There’s something in the human psyche that makes us want to be liked, heeded, admired, listened to, acknowledged and patted on the back now and then. That applies every bit as much to blogging as to any other facet of life.
Although I’ve been writing all sorts of stuff for more years than I can count, I’m a comparative newcomer on the blogging scene. It’s been a steep learning curve and I don’t need to be told that I’ve still quite a way to go.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t see myself as a crusader, or a righter of wrongs striding forth to conquer the wonderful world of the World Wide Web. On the other hand I don’t see myself as a kind of modern Don Quixote either – even if I am more than ready to have a tilt at the odd windmill or two.
A couple of times every week I plonk myself down in front of the blank unforgiving screen of my laptop, flex my fingers and begin to type. I’m not overly concerned about writers’ block either as I’ve usually taken my Border Collie Sparky for an early-morning hike in the woods to take in some fresh air and, hopefully, come up with a topic for my next blog.
I’m a writer, so it follows that the majority of my musings are about readers and writers, and books and publishing, with the occasional piece about films, or television, or human nature thrown into the mix. The point is I’m never too sure what’s going to appear on my screen until I’ve completed that walk.
Once I begin typing I generally keep my head down and crack on with it. I’ll complete between six and seven-hundred words on average in perhaps half an hour or so. If I can manage it I try not to stop for anything. Nip, my wife and Girl Friday, is well used to my little eccentricities and is good about diverting callers and answering the telephone while the muse is on me. Sparky, content after his walk, will curl up in his accustomed spot under my desk.
Sometimes a particular blog seems scarcely to ripple the surface of the big world the other side of my window. A few ticks in the box and the occasional little comment from friends and regular readers. As often as not my little masterpieces go unheralded and unsung, almost as though they had never been. It matters not – they were fun to write and I enjoyed it.
Now and then, however, something I write strikes a chord with a reader and they are stirred sufficiently to drop me a line. As any writer will tell you, it warms the heart to receive such notes. At least it gives the lie to the feeling that nobody out there gives a darn. The bloggers among you will understand what I mean.
My last offering was about the future of books and where the industry was heading. This affects us all, whether we read, write, or couldn’t care less. Within twenty minutes I had two responses. The first, from Larry Lennhoff, made me smile understandingly. He described himself as a hoarder and scavenger of books.
He stubbornly refuses to buy any e-book if he already has a hardback or softback copy – and he has a lot of copies. He uses his public library and will often buy items when it periodically holds sales of old books. “Space is becoming an issue,” he laughs, “but I can always throw out furniture, pets, children etc., if I have to.”
Jane Carroll wrote appreciatively about my little article. “I’m not sure what will happen to print books,” she said, “but just as with the sundials of yesteryear, future generations might not mind so much.”
I don’t know if you write Jane – but with a turn of phrase like that you certainly ought to. “Sundials of yesteryear” – I love it.