TPB's blog unbillable hours is unique for a number of reasons, most notably TPB's frequent fiction postings. TPB's willingness to put his fiction on his blog brings to mind a recent post at Fool of the Forest about literary journals in the age of weblogs.
Will blogs be to the 21st century what "little magazines" were to the 20th century? This was the question posed by George Wallace at Fool by way of Terry Teachout's About Last Night. As it now stands, I think that many fiction writers--if they desire publication in literary journals--would be reluctant to post on blogs, since that counts as a "publication" and most journals demand at least first-time rights. This means if a story has been published on the Internet, even on a blog, a journal won't consider it.
How unique is TPB's unbillable hours? Are others posting their fiction? Why or why not? (And would it make any difference if their success could inspire a happy hour drink?)
As noted above, Evan Schaeffer questions whether fiction writers would or should post their stories on their blogs, due to the refusal of literary journals to publish works that have been published elsewhere, even on blogs (yes, I know he talks about me, but that's not the point; the real issue is that of writing). I think that writing on a blog in lieu of submitting stories to a website offers real advantages to authors. First of all, we have complete control of our stories. I don't need to make mine fit within a certain word count, nor do I need to avoid certain language in order to avoid offending readers, and I don't need to limit a narrative plot to just one story (I can arc an idea across story lines, much like Dickens did with his serials; e.g., Joey DeVilla's "new girl story" ). Yes, there is the lost vanity in not being able to say that I am a "published" author. Isn't that a problem, though? If I'm writing just for fame, what's the point of doing anything more substantial than American Idol?
There are a number of good blogs doing stories out there. I'm not unique (in fact, since I was inspired to do this after reading other blogs, specifically, the Bleat, Sua Sponte and Sarah Hatter's site, currently on hiatus, I'm not original, either). If you check out the sidebar section labeled "Carver," you can read a great deal of good writers out there.
I think each writer has the opportunity to help turn the blog into its own literary form, much like past writers did with journalism, essays, and memoirs. To some extent, there is a real need for someone, or a number of "someones," to sit down and write, critically, about this form and how it should develop. I don't want to do that (certainly not exclusively; I'll write about it, as here, from time to time). I do see the value in it, though.
I would hope that others post fiction on the internet. I don't like the limited focus of literary journals or the limiting rules of how short stories currently need to be published. Since, really, the short stories that actually matter end up being read not in their original publications but in later anthologies and novels, the focus on the paper-publication in journals seems misplaced. The real focus should be on making accessible as many stories as possible to as many people as possible. If one's willing to forego royalties for doing that, the blog format is ideal.
That being said, I'm still working on the "Great American Novel."
Armand, at Moleskinerie, also liked Evan's post. I appreciate Armand's kind words.