Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Friday, July 4, 2008

To blog or not to blog? That is the question

Since today is Independence Day in the US, and is being celebrated as such, I'm going to declare my own iindependence. Of thought, that is.

I was reading one of those "For Dummies/Complete Idiot's Guide to. . . " yeah, blogging, a week or so ago. Most of the stuff was things I'd alread figured out. most of those guides usually are, though some of them can be quite entertaining, for example, The Complete Idiot's Guide to British History. The part about the earliest Scottish kings was pretty funny. But I digress.

The blogging guide suggested some things that I think a blogger ought to pay heed to, if he or she expects their blog to be get attention in the blogosphere. One of them was to have strong opinions. Duh. Why blog if you don't have opinions about anything? I mean, there are blogs out there that detail every aspect of somebody's personal life, and I understand some of them fascinate people. But I think reading such a blog would be pretty boring. I mean, who wants to read something about somebody's day-to -day activities from showering and brushing their teeth in the morning to getting ready for bed at night? Unless, of course, they can connect these day-to-day activities with something more profound. What's the point?

The second thing that leaped out at me here was that the author(and don't ask me who he was), suggested that the blogger blog often. Which brings me to my own situation. He did say that it isn't necessary to blog every day, although there are many blogs that do. I've listed some that do. But the ones that blog every day tend to be news commentary of some sort, or else they're "political commentary". The kind of blog readers who read these kinds of things tend, I think, to come in two varieties: one, "news junkies" who like a lot of commentary, and two(and far rarer), certain types of reporters or trend watchers who scan these blogs to see which way whatever wind they're reporting about, is blowing. Political bloggers often turn up at political party conventions, too, and serve as reporters for what is going on. There are plenty of these kinds of bloggers and they come in all political stripes.

But what about bloggers like me, or like the innumerable "writing site" or "theme" bloggers such as the ones I've listed in my blogrolls? I think it depends. on what they're writing about. Two of the best in this category are Greg Laden's Blog and the John Hawks Weblog. Both of them blog every day, about something. Hawks in particular is getting recognition in all sorts of quarters, and I salute him. But OTOH, they are both science and anthropology writers, and they write about science-related subjects. Changes in the "science sphere" happen all the time. For me, this is important, since my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals touches on issues in science and human evolution.

OTOH, there are a bunch of writers out there, and a number of professional medievalists who also have blogs, some of which, again, are listed in one of my blogrolls. And they don't blog every day. One of the best of these is Elizabeth Chadwick's blog, Living the History. She doesn't blog all that often, but when she does, she's always telling about her travels, and their connections to the books she's writing.

Yet these too, are important links for me, since they often suggest sources of information or have information that helps me improve my own writing. But these bloggers --- the medievalists and the writers --- don't blog every day. They may not even blog all that often --- they don't really need to. Besides, if you're a writer, you may be busy writing, revising, critiquing someone else's work, or keeping up with your personal life. Sitting down at a computer and opening up a blog takes time from other things. The same is probably true for the professional medievalists.

And it's not that these people don't have opinions. They do. They have books or sites that they like, opinions about, say, the way aspects of medieval history are taught, or about the way people in general understand any history. For a writer, these are all valuable POV's, since they give some insight into the states of mind among these folks.

Of course, they cater to a far smaller audience than "political" or "science related" blogs. But even if the authors of these blogs don't blog all that often, they're still out there and waiting to be explored, for those interested.

My own situation is kind of in between these two poles, so to speak. Because of the nature of my Great Science Fiction Masterpiece(s), I basically straddle two worlds: one, I'm very familiar with, simply because anthropology was my major when I was in school. This is the archaeologh/prehistory world. I can navigate around it with ease and know some of its conventions. I'm less familiar with the worlds of the medievalists and their research, but I learn from them every day, which is why they merit a blogroll of their own here. And the writers? Well, all I can say is, if you're a writer, you never stop learning. I've found just about all the writers with whom I've communicated, to be a friendly and basically helpful lot. So even if I hadn't learned some things from them, their friendly demeanor alone would be enough for me to include them on my blogrolls.

So, as I said, my situation is kind of "in between". I may not blog every day, but I'm definitely not going to be of the "occasional" variety, either. And I have lots of opinions. Some readers who wander here may disagree, which is fine. I don't mind disagreement at all. I definitely agree with the "For Dummies"(or whatever it was) guide that any blogger should not embrace "neiutrality"! After all, my opinions are my own, not anyone else's. I will have a presence! So stick around folks. I'll stop by and blog often enough so that you should. And some of you may even find the waits between --- since I can't necessarily blog every day --- worth your while. I will certainly do my best.
Anne G


Michael Balter said...

Anne, one thing I have found, as a fairly new blogger, is that it can be addictive and compulsive behavior! But that is not necessarily negative. When I was about 14 years old, I became a compulsive reader, lying on the sofa 7 hours a day (well, during summer holiday anyway) reading all the great classics. I don't regret it, however. As far as blogging goes, it helps to be a fast writer, which I am--but only if I am saying exactly what I think and not worrying about how anyone is going to react. That, too, is one of the joys of blogging.

Anne Gilbert said...


Blogging can certainly be "addictive", especially when you first start out. Especially if you think you have a lot to say. I've noticed though, that there are differences between the way "political" bloggers blog and the way people with other fields of interests blog. The writing blogs I've visited, vary a lot in their frequency of posts. One of the blogs I mentioned, tends to post about every two weeks(this writer spends a lot of time in research and visiting the places her very real characters may have lived in). As for me, I have a schedule that constricts my time to a considerable degree, except when I make the time for it. I have a lot to say, on occasion, but I've deliberately restricted myself on this blog, so as not to overlap too much in other areas. That way, I can concentrate on things that are most important to me, now. I don't blog as often, but at other times, there are "bursts" of what might be called blogginess. I guess everybody is different, and has different ideas about what their blogs can do. For the moment, I'm just establishing a "presence"; I've been told that if you're a writer, this is a very good thing to do. At some point, I"ll also put up a web page, but since I haven't even figured o ut how to organize it, that's strictly in the future(BTW, I had one once, and it was good, but would not suit my purposes now, and paying for a decent web page can be costly).
Anne G