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The old me is scoffing right now.

Blogging cannot be publishing, she says. (Pay no attention to the big blue “Publish…” button in the corner of the screen.)

Publishing is slow, arduous, rife with rejection, and even isolating. Publishing as a process is the painful price we pay for any kind of recognition, for standing–no matter how tenuous–among the literary community.

Blogging, on the other hand is quick-and-dirty and easy, without the arbiters of literary merit (read: editors), upon whose opinions has been built the entire modern canon of literature–fiction short and long, poetry, memoir and etc.–worth reading.

Writers as their own editors? Old me scoffs, twice.

Right? Not right?

And so there you have the schism of my train of thought as I prepare to sit on a Literary Festival panel next month to talk about–you guessed it–publishing from the writer’s perspective.

Old me is wondering if they will offer me half a chair to sit in. Maybe I’ll sit under, rather than at, the table with published authors and the like. Really, though I kid, the question remains:

Is blogging publishing?

To old me, the me that did an MFA when online literary journals were only just becoming a thing and, certainly, story and poetry submissions, were still printed and mailed (as were the rejection slips), publishing must be painful. Remember Friday nights in a library carrel with the Writer’s Market? There was no blogging anywhere on the publishing horizon then.

Literary publishing was–and largely still is–a slow process. Submitting our pieces has gotten a little quicker and easier, but the work behind it is still slow: we read, we research, we write, we read about writing, we revise, edit, revise and edit again.

The act of becoming the writer I want to be always will be a slow and arduous–even painful–process; blogging won’t undercut that.

Old me scoffs at the idea that I am the arbiter of my own work here on this blog, something of a mini-magazine. I am my own gatekeeper. I get to say what has literary merit and doesn’t (my own writing included); I review the books I like; I interview the authors I like; I can present a Rust Belt food pie chart and wax poetic about pierogies. Plus, I’d like to think this fiction writer (me) has started to find her essayist’s voice, because she (me again) was allowed the agency and space–this very blog–to do so.

I love editors (here’s looking at you, WordPress arbiters–really, you guys are great!). I love literary journals and print journals and thank my stars several editors and I have agreed that their journals and my stories would be perfect together.

But publishing doesn’t have to be defined so narrowly. Does it, old me?

So, here I go, about to hit “Publish”–because I can–to connect with as many as 713 of you, my followers. Not too shabby an audience, admits old me.

Because I haven’t said it in a while, thank you, fellow bloggers. Thank you for sharing in this awesome, insightful, global community of readers and writers and–yes–publishers.

Did my argument sway you? (I’ll let you know if it swayed old me.) Provided I have the floor (or table) for a minute or two to extol the virtues of blogging-as-publishing, what should I add?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34 thoughts on “Blogging as Publishing: An Argument

