Why do you blog?
When I started this blog a few years ago (2013), I was responding to an inner call, from my creative-writer-self. As an aside, let me say that all my life I have struggled with writer’s block. I know many writers who say, “I have never had writer’s block,” but I’m not one of those. I happened to find a wonderful book, On Writer’s Block, by Victoria Nelson, which poses the intriguing premise that, rather than demanding of yourself to write, write, write, instead invite yourself to write on whatever you’d like. Yes, I have that partially-started novel project that I would love to complete, but my writer self was not interested. She only wanted to do things that were fun – creative play – startlingly, my creative-writer-self said, “How about that blog you’ve been promising me?”
Well, yes, I had been thinking about a blog. I was going to try WordPress … when I got around to it. Meantime, I really should finish … the novel. Those short stories. The writing assignments for school.
That blog you’ve been promising me.
So, I did. I started a WordPress blog and I started writing little pieces for the WordPress.com Daily Prompt. Every day I wrote something.
For five months I wrote a little piece every day. About three weeks after I started my blog, one of my pieces was selected for the Freshly Pressed honor, something that astonished me. (It hasn’t happened since, but that’s ok.)
After five months of posting a blog post every day, I was starting to find myself writing pieces that were much stronger than the early pieces. I started to think about how I wanted to approach blogging. Did I want to keep writing a short-short fiction or poetry sketch every day? I was starting to write longer stories that I might want to publish one day; did I want to keep those separate from the blog? If so, what was the purpose, or focus, of my blog?
About that time, it felt right to reduce my blogging frequency, and I settled on about twice a week (every 4 days or so). For the next year-and-a-half or so, I continued in this pattern, which felt about right to me at the time, and meantime, I worked on my writing outside the blog. I finished the draft of a novel for my M.F.A. program, along with other requisite papers and assignments, and sometimes wrote a new story that I thought I might submit one day for publication.
Fast-forward to last Fall, when I started thinking more about the blog again. Did I want to keep posting fiction or poetry about twice a week? Did I want to do more? Did I want to start writing about myself, about childhood memories or about my writing life, or about my thought process for the blog?
To figure this out, I spent several weeks reading other blogs. I was drawn to those who “drew back the curtain” on their process, like Amy Maranto of A Photography Journal Blog. I was also attracted to those who weren’t afraid to express their emotions and to share their moments of pain and of passion, like Anne J.’s I think, I say, I do. I was impressed with all the writers – from all over the world – who were writing and posting poetry, short fiction, and other creative work, even if they weren’t sure it would find an audience. What faith!
In the past several weeks, I have been experimenting with posting almost every day as I did early on. I have also included short reflection pieces or personal stories in my blog. I have found the blogging community to be kind, responsive, and incredibly encouraging. It’s been a terrific bonus to achieve some collaborations, such as the Cinderella-theme project with Anne J., and the “Little Mermaid” story with a photograph from Amy Maranto’s work. Not to mention my whimsical “word of the day” stories inspired by athing2001’s A Writer’s Life. These have been fun and rewarding!
I’ve also been doing more thinking about the focus for my blog. Will I continue primarily doing fiction and poetry? Should I write about writing? What do I want to get out of blogging, and what do I want my blogging to do for the community of writers I have started to become part of?
I’m starting to discover answers to those questions. For now, I plan to keep posting small fictions and poetry, as I have been, along with personal story and reflections, which I hope will help us get to know each other better. Rather than blogging every day, I think I’ll drift back to 2-3 times a week, to allow more space between posts and to foster reflection, if desired, for the reader. I’m thrilled to have found a place in the blogging community for myself and for my work. I also want to keep an eye out for new collaboration project opportunities – since I believe that the strength we have as writers is partly in our own individual work, and partly in the shared creative efforts that bring us closer together.
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you, my fellow bloggers who have also been my audience. A writer so needs to be heard, and I have enjoyed being your audience as well. Take good care, and I’ll see you around the blogosphere!