Why blog? Why tweet?

I’ve been ruminating on why I’m so drawn to social media and on what I hope to get out of using it. We writers are continually being told by those in publishing who know about these things that we should build our “platforms,” cultivate our audience, even before we have a book to sell. Certainly I began using social media with these directives in mind, yet social media is more than marketing for me.

I was first invited to join Facebook six years ago by a friend who lived in another state, as a way for us to keep in touch across the miles, and this keeping in touch with people who are far away continues to be one of the main reasons I maintain a personal profile there. A lot of people, though, use personal profiles for professional or advocacy reasons, so over the years I’ve had to find a way to incorporate those connections without compromising my privacy too much. This has probably been my biggest challenge in using Facebook.

I set up a professional Facebook page, but it’s been difficult to get people to go over there. The things I post on my professional page are directly related to my writing goals and my writing life, whereas what I post on my personal profile are usually things like photos of my kids and silly quizzes and comments about local or personal things that are going on. Continue reading “Why blog? Why tweet?”

Book a Week: I Was the Jukebox, by Sandra Beasley

OK, so it’s been about a month rather than a week since my last Book a Week post. What can I say, it’s summer.

Sandra Beasley first came to my attention because of the awesome title of her blog, Chicks Dig Poetry. Isn’t that great? I discovered her right around the time her memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales From an Allergic Life, was due to be released. One of the things I love about Beasley is that she refuses to limit herself to writing in only one genre or format. Besides poetry, memoir, and blogs, she also pens essays and magazine articles. And she’s astute about how to use social media to promote herself without coming off as pushy or conceited. And she’s generous to other writers. Sandra Beasley, you are my career-building idol. (Except for all the travelling, that is. I’m much more the homebody.)

What I love most about the poems in I Was the Jukebox is their tightness, their form. I’m a great admirer of a well-crafted poem, one that doesn’t simply spring forth from inspiration but is pulled apart and put back together again, maybe many times over, before the poet calls it done. After technique, I like Beasley’s imagery. Like this, from the poem “Plenty:” “News crews from Florida showed children / paddling helplessly among the oranges, / looking for a place to stand.”

I’d like my own poems to be as tight as Beasley’s, though sometimes her cleverness kept me at a distance. But maybe that’s just my looking for other’s hearts on their sleeves, where I tend to wear mine. I recognize a fair amount of angst in my own poetry. It will be interesting to see if that changes as my poetic skills develop.