December 3, 2006
For me, blogging isn't an artform although I realize it is for some. When I do a post, there's no flow, or an intense need to get my thoughts into the blogosphere. I don't stare wistfully at my creation, marveling at some unknown source that birthed the illuminating content. I know how it was formed and finished because I forced every word onto the page, almost like giving birth to an infant. Both events require work. More than I wish was necessary.
I understand the importance of seeding a web-presence which will eventually help sell stacks of my books, right? But really, the more I blog, the more fun it gets. I love to visit other sites and converse with people I’d never have otherwise met. The network of writers is inspirational and sometimes I do wonder how such relationships came to be so vital so fast and from afar.
The most important event in my blogging life occurred this week. I was contacted and temporarily booked to star on the Montel Williams Show! Okay, so maybe not STAR on the show, but I was invited to sit on a panel as the token “average” housewife and discuss politics. I was stunned that a production assistant found my website by googling a few key terms. I thought it was a joke and hesitantly emailed back waiting for someone to jump from behind the couch yelling “You’re a fool, Kathie dear!”
The email and the person behind it was legit and although the producer changed the format of the show and didn't need me, it taught me a lesson. A web-presence is important and has an impact on platform and hopefully someday, sales. The idea that I can build something from nothing and not have to “know somebody” to be asked onto a national talk show is shocking and gives me hope that I wield a modicum of control over my writing destiny.
This brings me to Broccoli and Anne Lamott. As far as I can see, the writing life Lamott prescribes—patience, intuition, wisdom--is the exact opposite of the demanding blogging life—just get something down, now! Anything, damn it!
Lamott uses an example in her book, Bird by Bird, that tells me to listen to my broccoli, that it will tell me how to eat it (Lamott borrowed the broccoli thing from a Mel Brooks routine). Lamott suggests sitting with writing dilemmas, allowing characters to guide me to the next solution, action, word. Forcing thoughts and demanding a character perform as I thought she should instead of how she wants to will result in less thrilling prose than could have been. If I'd only listened.
Lamott also states that great writers “keep writing about the cold dark place within…” Digging to those icy depths requires deliberate awareness and action in the midst of quiet. This combination should reveal the chilly place where great characters are born.
I suppose the trick is to create a fertile space that nurtures wonderful characters while simultaneously courting the product-oriented blogosphere in hopes its lush landscape will reward me in the end.
That's not so hard, right?
Happy Holidays, everyone!