Thursday, April 10, 2008

There is Somebody Out There

We seem to be having a blog-focused day here: in a typically thoughtful post on the hard work and vageries of literary blogging, Jim Murdoch has very kindly highlighted Tonguefire -- specifically the Reasoning Rhyme series -- among a small handful of lit blogs of note. He has succeeded in adding considerably and gloriously to my information anxiety with the other blogs he mentions, none of which I'd come across and all of which look to be fascinating reading. They are Dragoncave, World Class Poetry Blog, Slow Reading, and Geof Huth. Jim provides a little blurb about each, along with links to the post streams he's highlighting. The links above will take you directly to the sites, but make sure you drop by Jim's post first.

One of the issues Jim touches on in the body of his piece is the pressure many bloggers feel to post daily so as to acquire and keep a readership -- or clickership, to use the more accurate neologism he employs. Readers of this blog will know I don't manage anything like that. I simply don't have the time, energy or wealth of ideas. A post of any significance generally takes time to conceive and write, so only the quickest brains and fingers could produce a daily blog of genuine worth and quality. That's part of Jim's drift. Of course, I'd like more people to read what I post here, but I'm much more interested in comments and discussion than raw figures -- I never was that sold on arithmetic -- so please contribute!


Jim Murdoch said...

I'm really glad that I've been able to introduce you to these guys, Andrew. The real question is: how many others are there doggedly working away that we don't know about?

Allen Taylor said...

Andrew, thanks for the mention. As I just noted on Jim's blog, you have to make a decision as to whether you are willing to settle for a few mediocre posts in exchange for maximizing your marketing value or lowering your marketing initiatives in lieu of greater quality in your posts. Blogging every day is hard and when you can't think of anything to write about that day you have to spend a little time brainstorming. Then when you have a time crunch and the day is almost over and you remember your blog, but you are about to keel over from exhaustion and just don't have the energy for writing, well, you don't have an option. Now you're committed.

The flip side is this: If you want to force yourself to write every day, and every writer should write something every day, then blogging is a good way to do that. You may not write within your genre, but at least you're putting something down and it may be total crap but you are at least keeping the synapses oiled.

Rob said...

I agree that comments and discussion are more important than clicks, although I guess the more clicks you get, the more people there are to (potentially) comment.

I went through a phase of blogging every day. Then I cut it to 3 or 4 times a week. This month I'm blogging most days, but often just a short link to a NaPoWriMo post. How often I blog makes no difference to the average number of clicks I get per month. That surprises me, but it just goes to show...

I don't think I work hard enough to attract more readers. I can't be bothered, to be honest. As Jim (I think) wrote in his post, it takes considerable effort even to attract a very modest number of clicks. I just write my blog for whoever happens to find it. Its readership has grown steadily, but it's still not huge.

What Allen says makes sense. If the poems aren't happening, blogging is at least something. I can relate to that and it's a positive thing. But sometimes, I find myself blogging as an excuse not to get down to the harder task of writing a poem. It's at those times when I feel I might stop blogging altogether. However, I would no doubt find some other diversion, even less worthwhile!

Andrew Philip said...

Jim, the answer is probably many more than we'll ever come across or would have time to read.

Allen, I agree entirely. I suppose, although there is a marketing element to blogging, I've operated on the assumption that the bulk of whatever audience there is for my poetry will come to the work through other routes and possibly then find their way to the blog. If a handful of people go the other way round, that willl be quite pleasing. After all, there's no point in the marketing overtaking the main activity that it's meant to be marketing.

Rob, I know exactly what you mean. I'm often astounded you have the time and energy to blog, read, do and write as much as you do.

Art Durkee said...


Thanks for the mention here. (Re-mention?) And obviously thanks to Jim for the mutual introductions.

I find myself in agreement with most of the other comments here. What I just want to underline is that it's better to post something good, and as Rob says, I just write for whoever happens to run across it. I think that's a saner attitude for a writer to take. A certain level of detachment is required; once you start to care too much about who reads one's work, it quickly can devolve into a neurotic need.

Reluctantly, resisting it all the while for numerous good reasons, I have come around to "write something every day" viewpoint. Actually, let me clarify that: I am disgustingly prolific, and I make art (or music, or something) every single day, and have for many years. So, I have long followed the practice of making art every day. (Long equals decades.) But in the past few years, I have found myself actually writing something every day, without intending to. It's part of my first-thing-in-the-morning, pre-breakfast discipline: I get up, I don't get dressed, I grab a glass of juice, I seek out my laptop wherever I left it last night (the joy of home WiFi), and sit down to read, write, and meditate. So, I do write something every day. But it might be a Road Journal entry, it might be a poem, it might be an essay to be posted on the Dragoncave, or it might be a bit of memoir. I've been following in Basho's footsteps, and writing and/or re-writing some of my recent travel journals as haibun; a satisfying practice.

Thanks again. Nice to meet everyone.

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