The session took place in the President's Dining Room of the student center, the very nice big room where I made the decision to start blogging.**
The class was an hour long. People introduced themselves, said why they'd come. Some blog now, some were being asked to blog, some were just curious. I didn’t jot down the job titles but I remember a webmaster for a nonprofit, a teacher, a healthcare publication editor, a social worker I’ve met before, a woman who wants to blog in Senegal, and one who’s waiting for a liver transplant. Two-thirds of the students in the MFA program came to the elective class, along with some faculty (I saw poet Dzvinia Orlowsky and biographer/historian/Guggenheim-awardee Randall Kenan) -- some measure of interest in blogging at the MFA level.
Here's the 20-slide presentation <Download Blogging.pdf>, "Blogging for Creative Writers". Included are detailed results of the "Advice from other bloggers" survey that I ran here. Many thanks to the 35 who posted comments. Your names and websites are on a page of your own in the presentation.
And here’s a summary of your responses:
1. Has blogging improved your writing?
Most said yes, some said no on grounds that writing for blogs is different from their real writing. Two asked readers to judge for themselves.
2. How long, on average, does a good post take?
From five minutes to several days, with most saying between 30 minutes and an hour. At the very quick end are the little bits of info people drop on their blogs, usually with links to something else. A couple of responders are professional bloggers; one is a genealogist who has dozens of posts in preparation, pending extensive research. One said: “From beginning to end.”
3. One unusual thing that’s come from blogging
Many have reconnected with old friends; several have gotten work; one has had work that began as posts published...and a number have become addicted (not me, of course).
4. Advice to new bloggers
Many said keep it short; many said link to others; and a few said be warned: It will take over your life.
**In 2005, I was a student in the first Solstice Summer Writers Workshop. Dennis Lehane, Roland Merullo, Manette Ansay, Terrance Hays, and a few others were discussing the boundary between fiction and non-fiction.
The only one in the room with a laptop, I felt pretty conspicuous and took notes anyway. Within a day or so, I posted my very first blog entries. For the record, that week at Solstice shot adrenaline into my writing; I had a usable draft of a novel by the following Spring.