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Armchair BEA: Blogging about Savvy Verse & Wit

Armchair BEA has followed many of the activities from Book Expo America in New York City, including the expo floor, panel discussions, what book bloggers are finding in terms of ARCs, and interviewing authors and others.

Today, with the Book Blogger Convention (please check out the agenda), the organizers of Armchair BEA asked for participants to think about their blogs and blogging.

I’m taking my queue from the Armchair BEA blogger interviews earlier in the week, in which some bloggers touched upon the dos and don’ts of blogging and gaining “followers.”

I’m not big on just gaining followers, BUT I am interested in gaining readers.  Whether all my readers comment or not, I know you’re still reading and if you’re reading, you must be getting something from my posts.

I struggled for a long time about whether poetry should continue to be a focus on the blog because the posts rarely received comments and as a fledgling blog, it had very few readers.  However, after discussing possible alternatives and focuses with myself and Anna, I came to the conclusion that poetry is my passion.  Even if the blog had one comment (Anna!), it was out there on the Internet and could be found through a quick search of keywords.  While the post may not receive immediate responses, readers will find the post eventually.

In that vein, some characteristics I think you should have in order to have a successful blog include passion, determination, and patience.  Without these, blogging will be a fad . . . a fleeting moment in time for you.  Moreover, it will be a frustrating endeavor as you watch your stats, chomping at the bit for new “followers” and screaming “why” when some “followers” disappear.

Blogging is a learning process, and I’m just now learning the life-blogging balance as a new mother.  When we didn’t have a child, it was easier to take up the computer and start blogging away, but now there are feedings every three hours, diapers to change, and crankiness to alleviate.

I wouldn’t trade my daughter, “Wiggles,” for anything in the world, but it does make it more difficult to find time to read, write reviews, comment on blogs, and be on social media.  I know the blog will be around because I’ve still got the passion driving me, the determination to keep going even when I’m exhausted, and the patience to wait for those few available moments to sit down and write.

How about you?  What’s your blogging story?

  • Valerie

    I’m always reading ever since I discovered your blog (I don’t remember how I found it). I love your virtual poetry circle but it’s often hard for me to think of what to say in response. And, I love what you do for poetry in the blogging world!

    As for kids, the busy-ness level stays but changes over time — diapers now for you, then later it’ll be driving them around to activities and friends houses. Each stage is an interesting one! Babyhood is more physically draining for the parents, though; but still has precious moments. I agree with the comment that if it is important to you, you’ll still read. I gave up watching TV back when my kids were young — just so that I could read (and it’s “me time”, too).
    Valerie´s last blog post ..Updike and Me

    • Thanks for the pep talk about kids. I’m glad that you enjoy the blog and the Virtual Poetry Circle. I hope that it helps spread the word about different poets and poems.

      Please feel free to visit the Indie Lit Awards in September to nominate your favorite poetry book published in 2011.
      Serena´s last blog post ..99th Virtual Poetry Circle

  • Love this post. It can’t be easy to read and blog and socialize with a little baby. It is easier for me because my kids are at school all day long, and when they are home, they tend to entertain themselves. This schedule allows me to focus 100% on them in the evening and still keep up (yeah right). You make a very good point about passion and determination. We certainly don’t do this for the money. You have to love it from the tips of your toes.
    Sandy´s last blog post ..Wants and Needs

    • You got that right! What money?! LOL

  • Beth Hoffman

    Yes, fan the flame of your passion! You have introduced me to so many exceptional poets over this past year and my life has been enriched because of them. I now have a bookshelf dedicated to poetry books, and that’s primarily because of your blog.

    Have a lovely weekend, Serena!

    • I’m glad to have made the introductions and hope those relationships continue!

  • Cindy(Cindy’s Love Of Books)

    I have to say I applaud any parent who can blog as much as they do with children in the house. I have one and thankfully I am a stay at home mom so all my blogging (posts) is done during the day and everything else online is done when he is in bed.

    Great post and you touched on alot of great points. Yes its nice to have followers but even nicer to see readers come and comment on your blog.

