Readership Doesn't Determine Writership.

I've been churning out poetry and journal entries like a human word mill, but when it comes to writing prose I've been struggling. I write with a feeling that I come close, but I miss the mark. The head of the nail is far away from where my words land. Poetry so adequately touches my emotions in that deep place where the logic and structure of prose do not fit. I dwell in that place right now. Memories fill my thoughts. Words and rhythms come naturally, lull me to sleep when the practicality of life feels burdensome and scary. 

If you don't believe me, I can send you a screen shot of the 47 different TextEdit windows that lay open and waiting with half written posts in them. I can tell you that the only things that feel accomplished and complete to me are the six [count them! 6!] poems I've drafted in the last two weeks. This is record breaking, but also upside down and backwards to my usual pace and direction and orientation of writing. 

I've been worrying and nibbling off all of my finger nails over the idea that my blog isn't a plethora of "Top 10 Ways to Blahblahblah" and that my daily blog readership is approximately 38 percent more than the number of people that actually respond to what I write.

No more. 

I've given myself a manicure and moved on. Because here is the thing that consoles and motivates me : 

My readership doesn't determine my writership.

I am a writer, first and foremost. My blog is a medium for my writing, not the other way around. 

Most blogs are prose, pieces of advice for learning how to build SEO in order to become the next piece-of-advice giver. That works for some people. It's garnered 30,000 readers and an e-book publication for them. Congratulations. 

I say that without sarcasm or disdain or jealousy. 

I say that with gratitude for the encouragement and useful information that continue to guide my journey as a writer. 

And I say that with the knowledge that it isn't for me.

I may lend my advice on occasion, but mostly, this space is my medium for sharing my creative writing and dialoguing about the process. I'm going to be posting a lot of poetry and pieces like this one, but maybe not as much prose or any formulaic posts that make my SEO and Klout score happy. 

So what, Bethany? 

I guess I'm finally coming to terms with the idea that it's good to be a writer that blogs, simply and plainly. And for the first time in awhile, these words I'm writing don't feel forced. 

This space is where you will find me. The whole me. The girl that sits amidst half empty coffee cups and pens and scraps of paper and writes what she thinks about the world, in whatever words and order they come to her. 

I am no expert, but I have things to say about writing and creativity and life, and I'd love to dialogue with you about that. Join me. Let's sit down with a cup of coffee and talk about our families and our dreams and what we wrote last night. 


Brynna Lynea King said...

You're speaking to my soul, woman. I struggle with the same thing constantly - and thus I've been struggling with blogging lately, expecting it to be something that maybe it isn't supposed to be. Luckily, I'm totally down for poetry and coffee. Last night I read a whole lot of Anne Sexton and T.S. Eliot. Is that a good conversation starter?

Melissa Tydell said...

I told myself when I started my blog that it was just for me, a creative outlet... but these days, with everything happening, I get caught up in it all and feel like maybe that's not enough.  So thank you for this post... I can definitely relate!

AdeOla Fadumiye said...

I totally relate as a writer who is freelancing. I just want to write and share my experiences of growing JostWrite, my freelance business. I read so many stuff about how to blog right and blah blah and it stiffens me up. I want to share my prose writing, my poetry, my experience trying to sign a client and the joys/pain of moving in back with my parents. I want to tell people's story and inspire, but do it the way I do it.

Thanks for this post.

TGL said...

Good for you, friend :) Write about the things that are on your heart, the things that make you move. Write yourself into these pieces. We're reading :)

Christopher Johnson said...

And I can send you a list of all the topics I want to talk about but never got around to fleshing out...
If I wrote for the people who land on my blog I should probably learn a foreign language. I had a long hiatus when I was not blogging and I feel that I have lost a lot of readers because of it. What is frustrating is when you finally finish that post you are proud of and all you hear is crickets.
I enjoy that you encourage feedback on the things that you write. I hope that the things swimming around in your head can be made real and we can enjoy hearing more writing that is not forced and more true to yourself as your own self true.

Bethany Suckrow said...

"Expecting it to be something maybe it isn't supposed to be." - YES. That's exactly it. And I love Anne Sexton. Haven't read a whole lot of T.S. Eliot, but if you like him, I probably will. :)

Bethany Suckrow said...

I think especially as a self-employed writer that it is really important to write and work with clients in a way only you can do it. And that's what drives me nuts about some writing blogs - the formula is good guide, but to offer up that info as if its guaranteed is naive and misleading and it's not encouraging creativity at all. Be you, AdeOla. That's what the world needs. :)

Bethany Suckrow said...

And how thankful I am that you are, in particular. The same goes for you, dear friend. 

Bethany Suckrow said...

I have had many many many posts that only attract the crickets. What I can say is that if you're not writing on your blog, it definitely will not grow. There have been periods where I went over a month without blogging, but you have to just keep going. Call as little attention to it as possible, but keep writing. If you look at my early archives, it seemed like I was posting one apology after another for not blogging. Eventually I realized that no one wants to read that.
Thanks for your encouragement, Christopher! I always appreciate your comments. :)

Brynna Lynea King said...

He's a little over my head sometimes, which is completely intentional--he's not Ezra Pound elitist, but almost--but the language is always beautiful and I love the way he uses rhyme.

jackalopekid said...

And your writing is great. Keep it up!

happygohandmade said...

very well put! I also enjoy writing poetry, always have, but have been to afraid to put it out there for others to read.  I think that may change...maybe... either way, thanks for the inspiring article to keep writing!

Shawndra Russell said...

I LOVE this blog post. I constantly struggle with the question "what SHOULD my blog be?" because I don't get enough comments, don't have enough followers, blah blah blah. But you know what? I LIKE doing it. I LIKE having an outlet to share my published work, my thoughts about other writers and their works, resources that are helpful to me, and basically the things that fuel my creativity. Maybe I'll never break 1,000 readers, but gosh darn it, I like doing it :) Keep up the great work; I for one don't want you to change your blog!

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