self-centered blogs

Earlier today, I was revising an interview I did with Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House Press, which will hopefully soon appear on New Pages. One of the things that struck me was a comment he made on blogs–how few blogs actually are worth visiting because they tend to be too self-centered. He wants to see blogs that make true literary contributions–commentaries on culture or literature–but too many of them are really just about the author’s life. Even if they start out well, they devolve rapidly. Of course, my own blog falls into the category of blogs he condemns, and sometimes I feel bad about that. I wonder if there’s a topic I could revolve around, like Cynthia Leititch Smith, whose blog is truly a resource for those interested in children’s and y.a. literature. But my problem, a truly writer’s problem, is that I’m interested in so many different things–one day, AIDS in Africa; another day, the problems with publishing; yet another day, violence or religion or truly local news or even homeless kids (see today’s earlier post)–and I would get bored if I was limited to one topic. And I also don’t limit my reading or my writing to one genre, to y.a. or to adult nonfiction or to history, nor would I want to limit myself just to become an expert (although I understand perfectly why people do it, I guess I just like being a jack of all trades, master of none, a.k.a. renaissance woman). So maybe I should do something about this and maybe I shouldn’t.

In earlier eras, many people kept diaries in which they recorded the minutiae of their day, Samuel Pepys being the most famous example. The blog is just the modern-day version, I guess.

Comments 6

  1. Nanda

    Not that I’m a great literati or anything, but I like self-centered blogs. I like to know what people are thinking and what’s going on in their personal life. Blogs are great for that.

  2. Aja

    I think that blogs, like any other form of expression, aren’t just one thing. There are personal blogs, professional blogs, literary blogs, environmental blogs, etc. etc.

    Asking why blogs aren’t doing this thing or that thing is almost seems like asking “why aren’t there more books about dogs?” or “why aren’t there more songs about airplanes?” There are plenty of books about dogs and songs about airplanes (or maybe not, what do I know?), and plenty that aren’t about that at all; it’s just a matter of finding them. And once you do, why condemn the ones that aren’t?

    Also, I agree with Nanda. I like reading the self-centered ones sometimes. I’d rather read about the minutiae of someone else’s life than languishing in the minutiae of my own.

  3. Jess

    Well, I guess I’m at fault for some of the confusion–he’s talking specifically about literary blogs. And I guess he’s not talking about author’s blogs, which are inherently personal AND professional.

  4. Tabitha

    It seems to me that I read the literary blog of an author because I’m interested in WHO they are. I already read their books, so they don’t have to just put their fiction or something like that on their blog…my very unprofessional 2 cents.

  5. Jonathan

    It’s just a matter of target audience. The target audience of this blog is people who know you personally. If you want a different audience to read this blog, you’ll have to change it. If you’ve got what you want, don’t change it.

  6. Terena

    It’s all about balance, I think. I like blogs that are “self-centered” which also teach me something new, or reveal something interesting about the writer. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I find I am drawn to the ones that are more personal. The blogs that speak from the heart. You can tell which blogs are written with ranking in mind. So many just regurgitate someone else’s ideas or a newsworthy article from another website and you never get an idea of who the person creating the blog is. “Expert blogs” are boring! Give me some whining, some worrying, some creative ideas straigth from the heart. That’s good writing.

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