The Craft of Writing and Our Community
This is one of the most important posts I’ve written on blogs, the blogging community and indie publications. It’s a topic that requires some attention, and I hope people read it. Here are a few excerpts:
This post is written collaboratively by Jane Flanagan and Hila Shachar about something that is close to our hearts: Writing for independent magazines and blogs. The post developed out of conversations we’ve been having privately. It got to a point where it felt hypocritical to talk about these things ‘behind the scenes’, rather than publicly on our blogs. We think this topic is ultimately bigger than the both of us.
The main problem we both see with certain blogs and independent publications is precisely a lack of knowledge and professionalism. There have long been editorial standards followed by journalists and publications (and it’s on the basis of a breach of those standards that they are often critiqued). But independent publications make up their own rules of submission, publication, and advertising guidelines. This can be liberating in many ways, helping a publication innovate and ‘stand apart’, but its flip side is often unprofessionalism. We find this particularly true with regard to sourcing quality content, allowing diversity and handling submission processes.
Blogs got going, in no small part, as a result of dissatisfaction with mainstream, traditional media. But now blog and indie publication content often has significantly less editorial integrity, with content often sourced from a limited pool of popular contributors, many of whom have little interest in writing as a profession or an art. Fair enough, some people’s talent lies in photography, illustration, design and style. And both of us admire (and frequently gasp over) their obvious talent. But the writing does count for something too, and it’s disappointing that equal energy is not devoted to it in such publications and that serious writers are turned away and discouraged.