I'm curious as to your purpose behind using a blog. You're a poet; you write stuff then publish it. So, is this simply a method for connecting to your reader(s)? If so, is it accomplishing its purpose? How do you think so?
Originally, I started the blog because I was pregnant with my second child and wanted a way to connect with other poets. At the time, I was relatively new to the area I’m living in now. I didn’t have any writer friends nearby. With young kids, it’s hard to coordinate a workshop or attend readings. So I started the blog, found others online who wanted to share their poems, and the rest is history.
The blog is an extension of me. It’s a place where I don’t have to be edited or censored. I guess its purpose has always been a place for me to share my thoughts and poems before I send them out for publication. The fact that people read it is a happy accident. I still see it as a place for me, but now I happen to be doing more. I'm promoting a book, so certainly there’s a marketing element to what I do. The Poet Mom blog has surpassed my expectations for connecting to others around the world.
On rare occasions, someone might come up to me and say, “Hey, Poet Mom!” Can’t help but smile at that.
I should also mention that it takes a while to publish poems. So a blog is a nice way to get immediate feedback on something I've just written.
Hi, I'm also from Dr. Brock's class. I was wondering, while writing Underlife did you come across difficulties like writer's block, and if so, what kind of tricks do you find most helpful getting out of the slump?
Hi Mollie. Underlife was never a project; I never sat down and said, “I’m going to start a new manuscript.” I had all of these poems and I could see the beginnings of a cohesive thread, which helped me make the mental shift from a bunch of poems on my computer’s hard drive to a potential manuscript. But once that process started, I could see where the holes were and I could see which poems needed work. The process for Underlife was never linear, but for manuscript No. 2, it definitely feels more like a project. Maybe that’s a good thing the second time around.
As for writers’ block, the only way out is through—meaning, you have to work through not writing. You have to write a lot of bad poetry before you get to something good. It may be a phrase or a couple of lines out of two pages that you end up throwing away, but it’s a start. Carry a notepad with you in case an idea strikes you. Jot it down and let it marinate a while until you’re ready to write. Also, 15-minute free writes have always been helpful to me.
Poet Mom, have you found that your subject matters have changed/evolved into more introverted topics since you had your children? I am also in Jim Brock's class. I have found that i as grow and change jobs so does the subject of my prose. But i can not imagine the shift in view point as of having children.
Children are a game changer, no matter what! But for me, having kids added another level to my writing. Kids add new depth that makes the work more personal, but also more universal at the same time. It’s hard to imagine a point of view change like this until you have kids of your own.
As I get older, I have pushed myself to write about a variety of things I never would have written about 20 years ago. But that’s also a result of having gained life experiences. Stuart, I think you’ll find that you’re more willing to take greater leaps into the imagination as the years creep up on you. My 30s were certainly more productive and interesting artistically than my 20s.
Keep those question coming!