Friday, November 11, 2011

Headlining at Haverfordwest

'Isn't it your gig tomorrow?' a friend asked me this morning. Sort of, I hesitated, though not sure I'd call it a gig - it's more of a talk at the local library. 'That's a gig in my book - what time are you on?' About six pm, I told him. 'So you're headlining!' he replied.

Another writer friend told me she'd been developing her 'writer's cv'. I should do one she said, and put my talk on it too. At first, I resisted, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea - if only as a way of taking stock, and deciding what next? There was more to include than perhaps I'd realised.

I've been writing seriously for ten years and somewhere on my computer, there are hundreds of thousands of words, each of them considered, read aloud, revisited, re-read, re-drafted... I've all but finished my degree; I've had articles published here and there, and I've a book coming out next year. But it's my blog that I always put first when people ask, what is it you write? And it's blogging that I'm passionate about as a means for writers to find an audience - so that's what I'm going to talk about on Friday.

Earlier this week, I wrote comments on laidbackviews and mind and language, about the potential for electronic publishing - and the word I used was 'democratising'. I'm chuffed to bits that someone wants to publish me in a 'proper' book (sorry to keep going on about that) but I'm aware of how lucky I've been, and how many excellent writers never get that chance. The great thing about blogs is that they can work for supposedly real writers as well as those who want to have fun.

I put the word real in italics because I believe that we can all be real writers. It isn't about the audience, or being published in print, or completing a proper novel; it's about one thing - care in the words. No matter what we write, be that about family or politics or instruction manuals for tanks, if we care about the words, we are writers. And I don't see why a well-crafted blogs shouldn't be as highly regarded as, say, magazines and newspapers - or books for that matter.

But I also said that blogs should work for those who just want to have fun. (Didn't Cyndi Lauper sing something like that... bloggers, just want to have fun... okay, bad joke.). Having fun with words and pictures is fine, and it may be that some of those who come to my talk this evening want to do just that. I'd encourage them, because, in the way that doodles can lead to great paintings, it just might be that some of them, given a little time, will start caring about the words too. That explains, when I agreed to do the talk, why I suggested it include a reading and not be a technical lecture on how to set up a blog.

So far, this post has been a slight deviation from my self imposed theme of nature during November's nablpomo - but to give it a tangential connection, I was re-reading James Lovelock's The Revenge of Gaia the other day. And in it he argued that the Internet, electronic publishing, and by implication blogs too, are part of a greener future. Virtual entertainment and learning, he claims, cause minimal impact on the environment compared to physical alternatives. So I suppose next time I'm 'headlining' it ought to be on the web, and then there'd be more than the good folk of Haverfordwest who'd get to hear about the bike shed - but in your case, of course, you've already found it.

P.S. If you'd like to hear me talk and read from my blog and forthcoming book, I'm 'headlining'at Haverfordwest Library (Dew Street, 01437 775244) tonight at 6.00pm.


  1. Total agree. Blog writing is as much a discipline and craft when it is done well as poetry. Wish I could make it up / over to see you.

  2. Good luck Mark, I'm sure it'll go well :)

    I'm not sure how true Lovelock's statement is - how much power is needed for all those unseen servers etc we depend on? Though having said that I have found a local businessman who says his website is solar powered.

    We're more than a third of the way through now - hurrah!

  3. Your talk would have been a good reason to come to Haverfordwest...and, to continue from Zoe's comment...just how many badly written books are published in the conventional way.

  4. Hope the talk goes well, Mark, and your words inspire some new bloggers. By your definition I'm amazed to find I'm a real writer, as I care very much indeed about the words I use and the way I use them. That's just made my day!

  5. Hope it went well Mark, what a great idea to do it.

  6. Hope you had a lively audience. I love the idea of democratising publishing but worry a bit about whether to self publish is self indulgent. I have seen some horrors! Then again there is plenty of stuff published the conventional way which makes my toes curl. I suppose it is a confidence thing. I just want someone to tell me I am not fooling myself probably.

  7. It is quite true that most people use blogs as a way of having fun rather than using them to nature their writing talent. Due to this reason, the potential of blogging remains untapped by many writers yet blogs not only help up coming writers to improve their writing skills, but also offer adequate practice to professional writers that helps them to keep on writing good articles.