There were always many books about writing, editing, and publishing on our book case, and I took a shine to many of them. I probably knew everything you needed to crack into the freelance magazine business by the time I was twelve, although as I grew up I never submitted anything to an editor – my primary interests took me elsewhere.
… it was axiomatic that “self-publishing” was a way to cheat.
All the same, I took from that upbringing a strong sense of the importance of the editorial process; for me, it was axiomatic that “self-publishing” was a way to cheat – after all, if an audience exists for your written work, then a business and knowledgeable gatekeepers have already provided a fertile ground for your work to take root, eh?
I still hold that tenet very dear in my current career of software development – programs should not (can not?) be written in a vacuum. They need users, feedback, bug outbreaks, and growth spurts. That’s how they become programs worth using.
When I began blogging more seriously, back in 2008, I of course ignored the drawbacks of self-publishing, and plowed forward to write many introspective posts which were read by few people, and which are probably only interesting to a small handful of the people who did read them.
You might think I am bearish on the notion of self-publishing, generally. Well – in general, I am. That is not meant as a rebuke to those I know who have self-published books, films, or albums. And certainly not meant to knock the good work of the smaller media outfits, which barely scrape by with their barely commercialized news content. But wouldn’t it be better to develop those niche art forms and unpopular story ideas into something the public-at-large would gladly consume?
I mean, without compromising your integrity. (I imagine now that I’ve lost some of you, who believe that popularizing content always ruins it.. even though that’s only true for authors who are willing to let their work be ruined.) In general, I believe that humans, at the macroscopic level, are a great incubator of great ideas, and that the counterexamples simply prove that there are exceptions, that we often lazily allow to persist.
… humans are a great incubator of great ideas.
If I was up-brought as a writer, I’d say that I was born as a scientist. Only later did I decide to compromise both by becoming a software developer in a corporate environment. When I think much about blogging, I think of it as a form of writing science – a lab for content ideas. That’s what it is, to me at least, but I see that I continually forget this, and tend to write a diary track instead.
Perhaps that’s why I rarely get comments or link-in’s. Go ahead – search link:iqwirty.net on Google and you will see what I mean. In contrast, if you Google site:iqwirty.net, your result will be my entire canon – more than 100 posts, much of which is unpopular, likely due to its isolation from the primary focus of any significant blogologists.
So we’re talking about a term: “blogology”. It has been discussed here and here, although both of these blogology blogs seem to be no longer active. Maybe that’s because the important part of blogging is not the talking about blogging, but rather the hashing out of ideas, under the harsh light of many opinions, until the ideas are no longer your own, but belong to the World. This is also what happens in science. And it happens in blogging, as long as you galumph forwardly daily, proclaiming your voice to the World, in a somewhat pleasant and coherent manner. And you gotta have ears. Ears are key. Hear what I’m sayin’?
Personally, I do need more interaction, and a wider audience – that much is clear. Let’s see if I have the gumption to get there. If I do, then I am certain my words will be worth the publishing, even if they originate as self-published dribble. 🙂