Music Blogger Symposium

2. Is your blogging voice or the material you cover in your blog different than the voice you use or the material you cover in your professional music writing? If so, how?

Rich Juzwiak
Yeah, it is. I never use "I" when I write for print outlets and I always use it on my blog. It just makes sense--my blog is my media journal, a record of the things that make me react. Hopefully it's not a 24/7 autofellatio show, but it is inherently about me.

I also feel freer on my blog, but I'm not sure it has to do with the personal nature. I think at least part of that feeling of freedom comes from having no limits when it comes to length. If I have 100 words for an album, I can be that brief, and if I have 1,500 words for it, I can put that up, too. That's extremely liberating. It's really wonderful to have the space and opportunity to explain yourself completely, or to be as succinct or even glib as your subject calls for. Everyone needs an editor and I'm particularly verbose, but god, I'm so glad that I'm able to say exactly what I have to say. It may sound ridiculous to some, as criticism and especially "blogging" aren't considered to be art forms, but I can say that I feel completely fulfilled as far as self-expression goes.

Carl Wilson
It's definitely more informal and chatty, although sometimes I also let myself get more jargony and theoretical there too, whereas the professional writing is a more deliberate effort to be accessible. The professional writing is also more symmetrical, honed, more thoughtful about the quality of its sentences. Although I have some desire to let the blog get more abstract and experimental in the future as well.

David Moore
I don't do too much professional writing. The grind of a regular review schedule really chewed me up and spat me out when I was doing it, but it also gave me a sort of awed respect for people who've been doing it for years. When I do write "professionally," my voice tends to get less conversational; I hold back and construct my pieces a little too carefully, which usually weakens them (and, kind of ironically, makes my writing seem less convincing).

Simon Reynolds
This relates to "Not Fully Baked." Often I signpost the informality and semi-formulated nature of the thought by using lower-case, being loose with grammar and sentence structure, working in quasi-colloquial expressions. Other times I'll write it up close to how it would appear in a professional context. But then the paid writing varies in tone too, according to the magazine it's appearing in. I don't think there is a single "true" voice necessarily, since how we present is always determined by social context. The blog is probably the closest to the relaxed me, the digressive way my mind moves when I'm not concerned with argument structure or narrative shape of the sort required to write a review or thinkpiece. But all writing is performative, there is always the sense of an audience, of who is reading and what is appropriate. My assumption is that the audience for Blissblog is a fairly forgiving one.

Sometimes I think of blogging as similar to MC-ing. There is a bit of a swagger to it. But then the best rock writing always had that--at least the kind of rockwrite I have always been into. And like with MC-ing, the persona conjured in the writing is a kind of super-self that bears some relation to the real you but it is amped up and altered in certain respects. It's the you that you'd like to be, perhaps. People are sometimes surprised because in everyday life I don't carry myself or express myself like I do in print. But I think that would be weird--and possibly unbearable.

Maura Johnston
Well, I don't really write anywhere else, unless you count friends-only Livejournal posts and Facebook status updates. But I don't get paid for those, ha ha.

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