I was speaking with a friend yesterday who asked me what I did with my writing. I was confused at first with the question before realizing that he didn’t read my blog, didn’t know much about that aspect of my life. After a silent and brief sulk, I told him about my blog.
He then revealed he was writing, scribbling as he said on note paper, and not knowing what to do with the poems and stories and true-life confessions, destroying them for lack of an appropriate alternative.
I suggested a blog or publication.
He returned with the comment that presenting his work to the masses was akin to walking around naked; not appealing and certainly not an option.
I thought, What’s the problem?
Of course, I had the same hang-ups, the same fear of being judged before coming to the conclusion that my fears were an excuse not to try and that in the end, any embarrassment was tolerable when weighed against the alternative of failing due to simple inaction. If people think my writing is crap, then so be it, but at least I’ve given it a chance to be judged, to be weighed and measured.
Being enlightened and refined, I of course said none of this to my friend. Instead I told him to just do it, using the stand by psychology I learned from Nike in my formative years. I’ll share in my writing, but mushy face to face stuff? No thank you.
Rub some dirt in it and stop crying, Man!
Damn the torpedos!
You know what I mean, Folks? Manly shit between manly men. I ain’t talking about fears and such with a friend, no way. Besides, I’m pretty sure that the phrase, just do it, implies all that anyway.
Getting past the mushy minefield, we moved into the merits of publishing, as blogging was met with an instant disdain. The question arose as to length of manuscripts. What is the correct length in order to publish? I’ve been thinking of this question for awhile now and this is the simple answer I gave:
Whatever length you want. If you self-publish.
The conversation veered at this point but my mind still worked on that question of length. It was the first time I had vocalized my thoughts on manuscript length, even if briefly. Manuscript length is no longer valid in the digital age tied as it was to production cost more so than any other factor and shouldn’t be a top consideration for writers any longer.
If my friend wants to publish a two page short story or poem or laundry list and charge $1,000 dollars to the public, then why the hell not?
I want to explore this more, but for now, what do you Folks think? Does anyone care about manuscript length or should they? Shouldn’t the writing take precedence rather than the business?
Or did I plant a seed in my newly writing friend’s mind that basically screwed him before he even begins?