Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strange Blog – or how I stopped worrying and learned to love blogging - Guest post from J.S. Watts

Strange Blog – or how I stopped worrying and learned to love blogging

By J.S.Watts



Blogging hasn’t come naturally to me. My website may be hosted by Blogger, but it’s first and foremost a static website, rather than a chatty blog. My posts tend to be brief news items and updates, not opinion pieces or diary entries. Until 9th June last year I had never actually written a real blog post.

My first post, written for a writers’ online colony that I belong to, actually focussed on my blogging virginity and the losing of it. It was fun. I enjoyed writing it, but it didn’t exactly unleash a torrential flow of pent-up blogs.

It was a month until I managed another post. In fact, spurred on by an imminent trip to the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to read some of my poetry, I managed two posts in July and one in August. Then my usual blogging lethargy returned and I didn’t write another post until December.

Almost a year later and by the beginning of October 2012, I had written the grand total of just six blog posts. That’s less than one piece every two months. I clearly wasn’t at risk of writer’s cramp, or its modern equivalent, RSI, when it came to blogging. So what was the problem?

Obviously, it’s not that I don’t like writing. I’m a poet and author; it’s what I do. I love writing, but blogging somehow worried me. It seemed to require an opinion, something factual to comment on and I didn’t think I had that much to say that would interest readers in the Blogverse. Plus, with so many blogs already out there, why write even more?

I was happy writing book reviews for various literary and genre magazines. There were my poems, poetry books and short stories and a brand new novel. I wasn’t exactly short of things to write and publish. Blogging was a worry I didn’t need.

It was the novel that finally propelled me into the world of blogging: the novel and its publisher, Vagabondage Press. Thanks guys…

There I was, hard work done: novel written, edited and about to be published. I was looking forward to putting my feet up for a bit when Vagabondage effectively said, "Great book, J.S. We love A Darker Moon and want others to love it too. You’ll help getting the word out, won’t you?" What could I do, but say, "Yes". The next thing I knew, there was a growing pile of interview and guest blog-post requests and an enthusiastic publisher telling me how great it was that we’d got so much upfront interest.

The interviews were fine. All I’d got to do was answer the questions provided and chat about A Darker Moon. The blogs, however, were another matter. They were blank, structureless pages waiting to be filled with comment and opinion. Yes, I wanted to promote A Darker Moon and talk about its mythic literary fiction qualities. As a result there was bound to be some similarity between posts, but I couldn’t churn out the same thing. I needed to do original pieces, find original things to say, write from different angles and do it differently over and over again: I needed to become a regular blogger.

I hesitated, dithered and worried and then I realised something so obvious that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I am a writer. Writing, laying down and shaping words is what I do. Blogs are written pieces, collections of words laid down on the page and shaped. So where is the problem?

I picked up my pen (I always do first drafts in long-hand. I think better that way) and then I moved to the keyboard. I adored the stunning cover of A Darker Moon that the talented Art Director at Vagabondage had come up with. I loved the glowering, wide-eyed owl, the full moon and the black yet moonlit water because they are visually awesome and because they are brilliantly selected key motifs from the novel itself. I wrote about this and the importance of book covers in general. One blog post successfully completed.

The next piece looked at the significance of the novel’s London location (that’s London, England to anyone reading this in The States. I’m a British writer). Then came writing about myth and fantasy, followed by my personal take on the modern horror genre and another piece on the range of myth and legend I had drawn on to shape the dark psychological fantasy of A Darker Moon.

In a little over one month, and including this piece, I have written six full blog posts. That’s as many as I had previously written in sixteen long months. And I haven’t lost the urge to blog. Indeed, the more I write, the more I find I have to write about: the importance of fine art to A Darker Moon, the essence of memory, writers writing about writing (my anti-hero, Abe, is a compulsive writer), the psychology of religious delusion, the impact of family and the implications of writing both poetry and prose. Such is the joy of a multi-layered story: there’s always another topic to pontificate on. I’m seemingly on a roll and if any blogger out there is looking for someone to write them a guest post , I’m your woman! So thank you, Vagabondage, for releasing my inner blogger. I just hope the Blogverse is ready and braced.

 

J.S.Watts is a British writer. She was born in London, England and now lives and writes near Cambridge in East Anglia. In between, she read English at Somerville College, Oxford and spent many years working in the British education sector. She remains committed to the ideals of further and higher education despite UK governments of assorted political persuasions trying to demolish them.

Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Envoi, Mslexia and Fantastique Unfettered and have been broadcast on BBC and independent Radio. She has been Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Literary Magazine and, until its demise, Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her debut poetry collection, Cats and Other Myths and a subsequent poetry pamphlet, Songs of Steelyard Sue are published by Lapwing Publications. Her novel, A Darker Moon, is published by Vagabondage Press Further details of her books can be found on her website:

www.jswatts.co.uk . You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/J.S.Watts.page