Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Blog is a Book

refractions cup

"Blogging is for angst-filled teens."

That's what I said just a few months before launching Seedlings in Stone.

I was talking to Simon & Schuster's Director of Marketing and Promotion. I think we were both eating curried lentils when I showed my terrible naivete, but she forgave me— not for the lentils, but for the misled comment about blogging. Then she firmly contradicted me, "You need to blog."

She was right. Blogging has shaped my professional life in ways I never anticipated. And I'm not alone. Off-hand I can think of several wonderful friends who've found unexpected opportunities through blogging.

For instance, I just read a chapter in Makoto Fujimura's book Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture; it's called "Planting Seedlings in Stone: Art in New York City." The first time I read that chapter, it was a humble blog post. I loved the ideas so much that (obviously) I used part of the title to name my blog. At the time Mako wrote that post, did he have any idea it would one day be in a book, along with many of his other posts?

I think too of Gordon Atkinson, who started out as an anonymous blogger called Real Live Preacher. His posts, gathered and bound, now grace my home in the form of a lyrical, amusing, straight-on book called... um... what else... Real Live Preacher. Gordon now shares his life with us through his awesome writing, over at HighCallingBlogs.

Then there's Billy Coffey, who started tentatively, wondering... what would this blogging thing really lead to? Today, Billy writes a parenting column for us at HighCallingBlogs and he found an agent (or maybe she found him).

Ann Kroeker, the Parenting Content Editor at HighCallingBlogs approached other bloggers and included their work in her new book Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families. Why, just today, as part of my talk "Jesus the Gucci Guy", I read Ann Voskamp's contribution to the book. You could have heard a pin drop.

If you're here today, you probably know what blogging can do. But maybe you've got a writer friend who hasn't quite figured it out yet and is still typing largely off-line. Grab a dish of lentils (curried or plain) and break the news, "You need to blog."

refractions back

Refractions with Me in Long Island, photos by L.L. Barkat.

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Anonymous Marcus Goodyear said...

And some people still say that blogs are a fad. No way. No way.

If anything, online self publishing is starting to walk and talk and eat solid foods.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Bradley J. Moore said...

Yeah, whatever. Um, I mean - Great!
Really, I was fixated on that idea (it's partly why I even started a Blog), but now I am honestly, honestly doing it just to Blog and express my crazy ideas. PLus there is like little to no market for business-spirituality, compared to all that parenting stuff.
If anything comes of my blogging, it's between God and his publishing henchwomen (most of them seem to be women, no?)

Funny thing is, my next post is a tongue in cheeck (what else) jab at this whole idea. I think you will likey.

7:48 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Marcus... definitely no fad! But...

as Bradley notes, it's not necessarily a means to a publishing end. Though I do think it's a way to find audience. (Bradley, you write for HCB too, and that is a form of published material, in my opinion. Plus, just consider your recent 1,000-view post on your personal blog. That's a form of being "published" too. It goes way beyond a letter to Grandma. :)

7:54 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I started my professional life in 1975 as a freelance feature writer-reporter. I "retired" from editing and writing after almost 25 years with an employment law publishing firm. I've spent my entire life since college making a living from my writing in one or another capacity, including creating an online audio-Web conferencing program for my last employer for which I conducted more than 150 interviews with experts all over the country. My name is on some stuff; on some stuff, it ain't.

I no longer make a living from editing and writing.

But I missed writing, the kind I'm doing now, and the connections that can come with writing; so, I started a blog.

I have a lot of interests, art and poetry among them, and, I think, I have some interesting things to say; so, I started a blog.

I have a small business, art-related, and I wanted to use the blog to promote my artists and what we're doing; so, I started a blog.

Will anything come to me because of the blog? Who knows?

I'm having a great time now, "meeting" wonderful writers online, talking art and poetry, Twittering (and surprised every time I get one of those "so-and-so is following you now" notices--a tad eerie), and I'm on FaceBook (it keeps me connected to family in a way we weren't connected before).

I didn't go into blogging with any expectations. And what I'm gaining, personally, from the experience (I've only been blogging about three weeks) is the opportunity to be engaged and informed, to laugh and have fun, to keep in touch.

All that's what blogging is about for me.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous mari mayborn said...

Blogging has been a great motivator to write. Knowing that as soon as I hit "publish" the story is out there and being read almost instantly motivates me to write to entertain, inspire and encourage NOW and to make every story count.

Being a very gregarious person, I love the interaction that opens up with blogging.

As for writing a book? Typing it out on the blog, one day at a time, is the least overwhelming way I can think of to tackle that giant!

9:53 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

And it was your blog--the address found on a card stolen from your book (which I bought later)--that got me blogging. Thank you!!!!

10:13 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Oh gosh, Joelle, was that at Mount Hermon? I think I remember you telling me that. I totally forgot. :) How wonderful that it brought you to the blogosphere, where now I am blessed by your poetry and your presence.

Maureen, I think you say what I am now trying to put into words and can't. Something about the real power of blogging... the blog's the book... in the sense that it has power... not just word power but relationship power. And in that way, oddly, I wonder if it suggests that the book is no longer "the thing." I love that you've entered the blogosphere and brought your poetry and art to our hearts and minds.

Mari... I agree. With blogging I have written more in the last three years than I probably have in my lifetime... well, at least in terms of creative reach, diversity of topics, and regularity. Welcome to Seedlings, btw. :)

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there have been times that i have wondered about me and blogging, you know. but, i have learned more about myself through those times. i am grateful for being able to express thoughts to people that have been so thoughtful, kind and encouraging. i like the idea of books from posts, because a book is such a different creature from a blog, it feels different and looks differernt and can be passed on to a friend, or even sit on a table waiting to be read again. Love to you :-)

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, did you mean that the blog is the book...not made into a book.

ha! yes, a very interactive book fer sure!

10:46 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, L.L. I indeed have a writing friend who evidently doesn't see the value of blogging, yet anyhow.

Good to see how blogging has impacted you and others!

5:42 AM  
Blogger ELK said...

my blogs have opened up a part of me that I did not know anything about...blogging is an art form for the ages and a positive spin to cyberspace

6:24 AM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

Very inspiring post L.L. Perhaps I need to rethink the way I do a few things. Thank you!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

To think I could sit here and "hear" the words of inspiring people in just the comments section of a blog is incredible in itself. I have much to learn and yet feel that the time I take away from other things to write in this format at least , is well worth it . For many reasons. Most of my working mom friends have trouble with the concept of sitting down and reading online. They get me to print out my posts and they add them to a binder to read in bed etc. So should I start charging? :)
Ann, I too remember the brief mention that you were writing a book and can't even come up with the words to convey what an honour it will be to savour every sacred sentence.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

You said it well! I have been greatly blessed by blogging.

For example, I have never, ever written this much before. For a number of years I have been posting three and four times a week and the discipline (and joy) of doing so has greatly helped me.

So I while I do write thinking that the post will be read, I write now because I need to.

3:17 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Yes, yes, yes!! Blogging has changed life as I know it ... and so it continues to change.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I adored Makoto's book.
I drank it up. Need to get yours.
I'm reminded of the work of the Lord in our midst. I can't wait!

2:14 PM  

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