I find myself these days spending more and more time over at OPB--you know, Other Peoples' Blogs. In part, it's interesting to note that generally everybody else is more or less in the same game as I am. We're at different points along the track, to be certain, and sometimes on entirely different tracks with all the various genres out there, but it's still all the same game with write, write, write, revise, revise, revise, and then hope and pray that somebody else out there buys the book.
The agents' blogs I follow provide an interesting counterpoint to that melody. They're the gatekeepers, as it were, preventing us writers' jobs from being too easy. A particularly enjoyable post came to my e-mail this morning: http://www.rachellegardner.com/2011/09/notes-from-the-conference/. First of all, I love Ms. Gardner's blog; if you're an aspiring or a current writer and you haven't subscribed to it and read her "how to" posts, you're missing out. This morning's post, though, was particularly timely. She offers writers a few thoughts in terms of how to--or how not to, anyway--approach agents and editors at a conference, and it happens that I'll be at a conference in a bit less than two weeks. At the conference, the knowledge that I shouldn't tackle an agent who is in a hurry to get somewhere in order to present a query in person will, I'm sure, be quite helpful.
Also, I learned from Ms. Gardner that it will boost an agent's ego if I mention that I've read her blog, that boost coming just in time for her to, in turn, crush my ego with rejection. See? The things I learn from an agent's blog are just--awesome.
http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/09/25/the-most-important-question-to-ask-yourself-before-you-publish-anne-r-allen/ is another excellent blog I just found and subscribed to. The post this morning is particularly beautiful; it's a blog post about a blog post. If you're reading about it here, that means you're reading a blog post about a blog post about a blog post. About writing. That makes me happy; hopefully the same for you?
This one in particular, though, addresses a couple of topics that are dear to me. The first is the "purpose behind the blog." Mr. Williams brings up a criticism regarding writers' blogs; apparently some think that we're all wasting our time blogging because the only people who read writing blogs are other writers. His response: "What Wendy doesn’t understand is this: A good writing blog is an extension of that writer’s purpose in life: To write." Precisely. I'm not here to sell my book(s). I'm not here to gain a huge followership and get extraordinarily wealthy from the revenue obtained from side-pane ads for various commercial products I've never used anyway. I'm here to write. I enjoy writing. I like to write. Yes, I write stories, but sometimes it's more fun to just sit and write about writing.
The other part of Williams's blog, though, was a guest post by Anne Allen. I think it was a guest post, anyway; the description of musical blogging chairs just flat-out confused me. Regardless, I went in expecting to be irritated; here was another bit of writing about how we shouldn't publish till we're ready, and I assumed at first that she'd be preaching the gospel of editing perfection, just like everybody else.
Ms. Allen's point, quite a valid one if you ask me (and yes, I know you didn't), was that you shouldn't publish until you're ready to deal with rejection--rejection that, in this case, comes in the form of readers' and reviewers' comments. What caught my eye was that she quoted the man, the literary god, who is the very reason I'm writing today: "But Isaac Asimov once observed that writers fall into two groups: 'those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.'"
It's true. A writer, especially a novelist who's put hundreds or thousands of hours into breathing life into a story from his or her head, puts a piece of Self out there when he or she publishes. The writer has to, then, be willing to accept that not everyone is going to find as much artistry in the work as (s)he does.
All valid points today, and all from other peoples' blogs.