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Blogging (for beginners)

20 November 2012

Fair warning: this is actually a post about writing… kind of. I know there hasn’t been one in a while; if you’d rather hear me ramble about movie remakes and helicopters, check the archives.

So, I got an email at my old-as-dirt email address — you know, that one we all have that only gets messages from our grandparents and deposed Nigerian princes. This particular message was spam, of course, but the subject heading interested me: Learn To Blog! Make $Money! (It was actually phrased like that, as if $Money was an amount we’re all used to seeing).

It wasn’t the make money part that I found funny — every spam email is either about money or sex. But learning to blog? That’s kind of hilarious.

One doesn’t learn how to blog. There’s no class where you and 25 other people sit down and learn the fundamentals of blogging. You figure that shit out on your own. Teaching someone to blog in an organized manner only makes for boring, assembly-line blog entries that are about as much fun to read as the Nutrition Information panel on the side of a box of crackers.

It’s the same issue I have with a post-graduate program in creative writing. To be clear — I have no problem teaching the mechanics of writing. I have no problem teaching appreciation for literature. But teaching someone how to be creative? That seems wrong to me, simply because there’s no one way. There are infinite ways to be creative, infinite ways to write the story you want to write. The more structure you put on a person who wants to write (do an outline! make up character bios! show don’t tell!), the less creative you’re encouraging that person to be.

Figure it out. Make mistakes. Learn by doing, by trying a bunch of stuff until you figure out what you like, until you know how you work.

There. That’s my advice for the day. You owe me three $Moneys.

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