Post, Publish, or Perish
Posted by Whittier Strong
Right now I have a great idea for an essay. It came upon me just a couple of days ago, inspired by an exchange on Facebook. And my first thought was, oh, this would make a great blog post.
But as I sat on the idea, it grew. I thought of other connections the initial idea had both to my own life and the larger world. So what was going to be a lovely post for today has now turned into something different.
I think this is a unique problem for nonfiction writers. The demands of the publishing industry today are that a new author come to them with a readership already in hand, created through social media. And, of course, the best way a writer can do that is to show their wares through a blog.
But a writer must also, well, write, and nonfiction writers – those who want to be published in literary journals and other curriculum vitae-filling publications that will make them more hirable as teachers and/or as writers – write the sorts of things that people put into blogs. Oh, and journals almost never allow you to submit for publication something that has already appeared on your blog.
So the nonfiction writer must make a choice: to turn their idea into a blog post or into an essay. You have to do both to build a career in the 21st century. And the choice can be agonizing.
Heaven knows I don’t post here enough. Part of the problem is the expectation that those who write about contemporary issues, as I like to do, do so in a timely manner, follow the news cycle. The trouble is that I think the “news cycle” is bollocks. This phenomenon, I daresay less than 20 years old, prohibits deep contemplation of serious subjects. To turn a phrase, it bleeds, it leads, and then it is hidden in a corner so we don’t have to watch it scab over.
I suppose this determination to swim against the zeitgeist should inspire me to stake out new territory with this blog.
I just might.