Monday, May 05, 2014

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, May 05, 2014 17 comments
I've never taken a physics course, but I know all too well the concept of inertia. One must exert force to overcome it. Those of us who have been blogging for any length of time will hit phases of either burn-out or simply lethargy in which we struggle to generate new content. In the former situation, my strategies have been to take a brief hiatus, reuse old posts, or solicit guest posts. In the latter situation, I've usually solicited topics from readers, experimented with not-my-usual approach (film reviews, memoir shorts, lists), or sought a blogfest with a topic that interested me.

What attracted me to the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year was the camaraderie I'd seen develop among participants in past years. With many other blogfests, you get a lot of drive-bys, but often very little sustained interaction. And it's the friendships that makes blogging so rewarding. At the beginning of the year, I'd culled more than 70 inactive blogs off my reading list (haven't posted in two to three years). Realizing that so many blogging buddies have drifted away was pretty sobering. Some of my lethargy with blogging was clearly due to grieving the loss of relationships I'd once had. Coming to acceptance would, of course, involve moving on and building new relationships.

Another appeal for me was to test my ability to be radically productive. I challenged myself to write and format all the posts ahead and largely succeeded. All but one were completely written, illustrated, and formatted before April 1. The outlier was my G post, in which I'd selected a piece that was a bit of an interpretive struggle for me. Rather than ditch it, I leaned into my struggle and wrote about that, finishing the post only a day ahead. It turned out to be a good approach, because the poet I'd featured contacted me to say thanks for featuring her work and for helping others be less intimidated by poetry. So I definitely learned an important lesson there: your learning process is as important as any perceived expertise you have. Share it!

As to my topic, poetry. Well, I've always wanted to do a consistent National Poetry Month Series. The reason NPM exists is to stir up enthusiasm for a genre that's too often pushed to the margins. I had no illusions going in that talking poetry would make my blog super popular. Dislike of the genre runs deep in contemporary life, where "thinking slow" isn't valued, and depth is for nerdy, uncool people. I choose to be countercultural. Give me Hughes or Heaney over Honey Boo Boo any day. My goal was simply to provide for those brave enough to visit an opportunity to see what poetry might have to offer.

Did I come out of my turtle shell of grieving lost blogging buddies and make new ones? Yes.

Did I generate a large volume of content and meet deadlines? Yes.

Did I share my enthusiasm for an under-appreciated genre and help others see its diverse merits? Yes.

Has my faith been restored in blogging as a medium worth my time? Yes and double yes.

How about you? 
A to Z participants, what were your goals? Did you meet them?
A to Z observers, might you ever participate? Why or why not?

17 comments:

  1. Never under appreciated by me. So pleased you selected poetry for your challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed the posts.

      Delete
  2. Gosh, your first paragraph describes me.

    A to Z: I'm glad you chose poetry. It's one area I've dabbled in - loads of doodles in page corners during middle grade and high school - but it's never been an element of writing I've studied. I enjoyed reading and learning from all you wrote!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keeping a consistent level of enthusiasm is pretty tough for anything one does over many years. One simply finds ways to cope with that reality.

      I'm glad to hear that my posts helped keep you interest in poetry alive. The most important thing is to read widely. Poets.org has tons of material.

      Delete
  3. Congrats on completing the challenge! I'm so glad you chose poetry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie. I'm sad I didn't have much time to keep up with blog buddies like you who weren't A-Zing. But hooray, it's May now.

      Delete
  4. I also took your pre-planning approach. Very cool. I will check out some of your poetry posts now!

    Here's my A to Z wrap-up post. I also have an End of Challenge book giveaway going on for either contemporary romance or contemporary YA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I still need to make the rounds on the wrap-up posts. Juggling some deadlines has made it a bit tricky. Thanks so much for coming by.

      Delete
  5. I really enjoyed what you did with the combined A to Z challenge and National Poetry Month. I read all month, even when I didn't comment! Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. It was lots of fun to seek out all sorts of styles and forms and even discover new poets while fulfilling the assignment of a poem per letter.

      Delete
  6. It's all about making new friends. It was that first year, and it's still about connecting with others today.
    I recently put all my blogger buddies who hadn't posted in a long time in one folder in my reader. It was really sad...
    Congratulations on completing the Challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. I'm hopeful that some of the new friends will be ones who stay connected. Thanks again for all your hard work as co-host!

      Delete
  7. I love that you gained so much during the challenge and met your goals! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope you also had fun with it.

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on completing the challenge.

    Like you I had to have a bit of a blog cull before the challenge, it's definitely a good way to connect with blogger that you might not otherwise be aware of. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. It was encouraging to meet so many interesting people after losing a bunch of blogging buddies who've left the blogosphere.

      Delete
  9. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly as I try to navigate the twists and turns of the Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me drive by. (lol)
    Entrepreneurial Goddess

    ReplyDelete