Word Search

Why is it that there are so many great photography sites out there, but great writing sites are so hard to find? There are so many wonderful photoblogs, photo memes, and photo resources that you could never look at them all. But the writing sites--well, so many of them are just cheesy. Or they lack clear organization and useful purpose. Or no one participates and they die. Or worse, they're almost certainly some kind of a scam.

I have come across some good writing resources, and have found some talented individual writers, but I can't seem to find the same quantity and quality of online communities that photographers have created for themselves. And I have yet to find a really good writing meme that would compare to, say, Photo Friday.

Is it because photography, as a visual medium, is so much more suited to the Internet than writing? Is it because writing is that much more subjective than photography? Is it because there are so many crappy writers out there? Or am I missing something?

And, if so, what am I missing?

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Also, I'm compiling a list of good writing web sites, which I plan to post here soon. Do you have any to add to my list? As always, you can leave a comment (remember, you don't have to have a user name to comment -- just click on "or post anonymously" underneath the login screen) or email me at giennawrites (at) gmail (dot) com.


Galileo said...

When you think about the original purpose and the structure of the internet, writing is actually much better suited than photography. Words require less bandwidth than photos, and text can be easily indexed and searched, while doing the same with photos is infinitely more complex (if not impossible). I think the main difference is convenience and time. It takes longer to produce a good written work than it does to take a good photograph, but even more importantly, it takes longer to read than to merely look at a photo.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if this type of writing meets your criteria. It is however an attempt to entertain as well as communicate clearly. Have a look at Homoinsapiens (it's on Blogspot).

Best regards

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the one commenter's suggestion that a good photograph takes less time to produce than good writing. It may be true that it only takes a fraction of a second for someone to press the shutter button. But for every good photo created, the photographer had to invest plenty of time and effort into seeking out that scene. I consider myself very lucky to have one good photograph after having invested a whole day's effort...and that's with relatively low standards.

Mr. Fun said...

There is NaNoWriMo, which changed my life, because I am one of the few, the proud, the 13-year-old novelists. There probably aren't going to be a lot better sites than that that have the participant writing instead of reading.

I should so start a PhotoFriday rip-off with a one/two word theme/title, and then the participant would write a story of either 500 or 1000 words, something like that.

Could be interesting.

You also might want to check out my brand new mega-post, which is of unusually large size to compensate for my general non-posting.

Gienna said...

One thing, perhaps, that both writing and photography have in common: Good writers and good photographers make it seem so easy. People see the results, not the effort behind those results. The same with art, right? That's why so many people look at a painting and say to themselves, "I could do that." My response to that is, "Maybe. Maybe not. But you didn't."

I once took a commercial art class in college and the prof. would not let us use photography in our projects. Photography was not art, he said, because it was too easy. Not like real art, which is difficult. I argued with him that entire semester but never convinced him he was wrong.

Anonymous, it is *always* OK to disagree if it is done with half the care and thought that you put into your response. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable--now that's a difficult art.

And Mr. Fun, I was thinking more like 50 to 100 words. Because I think the issue is not so much with the writing as it is with the reading, as the first commenter pointed out. And actually, writing short is sometimes more difficult than writing long.

Anyway, what interesting comments. I'd love to hear more people's thoughts on the topic.


Anonymous said...

I'm the disagreeable commenter above, and I thought this time I'd write an agreeable comment instead. I think Kyle was really onto something when he said that it takes longer to recognize the good stuff in writing than in photography. Well, I'm no trained literary/art connoisseur, but that idea does jibe with my intuitions. And so I wonder, how much time does it take you to read through a writer's work before you deem it worthy of your attention? By comparison, how long does it take you to recognize a talented photographer through the images s/he posts?

A good image usually hits me in the face. I could be merely glancing through a magazine or walking past a wall when an image seizes me by the collar and demands that I pay it some respect. And yet, good books seldom fall on my head at odd times of the day, promising they will be really wonderful if only I took the time to read them. To me, there's something more direct about our appreciation of visual images. It doesn't require literacy or education, and our aesthetic reaction is instantaneous and instinctual.

And so, my guess is that the range of talent is probably the same for writing and photography on the internet, but that its easier to sort through the photos to find the gems. Photography just seems more suited to memes like photofriday. I just can't imagine how an equivalent writing meme would take off. Are there many examples out there of good short stories or essays limited to 50-100 words? Hmmm, maybe a haiku-friday would work better? :)

Good luck finding your good writing sites.

Anon E. Mouse

P.S. I'm a modern art type of gal myself, and I have the exact same reaction as you do when I see people looking at paintings and saying to themselves, "I could do that."

Mr. Fun said...

I have seen this one compilation where every story was 55 words, but 100 words (as a maximum) just seems way way too short to establish a theme with a plot and everything.

About art: There's this one really artistic, professional-looking picture of fruit in my friend's house. I asked him about it one day, and he made it in second grade. It looked like something snobbish people would pay outrageous sums for.

I don't remember what the purpose of the above story was anymore. Bah.

Gienna said...

I'm getting my anonymouses mixes up. But I didn't mean to say that *any* of them was (were?) being disagreeable.

And ... What if the 50 words were just the first 50 words? Or the best 50 words? You could have the 50 words on the meme site and then there'd be a link that would send people to the rest of the story on your own site, which people could follow if they wanted to keep reading.

I'd do 100 words, but all the good addresses for 100 words are taken.


Anonymous said...

This would be my guess:
1) There are a lot of bad writers out there, and people who have very little idea what makes good writing.
2) People who are really good writers very often write for a living, so they don't spend a lot of time writing for the internet because they already sit at a keyboard all week writing articles and copy for other people.