Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life is just busy. That's all.

Regular readers of this blog will notice that I haven't been posting as much of late as I usually do. That's because I've been crazy busy and the blog seems to be the first thing to fall away (well, maybe not the first, that would be housework, packed lunches, and on some days, novel-writing). Apart from trawling second-hand and vintage clothes shops for the perfect outfits for husband and me to wear to the big band ball a couple of weeks ago, I have been teaching some classes. The first was when I spent a day back at my old school, the second was a continuing education night class at UC Opportunity. I guess it would be useful to tell people about these things before the fact rather than after, but that seems a little too organised, and I haven't quite got the hang of using this blog as a publicity tool.

Anyway, the point is that my headspace has been taken up with preparing for those classes and they have nudged nearly everything else out if the way. I definitely enjoyed the classes, but was also glad when they were over, as it's usually the time leading up to them that I find the hardest. I probably need to train myself to only think about them a day or two in advance, thereby shortening my anxiety and preparation time.

Next up, after one more UC creative writing class, I have the session I am chairing at the Christchurch Writers Festival, so I am still reading around that, but at least that's the kind of prep I can do while lying in bed at night.

I saw a writer friend in the weekend who will also be at the festival. He said that he had been asked to be on my panel about blogging but had turned it down. I pondered aloud as to why he would be on the panel when he doesn't have a blog and he said "because I hate blogs". Which seems to me to be the most pointless reason to have someone on a panel about blogging. It would be like having someone who hates crime fiction on a panel about crime fiction. Presumably if you hate crime fiction, you don't read it. Presumably if you hate blogs, you don't read them, so what could you possibly have to add to the conversation? Sure, it's good to have someone to play devil's advocate and ask the hard questions, but surely that is the job of the chairperson?

My reaction to people who say they hate blogs is to simply suggest they don't read them. It's like any medium - there is good stuff and there is bad stuff. Just because there are a lot of bad magzines out there, I wouldn't say "I hate magazines" and write them all off.

But maybe this friend hates them on principle because he is a columnist and he makes his livelihood this way. Blogging to columnists probably looks a lot like reality TV does to writers and actors of legitimate drama. There is so much crap out there, and people wanting to get their 15 minutes of fame without getting paid for it, that it devalues the genuine talent of people who need to make a living in the print media. But I think it is wrong to write the whole medium off.

And I guess to hear more about my thoughts on why, you'll have to come to the session at the Press Christchurch Writers Festival*.

*Maybe I'm getting the hang of this promotion thing.


The Paradoxical Cat said...

Would still rather read your blog than most print columns, Rachael!

Looking forward to the Christchurch Festival, and the Blog forum.

Rachael King said...

Thanks PC, nice of you to say. maybe I should try and score a gig as a columnist, then I'd get paid! Except then the ideas would dry up and it would become a source of anxiety. On reflection, a blog is much more my style! I love the casual nature of it.

Mary McCallum said...

Yep, me too, the casualness and the randomness - the way people fall on a blog from out of the air... I have a regular who drops into O Audacious Book from Finland... explain that? And the wonderful stuff that coheres around a chance post, like the one I wrote on literary crushes and the comments I got from such luminaries such as Denis Welch and Paradoxical Cat that have added to my understanding of one of my crushes, Sylvia Plath. Priceless (as they say on the ad.)

Counterpointer said...

Just getting the hang of promotion? C'mon... that 90s decade can't be painted out like the vanishing commissar.

Have just had a Thoreau week, but on Hoxie Pond, not Walden. Much especial. Needed. Got.

I've got an entry for your please-ban words. How about "facilitate" joins the list?


Anonymous said...

Yes, people who diss blogs wholesale haven't actually had a looked recently. On the one hand, the freedom for anyone to start a blog and make of it what they will is one of the joys. On the other hand the lack of quality control, as it were, means I think that readers stick to paths and people they know.

I have a phrase, 'the meusli-eating blog', which expresses the kind of blog I'm not interested in writing or reading: the ones about lost cats, or rows with the garage, or breakfast. I don't want to read other people's ordinary lives, generally speaking, and I assume no one would want to read mine.

I can see why a columnist might feel threatened, though. I definitely think of my blog as a column, and I write my posts in that spirit but with all the possibilities of links, comments, references, previous columns to hand, and so on, which are much harder to do in print.

Rachael King said...

You're right, Emma, about the interactive nature of a blog. I guess if you write a newspaper column, people can write letters to the editor agreeing or disagreeing with you, but it all seems a bit slow in this accelerated world!

Roger Morris said...

Hi Rachael, thanks for letting me know about the review in the Listener. I've just got back from holiday, which is why I haven't been blogging - or doing anything that involved a computer. Good luck with all your commitments. You sound scarily busy. I manage to neglect my blog with a fraction of your life load!