Saturday, 31 October 2009
Writing, Running and Blogging
That's me in the red and white halves
at the Trapprain Law race earlier this
I am a member of one or two (maybe three) on-line writing communities, Authonomy.com and My Writers Circle are my two favourite writers’ sites at present. I am also a member of a running club and a triathlon club. I often visit sports club’s web sites. A lot of people write on or to these sites. In fact one of the running sites has a regular blogger on it (Mr Stuart Hay) who participated in my social research earlier this week.
As an infant blogger, I have started to look at the sites with new eyes and see if I can discover why people do what they do. I am seeking any insight offered into why people bother to write when they don’t have to and why people go out in the wind and rain in Scotland to run around mean streets and desolate landscapes. I am of course one of them and could ask myself the same question, but I want to get a sensible answer so I am again taking the scientific approach. [I have often wondered why people run and the best I can come up with is that ‘life is far too soft and we need to suffer some of the time.’ When I have offered this explanation to other runners, they have usually told me to sod off]
But why do writers write, particularly if they are not getting paid for it and if they don’t know if anyone will ever read their wee pearls? It’s a bit like me sitting at this computer and writing this piece, not knowing if anyone will ever read it. So whom am I addressing? Is it cyber space? Now that is a scary thought.
Authonomy.com might offer an explanation. This site offers authors the very remote chance of getting their book published. To arrive at this hallowed place, you must first put the chapters of your book on the site. Then you give comments about other author’s books and receive comments back from them. You can put a book on your shelf, which is a bit like voting for it. Other people can put your book on their shelf, if they like your story. At the end of each month Harper- Collins promise to read the top five books with the most votes that month. They write a crit of the story and very occasionally, they offer the author a publishing deal. Now this is a great idea for dealing with the slush pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrive at publisher letterboxes each week. Something that isn’t obvious when you join up is that although the people who get to the top of the pile, undoubtedly have good stories they are also expert social net-workers who must spend twenty-three and a half hours a day on-line and the half hour they sleep they dream about publishing their book. The comments given and received on this site can be excellent and I have gained a lot from some of the good advice I have been given. So, this is a very good site because it offers you a way of achieving your dream, (the holy grail of publication) and you get a lot of support from like minded people who energetically pursue their hobby, calling, craft … without having to explain to anyone why they are doing it.
Runners’ web sites are pragmatic. They tell you who ran and how far, in what time and when you can do it all over again. There are many expressions of support and congratulations. So once again members of running or triathlon web sites share a sense of identity with other people who do the same thing without asking themselves why they do it.
Maybe people who support writing or running web sites don’t ask searching questions like why are you writing or running when you could be watching the telly or down the pub because that very question might kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. They might decide it’s not worth doing it any more
The question that a baby blogger barely out of his nappies has to ask is why do people and in case me, why do we blog?
This is the deliberatley home made looking cover of my book as it appears in Authonomy.com