Recently I was talking to a friend who commented that she had noticed me posting more blog posts. Straight away, I delved right into discussion with her, explaining all the reasons why I am loving blogging at the moment. I realised this would make for a great post and I thought I would explain to all of you why I have “switched” from poetry to blogging….Firstly let me say that I haven’t really switched at all! Just focused my energy on a form of writing that I believe is more sustainable for me at this time. No matter what sort of mood I am in, I’ve noticed that I am almost always able to write a blog post. Blogs are straightforward; they usually exist to communicate some form of information with an audience. Yes it takes work to create a post that is inspiring, imaginative and witty; but with blogging I feel like there’s less of a struggle. It helps me when I feel the need to write and share my thoughts with others and requires a lot less emotional labour than a poem does.
Poetry takes guts. It takes you reaching out into the cavernous depths of your chest and pulling out with your bare hands whats inside. It asks you to face your demons, to confront those parts of yourself that are considered most ugly. Poetry asks you to dig out your dirty laundry and hold it up for the whole world to see, hoping that your vulnerability will be something people can connect with.
Poetry, having being dismissed by scholars/society for centuries for being too “fluffy” is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But I am not someone who can access their most painful or joyous truth on cue. For me it can take even years for some poems to come through fully. It is like birthing something and this process cannot be rushed. Yes we can do writing exercises and yes, I would push people to write on a regular basis; I do after all, believe that many of us can hurry through the feeling of writers block and produce something fantastic in it’s wake. However, some poems simply do take years to create. When I first awakened creatively, I felt like poetry was just dripping onto the page. Ideas flowed through without any effort at all and I genuinely had the naivety (much like anyone at the start of a new, fabulous relationship) to believe that me and poetry would work like this together forever. What I was not prepared for, was for the poetry to dry up. What happens when I’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit? What happens when I’m not sure what else there is to write for? Do we keep pushing on, keep digging, even in the face of emotionally unearthing some wounds that are just too fresh to face daylight? And if we don’t want to, what might we turn our attention to instead?
With blogging comes the bonus of instant, measurable gratification. As much as I am a creative, I really do like my numbers and organisation. Thanks to the diagnostics tools available on WordPress – after each post I am presented with a nice neat table, detailing how many views, comments and clicks I get on each post. Theres also the function to compare my views to the previous post, week or even year. I absolutely love taking about the statistics and viewing my blog from all the different angles it can be viewed from. I have a little readership but for me that little element of progress is really satisfying to see. Poetry is unmeasurable; that’s what makes it exciting and beautiful. It’s hard to “track your progress” with a poem and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The subjectiveness is what I love about poetry. For the other side of me who likes to see upward lines on graphs, blogging can pander to that need nicely.
I think it’s important to focus your attention on multiple forms of writing and art. Last year I took a scriptwriting class just to try new things, I started writing the beginning chapters of a YA Novel just for fun and this year I’m focusing more on my blog. Telling myself that I am not just one kind of writer gives me permission to move outside the box, experiment and make mistakes. Things get stagnant if we keep them the same way for too long and it’s important to be able to shift and respond in accordance to your surroundings. I do not think it’s healthy for anyone’s creativity to be boxed into something. I think I will always see myself as a poet or an artist and I think my work will always be within the realms of helping others to access their creativity but I need to know that I am able to make necessary changes and adjustments in order to do whats best for me.
I have mentioned this word a couple of times lately. If you know me personally you will know that my main goal in life is to create a sustainable career out of creativity for myself. This has been my focus to the point that I am bordering on obsessed with it.
I don’t want to believe this all-too-common rhetoric that artists and writers should live on a diet of fresh air and budget whiskey. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that you can’t be both a talented artist and business-savvy.
(I also don’t buy that you have to drink heavily to be a poet but I suppose that’s a whole other conversation entirely!) Having an online platform that can serve as a hub for a larger community strikes me as something I can really use as a foundation from which to build off. It’s sustainable from my point of view and also useful to the people reading! I want to build a life for myself, and I want a brand that is rooted in the authenticity of who I am. Blogging and sharing information via Salt Water Poetry feels like a good place to start for me. Whatever form of writing you chose to focus on, I hope that it’s rooted in authenticity for you. I hope you find a way to be yourself and most of all I hope you massively enjoy what you do. I may flit backwards and forwards between writing and working styles, but I have to tell you that since I opened up the door of possibility on me being “more” than just a poet, I have never felt more free.