Embracing the Variable

It’s April and I have officially cleaned out the first jar of vocab I had stored up for my weekly segment, Words of the Week. Although I still have 15+ pages of words lying around in notebooks and on hard drives, the completion of the first jar in conjunction with the end of the month gives the sense of a natural conclusion– or at least, of a time for reflection.

I enjoy running segments on my blog, and have been doing so for some time. I have done themed jaunts by the month (30 Stories in 30 Days; the 30 Day Know Thyself Challenge put on by Writer’s Relief; National Poetry Month), weekly series (Forum Friday, Where I Am, Words of the Week), and capricious but recurring installments (Good Writing Advice, Julieisms, etc.). Each has served a purpose, and in its own right, a time. Looking back, it is clear to me that some segments have been more successful than others, some more practical, some both, and some neither. Month-long series, for example, have been beneficial to both myself and readers (the 30 Short Stories posts still get regular views over a year later), but siphon time from my main projects and tend to leave me drained and burnt out. The weekly series have been more variable: less demanding, but resulting in either mundanity or creative burnout, and with mixed reception. The unscheduled but recurring installments have perhaps been my favorite, allowing for both content and time-related liberties while being generally of interest to readers. The drawback: being irregular, their readership is irregular, too.

I begin to wonder if blog posts, like central projects, should not be governed simply by going where the interest is hot. Many authors have discussed the power of pursuing the things that excite us (forthcoming post on this with specifics from Veronica Roth), and I think it only follows that when WE are excited about what we’re writing, it is much more likely that others will be excited about it, too. While my Where I Am posts were a great practice for me, they really only echoed what I already did in my planner to track my projects, and offered little of interest to readers. They became a sort of checklist item, which made them boring for both parties. Not cool. Good Writing Advice, on the other hand, is continuously well-received, because the topic– learning to improve my writing– is one I am consistently passionate about. As are my readers. Win-win.

What I am getting at today is that

1) I’m discontinuing Words of the Week. It was a sound idea in theory, but not so sound in practice. Apart from composing the sentences, I hardly looked at the words again, so I wasn’t really absorbing the new vocabulary– and as I seem not to have encountered many fellow lexophiles along the way, motivation dwindled. I will, however, take this occasion to thank the brilliant and generous Roy McCarthy, who always kindly shared his own recent vocab with me! Thank you, Roy 🙂

2) I’m going to try renouncing the weekly themed post in favor of writing only when the topic excites me. Ideally this will still be at least once a week– however, life is fluid, and as such that standard is also subject to flux.  Though less consistent, I think only posting when I am really eager to will make for a more colorful and enjoyable experience on both the reader and writer ends of the process.

3) I am thinking a small-scale blog remodel is in order– one that will reflect my greater creative interests rather than just reading and writing, as I will be posting about more of the things I am passionate/curious/excited about. This means the name “The Read Room” will probably change into my own name, and include a spiffy new tagline that sums up my endeavors. Stay tuned for changes.

I fully intend to keep this blog active– but for now, I’m embracing the variable!

 

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6 thoughts on “Embracing the Variable

  1. I’ve completely given up on trying to post a certain number of times per week on my blog. Some weeks, I’m burned out from whatever book I’m writing or don’t have any post ideas. Other weeks, I feel like blogging almost every day. It makes it tough to get a lot of hits, but I definitely don’t want my novel-writing to suffer–that was the point of starting the blog in the first place!

    • That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? If our blogs are detracting from our creative efforts, what’s the point?? I’m glad to hear another writer relate.

      Relevant aside: Do you use Tumblr? I’ve been thinking about keeping one of those (in addition to blogging) as more of an author persona space. With quick shares like quotes, images, and videos, it seems like it’d be easier to update frequently. Probably I should look at the Tumblrs of existing authors…

      • I’ve considered starting a Tumblr, but I’m already kind of overwhelmed by my blog and Twitter. I definitely like the long-form aspect of blogging better, so I don’t think I’d wind up posting much on Tumblr. It’s kind of like, sometimes I just want to be alone, not sharing stuff with the [virtual] world.

        • It does make sense for writers to gravitate toward the long-form. And maybe a Tumblr would just be another distraction, though I do like the idea of using it as a commonplace book. Oh, social media. One day I will figure you out.

  2. Thanks for that over-kind mention Julie 🙂 Just speaking for myself I only pop a blog post up if the subject matter interests me. That might mean a bit of a gap, but I find that regular followers are both pretty loyal and neither do they want overload. A good idea for you to step back to see where blogging is in your life and whether it’s fruitful or maybe diverting you from more productive stuff.

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