Tuesday, August 21, 2007

To Blog or Not to Blog

The problem with starting a blog, says my good friend What's My Line? Live On Stage director Jim Newman, is that it's pretty much like beginning a diet or joining a gym; once you start, you really need to stick with it for it to do you any good. Hence, you may well guess, our little problem. When I started this, I intended to blog every day -- honest to Pete, I really did -- but life seems to keep getting in my way.

To give you an idea how bad this has become, I started to write this particular blog last Saturday. Not the Saturday just past, mind you, but the previous Saturday, ten days ago, and I still haven't finished it. I guess a big part of the problem is that I'm trying to figure out what the purpose of this blog, if any, really is or should be.

I know many people use their blogs for self-promotion, to advertise any upcoming products or appearances. Trouble with me is, much of what I'm doing right now, the expert witness work for a local law firm, the super-secret gaming projects, are things I'm not allowed to talk about, and most of my comic book work appearing these days is usually reprints in the Marvel Essentials or DC Showcase format. I feel weird somehow promoting the old work, and the new material like the Conan: Book of Thoth mini-series I wrote with Kurt Busiek, or the various Simpsons and Futurama issues I've done for Bongo Comics have generated no response at all here, nada, zip, zero, so I'm wondering why I should even bother. Also, with What's My Line? back on hiatus for Heaven know how long, I have no upcoming appearances to plug. I mean, my next out-of-town convention appearance will be in Memphis next March. So, for now at least, there's no point in promoting it this far in advance.

Other people use their blogs to talk about what's going on in their lives but, frankly, not all that much is going on in my life right now worth talking about and that which is gets covered much quicker than I can seem to get around to it by my lovely wife Christine over on her blog. Thus, if you'd like to know what's been going on in my world for the past month, just click on Chris's link over on the right. So, again, what's the point in my being redundant?

Still others use their blogs to discuss movies they've seen or upcoming TV shows. Now, while I've see a number of movies over the last few weeks -- Hairspray (absolutely adored it and can't wait to see it again), Stardust (starts off slow, but picks up steam, and Robert DiNiro's performance alone is worth the price of admission), Ratatouille (occasionally oddly creepy -- these are rats, after all -- but ultimately charming and endearing. Can Pixar make a bad movie?), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (loved it, especially the last 20 minutes in 3D; gotta love IMAX) -- but, again, Christine has already mentioned these in her own blog, so I'm a day late and a dollar shy. I've also seen many of the new fall TV shows so, if you folks are interested, maybe I'll talk about those in another post. But again, reviews need to be timely, and that's one thing I'm not.

Then there's politics. A lot of folks use their blogs as a platform for their political agenda. Now, while I consider myself a lifelong Liberal Democrat, I've generally been a pretty apolitical person, at least until the Clown Prince stole the office six years ago. I could rail on about that, but what can I say that more well-informed, more articulate political pundits cannot and haven't already said far more ably than I? Besides, the one time I mentioned global climate change on this blog, I started getting nasty comments from several right wing ostriches, and who needs that in their life? So it looks like politics is out.

And what does that leave me with? Well, it turns out that when I fail to blog for any long period of time, I start to get email from many of you wondering after my health. Am I all right? Am I suffering from Death Cooties? Please, let us know. First, let me thank those of you who've done so from the bottom of my heart for your concern. It truly is touching. Second, let me assure you that, as far as I can tell, I'm in as good a shape as I can be for a guy missing most of his internal organs. But that, and that reason alone, seems to be why I've got to continue with this. I appear to be suffering from an affliction unique to the Computer Age...


I'll try to stay in touch.


M. C. Valada said...

Oh, good. Thanks for showing up. What did I get you all those photos for if you aren't going to use them?

Anonymous said...

Last time I was on hiatus, I forced myself to write a journal entry every night. Sometimes it was a long meandering self-examination, sometimes it was just a quote I'd found telling, or even a recipe. Doing it reminded me of simpler times when I wrote reams back and forth by email daily with an online friend I'd never even met in person. (She and I are still friendly but the correspondence has withered.) The daily journal fell by the wayside since I've been back at work but it was empowering while I was doing it. And, it kept me from boring my interlocutors with my epiphany of the day!

So, why not think of your blog as an email correspondent, a person you write to every night just to check in and say hi... Picture them in their underwear if it helps... Picture someone you used to write to all the time or even someone who's departed... and just tell 'em how it's going.

Over time, you'll have left a record of your self-realization, and if the only person who reads it is your own Future Self, I bet he'll enjoy it.

(I'll be reading it, too.)

Michael said...

How about a convention recap? We know what the cons are like from our side of the table, but what's it like for a pro?

And how about a recap of the San Diego trivia contest? Rumor has it that you did so well that they named a new element after you: "lenweinium".

Mike Everleth said...

I feel your pain. With the exception of politics (if you don't want the rabid hate that comes along with it, which is understandable), you should write about all the things you just wrote about in this post, even if it's late or someone else beat you to the punch, even if the entire post is only "I watched Dog the Bounty Hunter last night and I love that guy!"

Believe it or not, us nutballs out here love that kind of thing. I agree with the "writing an email" advice above, i.e. if you're interested in continuing the blog. Blogging is probably just a habit one needs to get into. And don't worry, not all posts need to be a treatise. Little blurbs are fine. But we ant to know what Len Wein is thinking!

Anonymous said...

