Saturday, 5 July 2008
OK, people. And of course, by people I mean readers. So that’s one, two of you maybe, if I’m lucky? At least one of whom is my mum? (Hello mum!)
But I digress...
Starting this blog has got me thinking about writing in general, and blogging in particular. Before I started writing here, I knew next to nothing about blogging, and indeed about writing online - though I’ve had work published online, I’ve always approached writing it in exactly the same way I’d approach writing in general. I think (I hope) I know a little bit about writing. I certainly have vey extensive experience of what I might term 'personal' writing - diaries, journals, that kind of thing. In spite of this, I’m very happy to admit that I know very little about what writing a blog is really all about. I’m even a little bit ambivalent about the whole exercise, as you will see from this initial post in my having-a-go, testing-the-water blog, unpacking my library. And as I’m sure any reader of this blog will gather, I certainly haven’t started with any particularly coherent plan or considered approach to what exactly it is I’m doing here - I’ve just been posting whatever is in my mind.
But since starting to write here, I’ve become aware that this whole world (I really can’t quite bring myself to use the word ‘blogosphere’) is a complex one, and far from being as straightforward as it might initially seem. Now, I find myself asking two key questions. Firstly, what is a blog, really, when it comes down to it? Personal diary made public? A forum to discuss and communicate with others? A place to gather stuff together? To explore ideas? To showcase work? Or even something akin to fiction - a novel, a fictionalised autobiography? What does a blog really mean? Or, to rephrase the question in a particularly annoying way, which I am afraid I can only justify by explaining that I can't help it - I am currently half way through an English Literature MA course which is especially heavy on the cultural theory - how does it mean?
And then my second question, perhaps the most important one: what is it that makes a blog good? What makes it readable, compelling, meaningful, interesting, engaging? What is it that takes it beyond just another place to mess about and waste time online, and turns it into something altogether more?
Like any good and faithful student, of course my next step is to undertake some research into the subject - i.e. do the reading! I already read a number of blogs I like, and in my work I come across lots more -usually writer's blogs - on a more or less daily basis. However, I’m very much aware that I’m only just starting to scratch the surface. So with this in mind, I’m (perhaps rather optimistically) asking passing readers (if there are any of you out there) to leave a comment below with a link to any blog(s) that you think might be of interest. Blogs you love, blogs you laugh at, even blogs you think are downright awful. Blogs to inspire or enrage or enrich, or that you simply think are a really great read.
We’ll see what I get and I’ll do some investigating. In the meantime, I’m starting by reading this article about internet writing on the Canongate website by fellow Manchester resident, writer (and blogger) Chris Killen. (Chris is also the author of the fabulous 'untitled supermarket nightmare' novel which you can read online here)
And of course, whatever I find out, I’ll be posting it here.