On blogging about nothing

One of my favourite children’s authors, Diana Wynne Jones, wrote a book in which one of the characters (Quentin) has an arrangement in place to cure his writers’ block:

What I had to do, he said, was to promise to send him every three months two thousand words of any old thing that came into my head … I always write really idiotic things that nobody would want to publish … last year I sent Mountjoy a solemn discussion about what to do if rabbits suddenly started eating meat. This time it was about old ladies rioting in Corn Street.*

This book was first published in 1984, a time before blogging. To me, this regular imperative to write something, anything, has strong resonance with blogging. I wonder how this fictional character would be different had blogging been available to him and his author. Would it have been enough for him to have had a blog? Would a self-imposed deadline have been enough to get his keyboard clattering? The character, stuck in a world before online publishing, assumes that his random creations would not merit the expense of publishing and so wouldn’t be worth putting before an audience, but I think these days many people subscribe to blogs which discuss exactly that kind of bizarre topics. Doesn’t his material seem rather tempting, from that snippet? Wouldn’t his blog offer novelty and escapism, qualities prized in the online communities?

Of course, no matter what the benefits, there’s one thing you just can’t blog without and Diana Wynne-Jones premonitorily covered that in her author’s note:

“All power corrupts, but we need electricity”**

*D. Wynne Jones, Archer’s Goon, HarperCollins, London, 2000, p. 30-31.

**ibid., p. [8]

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 thoughts on “On blogging about nothing

  1. Liz at Libro says:

    Ahhh … we do like DWJ. Mind you, I have had an author suggested to me who is apparently AS GOOD AS DWJ. However, i do not recall who this is, making this the most pointless blog post comment ever …

  2. onahorse says:

    Uncanny. I’ve been wondering about that myself recently – I’ve been blogging for over a decade (elsewhere – I set up my WordPress blog purely as a place to contain my obsessed ramblings!), and although just in this last week I started to feel as though I’d run out of steam with it, I can relate to a feeling that words have to come out and go somewhere, even if they don’t necessarily mean or relate to very much.

    I have to conclude, though, that your writing about writing about nothing (oooh, how meta) has been one of the most interesting blog posts I’ve read in some time. Heh.

    • Sparrowgrass says:

      Interesting … where does your other blog live? I’d like to drop by and take a look.

      From time to time I toy with the idea of separating out horse and non-horse blogging but as I don’t do much of either at the moment it doesn’t seem worth it. I suspect that over time this will become more and more a horse blog until one day I’ll forget that isn’t how it started.

      A friend once told me “Horses don’t eat hay, they eat money”. I suspect they’re a bit partial to blogs too.

      • Liz at Libro says:

        Nothing wrong with your blog changing over time. My personal one started out being about my journey into full-time self-employment but is now more about book reviews, my research project and my e-book. All I had to do was mess around with my “About” page a bit and now all is clear!

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