  1. Good post! It drives me CRAZY when I want to submit something to a contest or literary magazine but can’t because it’s already been “published” on my blog. I can see both sides of the argument, but when it comes down to it, I could “publish” emojis and webdings if I wanted. Grrrrr……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up a REALLY good point, in that according to most literary journals, blog posting IS publishing. (Question is–and I’m no rule-breaker– how much do you have to change a piece before it’s different than the one you posted? Hmm.) It’s both freeing, because we get to get our work out there in the world, but stifling in that we can’t then submit it to journals. As far as my fiction, I’ve only posted what has already been published. I think of the blog as a good place to try new things (like essay-writing) and to post process stuff. Plus, one major plus of blogging (that I forgot to mention in my post) is that it’s a good way to build our “platforms” as writers. I kinda hate that word, but it’s true. Even if I don’t amass a million follows (really, a thousand would be nice!), hopefully an agent would see that I have things to say other than what can be found in one novel. Thanks for your post. So much to think about!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Very insightful. I have come to love having myself edited but it’s been a slow evolution. I prefer to have other views yet the idea of waiting for everything to be edited… sheesh that would try the patience on not just Job but the complete Bible..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! I’ve never once said, nope I liked that story better before editors looked at it. It is a slow process though; you’re right. I’ve had wonderful critique groups (both online and in person) over the years; and if you click and everyone’s on the same schedule, that can speed the process up. But, I think part of the reason blogging feels fresh and fun is that most posts are fresh and not crafted over months or years. There’s got to be a space for that in “publishing”–a more literary place than social media but more social than traditional journals.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, this is a good one. I have been blogging on and off for longer than I care to admit. Self-driven and with an editor. Never once did I consider it “publishing”. To me, publishing has always been my fiction work. I use little hearts, stars, and comments as the court of public opinion to gauge the quality of my blogging. At some point, I’d really love to hear what the old you thinks about traditional versus self-publishing. Good luck at your festival and nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m sure I’ll end up writing a festival post or two, after the fact. (I’m hoping I might also glean an author interview or two from it!) I’m with ya. The old me would never have considered blogging publishing. She wouldn’t have considered self-publishing publishing either–mostly because both ways to get one’s work out there skirt the established agent-editor-journal (or publishing house) hierarchy. But, things change (a lot in almost 15 years!). There are very interesting self and hybrid publishers coming out now that do wonderful work–on both the product and author promotion. Would I like to go the traditional route? Yep. Will I say I’ll never go another way. Nope. I appreciate you stopping by!

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  4. I think the biggest benefit I get from maintaining my blog is looking at it as a collection vs just writing a singular piece. I judge each individual post and look at how they all fits together, and I think it’s made me more deliberate when submitting my own work. Hopefully that leads to success further down the road!

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  5. I enjoy reading your contemplations about all of this. In blogging in the early stages the owner of the blog is the author, editor, marketer, PR, and the publisher. It’s a big job so I wouldn’t discount the efforts of writing in the blogging world. But the real publishing world is out of my wheelhouse to understand…!(maybe someday…yes, that’s on my bucket list to write a children’s book). The only ‘published’ writings I’ve had are in magazines that I wrote articles for on behalf of my employer and they purchased ad space so I got to write a little article to go along with the ad! LOL! Good luck at the festival! Thanks for your sharing your thought-provoking and intriguing thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And don’t forget to add “photographer” to your list of blogging roles–which you do such a wonderful job with! Thanks so much for reading my post–and for your well wishes. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the festival next month. If nothing else, it’ll just be wonderful to be surrounded by writers for a weekend. Well, I guess that’s sorta like blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, shucks, thanks! You’re welcome – I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you too – I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Don’t forget to break out that cute little dress you’ve got hanging around just for this type of thing – or go splurge on a new one!?! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Through the use of blogs, the physical act of publishing has become easier, although on some of my more personal or controversial posts, my finger has hovered over that “publish” button while I summoned up all my courage to make the final click. Thousands of posts are published each day, but for many of us, the amount of time that we have to read does not increase. So whilst there are no editors to check the final draft of a blog post, the readers choose which content they want to engage with, and in doing so, shape the content to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how willing the blogger is to be influenced by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I work in the entertainment industry…I have several friends who are published Authors…without exception they say it has become a loss leader for driving people to their online outlets, which is where they try to monetize their “brand”…not to suggest that traditional publishing isn’t a lucrative outlet, just that there are now so many other ways to build a brand and career without having to use those traditional methods…so, to answer your question: a rounding yes

