Tolkien, TV, and the Art of Blogging

The other day, a friend of mine asked me why I blog. “What’s the point of it?” she asked. “I don’t mean to insult you, but I just don’t get blogging.”

“It’s about audience. It’s about exposure. It’s about…” I trailed off.

When I was in the fifth grade I read Lord of the Rings in six days. All 1347 pages of it. I had Strep Throat and had to sit quietly. I was bored. But, Tolkien transported me to Middle Earth. I could see, taste, smell, feel each scene. I was frightened with Frodo. Empowered with Aragorn. I felt immense loss with Elrond when he believed that leaving Middle Earth was the only viable option. In high school, my friends and I discussed (sometimes in Elvish) the big what if. What if it was made into a movie?How could they do the hobbits? Who could possibly play Strider? Or Gandalf?

I confess, when Peter Jackson announced his project, I was a skeptic. How could he go to the Middle Earth of my imagination? How could the Shire successfully be recreated? How could Strider be my Strider, or Gandalf be my Gandalf?

I’m mostly happy with how Jackson’s vision turned out. I suppose, when I think about it, that my friends and I had similar visions of Middle Earth and its inhabitants. We’re not going to talk about Faramir!

Growing up, I wanted to create my own Middle Earth. I wanted characters that others would know, and love. I wanted to imagine and write characters that others could empathize with, others could imagine—see. Unlike Tolkien, my characters are living breathing people, I capture them, like photographs in split seconds in their lives, and remind my reader that life really is just about the moment.

The brain reacts differently to different stimuli. Reading insists both writer and reader to be imaginative. It’s a relationship. Unlike TV. The scriptwriters and producers remove the need for viewer imagination; it’s all one way. Reading, imagination is important to the human condition. It’s what causes us to push forward—to boldly go…

It’s not that I don’t like TV (well, I don’t, but there are a few exceptions) and movies. But the ones I like make demands on me. They make me think. They ask, do you know that story? Do you get that reference? What do you think we mean here?

I like it when I do.

Blogging is about exposure and audience. But more importantly, it’s about the human need to imagine and share those imaginings with others, to communicate. It’s about story telling and engagement.

People don’t read books the way they used to. People play on the Internet. So, if I want to engage my audience, that’s where I need to be. That’s the first place editors, agents, and publishers are going to look for me. That’s where I can communicate. Without that, my chances of getting that elusive book deal diminish.

The point is I write for people and I’m going to place my writing in the space that will allow others to read it…

Yeah that’s it. And Lord of the Rings wasn’t published as a book; it was serialized. Blogs are the serials of the future—of the now.

The point is that people read what I write.


9 thoughts on “Tolkien, TV, and the Art of Blogging

  1. Mel, I like your point – blogging IS serial writing. Even if what we write doesn’t hang together as a single serial, it might be several interwoven or taking turns. Either way – engagement is the bottom line. Well put! Thanks for your words

  2. i agree with you. Blogging is writing, good, fledgling, overdone, underdone, but connecting, a celebration of words. Celebration of attributes within those words, caring, literary lamb chops those syllables that cavort across our pages. We are engaged. We embrace life, and what’s more we celebrate and huzzah on all others to do the same. That said, it ain’t easy, but it is wondrous.

  3. Interesting point about blogging being serial writing…not sure I agree or it might be that I’m just not exposed enough to have a true opinion. The blogs I’ve read don’t have a central theme or plot that ties one day’s writing to the next. The practice does promote exposure to one’s writing and all writers I know LOVE an audience. I want to write a book. Maybe a page a day published as a blog is the way to go.

  4. i understand being asked that question and hating it! my reasons are much like yours. this is the clear place to start. and when you are given a gift, you must use it.

  5. I agree with your views and encourage all writers to blog. I view blogging as a conversation with those who choose to read. A place where I connect with others. A place where others can connect with me. Not sure if that is the right recipe for successful blogging, but I have never been one to follow a recipe to the letter.

    • That’s exactly how I view blogging. It keeps me connected. The other important thing it does is remind me what sort of writing is successful for me.

      Thanks, I’m still pretty undecided about the theme. I have decided to let it sit a bit and see if it grows on me. 🙂

  6. What a great way to look at blogging. I’m stealing the ending next time someone asks me why I do it. You’re right, of course, blogging is the series of the electronic world.

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