Writing On My Own

Leggy ShowerCollege is nearly done. I am sad in some ways and relieved in others. I absolutely adore having access to all those books on writing craft and a humongous collection of poetry. One can always find a library packed full of fiction and nonfiction, but not stacks upon stacks of poetry and writing craft books. Alas my college library is just for active students. I will be sad not to have a few weeks a year for writing retreat. It’s amazingly inspiring and instructive. Stimulating too. I really must find ways to replace that. There are some local writing communities, but it’s not the same academic focus. That other focus makes things far more stimulating. I will miss the people and the conversations. Groups of brilliant, diverse college students of all ages talking issues, literature and transformation is incredibly stimulating. I have never found such a group anywhere else. I have learned as much from them as I have learned from the faculty. I will miss the pressure to perform. It helps me follow through to have deadlines upon which thousands of dollars depends. Either I do it, or waste that debt I’m accumulating. I made a book because of that. It’s not a great book, but it’s a book. My fourth and it’s the best one so far.

What I will not miss is the pressure to perform. I want to find out what my writing practice is like now without anyone pushing me. I have had fingers in my literary pie, for good reason, for two years. What will it be like now? And will I have enough stimulation to keep my momentum going? Will any of the connections I’ve made in college survive the lack of face time that will happen now? If I write a book, any kind of book, it will be because I wanted to make it passionately and I followed through. No deadlines, no push. It is freeing to have that spaciousness…and boy do I have a book on the burner.

I will also not miss going over this student manuscript. My topics for this poetry project were cancer, healing meditation, intergenerational trauma and self-esteem/image. It’s a story. Both happy and sad. Revising it has caused some turmoil. It’s rather like mucking out a shit stall over and over again. You’re bound to have some of that shit stick to you after you’re done. It’s been a struggle to keep my chin up reading that stuff over and again. Letting it rest will be a good idea. At some point, I intend to share some of it with my family. It could be very healing. Even if it’s a shit storm, speaking up can be empowering. It is using my voice to tell the truth, even if I am disowned. Truth is not always popular. People love their illusions. It makes them feel safe.

Thus, the last week to go before I walk the aisle toward my diploma. I have a senior presentation to organize, a discussion for the incoming students about time management, and a house to get ready for my son and his gf to hang out in for easy access to see my graduation and presentation. Sounds like a nice winding down. Hopefully there’s no last-minute push for more revision. I did radically change a few poems before I submitted my manuscript. They may want me to work on that more. Oy! I hope not.

 

The Advantages of Being a Tiny Blog

tumblr_mxksv8orB81srzaeoo1_500I first started blogging when I had a profile on Adult Friend Finder. It was in 2005 and I was a horny, polyamorous married chick, hunting casual sex in hopes of finding some nice poly relationships. I had quite a following of horny dudes on AFF. It made for good fucking. When I found a relationship that consumed my time and energies enough, I’d wander away from AFF.

Early on, as a poly lady, I didn’t know much about keeping a long-term poly relationship. I focused over-much on the sex, but I still wanted love. Needless to say, my emphasis was on the wrong thing. Inevitably I’d end up blogging on AFF again using smutty writing to lure a lover. If I could remember my user name from last time, I’d use the same blog and profile. If not, I’d end up with a new one. After a year of that, I realized how much I loved blogging and I how tired I was of the AFF/casual sex thing. I got myself a real blog on blogger (“Honestly Speaking”) and focused on real polyamory. That was fun and it was enlightening on many levels, not the least of which was as a writer. I learned I could write interesting content and not just smut with which to lure a lover.

On “Green RootsDown,” I journaled of my experiences with polyamory and I found myself within a community of people who were interested in tantra, polyamory and BDSM. I got my heart broken a few times and I talked it all out on my blog, much to the fascination of my readers. I grew as a person, got better at polyamory and I became a better writer too. Not a great one. I’m still too messy a writer to be called “great” or “exemplary,” but I am a good writer. People find what I have to say compelling enough to read the whole thing, even when I write about something pretty boring.

In any case, I had a respectable following once upon a time. I would easily get 600 unique page hits a day on my first WordPress blog and most of those people investigated a dozen posts before wandering off. It was no uncommon for a post to be popular enough to get a thousand hits in a day. I walked away from all that to gain some privacy because I had chosen to tell anyone I knew about my blog. There came a time when what I wrote was misconstrued and people used it to be catty. I walked away from the blog when it happened again in another setting with another group of people.

When I abandoned  “Green Rootsdown,” my readers obviously didn’t come with me to “AlaisHeart” blog, so it was a super tiny. I liked it that way. There is a certain distraction in having loads of comments to respond to and it’s easy to get caught up in the ephemeral job of pleasing a public (which was still small on Radiances). Loads of comments are fun, exciting and affirming, but it took the focus off my passion, which is writing and loving. When I walked away from GRD, I found I could focus just on the writing and on sharing a journal of my life with Remus, the only one whom I endeavored to please, besides myself. It was freeing.

I am proud of the fact that Poetic Radiance got only 64 unique visitors its first year, who viewed 388 posts. I would not be surprised if I could name those visitors personally. This year, Poetic Radiance had 109 visitors who viewed 527 posts (that’s not counting other ways Poetic Radiance can be viewed). It’s steady, slow growth and it’s been earned because people like my content and keep coming back to read. Given that I’ve been pretty sporadic with posting here, I am proud to have engendered some loyalty and gained some new readers.

Poetic Radiance has followers who don’t necessarily surf over here too. We have 6 followers on our sister Tumblr blog. We have 127 followers on Twitter. We have 22 using the WordPress followers button, meaning they pick up a feed using the Reader from the WordPress dashboard. Besides that we have 155 email followers. Holy Shit, that’s over 300 people reading Poetic Radiance now.

As of this post we have published 679 posts. Our best day of traffic to date was today, September 6, 2015 with 135 visitors and it seems that you like reading on Friday and Sunday nights the best, at around midnight. This, just two years after its inception and with no effort on our part at all to encourage its growth, beyond making a few places to feed the blog such as Twitter and Google+. I have told only two people of this blog’s existence since we began Poetic Radiance about two years ago—only two people. In the years since GRD, I’ve been able to validate myself as a writer. Without reader feedback, I could look at what I wrote and consider its merit alone and its skill technically. I have enjoyed that and I’ve seen my writing become more polished. Well most days. This post is really not much of an example of that. It’s just chatty and off-the-cuff.

I’m happy to see Poetic Radiance grow. It will be a fun ride here. I’m glad to be settling in to build this blog and I will be making a marketing effort now and again if I get a book, poem or short story published. I’ll keep it slow, but sure. I like it that way and if a day comes when there’s thousands reading here, I will be grateful and have fun with it. I’ll still be writing mostly for Remus and I…and possibly our poly partner(s). It will just make it more fun that you like what I wrote too.

Warmly,

Shannee