Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Society for Free Range Muses: lessons learned

I touched on this in the previous post, but my keyboard runneth over as usual. Wynette and I founded the Society last year -- and have decided that, for the time being, it should go dormant.

We both feel passionately about the importance of writers and artists of every flavor honoring their creative needs and taking control of their creative lives, and we founded the society with the nurturance of those ideals in mind. We can see so many good uses for a cooperative of artists who prefer creative control and blazing their own trails to the pressure and seemingly-unending heartbreak of trying to work within a faltering paradigm. More than anything else, however, it turned out to be a venue for a group blog in which a bunch of writers participated for a couple months. It very nearly morphed into a small press consortium, but in the nick of time we realized we really didn't have time to run one more organization no matter how much everybody at MileHiCon loved the idea.

We are ending the group blog: we both felt it fulfilled an important need in some ways but derailed us from our responsibilities in others, and we have both finally understood the necessity of applying our energies (which are, sadly, limited by Universal Law) in the most effective ways possible. And for the time being the Society will be quiet, as Wynette and I make other adjustments in our professional and creative lives. But, like the Terminator, it will be back.

One of the most important things I learned from what we did with the Society was precisely what it is that's so difficult about maintaining one's own blog. I also gained a sense of how to begin correcting the problem. In essence, blogging is hard because it usually boils down to solo writing, when it's supposed to be a social activity. Like all writers, I spend hours every day writing alone; regular blogging, done properly, fills the same slot in a writer's social life as did the epic emails we all used to send one another before blogs became a Requirement. Or it attempts to, and that's the problem: all too often it's like shouting into a canyon. One blogs, and no one writes back. The emails I used to get from my writer friends were so much more satisfying.

The group blog we had on the Society site was different; it was truly social. We all posted in a common thread, talked about our writing lives, and discussed one another's thoughts. It was no wonder Wynette's and my private blogs languished.

So one of my goals for blogging this year is to do more in the way of starting discussions -- and one of my great hopes is that you (yes, YOU) will chime in. Let's talk about writing, publishing, creativity, and whatever else comes up. That's why there's a comments function. Please come by & toss ideas around with me!

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