by Barbara D'Amato
I’ve learned respect for columnists. Wow! Serious respect for columnists! We have seven bloggers in The Outfit, and there is a new blog every other day, which means each of us is up to bat once every two weeks. I can hardly imagine writing a column once a week, much less having a daily column. I salute all who can do it.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. Being forced to spell out how I feel about a current event or a long-term issue brings me face-to-face with myself.
Quite frequently I blog about issues I am of two minds about—pornography, or the drug laws, for example. Sometimes this helps resolve my thinking. The responses help, too, and they are always interesting. I learn a lot from them.
Before I started blogging–at Libby’s request–I’d heard both positive and negatives takes on it.
“It’ll take time from your writing.” Well, so does dinner.
“There are too many blogs.” Sure. I’ve also heard many times that there are too many books. I was a judge for the Mystery Writers of America 2006 Best Novel Award. We received approximately 550 books. Yup—five hundred and fifty. These are books published for the first time in calendar 2006, in English, not including first novels and paperback originals, which go to different committees. So there are lots of books and lots of blogs in the world. There are several blogs I dip into. To me the many offerings mean lots of richness.
“Blogs don’t sell books.” People say this to writers who participate in blogging, assuming they do it just to sell books. Well, yes, we all hope. And who knows whether blogs help? I don’t know. But I’ve gone farther for less and meanwhile this is fun.
And that’s the bottom line. The fun of it. The best part has been getting to know my blogmates. I had known Sara, Libby, and Michael for years and had read all their books, but this blog business is different. You “meet” a person by reading his or her books, of course, but a book is a specific, constructed, enclosed piece. I’ve been delighted to see their range of ideas and reactions to current events as we’ve blogged along. And Kevin, Sean, and Marcus, whom I did not know before this, have quite truly enriched my life. They are all over the lot, in the best way—always smart, surprising and always expanding my awareness of things.
If I had one piece of advice to give other bloggers, it’s don’t blog alone. This team is great. Blogging alone must be like trying to square-dance by yourself.