Saturday, January 6, 2018

This Old Blog (and All the Pans)

A few weeks ago, poets Donna Vorreyer and Kelli Russell Agodon had a Twitter conversation about a strange phenomenon they’ve noticed in the poetry world. A few years back, they noted, there were lots of poets writing blogs about poetry, their creative process, and their writing lives. But with the rise of social media the past few years, many poets let their blogs go fallow, turning instead to the smaller-byte writing environs of Facebook and Twitter. As Donna and Kelli said, that was kind of a shame; in the days before social media, they both had formed strong relationships with fellow poet bloggers, and they missed those blogs, that sense of shared community and slightly-longer-form news, thoughts, and quirkiness. So they decided to fire up a Poet Bloggers Revival Tour—a new network of poetry bloggers, all committed to posting each week in 2018 and reigniting some community and conversations.

Reading about this on Donna’s website, I realized that that same thing had happened to me: I still maintain this blog, which you (bless you) are reading right now, but I’ve got to admit, I don’t post here as much as I used to. Partly it’s because of time constraints; my day job gets hellishly hectic (I know, whose doesn’t?), and as I get older I find that the nighttime isn’t necessarily the right time for writing anymore, with my brain battered from workday emergencies. Some nights it’s all I can do to pick up the remote and turn on The Great British Baking Show*. 

Another reason why I haven’t blogged as much the past couple of years is because I’m getting more nonfiction published in literary journals—and, wonder of wonders, nonfiction pays (which poetry largely doesn’t). So I started to listen to those people who had long complained that bloggers were wasting their writing on their own blogs, when they could be earning money with it elsewhere. I had to give that some thought; I am, after all, 55 years old and looking over the horizon at retirement, a time which I hope to spend eating burritos and not cat food. My conclusion is that, though I disagree that all blogging is a pointless waste of writing material, I do see that there are some nonfiction/essay/memoir pieces that I should shop around to journals (and other blogs that have large followings) rather than posting them on my own blog. And I’ve done that, and they’re actually getting published, and that makes me write more of those, and that’s all good. 

But I do still love this blog, because it’s still the only place where I can write anything I damn well please and publish it with no gatekeeper. So I am committing to writing a bit more on this blog in the coming year. And I’ll at least occasionally try writing on the shorter side**, like some expert bloggers say you’re supposed to do. And I can’t imagine that every post will be about poetry, because this is my blog, so you know Star Trek and lists of entertaining street names and wistful musings about horses will inevitably sneak into it. 

Last year I really upped my writing-submission game***. I sent out so many submissions****, in so many genres, that I came up with a writing mantra for myself: “All the pans, in all the fires, all the time.” So here’s another pan.

* That show, I swear, is the cure for everything. Talented people making beautiful and delicious baked goods, talking in cute accents, winning abashedly and losing gracefully? It’s the perfect antidote to bad workdays, crazy relatives, and our current American nightmare.

** No guarantees about that. 

*** Hey, that’s an idea for a blog post.

**** How many? I honestly don't know, because I have the world's most Luddite submission-tracking system. Another idea for a blog post!

1 comment:

  1. Social media killed the blogging star :)

    I agree with much of what you have said here. I keep mine because I can't see the point of paying for a personal domain name and a website that requires constant upkeep and it's my online poetic presence aimed at the world.

    I suppose I keep it in preference to a static site because I hunger for the communication with other poets - I live in the midst of wheat fields 20 minutes from a town with under 1000 residents in the Australian country.