. They can get me into trouble.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s the digested, reasoned, thought-through, considered response that matters. It’s the book that I’ve slaved over and over in draft after draft, carefully layering in plot and metaphor and theme like a pastry chef making phyllo dough. (Just stopped to look up “phyllo” on Wikipedia to make sure I wasn’t misremembering what phyllo is.)

I don’t resent the filter of editing, re-writing, re-thinking, and revising. I need that filter.

So if you’re planning on following my blog, you’re not going to get throwaways (with the exception of the occasional piece of self-promotion and/or book news) (just inserted that). You’re only going to get articles that have been well-thought-out and carefully crafted. You’re only going to get me writing about subjects I care about.

The Thinker by RodinThe downside of this approach is that if I don’t have the time or inclination to ponder upon any particular subject, I’m not going to publish anything. I’m not going to fall back on a summary of my day or an interesting song lyric I’ve heard on the radio. Again, perfectly valid methods of blogging. Just not my method.

Sometimes I’ll take too long to ponder over a particular topic (changed from “a particular subject”, changed from “something”), and my meanderings on that topic will become outdated before I’ve even clicked the “Publish” button. These blog articles get saved onto my hard drive where they gather digital dust, unread. Thus, you probably will never read the 752-word-and-counting blog piece I’ve been writing about “The Bizarro Election” featuring my insights on Sarah Palin — because by the time I’m finished with it, the poor woman will (deleted “hopefully”) be on her way back to Alaska where she’ll become a 2018 trivia question for Jeopardy contestants.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying:

  1. No, I’m not dead;
  2. No, I don’t even have the excuse of being a first-time parent yet;
  3. Yes, I do intend to resume blogging on a regular basis; but
  4. Yes, you’ll probably (just inserted “probably”) have to be patient.

If you’re interested in reading what I’ve got to say about stuff and you don’t want to be bothered to check back on my blog page to see if I’ve published anything new, I invite you to sign up to subscribe by email (bottom of left column), or use the site RSS feeds.

Thanks, y’all.

*

(Now that I’ve finished the article, I’ve got to go back and re-read to make sure I’ve made a coherent point. I’ve got to make sure the title I’ve given the piece accurately reflects what’s in it, because I’ve been known to meander off course into totally different subjects.)

(And finally, I feel obligated to go hunt around for some pictures — generally of the humorous or ironic variety — to make the article visually interesting. So here I go… Okay, the Rodin Thinker statue is an obvious one, and it’s already in the blog media library. And for the second I’ll use one of my favorite sketches of a dude scribbling at a desk while smoking a pipe. Artist unknown, or at least I’m too lazy to look it up. Just have to do some quick image manipulation so the images fit onto the page… there.)

(Now, the final step. Save the article, and preview it. Re-read for last-minute typos and harebrained sentences that I’m going to regret later. Do last-minute tightening of the language. Make sure the pictures don’t create any funky link breaks… Done.)

(Don’t forget to add meta information for the search engines and the archive pages.)

(And finally… is this whole meta thing of the parenthetical asides too cutesy and John Barthish? Should I delete all these parenthetical comments about process? Hmm. Maybe. But I’m the kind of writer who likes to live life on the edge.)

(Have all of these parenthetical comments made this blog piece too long? Do I need another picture to fill up the space? No. Dude, stop. Just click the fucking “Publish” button already.)

(Publish.)

Comments RSS Feed

  1. Soni on October 16, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Chain link

    Seriously, I actually Googled “David Edelman dead” the other day, just on the off chance I had missed seeing the news. Glad to hear that the dearth of death reports meant that my concerns were unfounded (and not just the result of poor Google-fu).

  2. Graham Storrs on October 16, 2008 at 6:54 pm  Chain link

    Oh my God! You’re me! At least, if you’re not me, you’re someone so like me it’s scary. And if you’re not me, how come you just described exactly how I blog, right down to the obsessive-compulsive checking and picture-inserting at the end. There was even a reference to John Barth!
    Was I cloned in some weird experiment back in the 50s (which would have to be ex-Nazi mad scientists working for the CIA, right?) or is it just some kind of distributed group mind thing? Either way, there might be more of me out there. And, if it’s happened to me, maybe it has happened to others too…
    Keep watching the blogs, people. Keep watching the blogs.

  3. Laurie on October 17, 2008 at 2:46 am  Chain link

    I thought I was the only one who did this sort of thing when posting to my own blog. It’s a relief, honestly, to find someone else so careful (changed from ‘considered’) in their posting.

  4. Scott Marlowe on October 17, 2008 at 8:11 am  Chain link

    I don’t generally have the over-analysis problem with my blog entries, but I do often wonder after putting 1,000 words into a post if I might have been better served by putting another 1,000 words into my writing instead.

  5. Matt Jarpe on October 17, 2008 at 11:15 am  Chain link

    You should consider having your agent issue periodic press releases saying you aren’t dead. It’s working for Tom Cruise. And thanks for making me feel better about my own writing motto: Perfect is the enemy of good, and good is the enemy of finished.

  6. David J. Williams on October 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm  Chain link

    DLE- the work you put into the entries shows: I think your quality-over-quantity approach is an effective one.

    And nice to know you ARE still alive. . !: ) see you this weekend. . .djw

  7. SpaceCrazed » SF Tidbits for 10/17/08 on October 20, 2008 at 12:20 am  Chain link

    […] David Louis Edelman explains The Purpose and Utility of Author Blogging. […]

  8. Nathan E. Lilly on October 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm  Chain link

    It’s really refreshing to see that I’m not the only one who over edits (changed from contemplates intensely (changed from over thinks (changed from agonizes over))) their posts.

  9. Tensai on December 7, 2008 at 12:12 pm  Chain link

    My thoughts on authors blogging is pretty much the same as on the indigo girls: love their music, but I dearly wish they would STFU up about politics. They’re just pissing off a non-trivial fraction of their base to no good end.

    Anyway, best of luck on parenthood, and I’m looking forward to Geosynchon. I assume that’ll be the last in the ‘trilogy’ ?

  10. David Louis Edelman on December 7, 2008 at 7:02 pm  Chain link

    Tensai: Yes indeed, Geosynchron will be the last in the trilogy. I’m not ruling out returning to the Jump 225 world in the future, but this particular story is one that ends at the conclusion of book 3.

  11. horloge on September 4, 2016 at 11:34 am  Chain link

    May I just say what a relief to find an individual who genuinely understands what they are discussing on the internet.
    You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people should look at this and understand this side of your
    story. I was surprised you’re not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

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