Writing Against The Grain

by | Nov 8, 2010

Portland writer Donald Miller, author of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is actively using social media channels to promote his work. But he’s considering quitting his blog in order to concentrate on writing more books.

Miller also notes how the instant publishing format is changing the literary landscape.

There may never be another John Steinbeck, because the next Steinbeck won’t be able to sell enough books to pay for a year or two of writing the next book. He’ll need to speak, and in order to speak he will have to hire an accountant and a travel agent because God knows his creative mind can’t manage a checkbook or get to Detroit by Thursday. And then he’ll be treading water, not honing his craft. And he will never become the next John Steinbeck.

I also recently came across a 2009 essay by Lauren Kessler, the head of the literary nonfiction program at University of Oregon’s Journalism School.

Kessler isn’t wild about filling content holes on blogs. This is why:

It is a burden to produce posts that enhance – or at least don’t scuttle – your reputation as a writer, a burden to produce posts you won’t regret, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day and for the rest of your life.

Personally, I don’t like the concept that blogs aren’t for “real writers.” In my view one of the things real writers do is adapt to the needs of the medium they’re working in. As someone who has written several thousand blog posts, I don’t feel that my reputation as a writer is diminished. Of course, I’m not an academic, nor an author. I might see things differently if I were.