Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Future imperfect

And following on from the anniversary post, here’s Andrew Sullivan on how blogging has changed (some) writing:
I do think that what it’s done with non-fiction is really destroy a particular process, which is a future-oriented process of writing, which is that you, the writer, sits down, thinks about something, has something to write, researches, polishes, edits; if he’s lucky he has someone who can read it and edit it, and then publishes it and it’s done... as you write your opinions on a blog, you are forced to acknowledge that you misunderstood something or made a mistake or have grown up a little bit.
So what it’s really done is to make writing more like speaking, where you don’t usually get a chance to edit, to polish. The above is a transcript from an interview with Sullivan, which explains the  unusual (for him) grammatical sloppiness. Is that where we’re heading?

6 comments:

Dave said...

I'm sorry, do some people just write and press 'publish' straight away? I only do that for comments.

My blog-posts involve thinking about things, deciding I want to write about it, do some research if I'm not fully expert in the subject, then write a post - and post-date if for a day or two (I currently have posts written for the next week - on Monday, for instance, I shall be writing about an Andrew Lloyd Webber song; on Tuesday the commercialisation of Christmas).

Over that week I will go back to the post, polish it, re-write if need be - even delete it if I now think it's rubbish.

Doesn't eveyone?

Donn Escapeons said...

It is the dawning of the Vernaculate conception. I try to write in a narative form that resembles my speech patterns and quirks..a blessing/curse laid upon us by filma nd TV writers who expect us to get hundreds of cultural references from the dominant cultures.
Anglysche has come a long way from being spoken by a few thousand Brits huddled in the moors whilst hiding from the bloody Vikings...who eventually intermarried and ended up donating some of their words.

Most of all I see the entire social networking trying to sort itself out. Now we have millions of individuals expressing themselves out here and our little brains are apparently programmed to handle Dunbar's 150. So our brains are changing to accomodate all of this superfluous information and trying to juggle far more data than we can handle.

Robert Swipe said...

I really think it will be up to future generations to wade through all this stuff with which we're currently cluttering up cyberspace in the (probably) vain pursuit of discovering anything that might resemble what we now refer to as literature. This is why I blog, I suppose - all other avenues to 'the big L' being barred to me.

When I say literature, what I mean is the attempt to document for posterity what it was like to be alive at the time you were. So by that yardstick, you could argue that all that's happened is that there's rather more literature around than there ever has been before. So, in response, we need either to become more discerning or - and this is perhaps the real challenge - less.

xxx
Bob

Tim Footman said...

I have been known to do the post-dating thing, Dave. But often that means I have a fistful of posts that get put back and back waiting for an appropriate launch date, or an otherwise fallow period, and I look at them three months later and think "who wrote this drivel?"

That's right, Donn. Blame the sodding Vikings.

Is it the job of literature to reflect current life for the benefit of future generations, Bob? I like the fact that 'posterity' is so close to 'posterior'.

tom said...

If any of our communications have a 'job', it may be like that of the Golden Record ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record ), an actual phonograph record shipped off into space along with the Voyager I spacecraft. Not only is it guaranteed to be meaningless to any creature anywhere in the universe, but you'd have trouble finding anyone in your neighborhood today with the proper technology to play it. You might as well write everything in Anglysche and not worry too much about who/when/where will come across it someday!

The militant working boy said...

I'm with Dave on this one.
When I am working on a post I always like to spend at least twelve hours in deep meditation before I begin writing. Then I will often go days, if not weeks, without food, water, sleep, human contact...
After hours of staring blankly at the screen, I will impulsively begin to froth and sweat uncontrollably as my fingers vigorously assault the keyboard. A friend who once approached me whilst I was writing claims that I began speaking in tongues and threw a potted plant at the wall.
During the editing process, my eyes often begin to bleed and I have been known to scream vicious, derogatory phrases at my computer.
Just because us bloggers can be published with a click of the mouse, doesn't mean we don't go through heaven and hell to get there.