In which Theresa considers the direction of her blog

Photo by Theresa Barker.
“Crossing,” Ravenna Park, Seattle, Washington. Photo by Theresa Barker.

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.

Photo by Theresa Barker.
“Luminarias for my Grandmother,” Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by Theresa Barker.

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!

Photo by Theresa Barker.
“Writing in a coffee shop,” Seattle, Washington. Photo by Theresa Barker.

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!

21 thoughts on “In which Theresa considers the direction of her blog

    1. Of course! And thank you for mentioning you enjoyed reading it. I was about to transition to a less-frequent posting schedule without saying anything, and then I thought: what a great opportunity to review my journey to this point. I confess, in the back of my mind I was recalling how you have also shared your process so generously in writing about your photography activities, and I thought: maybe I should take a few minutes to explain how I got to this point, as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is great, Theresa. Thank you for sharing your journey to us. I know you a bit more now, seeing I only bumped into you last year. 🙂 I even consider you my friend.

    When I was writing my non-fiction book (not published and I’m looking at it again after 10 years – haha!), I came across an article on O (Oprah) Magazine about our right to change our mind. I’ve always carried it with me since then. Life is a journey, so is our writing life. It’s beneficial to look at the journey and see if it still applies. I actually had this one thought yesterday and I will share it here with you even before I post it 🙂

    “If, presently, that is all you do and are, look ahead to the future and see if that “all” makes sense 20 to 30 years from now. If not, you [should] know what to do to truly live a full, purposeful and significant life. If you don’t, then it’s fine; perhaps your mission is to merely exist.
    I’m doing the same.”

    It doesn’t have to be long-term. It doesn’t have to be for life in general. I think we can apply to many facets of life. So, yes, this is awesome.

    I truly appreciate your presence (electronically as it may be) in my life. You inspire me and I look up to you. You have excellent writing and you seem to have that creativity constantly, which some of us have sporadically only. Haha! I can’t imagine you having writer’s block. 🙂

    I am hopeful about our Cinderella Anthology Project. I’m happy I’m doing it now when I’m older. I used to give up easily; my follow-through was a problem. To the end with this one. 🙂

    On writing everything – write whatever you feel like. We all have our inhibitions, fears and challenges. The details and degree differ but on that molecular level, we are the same. I still feel intimidated. I still have issues. I’m changing. I continue to grow. It’s gotta be the fun part, right?

    We’re all growing and learning together as we inspire and support each other. That’s why I love this community.

    All the best to us! To years of blogging, writing, successful publishing and more importantly, friendships!

    Much love and hugs to you my dear friend.

    PS
    Whether you write every day or 2-3 times a week, I’ll find them. I have email notifications. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Anne! You wrote a new little blog post in your comments on my blog post – how wonderful for me! Your voice is so warm and supportive; I’m very lucky I found you as my friend also. I really value how you are not afraid to disclose setbacks or challenges you have had in the past. Or even in the present! Many people put forth a face that “everything is perfect, I’m on my way to happiness” with no indication of struggles or self-doubt. You are ultra-authentic! – inspiring for me. 🙂
      And, I chuckled at your last bit about finding my little writings … that is wonderful and humorous, too, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This friendship of ours is truly good for me so thank you, dearest Theresa. It’s a real pleasure to have this interaction with you. There are no accidents; we’re meant to encounter each other and we are still to find out the great things planned for us.

        For now, we keep going; we do what we think works and we adjust accordingly as necessary. In the process, we do our best to be as authentic and fearless as we can.

        Much love to you my friend. Hugs xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      1. We truly do enjoy reading your post. You can say that again about blogging being hard. There is so much thought that goes into presenting thoughts, feelings whether in words or images. Your encouraging words mean a lot to us, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it’s a process of learning, much learning. I feel like I learn so much from reading others’ blogs and their ways to write. I was just telling a writing friend today about your holiday-time journey and blog posting, and about how engaging and enjoyable it was! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Isn’t it fun Theresa. We are learning so much from reading others post and getting to know them and their styles. You can tell the genuine ones because they get involved with your stories, travels, pictures, likes, foods and the list goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Haven’t ever commented here before Theresa…I haven’t had much inspiration to write anything for quite some time with so many things changing in our world…especially energetically wise…

    What I decided to do was to start writing from a more personal perspective on my fb page, The Rainbow Bridge, A Healer’s Gift…so far 4 short pieces about my spiritual journey and how it reflects upon today’s generation…I realize there’s a lot to say that might become helpful. One of the things I wanted to write about and share how cathartic writing has been.

    Gordon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gordon: I so appreciate your thoughts. It is hard to write – to be creative – when the energy just does not seem to be there. I agree! I think it is interesting that going into a more personal perspective has helped you feel like writing again. I’m going to remember that for future. … and thank you for letting me know you enjoyed my piece.
      As an aside, I ran across a post about not being able to write due to recent world changes, and I’ll share it here, in case it may be helpful … http://thewriterintheworld.com/2017/02/20/stop-bullet/

      Like

  3. I also wonder from time to time on this topic – but I have realized I am happiest while blogging 🙂 So blogging it is, where I also have the opportunity to meet wonderful and amazingly talented people from all over the world without moving an inch from my chair. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Theresa for making our blog world interesting. I enjoyed reading your posts. Whatever direction you will be gearing for your blog i know you’ll be rewarded with readers and joy within. Have a lovely day ahead. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very thoughtful post. I’m glad you overcame writer’s block. My blog started when the teacher of an online class told us all to blog. I hadn’t even thought about a blog before but I plowed ahead. I figured no one would read it. I also didn’t think I would stick with it long. Happily, neither fear came true. And I’ve gotten back into writing ever day! So congrats for sticking to it otherwise we never would have met!

    Liked by 1 person

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