Writing a weekly column about writing is hard.
And I know this, because I subscribe to other weekly columns — or I used to, until I realized a lot of them, like me, struggle with not just saying the same thing over and over again. I mean, once you have your message across, how many ways are there to say it?
My buddy R, who is a man of letters in the strangest of ways, has a name for the phenomenon of artists engaging in mental masturbation: “Actors talking about actors.” His other favorite is “Directors talking about directors” but he does not limit his skepticism of ego stroking to one industry or indeed to the creative arts; my favorite was the time he drily groaned “The English talking about being English” in response to Downton Abbey. (His grandparents were Irish.)
I try not to ride just one hobbyhorse, but of course, having a single hobbyhorse is what most of blogkeeping in the professional sphere is about. Pick a thing and talk about it; find a demographic and feed it; that’s branding. It’s not bad advice, just somewhat limiting, after a while. It’s why so many of these posts are reactions to news articles — at least it’s something new.
I’m rummaging around in my “wordpress essays” file for new subjects to talk about, so the coming weeks should be interesting. There will also likely be a hiatus in November as I recover from surgery — but then again, given how much time I’ll have off and how well painkillers loosen the tongue, there may be a flood. At any rate, if you have questions about writing or topics you’d like to hear me talk about, now would be an exceptional time to suggest some.
Otherwise it’s back to the creaky hobbyhorse of selfpub and crowdsourced editing…