Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Bloggers aren't writers. That is to say, just because a person has a blog doesn't automatically make them a "writer." Yes, there are writers that have blogs, but there are many, many non-writers that have blogs, too: artists and chefs and journalists and house-spouses and athletes and humorists and hack game designers. Blogs are a wonderful outlet for creative expression, and people of all-stripes have made good use of doesn't mean they're all frustrated authors.

Really. I didn't get into blogging to write books (or even game supplements), even though this particular blog has led to that activity. But I'm certainly not a guy with an unpublished novel sitting on the shelf. I tried my hand at writing a short story the other day for Tim Shorts's little writing project, and after reading back over the first three pages, realized what I'd written is absolute crap. I'd post it here, just to show you what I mean, but people already think I beat up on myself too much.

Well, this isn't about beating up on myself, or anyone else. Just because bloggers may not be "writers" in the sense of being trained to write with plotting and pacing and all that jazz, doesn't mean they don't have value. There's a sharing of ideas that occurs in airing one's views in the public forum of the internet, a rolling around of thoughts and concepts that can lead to constructive discussion and (sometimes) constructive action. Sure, it can lead to a lot of dumb-dumb posturing and "flame wars" and whatnot also...but the potential for good stuff still exists.

Plus: outlet for creative self-expression. Blogging in and of itself is valuable to the participants.

But that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to point out that bloggers aren't writers because I wanted to put a pin in the notion that bloggers suffer from "writer's block." Writer's block (according to my handy-dandy wikipedia reference) is a condition that affects a writer's ability to produce new work. Bloggers don't have this problem...posting to a blog is as easy as snapping a picture of your sleeping dog and uploading it to the internet with a funny caption. Producing "new work" is as easy as typing "I've been sick this week" or "the in-laws are in town" and hitting publish on Ye Old Blogger. A blogger is never "blocked" in his or her ability to produce new blog posts...unless they suddenly lose access to the internet.

However, bloggers definitely suffer from slumps.

A "slump" is a sports term, one I hear most often applied to baseball. It's used to apply to a period of subpar when an otherwise decent batter fails to get a hit or draw a walk for a couple weeks, or when a usually competent closer blows three or five saves in a row. Sometimes a slump - if it's extended long enough - can lead to a player being "sent down" to the Minor Leagues, and may be a precursor to retirement from the sport...if you can't perform at the same level to meet their own expectations, some folks will hang up their spikes and look for a different line of work.

[I've been watching a lot of baseball this season, and following the Seattle Mariners means being subjected to a LOT of slumping players, unfortunately]

The hope, of course, is that players will "play through" and eventually break out of their slump, coming back to their former quality output of play (at least, if they're a young player) or a state of relative adequacy (for older veterans intending to retire soon anyway).

Bloggers go through slumps. Periods where their creative output is "subpar," either in terms of quality or quantity or both. Sometimes this leads to a blogger's "retirement" from the game of blogging. Sometimes, it's just a down cycle and the blogger eventually returns to form...or at least an "adequate level" of performance. As in baseball, a lot of different factors can contribute to slumps, both on the field and off (i.e. on the internet and in the home life).

I'm going through a bit of a slump myself right now. I'm hoping to break out of it soon, but I do want to post more than just "updates on book sales." That's not really what this blog is about.

Just so you know.
: )


  1. isn't it about time for the annual nfl-preseason bloodbowl post? :)

  2. @ Shlomo:

    I was just gearing up to write one, actually!
    : )

  3. I think that "trained to write" is misleading, unless maybe you're talking about "Reporters."

    It takes TALENT to write. I don't think anyone "trained" Robert E. Howard to write.

    The so-called "schools" for writing can only help a person "hone their skills," but such schools cannot GIVE you skills, talent.

    A novelist is a STORY TELLER. A person is either a good story teller, or they suck at it. Writing can reveal that.

    Public speaking is "spur of the moment." Sure, you can have a prepared draft, but that's NOT a "good speaker." A good speaker can improvise at the necessary moment; like the unexpected question from the audience.

    Writing, on the other hand, is done at the author's pace. He/she has time to "get it right," chose the proper word.

    I do a little writing, and I can't tell you how many times I proof read my stuff -- until I'm sick of it.

    A novelist needs to be a good story teller, only then can his/her "skills" be honed. A novelist can't truly be "trained to write."