I’m thrilled to have author HM Jones here this week for Week 3 of the Gravity Blog Swap. She’s enormously talented as both a writer and a poet, and just a tremendous contributor to the awesomeness that is Gravity.
Juggling a platform, pursuing a career and keeping a writing schedule is hard. When I first began my career as a writer, I truly didn’t see the point in one of the things I now consistently do: blogging. I’ve since changed my mind (something my husband will tell you is pretty damn hard to do). I’d like to say that I do it now to gain a following of readers who like my writing (which it successfully does). Or maybe that I do it to get traffic to my site (which it often does). But I’m going to let you in on a secret: I LOVE blogging. I used to hate it. But I don’t anymore and here’s why:
- Stepping Outside the Genre Box
I write a lot of things set in more fantastical, sci-fi, speculative fiction realms. And I love writing new worlds, new settings, and made-up characters. I think I excel in world creation and in telling a story that didn’t happen until I picked it up.
But I also find that I like talking about politics, feminism, violence against women, motherhood, mood disorders and body image expectations in a more direct way. These are themes you can find in both my fiction and my poetry, but they are not often the main point of the story. When I write outside of genre, I get to be direct. I like that about blogging.
- Direct Reader Feedback
One of the best parts about writing a book is getting great feedback on that book. I love hearing from readers, knowing what worked for them, what didn’t, what moved them, etc. But it’s not as often that a writer gets feedback on a 300 page book. Reviews are coming in, and that’s satisfying and I love that people are engaging with my work, but it’s a slow cycle. Not so much with blogs. I usually get reader feedback right away. This is either because they are shorter or because they are of an extremely personal nature. I don’t know the reason. All I know is that my blogs engage a larger audience more quickly, and it’s nice to hear from people.
- Takes Place of Journal Writing
I often take the advice, from my imprint manager Rachel Thompson, about writing my own truth and owning it. So my blogs are very honest. They are my truths, but I see that making them personally appealing also opens them up to be other people’s truths. I think books do this, too, in a very detailed and beautiful way (I could name hundreds that do this for me), but, again, a blog is a succinct truth, a taste of one’s soul. And it can be very liberating. I write my blog as I would a journal, only more organized. I’m honest, direct and seeking an engagement with my ideas, my life. In so doing, I often reach other people who want to be engaged in the same questions and that brings me to my last point.
- Making Relationships
I’ve never been great at keeping friends. Like Austen’s Wickham, I have the happy nature that allows me to make friends rather quickly, but retaining them seems to be the hang-up. This probably has something to do with my changeable moods (thanks, bi-polar mood disorder), but it also has something to do with the fact that I get overwhelmed face-to-face. I feel like I must perform as the person with me wants me to perform. Not blogging, not online. I get to be me. I get to say what I mean, and that has brought something wonderful on: friendships. With people who I truly connect to on a soul level. I have made many friends who I maintain friendships with online. Because we’ve found each other: us geeks, us bi-polar mommas, us feminists, us uber-liberal Christians, us tattoo loving persons, us plus-sized and happy body image advocates, us writers, and so many more.
Last week I received two PMs from internet friends (and please don’t read this in a dismissive way because my internet buds have saved me from myself before). They contacted me about my blogging, my poetry snippets, and wanted me to know that I made them feel as if they weren’t alone. And then I felt like I wasn’t alone. We were a community of two and that felt like love.
So, while I DO agree that it’s hard to keep it up—the blogging, the marketing, the socialization, the writing of the books, the editing of the books, the parenting and having a career—I don’t agree that blogging is pointless. I have found these few perks to blogging. They are not about statistics, which are actually in favor of author blogging as well, they are about how the blogs work for me on an emotional/creative level. I hope that other people can find themselves in their words and that they can be content there. Peace and wellness to you all, internet peoples. If you want to engage with me, you only need to comment. How cool is that?
H.M. Jones is the B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree of Monochrome, now published by Booktrope’s Gravity Imprint. She has also written the Attempting to Define poetry collection, and is a contributing author to Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Time Travel Anthology. Jones also teaches English courses at Northwest Indian College. She is a featured poet on Feminine Collective, moderator of the online poetry mag, Brazen Bitch, is the tired mother of two preschoolers, and in her “spare” time weaves, pulls with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Canoe Family, and attempts to deserve her handsome husband, whose lawyering helps her follow her dreams. You can find H.M. Jones on Facebook, Twitter (@HMJonesWrites), and her website and blog http://www.hmjones.net.