Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'll Take A Pass On Arianna Huffington אוותר על אריאנה האפינגטון

Aspiring blogger that I am, thanks to the eagle eye of my neighbor, Sara Cohen, my attention was drawn to this review of a book on blogging by Arianna Huffington, editor of the Huffington Post. Perfect, I thought. Exactly what I’m looking for ― until I read this advice from the book quoted in the review:

“Focus on one or two issues and try to specialize in them…write often…don't waste time perfecting the text because the main thing is to publish…write the way you would speak…write succinctly…provide links to other blogs…get to know your audience, and…latch on to a certain issue and…don't let go of it.”

My talkback encapsulates what I think of her advice not to “waste time” perfecting your text.
As someone who has a love of language and appreciates well-written and -edited text, I have a huge problem with not “wasting time” perfecting it. If you want to read gigabytes of unedited drivel written “the way you would speak”, just open up MySpace or similar, and take your pick of blogs that recount the boozy adventures of twenty-somethings along the lines of, “Went out to Joes B&G last nite with Nicole, Ashly, Jason, and too other guys. Took Jasons car cause mines in the shop after the aksident (LOL*)”.

In contrast, I can appreciate reading even a point of view that is repugnant to me if it is well-written, and I don’t just mean engaging: I’m specifically referring to the mechanics of the writing. Two of the best-written publications I’ve ever read are Mad magazine (not kidding here -- there’s neither a typo nor an English error to be found therein) and the Land’s End Catalog. I actually read the latter for pleasure, that’s how good the writing is. For those of us who care, good writing is like a clean diner: You only notice when it’s not.

While I agree with the advice to link to others’ blogs, I do have a problem with what I call over-linking. Not everything a blogger mentions has to be linked; if it is I start to feel like I’m reading Wikipedia. I restrict my links to references to others’ writing that a standard search wouldn’t yield. If you’re not familiar with Mad or Land’s End, for example, I’ve put them in proper italics for you, thereby clueing you in to the fact that if you perform a standard search, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself therewith.

So, even though I’ve been excused by doing so by the likes of Arianna Huffington (who by the way needs to read my post on not changing one’s surname to that of one’s spouse), I shall continue to perfect my posts, editing them as many times as it takes in order to tell the world what I have to say and invite the world to talk back.

*Pet Peeve: “LOL” used when the writer actually means “ha-ha”.


  1. I consider blogging to be largely a reward unto itself. Granted, a select few are savvy enough to eke out a living doing this, but for a good many of us, it's the opportunity to share - the creative outlet - that's the primary draw. So, if drafting articles with attentiveness and care for your blog is what feels right - and it certainly does for me - then that's what you should do. I hope that my writing finds an audience from time to time, but I've got to make myself happy with a blog post first and foremost.

    That being said, it's an odd paradox that often it's the blog entries you're most proud of - articles you poured your heart into or took the most time wording just so and matching the perfect image to suit the text - are the very ones that seem to go by largely unnoticed yet some fluff piece that you threw together fairly quickly will garner a dozen comments.

  2. I so agree with you about this whole issue. What drives me crazy about the blogosphere is the idea that all writing is of equal value and we'd better read, read, read it all. That's why I am dismayed at the death of newspapers that's happening in tandem with the rise of the Internet. I'd much rather read one well-edited paper, where great minds chose the topics and great editors honed the sentences, than page after page of unedited drivel linking me to more unedited drivel. I know that makes me sound old - I am! But as Miss Marion sang in The Music Man: "I have my standards where men are concerned." Except for "men" substitute "writing."

  3. Bless you both, Lenore and Rob. I echo Miss Marion. Thank you for commenting and validating. If either of you know how to link inside a comment, please let me know!