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03 June 2006


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John Baker

Interesting thoughts. I'm sure you're right that the most important thing is to do the job well. There really is no other good reason for doing it.
I think it was Arthur Miller who insisted that one should carry on whatever the world seemed to think about your work.
The full quotation goes something like this: "Criticism hurt me when I had failures. I thought: I'll never write another play: But I'm an alligator. Only the alligators remain. The others get out of the water."


I had never before heard of 9rules -don't think it will make a dent in my viewing!

I take photos because I love taking photos I love learning more about photography, light, computer graphics. I write my thoughts because I love writing. Yes I like affirmation! but affirmation is not enough - I have to sense I have done my best.
My last job taught me that criticism or affirmation has nothing at all to do with whether you are suceeding or failing only with someones opinion (they may or may not know what they are talking about... ;-)

Curt Stump

I think many people create (art or writing) because they enjoy being creative. Or they are simply letting something work through them that seems overpowering. But what to do with the creative artifacts once they're created?

With blogging, and the Internet in general, one need only put the art/writing into digital form and zap it online. There is no need for a basement to store a mountain of unsold artwork for example. That's the good side of blogging. Once it's out there it's done, and there's no clutter to sell at a future yard sale.

But the question you touch on about our expectations regarding blogging is a very good one. It's something I've been struggling with lately (I've only been blogging 5 months and am really wondering whether the time spent is worth it). I take the time to write well and display high quality art and photography on my site. But more importantly, I don't try very hard to drive traffic to my blog. And without my conscious efforts to drive traffic, I am beginning to recognize that the blog is doomed.

My main satisfaction with blogging, however, is that it allows me to combine photography and writing more easily than in a traditional (paper) journal. In other words it's an effective tool for creative expression. However, I've reduced my expectations for readership greatly since I started blogging, simply because I don't spend the time required to find readers.

Also, as a reader of blogs, I've whittled down to a few blogs that I enjoy reading consistently. And you made that list, so don't worry about 9rules too much.


I go through these twitches sometimes, that I should do something different, to get more readers, or more 'hits', or to get into this or that directory or 'community' -- but in truth, my energy is too limited to be fretting about that. By choice or necessity, I must do what I like, and not much more.

And that doesn't seem like such a bad idea, really -- especially given the quality of my readership. I could not wish for better.

Mary Scriver

It does seem as though we're living in a time when the "role" of artist or writer is changing so much that it's hard to know how to relate to others, whether readers or viewers. The actual mechanisms have changed a lot -- online galleries, ebooks, and all the other electronic paraphenalia, but also the definition of what an artist or writer should be.

When I was very small -- early grade school -- I tried to so hard to be a good girl. But then it turned out that obedience, good grades at school, keeping my hair combed, etc. was NOT enough to make me a good girl. I got disgusted and was not a bad girl, but a rebellious girl and a competitive girl, which had not been good earlier. When I was 21 and fell in love, I fell so hard I've never recovered, but he changed (aging) and it became harder and harder to be a good wife until I gave up. But I didn't stop loving him which others said was very bad -- I was co-dependent.

So a writer, maybe a poet, someone inspired and in touch with the universe. But then it changed to someone who spills their guts. But then it changed to being gently humorous and entirely original. No one can be ALL of that. A good writer is one who is vivid, one who is "pitch perfect," one who never uses adverbs, one who SELLS. Yeah?

It's like the marriage. I decided that if the criteria were going to keep moving all the time, then they must be out of my control, mysteriously produced by that swarm of people always watching and commenting. So the hell with them.

I'm going back to loving what I love and following that thread that begins in my heart. Anyway, I'm too old to change much now. So I'll just go with what I've got and the critics can do their thing without me. It seems to improve the writing.

But I sort of miss being a reclusive brilliant person with a nurturing agent and a dignified pubisher. I had thought that was real.

Prairie Mary


I loved your post. I empathise so much with what you say, and with one of the comments above that talks about wanting to be a good girl. It's entirely natural to want recognition for the things we put heart and soul into. But the best person to give that recognition is always ourselves. I say this without being able to do it with any consistency, but I know it to be true. There was a lovely quote about writing, too, that I repeat like a mantra to myself: 'It is better to write for yourself and have no public, that to write for the public and have no self.'

Become a Consultant >> Andrea

I think this is the most thoughtful post I've read in the group project so far. No sound and fury here. Even the comments are really well thought out.

I often ask myself if I've made a valuable contribution. I guess I started my blog for that purpose. But it's important to remember we are whole people and not the sum of our public parts.

Jennie Rosenbaum

I completely agree with your points on creation it is like something is trying to get out - sometimes I fear it is bigger than me but its bliss when it evolves on paper or canvas!


Very deep and interesting comments.
Having bad "artists" published is unfortunately very common and probably happens more and more often.
When I was a kid I was really confused with some French singer (Daniel Balavoine, for reference) who said in one of his songs that to love is stronger than to be loved; an idea I couldn't get my head round, as a child... But it stuck in my head and now I believe this concept is actually more global: to give is stronger than to be given.

Razib Ahmed

"Some folks probably do have the recognition itself as the goal -- to be famous, or published, or to win some particular award, or make (some specific) lots of money. At least then you know when you've done it, unlike some more amorphous, moving targets. But I do think that doing something well, and being recognized for doing something well, are different goals that require differing -- not necessarily, but sometimes, anithetical strategies; so it's important to know for which one is aiming."
Very well said. Many of us often forget this reality. As for me, I like to have a balance between doing something well and getting recognition for doing something well. I do not want to go one way extreme and instead have both of them- 90% doing something well and 10% recognition.

John B.

Emerson, "Self-Reliance": "But do your thing, and I shall know you."


I really felt what Elizabeth West had to say. Writing is among my first and biggest passions. Blogging (although I really do love it) has become a job. The way that I've actually been able to build a second income from it has been to treat it like a business. That means sometimes doing hard work that I don't feel like doing. Great post.

Jarkko Aho

You have already succeeded. I have read every submission in this group writing project. Constantly short replies, pats to the back and cheers "great goals". Yeah, I've also done that, and many times I should add...

Here you have completely different atmosphere (I don't bother to double check my spelling or grammar) you get people to relax and open up more than I see on other blogs. This makes you a good writer, your words create emotions. From this day on, you will have at least one new reader, no matter if you are in network or not.


I am so blessed by my readers; in all my web browsing, I've rarely seen such exceptional, thoughtful, intelligent, and fun commenters as I find right here, at home.

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