Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Things that are not writing

Blogging is a kind of writing, but I can't really consider it a productive kind of writing. Perhaps a way to work out questions and issues before they go into the narrative. In which case I beg your pardon, Gentle and Hypothetical Reader, for talking to myself in front of you.
Research is not writing, but for me it's a necessary, even vital, prelude to writing. I can't make something up out of whole cloth. I have to have a strong idea what is possible within a particular setting, and I can't know that without research.
Critiquing is not writing, but it may improve one's writing skills, simply because it's much easier to see an error in someone else's work. Then one asks 'Am I doing that too?' The struggle to express an opinion or make a suggestion in a manner both clear and kind is a useful exercise in itself.

The risk with any of these is that they become valuable in themselves, and eat time. Writing time must already be squeezed in here and there between paid work, travelling to and fro, housework, time with family and friends. Every activity that chips away at writing time is a risk.
So it's the old weighing of risks and benefits thing. Keeping up with my online friends, particularly those who are also writers, is important to me and helps me keep my perspective.
Reading Fandom_Wank, on the other hand, is hard to justify on any basis other than snarky entertainment. For a while I read FW after every phone conversation I had with a particular friend, just to cleanse the choked-up snarkiness from my system.

I'm weighing the risks-and-benefits of having a website while being unpublished, you see, and this is me dancing around the question. It would make for something a Hypothetical Agent could look at, which is both a risk and a benefit, ratio depending on the lameness level of the website. Maintaining a website (and they're no more useful unmaintained than they are 'under construction') is another thing that chips away at writing time: a definite risk.
Partly I feel that my setting up a website, as if I were some sort of real writer, is the sort of hubris that merits lightning bolts or divine humiliation in short order.
Then there's registering a domain name. Common wisdom is to register one's own name or writing name. Common wisdom is not named after a popular comic-book heroine, though. I'm sufficiently fussed about that aspect that I've considered choosing a pen-name, even though I quite like my real name and it's at a convenient part of the alphabet, not likely to be shelved close to the floor and inaccessible save to the young and limber. Part of the fear may be due to the trauma of grade 7, when I was greeted regularly by my classmates with a chorus of daduh-daduh-daduh-daduh-BATGIRL!

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