How Blogging Works
When I started blogging, sometime in the early 2000s, it was the season when blogs were like an abundant harvest; they were everywhere, bursting with content. The writer friend who got me started said a blog was like a digital address for a writer, a way people could look you up on the internet and see, “Hey, she’s legit!”
Over the years things have changed. Writers have more digital tools available to convey their legitimacy. Some people still blog and blog well. Ironically, the season in my blogging career when I was the most prolific and most creative was when I was an aspiring writer. And my early blogging did lead to the stage I am in now — as someone who writes for a living.
The blog led to some of my first gigs, and those, in turn, led to others. I have worked as a journalist, a columnist, an editor, a poet, and an author. My calendar is filled with deadlines. I’m also in a season of life with more obligations than I had fifteen years ago. My to-do list overfloweth. My blog suffereth.
Currently it serves as a repository for my published work, a series of easy links. Sometimes I review a book by a friend or promote a book I care about. Each time I sigh and wish I had the gumption to work harder to prune and nurture my blog.
When I got my book published in 2016, my blog was ready as a promotional tool. One reason I’ve kept posting something — anything — is in case I have a book again. Then my blog will pivot in purpose, focus on new fruit.
The writers who I think have found most success blogging have found a rhythm and focus that works for them. Many write every day, usually short pieces. They experiment with ideas not yet ready for prime time. They indulge in their own quirky interests. They also link to other published work.
Apart from my blogging and professional writing, I am always writing poetry. Every day. For a while I posted one poem a week on my blog, but then I’d want to work on this one or save that one to submit. I’d look back at an old poem on my blog, become mortified, and take it down. Eventually I stopped posting poems.
Poetry is the anchor of my soul — reading it, writing it, listening to it, journaling about it, sharing it. The next season of my blogging life will likely play in this field. But right now it lies fallow, awaiting seed.
Photo by Emily Reid, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Megan Willome.
To Blog and Not to Blog
See a “seasonal blogging view” in L.L. Barkat’s It’s Time for Many (Experienced) Writers to Stop Blogging
Then yet another season in L.L.’s Why Blog—From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging
Browse more resources for writers
“Megan Willome’s The Joy of Poetry is not a long book, but it took me longer to read than I expected, because I kept stopping to savor poems and passages, to make note of books mentioned, and to compare Willome’s journey into poetry to my own. The book is many things. An unpretentious, funny, and poignant memoir. A defense of poetry, a response to literature that has touched her life, and a manual on how to write poetry. It’s also the story of a daughter who loses her mother to cancer. The author links these things into a narrative much like that of a novel. I loved this book. As soon as I finished, I began reading it again.”
—David Lee Garrison, author of Playing Bach in the D. C. Metro
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Sandra Heska King says
My blog suffereth, too. I prolly need to ploweth and seedeth it.
Megan Willome says
Thou speakest truth, at least for my field. It’s so easy to let it happen.
L.L. Barkat says
Would be curious to know…
• Do you feel that anything in particular has replaced it?
• Is there anything you miss about it?
Megan Willome says
1) Yes, the writing I’m doing here, for TSP. 🙂
2) I miss the interaction with commenters, although people comment a lot less frequently these days. Much of that seems to have moved to social media.
Jody Collins says
Here’s to internet connections and reaching out through the blogosphere to strangers who become friends.
I just released a new book of poetry and this paragraph appears in The Acknowledgments:
“When I started writing online in 2012, I sent her an email full of questions about my new adventure in blogging, to which she graciously replied. Because of the magic of virtual connections, I extended an invitation to Barkat and her traveling Mischief Café, which arrived in my Seattle dining room one lovely night in November 2014. There was poetry reading, toast and tea (and feather boas!). I would never have considered myself a poet if it weren’t for L.L.
Note: “I Choose” on p. 73 is a direct response to a prompt in Tweetspeak’s Mischief Café book.”
L.L. Barkat (and you!) have been two of my in real life blessings from blogging.
Here’s to writing, in whatever form.
L.L. Barkat says
Jody, it’s amazing how one thing (over time) can lead to another. 🙂
I think what you say about “in real life blessings from blogging” brings up the interesting and beautiful dynamic that whenever we somehow connect via words, life can happen. Your first words were an email (I did not remember that!). Now you are growing with poetry. Maybe you will encourage someone else to grow in their life with words; that would be a lovely continuance of what was set in motion long ago when you first reached out for help.
To me, it’s less about a particular form (blogging, email) and more about human connection and growth. (Thank you, Megan, for sharing your journey with blogging. I like how you are letting blogging be what it needs to be. That feels like a “growth” mindset that allows for connection with your own soul and, probably, others’ too.)
Megan D. Willome says
Jody, thank you for sharing your story! So happy Tweetspeak has been part of it and I agree with L.L.–I hope now you can pass the poetry love on to the next person.
Jody Collins says
I love that L.L. story…. as to passing on the poetry love, my main goal in releasing my book was to entice readers and followers to dip into poetry, perhaps for the first time. Two of my favorite ‘reviews’ are from friends on Instagram who began their statement with, “….I’ve never read any poetry before, but I’m so glad I have ordered your book!”
So many folks say “I just don’t ‘get’ poetry”; I hope my words will be a bridge to folks who will be delighted to cross over.
Your comment inspires me, Jody! I write my blog for my own “poetry love”, as a place to play with words and save my dabblings. But to actually pass on the poetry love, that would be something!
Joy Avery Melville says
In late 2018, I asked the Lord to give me a THEME for my blog – it’d been used for a lot of things, but didn’t have a consistent theme… Time was an issue, yet, I didn’t want to leave the blog alone either.
Within a week, a THEME came to me… I’ve been blogging once a week with that theme in mind…
My/Our Story BEFORE The Story…
Characters of books tell their story before the story a reader gets between book covers or on an e-reader.
For instance, an author will sign up to bring one or two main characters to my blog… they give their backstory – what shaped them or what made them what they become in the novel that’s been released.
It’s not an interview – it’s not a TELLING by the author… no. It’s a sharing by the character(s) in his/her/their own point of view.
It has been a fun endeavor. When my books have released, I’ve taken the initiative to do Cover Reveals and a couple different slants of my characters telling the Story BEFORE The Story.
God has sent me a LOT of authors when I’ve needed more to fill out a year of blogging.
Megan Willome says
Joy, this is fascinating. The characters I most love become so real to me that their “before” would be as real as their actual story. And I love that you’ve found a theme that’s sustainable–that works both for when you have a book to discuss and in between.