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Life as a QR code

Imagine how many bloggers there are out there, filling the world with unsolicited text. Solitary voices in cyberspace, looking for recognition. I began to wonder at the purpose of it all. What drives us ordinary mortals to pen these quaint little ramblings? Surely, we all have better things to do?

For one thing it’s practise, I suppose. The more you do, the better you get. And, for the shamelessly narcissistic among us, there’s always the pleasure of seeing your work in print at the touch of a button. As for the subject matter – well, it’s limitless. You can write on any topic you choose.

Another reason, of course, is self-promotion. Authors are advised to ‘get a blog’ and start tapping away as soon as possible, taking advantage of all the untold possibilities there are on the web. But with so many voices out there, clamouring for attention, one may well ask, what’s the point? Would the hours spent blogging be better put to finishing a manuscript instead?

Donna Tartt cheerfully scorns convention. Having written three novels in as many decades, she’s in no hurry to publish.  In between books, she doesn’t do interviews. Neither does she use Twitter, Facebook or any other form of social media, and you’d be hard put to find a blog post bearing her name. And yet she remains one of the world’s most popular and critically acclaimed authors, her loyal following willing to wait years for the launch of her next book.

How is it that Ms Tartt hasn’t fallen into obscurity? With her slender output of one book per decade, it’s a wonder anyone remembers her name. And yet her example disproves the myth that in order to succeed, writers must be striving to produce more and more. Publication isn’t a race to see how many books you can get out there in the shortest possible time. It’s about quality. Isn’t it?

My second novel, Drowning by Numbers, took two and a half years from first draft to completion. Speedy by Ms Tartt’s standards, but an endurance nonetheless. To preserve my sanity during this period, I blogged extensively, grateful for the respite and the change of focus. So yes, I will continue to blog and use social media, not out of desperation, but because I enjoy it.

That’s it for this windswept and dismal Sunday morning. Back with another inspired rant soon…

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