green shoots and heart beats on a turn around my blog

When I tidied up this website to become a way for people to learn about my poems I decided to take a turn at blogging. I think it’s been a good thing for me. In doing so I was keen to avoid working too hard at it to make it too smooth, to seem too pushy in a way. My ‘about’ page links this to Wabi Sabi. Maybe. Or maybe really that is a way of saying it after the fact, not really due to my intent (maybe that is Wabi-Sabi). I think my interest is to be organic and sincere. As I keep spouting on about, without ever feeling I have explained it, I value process, and I wanted this place to be a place I could share that and explore it, without trying too hard to be a product, which so much of the world is caught in nets of.

I think of myself as an amateur at blogging (and poetry in a way). I have tried to learn a bit about SEO and all, but as far as I know that’s a mess. I read one set of rules that say never have a category and the same word in your title, I go onto the Reader and those are the posts listed, no sign of my stuff on many a search. So, in some ways I don’t feel I am blogging right.

This year I hoped to start to get my work seen by more people, but seemed to encounter a ceiling of about twenty people for just about all my posts. Prior to that I hadn’t cared in a way, but somehow started to feel like I should at least try, afterall I like my content (mostly) and was building towards publishing.

It occurred to me this afternoon that in not trying to push my content I had still managed to slip into some forms of cliche or a sort of standard – and that in itself may partly explain why whilst I have not been entirely unsuccessful neither has it become hugely popular. (phew?) Maybe that is ok.

To give an example, I was reading a book by Christian Mihai who blogs about blogging at https://artofblogging.net/ . He was writing of headlines to blog posts. Mostly I’ve deliberately not sought to try to engage people with my post titles, they are simply the title of my poem. I suppose I’ve not wanted to drift towards journalistic type audience fishing – but at the same time it leaves them bland and uninformative unless they take your eye. Even when I have highlighted some of my poems in my ‘Spotlight’ series that title itself is quite generic. Hence this post’s longer title and I thought maybe I could liven things up a bit by giving a little more thought to headlines.

I still want to strike a balance between that and some sort of business-like professionalism. I don’t want that — I still want process, this is just a new turn within that. The point is not numbers really, as I know, and good to read Christian Mihai’s points about that.

In some ways I feel I’m not engaging readers enough, I get few comments. I’ve said a couple of times that I wanted to introduce poems more. Recently I have experimented a bit with that. I hope to do so more. Just putting a poem up and hoping/trusting it speaks for itself is not really inviting conversation – and many people reading poems (myself included) can be hesitant or unconfident to speak of them. Or as also like myself, sometimes at my best, not wishing to paint their words alongside something, or sing their tune whilst another is playing. May it help contextualise poems and open up conversations.

I’m learning – there are other things I hope to try. Best not saying more. But I hope to develop a bit from a coy ‘oh it doesn’t matter’ approach to one that respects my work and putting it here, and still respects those that may or may not choose to look at it.

I’ve hardly posted since early August, but this has been no planned lay off nor time of review. I ran out of things to post, I’ve had several extra demands on me I’ve had to focus on and I’ve not been writing as much at all. It’s been good this year to try to post daily – it really helped me. I was very ill earlier in the year and then we had lockdown. It helped to be posting then. Prior to that I’d had a period of quite lucid writing. The quality of writing when I did so daily was not all of the quality I’d quite want, it seemed more doable at some times, but who could maintain that, let alone with poetry and of course it drifted. But again I learned from it. It also gives me thoughts about scheduling.

I’m quite happy with what I’ve done previously. Learning is natural. I’d not blogged at all before this. I’m glad to have had the views and likes I have had (some from very loyal readers — I do notice you and try to get back to your own posts too). If things stay at the same sort of level here that is fine, I’m just refreshign a bit.

Toni (19th September 2020)

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