Monday, September 22, 2008

State of the... me

It's been a long time since my last post, hasn't it? Well, there's no surprise there for me -- it was inevitable. I stink at routines. Everything I do in life seems to happen in spurts, since I have so many things competing for my attention. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with that juggling act.

"Everyone here? You mean he expects that someone is still hanging around this dusty old blog?"

Well, oddly enough, the weekly hits to my blog/website have hardly dropped at all during the long silence, though the visitors are of a different nature. Where once I primarily had aspiring writers popping in from blogs like Miss Snark, Nathan Bransford, or Anne Mini, now it's mostly people finding me through keyword searches on Google or Google Images. Amazing how free art can bring in random traffic. I hope people are putting it to good use / enjoying it.

But I digress. At this point I should be launching into the cliche Blogger/Livejournal "I'll try to do better" post, right? God knows I've written my fair share of those already this year. But I'm not going to flog that dead horse again -- time to stop apologizing. Fact is, I'm not a "good blogger" and I don't really aspire to be one. Daily content of merit? Lord, I don't think I have it in me. Weekly is even a huge stretch. I've long been fascinated with the cartooning careers of Gary Larson and Bill Watterson, wondering how they managed to keep up a daily flow of great work over what basically amounts to a decade. And now I know... I'll never know. I'm just not that sort of writer. I don't write poems or short stories for much the same reason -- everything worthwhile I write requires forethought and marination, as well as page space to stretch its legs.

Hence why my blog posts have always been a bit too long for comfortable daily-digest-style reading. This just isn't my format. Besides, all the time and effort I might spend on trying (and ultimately failing) to maintain a "good" blog would just be siphoning that time away from more meaningful pursuits.

Here I considered going into a lengthy definition of "more meaningful pursuits," supported by commentary on why I'm unhappy with many of my prior posts about writing, but one thing I'm learning these days: less is sometimes more. I trust you can draw the needed inferences yourself, and if not... well, you probably don't really care anyway.

SO. What's this blog still doing here, if I'm not going to treat it like a proper blog? Well, my current plan is to mistreat this poor webspace for years to come. Yes, blog, you're in for an extended, lonely, world of pain: you've just become primarly... *gasp*... a news page.

Basically, if I have some news to share, I will. If I don't, I won't. How frequently will I update? Who the heck knows? Will my posts be long and insightful? Probably not! Will I provide interesting links on occasion? Yes! Posts of new art? Yes! Lot's of rhetorical questions and exclamation points? Let's hope it ends here!

In all seriousness, sometimes I have things I need to share with the world, but there's not a lot of value in me blathering on about nothing during the in-between times. I'm not very good at it, and it's not a personal goal. Lately it's been quiet on the personal-news front because I've been writing, working on another project of a different sort (to be announced in around a year, most likely), and basically taking some time to enjoy life and spend time with my wife.

The writing well, for me, really dries up without those other stimuli and activities. This is the main thing I have learned about writing in the last quarter year: some activities sap my ability to write well (like watching copious amount of low-grade television or movies, Internet/blog addition, reading too many novels that aren't in a style I admire), while other activities enhance it (video games in moderation, exercise, healthy eating, watching mostly movies and reading books with writing I do admire).

I've also finally been able to answer my most burning question to my own satisfaction: What is a novel? As in, what does it consist of, how is it made, why and in what way do some novels become more than the sum of their parts, while others sputter on the runway? I'd love to be able to share that revelation with you, but I can't really express it. It's a personal thing, anyway -- everyone who's really considered the question could probably give you a wildly different dissertation on the subject. It's not so much my answer that should matter to you; the important thing is, if you are truly serious about writing, that you take the time to vigorously search for your own answer. Finding mine has taken roughly three years of struggle, and I'm quite positive my thoughts on the matter will grow and evolve -- perhaps even change completely -- over the coming years.

So, for now, that's the news. All is well, my writing is proceeding at the correct pace for maximum quality of the novel and sanity of the author, and so on. A few more frivolous posts to follow (links to things I've found interesting recently, but haven't posted about).

1 comment:

vespican said...

Christopher,
It's good to have you back! I agree, trying to stick to a schedule can be trying. And then I do just that, or try to, anyway. Even though I get very few comments on my Live Journal page, I always figure that one or two folks are checking to see what's new and I don't want to disappoint. I try to post something once a week or so. Sometimes I have more to say and post more often. Other times it's a real chore to get the once a week thingy done.
Dave
PS I'm waiting (not with baited breath!) for you to dive in to some of the Author! Author! discussions.