Let me add my voice to those already posted, Len, by saying please continue the blog at whatever pace and with whatever passes through your mind at the time. God knows, there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there with a lot less important (or interesting) things to say than you. I may not have ever responded until now, but rest assured there are those of us out here who are silent partners with you on this. I've got a few friends in the ol' funnybook business, and most all of them can be traced back to one place: Swamp Thing. Others may consider the new X-Men (or Wolverine) to be your finest contribution to the medium, but I know better. Swampy's been through a lot of changes over the years since his creation, but that just shows the strength of the core concept.
I've been with you since that first issue 35 (Holy cow!) years ago, and when they find my cold dead body (hopefully sometime in the far-flung future), I'll probably be clutching a copy of Swamp Thing close to my chest. The character just speaks to me, y'know? Even my e-mail address (swampy66@mchsi.com) tells of my love for Swampy. So please don't let the blog fall by the wayside; hell, for my part, you could spend the next month or two telling nothing but ST tales (like the aborted Roots story with Bernie) or even a new ST prose piece (oh, my heart races at the thought!)
Anyway, enough for now, but if it'll keep you posting, I shall return!

Jeff Zoslaw said...

Please continue the blog, Len! It would be wonderful to read about all the details of your career: working with Julie Schwartz, watching the new X-Men develop under Claremont after you passed the book on to him, hiring Alan Moore for Swamp Thing, writing the top 4 Marvel books in the mid 70s, editing for DC during one of their most ambitious periods, adapting your own work to animation (Moon of the Wolf)-- and, of course, whatever you can share about current projects!

Don't worry about those who dispute your political ideas- if they knew what they were talking about, would they have voted for someone who admitted (6 months after 9/11) that he didn't care about Osama? Talk about hating America...

Jon K said...

Hi, Len,

I would imagine some of the readers of my own blog would say that, despite my near-daily schedule of posting, that I really don't have that much to say... but I found my niche, eventually, and am working at it.

All that aside, here's a few things I'd like to see you write about here...

1) Influences. What comics, novels, movies, tv shows, whatever, influenced you as a writer? What influenced you to decide to write comic books?

2) Fond Memories. Tell us about stuff that you remember from your days before you turned professional. Any comics that you especially remember reading, or geekish merchandise you received for a present or bought for yourself? Accompanying photos are always welcome, too!

3) Inspirations. Yes, you said you didn't really want to talk about your old work, what with it all coming out in Essentials, etc... but I'm sure many of us reading this blog would like to hear about anything that inspired a story, or story element in your previous or current work.

4) Non-Comics Stuff. Fred Hembeck, for example, likes to write about stuff that's not directly related to comics. Any TV shows that you're a faithful view of that you would be interested in sharing your thoughts about? What are some of your favorite musical performers, and why? Which of their songs are your favorites? Stuff like that gives your readership a little more insight into Len, the person.

5) Inside Scoops. Come on, Len, I know you've got some dirt, or at least amusing anecdotes about some of your contemporaries in comics. how about spilling some of them here?

Seriously, Len, I think you can look at some blog entries here as the opportunity to have an interview published about you where you have complete control over the questions that are asked!

6) Stuff You Hate. This could be anything that you just absolutely can't stand, and it doesn't have to be objects. Is there a comics cliche that you never want to see again? A type of TV show that just makes you cringe? Some kind of behavior you see in traffic that just puts you on the edge? Feel free to rant about some of this stuff!

I hope these thoughts help... maybe you could just ask your readers if there are any questions they'd like to ask you?


Martin Maenza said...

Len, I get what you are feeling. The key is that you are comfortable with what you want to blog about. If you want to blog about the reprint stuff, go for it. Tell some antedotes that re-reading your older work brings back to mind. I am sure we'll all appreciate whatever you write.

Anonymous said...

Len, it's good to hear an update from ya. Maybe you could share your thoughts on any new ficiton or comics you are reading, more in-depth reviews of a movie or DVD you've seen, past stories from your career, show us your process when building a script, art from friends, or share a diagram of all of your internal organs that are missing.

I may lurk more than I comment, but I still swing by several times a week to see if you've posted anything new.


Anonymous said...

hi Len, I always wondered how you came up with a memorable character called Crackerjack Jackson, I haven`t read the story in over 30 years but Crackerjack Jackson had to be one of the best from my childhood. any thoughts of that favorable Hulk story?

Anonymous said...

Hi Len - Remember me? I'm Jeff Gordon from Plainview-Old Bethpage - I used to ride my bike to your house on Blue Spruce road back in the late '60's - I've been working for the NYC Comptroller's office for the past 33 years and I'll be retiring soon - just thought I'd say hello.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog (Thank you Heidi MacDonald)and I found a real sympathy for trying to get the wrod out. Loved the Blast from the Past and look forward to many more said posts. On your topic of lyrics to 3:10 To Yuma have you considered the lyrics to Kelly's Heroes? Those were anti-war lyrics for a war caper movie. If it comes down to what to post in a blog have you considered a roll of the die to choose a flavour of the day? It can take the burden of taking forever to make a single post and force you to stick to one idea no matter how meandering it gets.

Roger Owen Green said...

When Steve Gerber started his blog in April 2005 (a month before I started mine, not coincidentally), he wrote that he a writer, and writers write every day. Of course, because of life, he hasn't, but that's OK.
Sadly, I HAVE posted every day, even if it's a little meme thing, but that's only because I'm addicted.

Generally, I think you need to post regularly rather than often. Say, twice a week and stick to it, rather than three days in a row, then nothing for two weeks.

BTW, found your blog via Evanier. I like it. will add to my web roll. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

now I stay in touch!