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    1. Thank you! And even if a writer isn’t in it for the money but to reach readers, there again we have a vehicle here in blogging to reach a potentially large audience directly and gain their approval or disapproval (in likes, comments, or the lack thereof) and fine-tune our writing accordingly. That’s been very instructive for me. Even if we concede that traditional publishing is still the gold standard, it’s not the only–or even the best–way to reach an audience these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to argue with myself about this as well. I’m even part of an online writing platform, and I still struggle to see it as publishing. Because I have always viewed publishing the same as you—there are multiple gatekeepers. I think it can be good and bad to have easy access to publishing. Good because writers can get their voice out there, “practice”, and not face rejection the same way. Bad because it can be hard to find your niche and be relevant with so much out there, to get the likes to get noticed, and because no one is verifying/editing your work, so you have to be very careful of mistakes. But being a blogger is also a very real thing now—that you can make an income with!—and I think that’s pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is SOOO much out there–no doubt. It’s hard to feel relevant. Really, as with all writing, we have to blog because we enjoy it. (And I for one still have no clue how anyone makes actual money from blogging–and I don’t care to sully the look of my site with a bunch of ads, but that’s just me.) Thanks for being along for the ride!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m going about this publication thing in the opposite direction. I began my publishing (if you can call it that) experience with my blog, and am now in the process of beginning my first book. So, I’m hoping that I will get to experience the multi-layer process of publishing in the “business world” in the next year or so. I’ve always loved editing, and getting other’s opinions on my writing, so I look forward to the experience. Great post, Rebecca!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m excited to follow your publishing journey! I too think that blogging is a good way to not only establish a platform but establish a voice–and to know, almost instantaneously what resonates for your audience and what doesn’t. Thanks so much for checking out my post. Journeying along with bloggers like you makes all this so enjoyable!

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  11. Oh my. I feel so out of my league here. I’ve been blogging (or is that “publishing”?) for four years now, and I’m always — always — on the verge of quitting. I have always wanted to publish a sort of Garrison Keillor meets Nora Ephron collection of pieces. But I’m afraid to submit any work — anywhere — except on my little WordPress blog. Sigh. You’d think I’d have a thick skin after toiling away for decades as an advertising copywriter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ad copy? Fun! (Or, sometimes anyway.) I always viewed my copywriting self and my creative writing self as having nothing to do with one another, but I was wrong. I wonder if you’ve also found that the copywriting has helped you tell stories succinctly. And with your advertising experience, I bet you have a good sense of what will play to an audience. I always look forward to reading your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, so you were (or are?) a copywriter too! Yes, I find that my Old Ways of writing ad copy come in handy now. Particularly the Ogilvy Way of writing as if you are speaking to one person. Incidentally, I got my Blog Start because The Child was tired of hearing me TELL my stories. She said “write them down”. I said “no one will ever see or read them”. She said “they will if you write them as a blog”. Clever Child. So, anyway. I try to write my blog posts as if I were telling a story to just one person. Oh, before I forget: Thank you for your insightful comment!

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  12. I’ve been a journalist for almost 10 years and worked as a book coach and editor, so I have struggled with this too. Mostly in feeling that I need to justify my decision to write for myself and not anyone else, to others. But luckily, we live in an age where it is so easy to do so and still be read! And I couldn’t be happier about it!

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    1. I feel the same way–and I’ve found the blogging community to be so supportive of writing, whether it’s along the lines of chatty blog, essay, or creative writing. I’m sure your journalism background helps immensely with the whole blogging enterprise!

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  13. Yes, content and copywriting–mostly for universities and some health systems, but my background is English/Creative Writing, not marketing/advertising or journalism. I find my way OK anyway. Lots of articles and donor profiles these days. Not much advertising copy; still I’m embarrassed to say I had to look up Ogilvy. Glad to report I tend to do what he prescribed long ago. A radio personality who stumbled onto my blog once also said the best advice he received was to talk (on the radio, but paper or screen too!) as if you’re having a conversation with just one person. You should thank your child for pushing you to blog–because your stories are great!

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  14. Not something I have thought about although when I look at older posts I have “published” it is with a more critical eye and my writing style has changed for the better I hope. Good post as it has left me with questions to answer…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great piece. I’ve often thought it would be great to have my words published, and have never considered that by blogging my words are being published. In a way. Still, there’s something about being published elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. If only the whole submitting process for publishing in journals, magazine, etc. was more like hitting “submit” on the blog–less prohibitively difficult! Never met a more supportive group of writers than bloggers, so I’m def sticking around! Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

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