Blog Fast, Me Slow
2 March 2009
From “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” 12/3/08, special guest Arianna Huffington, founder of the popular (liberal) blog The HuffPost:
AH: You know 50,000 blogs are started every day.
JS: You make it sound like a sexually transmitted disease.
AH: Well, no, it’s a lot more fun.
Arianna Huffington has edited a new “complete guide” to blogging. Here’s some of what she has to say about the essence of blogging:
First thoughts, best thoughts. Don’t overthink it… It’s like a first draft.
Blogging is not about perfectionism, it’s about intimacy, immediacy, transparency, and sharing your thoughts the way you would share it with a friend.
AH: I’ll bet you have more thoughts than what you use on the show.
JS: But why should I give people the drek? Shouldn’t I try to focus it and make it as good as I can… my “other thoughts,” there’s a reeeaason I haven’t put them on the show.
I love Jon Stewart.
The literary writer is slow. The literary writer labors over words. Don’t overthink it? Uy yuy yuy. It’s like a first draft?
Anyone who knows Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird knows about the shitty first draft. The shitty first draft is what we accept as “first thoughts,” how we resist letting perfectionism prevent us from getting the ideas down. But the thing about the shitty first draft — the essence of the shitty first draft — is that no one ever sees it. For the literary writer, first thoughts are rarely best thoughts.*
As Arianna Huffington has aptly recognized, the ascendance of the blog represents the ascendance of the immediate. In buying in to this appetite for the now, I hope we don’t end up ultimately dumbing down our readerly expectations, not to mention intellectual capacity. I myself have had a heck of a time getting through The Brothers Karamazov, and I can’t help wondering how much all this instant verbage (both reading it and writing it) is altering my brain.
Any literary writers out there who also blog, your thoughts on this most welcome.
*I never publish first drafts on this blog. I rarely even send first-draft emails.