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?