    As for breaks I have decided that Sundays are my break days.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Cindy: I agree that its a tough balancing act with kids in the house, but it can be done. Thanks for stopping by to check out my post and have a great weekend as well.

  • Great post! It is a juggling act, but I definitely think the moment you get stressed about a blog is the moment you need to step back. I mentioned passion too 😉
    Here’s my post!

    • I agree that everyone needs a break from the blog..and taking a break can mean no content for a while or having a month of guest posts (thanks all you indie/small press contributors in March)!

  • I agree that you should continue to make poetry your focus here. It is your passion and that’s what important. I often have to remind myself when I get low or no comments on my posts, that I started doing this because I enjoyed it for myself. Back in my MySpace blog days, I wrote about books all the time and pretty much never received comments, but I still kept doing it and before doing it online, I used to write my thoughts in a journal. You certainly do not get comments in a handwritten journal. 😀

    It is difficult to balance life with blogging. I have to constantly remind myself that real life needs to take priority. And it is difficult to read with children. My boys are very rambunctious and I’m often distracted from my reading or interrupted while blogging. But then I remind myself that they’re only young once and I really don’t want to miss important moments because I’m making blogging the center of my universe.

    Great post, Serena!
    Michelle @ The True Book Addict´s last blog post ..ARMCHAIR BEABUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

    • Michelle: Thanks for stopping by. It’s good to remind ourselves why we started blogging in the first place and that there is a real life beyond blogging that needs our attention.

  • I am on the other side now. My youngest graduated high school last year and I have way more free time. I miss certain things and it goes SO FAST. I did, however, keep up with my reading through those years, how, I can’t tell you. If it is your passion, you find the time.

    I agree with everyone’s comment and have nothing new to add.

    • Nise, thanks for stopping by. High school seems so far away at this point, but then again, I can’t believe she’s two months old already.

  • If you don’t blog about your passions, is it worth it? You read what you want to read because you want to read it, plain and simple.

    I think bloggers really have to remember why they started blogging. If they blog for themselves, they should keep doing it even when it seems like no one is reading. If they blog for the followers, then it’s going to be frustrating especially at first.

    I just think it’s great when someone stops by my blog to talk about a book I’ve reviewed. I started blogging to keep track of what I read, and now I most enjoy blogging because I get to discuss books with people who enjoy reading as much as I do. But I’d keep blogging even if you were still my only commenter! 🙂

    I remember what it was like trying to find time to read with a baby…and it’s still hard trying to find time to read even though she’s almost 11! They always need and want your attention, but you find a routine and time to do the things you most enjoy. I wouldn’t read nearly as much if I didn’t commute by train and I generally have to blog when she’s gone to bed.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Indie Lit Awards Update

    • Apparently, this post resonated with you! I love that you are as passionate about WWII literature as you are about Jane Austen fiction and spin-offs. Although those topics may seem incongruous, its what makes our blog stand out amongst the crowd. But at the same time, you haven’t niched yourself.

      Life-blogging balance is harder with an infant, but its doable. I’ve always taken on a bunch of projects at once and I’ve always found the time for what I enjoy and what I’ve committed to.

  • Beachreader

    I like how you differentia between readers and followers – I agree completely. And stay with your poetry passion – those who love poetry – will find you 🙂
    Beachreader´s last blog post ..Armchaier BEA Topic- Balancing Life and Bloggng

    • Thanks for stopping by. I think there is a difference between a follower and a reader. I really want dedicated readers.

  • How do you find time to read with kids? I’m hoping to have a baby in a year or so. I really want to be able to keep reading. Seems like most people I know totally stop reading. I don’t want to be like that.

    • I think it depends on your spouse. My husband and I have always share the chores around the house, etc. in a 50-50 capacity, so it is the same with our daughter. I have her all day while working from home, and in the evenings through the late hours, he has her. Weekends we both care for her, but Sunday is really his entire day to take care of her while I read.

      But infants nap quite a bit, so there are a couple hour blocks for reading during the day as well.

      • I hope that I can teach a kid when they’re pretty young the importance of quiet time and play-by-yourself time. It’s nice for mom to have her alone time. Plus, as an only child, I played by myself most of my life. Being capable of self-entertainment is an important skill.