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May 17, 2006

Nonprofit center

by About Last Night

O.K., so why have I spent the past three years pouring so much time and energy into a medium for which I don’t get paid a cent? I can’t even begin to list the reasons, but these are the big ones:

(1) Total control. I can blog about anything I want, whenever I want, at whatever length I want. All this is in and of itself pleasurable.

(2) Self-fertilization. It’s also creatively stimulating. The act of blogging gives me ideas that sooner or later find their way into my print-media work.

(3) Self-promotion. If you read my blog, you know about whatever I happen to be up to at any given moment: speeches, radio appearances, my latest print-media pieces, whatever. You can also use it to read my bio, buy my books, and send me e-mail.

(4) Dialogue. Not only does blogging put me in touch with readers who have interesting things to say, but it’s introduced me to countless new writers whose blogs I now read daily, some of whom have become good friends.

(5) Rejuvenation. Most of them are younger than I am. Some are much younger. The older you get, the more inclined you are to start looking inward—which isn’t a bad thing. But blogging has had the unintended consequence of putting me in closer touch with new points of view at the precise moment in my life cycle when I might have been more naturally inclined to pay less attention to them.

Yes, I can “afford” to blog because I’ve already established myself as a professional writer. On the other hand, most of my blogger friends haven’t—yet they continue to blog. Why? For all of the above reasons, with special emphasis on (3). As recently as five years ago, one of my stock pieces of advice to young writers was Write as often as you can, wherever you can, for free if necessary, for peanuts if not. Back then you needed a stack of clips to prove to editors that you knew how to write. Now my first piece of advice is Start a blog. If you’re just getting started in the writing business, you can’t afford not to.

Posted by tteachout at May 17, 2006 6:44 AM


I'd like to associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from the Upper West Side.

Posted by: Tyler Green at May 17, 2006 6:58 AM

This confirms a long-held suspicion. Print outlets ask the writer to focus on the topic, the blog allows the writer to focus on himself. It seals the transition of electronic forums from discussion to advertising. Unfortunate, but, them's the breaks.

Ravi Narasimhan

Posted by: Ravi Narasimhan at May 17, 2006 9:53 AM

Mr. Teachout, I agree wholeheartedly. While I'm left alone from an editorial standpoint, I only get so much space for jazz but a blog allows me the opportunity to write when I want about what I want. Blogs are the manifest destiny of the moment.

Posted by: Tim DuRoche at May 17, 2006 10:04 AM

Mr. Teachout: Thank you for the article on Morandi. I bought a drawing in 1960. The man died a month before I arived in Italy.
I don't have much in common aside from a small format. I still get goose-flesh at times when I'm sitting alone and looking at his work. Thank you,
Kenneth T. Coner

Posted by: Kenneth T. Conner at September 7, 2006 2:40 PM

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