Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Process versus Product

So, my best friend made the following comment about this blog, and the lovely commenters: It seems your bloggers are much more interested in the process of writing than actual product....

My response:

The process of writing is part of the actual product. You can't have one without the other. : ) The sad fact is, there are a ton of rules (no adverbs, no passive voice, no this, that, or the other) that writers are supposed to follow. I think the general consensus is . . . break the rules you want to break, to a certain degree. So, some characters might smile slightly, while others have a slight smile on their faces. : ) In the end, I think all the writing blogs I follow, are about the process of writing, the ups, the downs, and everything in between, because they are all by aspiring writers. Yeah, some of them have agents, but they're not published. Getting an agent doesn't always equal publication. It's a long, arduous process, with more downs than ups . . . so I'm learning. I think the whole point of the blogs I follow, and mine to a certain extent, are more to teach. Go figure.

Now, my blog is a combination of both, especially since I've been semi-promoting Margarita Nights. There are a few other blogs out there also that are a combination of both. For the most part, though, I have to agree with my friend that the blogs I follow are about the process rather than the product.

So, question for the day: our are (aspiring writers) blogs more about the process or the product?


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Seems to me that a writer can't sell a book that isn't published, so there is no product yet. If a blogger put up teasers about a book and someone googled it, hoping to buy it, and found nothing, what would they assume about said writer?
So it makes sense that we post about the process until such time as we can squeee about product. And then we'll still write about process a lot because it will continue as long as we are writers.

Davin Malasarn said...

I like what Tricia said. And, Scott, that was a great response to your friend as well.

I'm just a little confused. What would the focus on the product entail? Would it be excerpts for example? Or, platform building like you've been doing? I think, in my experience, so many of the fellow bloggers write different genres that I would bore them out of their minds if I just talked about my book all the time. I'd love to, but I don't think that many people are into it.

Scott said...

Tricia & Davin - I think the whole building the Platform thingy is the product. We all have products to sell, even if our blogs are about the process of 'building' that product.

So, tidbits of information - research, a bit of dialog, maybe an excerpt or two - about the product, while the rest of the blog is devoted to the process is probably not a bad thing. After all, quite a few agents have posted on their blogs that they check out the commenters blogs. So, said agent hops over here, finds info about my 'product' . . .

It never hurts to put the product out there. I mean, any one reading my blog knows I haven't found an agent . . . yet. : )


Stephanie Faris said...

Well put! I think we have to get past the day to day grind of writing those words for them to ever see the light of day. But it's important, once that book is finished, to get it out there. Some people have a hard time letting go, choosing instead to spend months, even years, on revisions.

Tess said...

Hmm, I've never really given thought to this before. I guess you are right - I enjoy learning about how and what others are doing more than reading their actual work.

Still, when I get to know a blogger and then they put a snippit of their work up for review, it's super cool -- like seeing a new side of them or something. I think what we write (its tone/voice etc) says a lot about us. In that way, it's fun to learn about others.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

absolutely about the process. About the rules. I have just broken one I have lived by, but it had to be done. Starting a sentence with . . . psss, an 'ing' word. I've also used, 'was', 'were,' 'that,' 'had.' I've thrown in some adverbs, 'ly' words. The idea is not to get too attached. If there's absolutely no way to make the sentence cleaner, shorter, more to the point, more exciting, etc, what the heck. Every book I've read has broken the rules. So what. Just make the whole work compelling. What more can you do?

ElanaJ said...

I think aspiring author blogs are about the process, which is why I find them so interesting. Because I'm engaged in the same processes. I like to relate to people that are in the same boat as me. I like to see what they're doing and think about things in a new way. Some things I try and they don't work for me and some things I try and they do work.

I think it's okay to push product too, and if my book ever gets published, I'm sure my blog will morph into something different. But for now, it's about the process.

Scott said...

Everyone - whoa!! Who knew a simple question could inspire such great responses. Thanks.

BTW - my friend says you're all pretty much thinking like him. I haven't figured out if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'll let you know (so he writes with a grin and a wink).

Now, for more individualized responses . . .

Tricia - I think every idea we (writers) have, is something we must sell . . . if only to ourselves. If we don't believe in our product (writing), then what's the point? I think once we have a project ready to query, we need to start building the Platform (i.e., selling the product). I do agree that the process, for the most part, outweights the product.

Davin - I think the focus on the product is whatever the writer wants to focus on. I've used some dialogue, mentioned the inspiration, and put out the first paragraphs. In the end, the focus is subjective.

Stephanie - I think letting go, pushing the baby out of the nest, so to speak, is the hardest thing of all. Trust me, it's taken me years to get to the point in my life where I can freely talk about my writing, and to find the courage to query.

Tess - I agree. I love seeing snippets of writing on the blogs I follow. I get a sense of the person through their blog, but a greater sense when I can see the fictional writing.

Elizabeth - great insight about breaking the rules, and I'm finding that most writers work along those lines. Sometimes, people smile slightly! : )

Elana - I think our blogs, process et al, are the library of the future. I mean, there are great books out there about writing, but the blogs, at least for me, are more intimate. I connect with the blog authors, because they understand what I'm going through! They share my angst, my frustration, and just about my everything about the . . . process.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments.