“What are you writing?” The Passer says as she sees me tapping away at the keyboard.
“I’m doing a bit of blogging.” I say and pause in my typing. “I save it as a text document and upload it later.”
“What do you blog about?” She says as she moves in and peers at the screen.
“I’m writing a book review at the moment.” I say.
“You make any money doing that?” She says.
“Not much.” I say and laugh.
I started Assembly Line Portraits with the idea that I might wrap it all up one day into a Memoir and see if I could interest a Publisher in it. I was thinking maybe I could join the ranks of the Bloggers turned published Writers and lay down my camera remote for good. But the more I think about what I have written, the less likely I think this prospect is. Many bloggers would like to be published writers, but not too many end up doing it.
For one thing my story would need a better ending. I would need to end up working for Annie Leibovitz or running my own Studio or talking about my latest trip for National Geographic or how much I like being the President’s Official Photographer. The story of a loser who makes good is a fun book, the story of a loser who remains a loser is a little too close to what everyone is living already, so why would anyone want to read it?
But then I have only to think of Julie Powell, the poster child for Blogger Makes Good. Her Julie/Julia Project blog was a rambling bit of nonsense, but a good Editor turned it into the bestselling Julie & Julia. I don’t really want to be Julie Powell, she’s a little too insane even for my taste. But I have to wonder if a good editor could do something with my rambling prose.
A little while back I signed up to be a writer for Technorati. They want current events articles-review of new movies and new books, thoughts on the latest celebrity meltdown,and so on and so forth. The first few things I wrote were a little too long for them, so they were rejected. A couple of other things were not exactly current, so they were rejected. A couple were current enough, but they had a few nits to pick about my writing style and the form of my submissions-didn’t I read the Writer’s Guidelines? Well, sort of.
Having an Editor tell me to do this and do that is not something I have had to deal with in the wild and loose world of blogging, but the Editors have been right. I wasn’t following the guidelines for length and formatting. Now when I submit to them, I do follow the rules and I have been published without comment the last couple of times I submitted something.
Still, I do wonder how I will feel when an Editor tells me to do this, that, and the other thing with my hundred thousand word opus. I’m having a hard time deciding what to do with it myself. I’d like to think I’ll be willing to do whatever is asked of me-I still want to be published after all.
I’ve been talking about being a writing for a long time. I submitted my first short stories when I was in Middle School. Got my first typewriter not long after and soon filled my room with that wonderful machine gun sound of inked key hitting clean white paper. Writing follows a standard pattern. You bang out a rough draft which gets the gist of the story out. You re-write the rough draft into a second or third draft, correcting narrative problems and blocking the pieces out in the proper order. You then take that draft and do the nitty gritty work of perfecting grammar and making all those stylistic changes that make the work your own.
You can see a bit of this process at work if you watch Anthony Bourdian’s No Reservations. The first or second draft is the video of Tony wandering around with a blank look on his face as he is confronted with odd foods and sights and he is struggling to be polite. The Polished Prose in Tony’s snarky and witty Voice Over work where he makes all those brilliant comments he couldn’t think of on the spot.
Blogging is more about the First Draft. Well, mostly. For me anyway. Maybe a bit more like free-writing, where you just set a clock for five minutes and have at it. Keep the fingers moving as one book on writing put forth as the key to a successful writing career. I have read a lot of books on writing, but it has been a while since that last submission of any of my work. I’m sure there are plenty of people online I could ship my rough draft to and for a mere-oh say, $2000-they would tell me how brilliant it is. Thanks anyway.
So I am using a bit of my usual dead zone time from The Company to work on my rough draft. I am sifting the content, reordering the timeline, sorting out the many redundancies. It is slow going. I am occasionally amazed at the quality of the writing, occasionally amazed at the oddness of the typos and misspellings. It’s hard to skip over glaring errors, even during the shuffle of moving from one draft to the next where such things are not all that important.
I had hoped to be a bit farther along in the narrative process, but it has been a while since I tried my hand at this kind of writing. That whole story arc thing seems to be eluding me. So I will settle on finishing the simple re-ordering and keep working on the things I can get a handle on.