I have decided, after a long and tortuous discussion with myself over a cup of tea, that I am causing more harm than good by having a blog to which I seem incapable of contributing. I promised myself, when I relaunched, that I would use it simply and lightly. It would be somewhere to make comments on this and that – how the writing was coming along; life on a desert island; maybe the occasional mild rant or harrumph about something. I say that because when I first began with the Blogosphere I became, well, blogged down. I was still writing A Table In Berlin, followed by Goodnight Mrs Day, and it is hard enough trying to get the words out without using up energy on a blog. No, I intended to write swiftly and without recourse to anything resembling a rewrite or polish. That’s why I put “first draft” in the subtitle/blurb at the top of this new version.
But even this is not working.
I go for a run and think about something. This takes the form of an interview with a non-existent radio station, because I’m important and famous now, you understand? As I have lots of interesting thoughts in my head, these pop out during the “interview”/run and I think to myself “I’ll pop that down in a quick blog post.” And I don’t pop it down. Quickly or otherwise. I saved Drafts entitled Why Everyone Should Have A Smartphone (a rant); How To Deal With Feedback and one that said Seven Ways To…with the end left blank while I thought about stuff I might know how to do in seven ways.
My blog posts turn out to be agonised over, corrected, rewritten. Time is then used up deciding what to put in bold type and what to put in italics because well, you know, it’s nice to get the visuals right. Slip a photo in there, first upload it. Save it. Resize it, fart about trying to get it in the right place. Before I realise it, I have spent a lot of time and intensity on the post. Far too much time for the quality of the writing or the importance of the subject matter. So I try and make it less a blog post and more a bit of prose. But still the nagging thought. This isn’t how my books look, so if someone reads this will they think: Don’t fancy this one?
And I don’t like lists. I find it utter agony thinking in Top Sevens. But all advice is centred on lists and advice. What are your top tips for this and that? What have you learned from doing such and such? What are the Seven Best Adverbs To Use To Really Annoy People Who Go On About Adverbs? But I don’t feel comfortable. Who am I to become an internet expert, ladling advice and wisdom in an avuncular fashion? Do I even want to give strangers the secrets to my life? Do I not, in fact, absolutely adore the privacy that comes with being a novelist? It’s a luxury not afforded to scriptwriters, for example. I write what I want, how I like. The proof of the pudding is half a dozen of the other. If nobody likes your work they will vote with their wallets and their one-star Amazon reviews.
All this I think, and more. No, this Blog is not for me. I must say farewell to it, and you. For those who have passed by and sipped, thank you for your interest but, I’m sorry, I’m not doing myself justice. Not doing you justice, either.
On the other hand, pull your socks up, Mark, you great floppy silk blouse! You want people to take an interest, don’t you? You want potential readers to understand what makes you tick, n’est-ce pas? You want to share and divulge, surely?
And that’s when I think again about all those rather important folk out there, not one of whom to date has ever NOT said: Get a blog, and blog. Engage.
So, here I am, changing my mind half way through. I shall now press the Publish button WITHOUT EVEN CHECKING FOR TYPOS! I’m a rebel. I must stick to my threat. I am first drafting these things and be damned. Writing is bloody hard work, but I don’t want my appearances here to be.
See you soon! 🙂