Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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Outer Life

Is it the secret dream of every print writer to see his or her words chiselled in stone?

This is all just an elevation of form over substance. Words are words wherever they appear.


Very interesting perspective, and I believe that the majority of bloggers are "new" writers, discovering an outlet that seems boarded up to them in the publishing world. We would admit, I'm sure, to harboring that hope of discovery, but also find satisfaction in the immediacy of both getting our thoughts in text--if not in print form, as well as the applause or at least consideration in comments posted.


One way bloggers could make their work a little less ephemera is to better cull and organize their archives. So many things quickly go out of date, links go bad, but there is much that could be truly archived and made accessible even to new readers. That, of course, requires some time spent on the project.


I came here by way of Spinning, Susan has a link to this post. I am a 'new' writer who is using blogging as a way of finding my writing style. It is a place where I harbour my experiments. Jot fleeting impressions of my surroundings or feelings and leave ideas that may be picked up and used in efforts to make it into print. I have often thought of abandoning my Blog but I don't imagine I ever will. It has become a part of me.

Kate S.

My blog is a fairly recent venture and as I develop my own blogging style I’ve been thinking about the hallmarks of blogging as a distinct form of writing. I too have had my work (both fiction and academic writing) published in various print forums and I definitely don’t see blogging as either a substitute for or a precursor to publication in print media. For me, blogging is an outlet for a different kind of writing than the stuff targeted for print. You capture the difference beautifully in this sentence: “Briefer, more concise writing, less burdened with "scholarly" gestures, but otherwise no less "serious" in intent…” I see a degree of informality as a hallmark of blogging: borrowing your phrase, fewer scholarly gestures. Of course there are substitutes. For example, links can stand in for footnotes. But while links serve the purpose of proper attribution delegated to footnotes in other forms of writing, they do it in a very direct and efficient way. And they thereby serve what I think of as a second hallmark that distinguishes blogging from writing for print: its interactive potential. Readers can weigh the response against the original text with the click of a mouse and are thereby better placed to develop their own opinion on the topic at hand. Through comments sections and through references to posts from other blogs within one’s own, meaningful debate can erupt nearly instantaneously. It definitely beats waiting for the next issue of a journal for a letter to the editor to appear. It shares some of the virtues of good listserv discussion but with greater openness and, dare I say it, more permanence in that a blog provides a better home for a well-thought out post than the voluminous archives of a listserv.

Ray Davis

I also consciously decided on serial web self-publication after having (to my own mind) fully experienced the dubious joys of publishing on paper. But I know this was very unusual at the time I started.

Even nowadays, when it's much more common to find paper-oriented writers using web self-publication as a side venture, or as a way to workshop or publicize paper-aimed material, I suspect there aren't many who've had the full "conversion experience."

Matcha Bailey

I started a website, not a blog exactly but perhaps something like it, and at first I delighted in its ephemeral nature. I would post and erase writings, sometimes leaving them up for times so brief that nobody would ever see them. Then, feeling my mortality, I started archiving wildly, linking all parts all others so my words would be read and not lost so soon. I fluctuate between the two impulses unpredictably. Currently, I think the ephemeral aspect of online writing is what that makes it feel immediate and alive. I thrill at the paradox that for my writing to be alive it has to die soon; to give it (relative) immoratality in print would be to render it dead.

Robert Nagle

It's worth pointing out that 95% of what I blog about and read about on blogs (including yours) is done on company time. You can only read and write so much in that setting and surreptitious context.

The only effect blogging has had on me is buying more used books on amazon. And oh yes, reading a lot more criticism than original fiction. And becoming aware of lots of films and books and songs I never have any hope of watching/reading/hearing.

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