In the early days of this blog I put up a link in the box to 'Miss Snark', an acerbic anonymous New York literary agent: I found her blog witty, cutting, refreshing and informative. Shortly afterwards, she stopped posting because, quite simply, the blog was taking over her life and she'd had enough. Recently, I linked to the writer Tess Gerritsen's blog - also witty, honest, vulnerable and informative. A few days ago she decided to stop posting - is this the curse of Literascribe? No, it's because a certain camp of readers took exception to a recent post of hers because they totally failed to perceive its ironic tone. She was subject to such abuse that she decided it wasn't worth going on with the blog in the face of such criticism, misunderstanding and hostility. Can't say I blame her, having read some of the acid comments sent her way.
Both blogs are still up, so you can look at the archive. I recommend both of them - Tess gives us an insight into the self-doubts that beset even a successful professional writer. Miss Snark pulls no punches when it comes to shattering the illusions of self-deceiving aspirant writers. Both give us insight into how publishing works. Often the revelations are not at all comfortable - but if you're going to go into the lion's den yourself, it's best to know the beasties have claws and teeth and hunt in packs.
Out of all this we can see the perils of blogging - first, its addictive quality. I cannot ever see myself being one of those people who writes a daily blog. I don't want it to rule my life like that. The second problem, Tess's problem, is more worrying. Most people who read blogs are 'lurkers' - they read, ponder, are appreciative but don't communicate. Of those who do respond, the majority are positive and supportive, making an interesting contribution to discussion. But then there are the Others - and here I may be risking my own blog-existence - who, I have to say, hide in a cowardly manner behind anonymity, who are encouraged by the nature of online communication to unleash hostility, judgementalism, and vituperation, and who in all probability would never dare speak to their victim in such a way if they were actually face to face.
So, my sympathy to Tess. And thank you, Literascribees, for being (so far!) nothing but supportive!