On July 14th Stephanie writes,
Hi Kelly! I hope this finds you happy and well.
I’ve been blogging for almost a year now. I’ve had some mixed reactions to it, but most have been good. A friend of mine recently told me I should be putting my writings onto a flash drive, writing a book and publishing instead of putting them on the internet for anyone to plagiarize.
I honestly like the blogging sort of writing. It fits my style very well, since I’ve been a journal-writer since I was in the 4th grade (all the journals sit on a shelf in my apartment). My thoughts on book-writing have always been in the back of my mind, and I thought blogging would be a good way to introduce people to ME and my writing, and see what the reaction is.
I recently switched from LiveJournal to WordPress, and I love it! I noticed your “kellyhogaboom” blog is on WordPress, and I was wondering how you have the domain name? I saw that you can transfer a domain name there, but I didn’t see anything about purchasing one.
My other question is your thoughts on the book vs. blog with plagiarizing and all that. Have you ever experienced a risk with this? Also, have you ever felt like your blog was drawing some “freaks” from “out there” to your family unit?
The last question is more of a favor or request: could you read/look at my blog and give me some real, honest, feedback? http://stepville.wordpress.com/ [Friend A]. actually told me she’s never read it because she’s sure it contains nothing but woefulness, while [Friend Z] reads it and is a fan. There are times that I definitely feel like I’m sniveling, and I try to “make up” for it with a positive entry. There are posts where I just unload frustrations about my kid’s dad and/or my (now) ex-boyfriend that make me feel like such an unhappy, hateful person, to be perfectly honest. I don’t know. The aftermath of a break-up is usually full of low self-esteem and self-doubt/loathing.
Anyway, I do enjoy your writing, and any thoughts or feedback you could give me would be very appreciated. Thanks.
Hello and thanks for writing!
First of all, I’m sorry about your breakup. Without having read your blog as of this writing, I must say I am a fan of “unhappy, hateful” blog entries personally. First of all, this is a reality of your life and to never express these feelings is surely not a good thing; putting them in public is not the only way to handle these feelings, but it is not an illegitimate way either. NO ONE is forced to read your blog, so don’t feel bad about your content. Many might find your writings – yes, the painful ones – helpful; I get many emails thanking me for my expressions of darkness.
One caveat: I think sometimes dark entries can run the risk of hurting parties – not even necessarily those directly involved in the entries, either. For my part, I hope I’ve conveyed an openness to receiving emails, comments, etc. from those who may feel stung by anything I’ve written (this has happened only rarely, more in a minute). I also hope my readers stick around enough to know my occasional venting post is not the sum total of Who I Am. So far I’ve been happy with my readership, very much so.
I hope if nothing else your blog serves as cathartic and mind-clearing to write and publish (mine does for me). I wonder if later in life you will find those “dark” posts hard to read (I do in mine!). In any case, I find keeping an online journal a wonderful exercise for about a half-dozen unique reasons, and I hope you do to.
On to your email queries.
I can’t help you with good book-making and/or selling advice. I don’t have any plans on monetizing my writing. As far as worrying about plagiarism… you have copyright. If you like you can publicly claim copyright in a more visible way and put some text out there like, “Don’t steal or use without permission,” etc etc. Many sites say something like this and require that if anyone reproduces their blog content they ask first and/or reference the original works (and usually these blog-owners are more than happy to grant permission). In any case if someone were to “steal” you’d have the upper hand legally. Is it likely anyone will steal at this stage in your endeavor? I don’t think so. Is it likely that saying, “Hey, just ask permission” and granting it will increase goodwill and following? Yes.
[H]ave you ever felt like your blog was drawing some “freaks” from “out there” to your family unit?
I am not sure what you mean by “freaks” but, if you’re asking if I’ve ever felt in danger in any way – no. Most of the comments, tweets, and emails I receive are supportive or at least earnest, even if they sometimes challenge me in ways I find a bit time-consuming or contain accusations of bad faith (example: Christie’s comments and my response). I’ve only allowed comments in the last year, after much pressure from many. I have mixed feelings about the ways this has changed my blog experience but so far I continue to allow them. One thing some of my readers may not know is I make every effort to respond to comments, especially those my readers have put some time and effort into. This isn’t always possible with my other time commitments and responsibilities but I feel very good about my comment dialogues so far.
Ultimately I think my lack of fame or self-promotion along with my writing caliber has brought me to great readers who’ve given me a lot of joy (those who have contacted me via Twitter, DM, IM, email, phone and post anyway… there may be lurker/haters for all I know!). And yes, I really have had people contact me via all the above. Two days ago I got a phone call from upstate NY with sewing questions. Interactions like this make my day.
However, I must admit my pre-comment blog experience was much easier on my mental health. In sum I say remember, this is your space and you can do exactly what you like with it.
As to your request for “honest feedback” – let me read and digest for a while. I just put you in my feed reader and I’ll read for a few days then let you know what I think. I‘ll be watching you, heh.
I’m Ccing this email to Ralph who can help you with the domain-name thing (no, you cannot buy domains through WordPress) and if you have more questions re: copyright. I am no copyright maven but he comes close!
Hope this helps, and do write back if I’ve been unclear or if you have any other questions.