Saturday, June 11, 2005

I have a plan for my blogs.

Here's a post nobody will care about, but i'll try to make it interesting anyway.

As I said a few days ago, I had a blog over on MSN. They don't give you a lot of control over what your blogs look like, and I didn't really like their setup, but on the other hand it is free (at least if you are an MSN subscriber) and I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Anyway, I also write a column once a week for the Potomac News. I consider it a hobby, although since I get paid it is fun to say that I am now a "professional opinion columnist". Allowing my focus to wander, I remember that my son, having to do a report about what one of his parents does for a living, chose to write about my writing, rather than the career I have worked at for the last 24 years, and which actually pays the bills.

Frankly, I find it easier to describe my life as a writer than explain what my real job is, so this works out great for me. I will be ever greatful to a friend of mine, someone from my church who thought I should try to get the job, and talking me up with the editor.

Writing is a mixed blessing, because having a weekly column means that every week I have to write something. And it can't be just anything, like this blog is, it has to be something that I could reasonable expect that at least a few people who read the paper would find interesting enough to spend their time looking over. Also, being a local paper, I feel beholden to write about local issues at least some of the time, even though my focus has for some time been more on national politics. Then there is the problem of having to have the facts straight.

However, to counter the negatives of being stressed out each week writing factual columns that people will read (and that are under 1000 words long) is the rush you get from being a "published opinion columnist". Even though so far as I can tell my "qualifications" for the job are that I can write in complete sentences, and I live in the area. :->

Bringing this post back on topic, having two blogs seems a waste if they say the same things. And the other blog, on MSN, has been where I've been posting links to my column. So my idea, and I have to clear it with the paper first, is to use THAT blog to actually allow web comments on my columns. So rather than have a link list with my columns, I'd put the links in a short BLOG, allowing readers to put comments on the blog.

I never said this was an original idea, since there are probably hundreds of blogs of this type. But this solves some problems for me. Fore example, it bugs me when people write letters to the editor about my columns, because I can't answer them. With this new blog site, and with the blessing of the editor, I would "anonymously" post letters addressed to my column as COMMENTS, and comment on them.

Now, this sounds like a lot of work, and I might never get past writing this blog to discuss it. Or maybe this is just a bad idea, and the paper will discourage me. Also, I find that the "comments" method of having a back-and-forth on a topic isn't the best way to go.

But the only other ideas I've had so far is to turn the other blog into a poetry site. Which might sound meritorious to those who have not read my poetry.

No comments: