I read through it. Twice. Actually three times. I marveled at how the post managed to squeeze the words “disintermediation, cadre and myriad” into a single 67 word sentence complete with snarky parenthetical. There are some interesting points, and I get that the post was largely linkbait, designed to ruffle feathers and get attention (which, by the way, would make the author of said post not a writer, too).
But it made me wonder…(FYI, real writers never go dot dot dot)
- Where do you get the card that gives you the right to annoint anyone else, blogger or not, a writer?
- Is it really smart to label someone a writer based not the talent they wield, but on the medium they leverage? And;
- Is writing for an audience a sure sign someone’s not a real writer?
Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first.
Yes, there are plenty of blogs out there with bad writing.
But, to say that’s a product of the medium and not a lack of commitment to the craft doesn’t sit right with me.
Blogs are just another outlet for the written word. As are books, ebooks, magazines, scripts and screenplays. And, guess what, most of those suck, too. Not because they’re books, magazines, scripts and screenplays, but because they are the creative output of folks who aren’t all that concerned with studying and practicing the art and the craft of writing. The only difference with blogs is they’re far more easily discovered.
Bad writing exists in every medium. Always has. Always will. That’s not a function of the blogosphere.
So, what of the charge of rampant pandering as proof that blogging isn’t for real writers?
Does it exist? Yup! All over the place.
But, again, blogging didn’t create the situation. Artists have been doing that dance between giving people what they want and creating soulful output for millennia. And, I’ve got to wonder…what’s so wrong with finding the sweet spot between what you love to share and what your audience loves to read?
Hell, even James Patterson, who’s got more than 50 New York Times bestsellers to his name and, according to Forbes, generated nearly $500 million for Little, Brown over the last two years, has been labeled a populist, throwing down formulaic thrillers and mysteries that pander to the base enterntainment jones of the mass market.
So, what, now he’s not a writer because he deliberately creates the very content his audience wants?
Knowing it’ll be ten times easier to market and the pass-along value will go through the roof? You may not like his style. You may say he’s sold out, gone commercial.
But, not a writer?
When tens of millions pant to read his every word?
Are we really supposed to believe only those who madly pursue literary excellence under the tutelage of masters, guided by j-school degrees or countless nights chasing stories about lost dogs without regard to the marketability of their work are worthy of the title “writer?”
I blog AND I care deeply about language.
I break every rule Strunk ever conjured and White ever dared. I turn phrases with an awl, split infinitives with an axe and chum the waters with bloody metaphors. All in the name of engaging my readers, titillating the senses and inciting conversation.
That, and it’s just plain fun!
And, I do the very same thing, whether in books, magazines or blogs.
To say that I or anyone else is not a writer because of either the medium we’ve chosen or the fact that we write not just for our own edification, but for an audience…is just plain silly.
And, to proclaim the right to stand in judgment is equally absurd. Especially when that proclamation comes in the form of a juicy straight-up link-bait post on a blog (with lots of fancy words).
Who is anyone to say when and why any other purveyor of prose crosses the line between slinger of linguistic hash and wordsmith? Especially when so many, who by the above criteria would not be writers, regularly sell the hell out of so many others who profess lifelong devotion to the craft (and, yes, like it or not, sales IS one benchmark of literary impact).
Sorry, I don’t do the holier than thou thing. Yes, even though I live in New York City.
It clashes with black.
I’ve been moved to tears by tweets and bored to sleep by classics.
A change in vehicle wouldn’t have changed the impact of either.
Oh, and by the way, I still think some of Picasso’s paintings suck…
And he was a REAL painter!
So, what do YOU think (doh, there’s me pandering again)?
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