Thursday, February 08, 2007

Writing a Blog

I am a fiction writer, which means I write through a mask, as the narrator of a story (who is not me) or as a character, since I like the first person. There are times I find it interesting that I devote so much energy to communication, but always indirect communication, through stories that are not true and a medium that tells my stories at a distance. I'm not there as a person, speaking. Instead, black marks on white paper speak. Self-expression is the need of my soul, as archie the cockroach wrote. But almost never is my self-expression direct and face toface.

This is one reason (I think) that writing a blog is not easy. Blogging is self-expression at a distance. I am flinging my words into cyberspace toward an audience I can't see and mostly do not know. But I am speaking as myself and trying to be honest. For me -- not a writer of essays or memoirs -- this is uncomfortable, especially when I don't know my audience. When one speaks face to face, one can check reactions. Is the listener upset? Does the listener like me?

In addition, the ideal length for a blog entry is short, a page to two pages of manuscript, 250 to 500 words, if you count words.

I have written six novels and lots of shorter fiction ranging in length from five manuscript pages to a hundred papers (1,250 words to 25,000 words). But I don't do short-shorts, and I don't find it easy to write at the ideal blog length, especially if I'm writing about ideas. A paragraph about the weather or a trip to Duluth is (almost) a piece of cake. But when I write about something like politics, it's a struggle to get my thoughts down clearly and a struggle to keep the writing short.

Why do I keep trying to write a blog? It's an art form that's new to me. Maybe I will learn something.


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