Reflection on Six Years of Writing Online
What better time than an anniversary to reflect on a performance that has become a habit? Six years is a long time to pursue a passion that affects every other area of life.
There are two of me right now. One looks at my list of published articles (several have been deleted over the years) and asks some soul-searching questions. The other answers as best as I honestly can. Here are five of the many questions.
My top two articles (25% of my total reads) are compilations of quotes. Does that prove that readers like other people’s opinions better than mine?
My wish is that my writers would want to hear from me, more than from the people I quote. The quoted have already had their day in the spotlight. Not that I do not want others to read them, but why don’t they read me more, since I am the one actively vying for an audience?
Maybe, just maybe, the quotes impact my followers with the same urgency and power as they impact me. Maybe instead of complaining, I should be grateful for the good sense to choose quotes that my readers find useful. So, long live the wisdom of the quoted! Long live their literary gems that still feed our souls!
The poem I wrote to my daughter-in-law has more reads than any of my prose articles. Should I write more poetry or more sentiments to my loved ones?
Poetry has never been a serious consideration for me. I read the poetry of contemporaries like Manatita, Whonunuwho and John Hansen (aka Jodah) and enjoy poetic heights that I dare not try to reach. I admire and embrace the thrill and beauty of their art, but I will never try to imitate them. I am no poet.
Imagine then, how surprised I am to find that the poem I wrote to my daughter-in-law in 2011 (Poem and Prayers for My Daughter In Law) has held its position on top all the prose articles I have written before and after. Daughter-in-law happens to be one of the most popular search phrases among my articles. The stats lowered somewhat, but they have risen a little since I refreshed the poem and sent it to her again on her sixth wedding anniversary. So after all, it may be my love and devotion to her, and not any poetic skill, that has gained this article its top position.
Therefore, I will continue reading poets like Manatita, Whonunuwho and John Hansen and I will keep on loving my daughter-in-law.
Three major Caribbean news sources copied my 2013 article on a local event. Should I demand that they make me a news reporter for the region?
The story was copied word for word on all three sites, and only one mentioned my name and provided a link to the original article. I still wonder how many more reads I would have gotten if all three agencies had done the right thing. I wrote to the one geographically closest to me requesting credit, but did not receive a reply. But do I really care? I recognize my responsibility to help stamp out copyright fraud on behalf of all writers, and my lack of effort in fighting for our rights. That bothers me—a little.
There is no passion in me to become a news reporter. My interest in that event concerned the fact that an exceptional mother was about to receive the honor she deserved, and I love to underscore the strength of women. Honestly, I felt a little pride in writing an article that was worthy of publication by major news sources, but at the end of the day my pride in showcasing excellent womanhood was as much as my pride in being a writer.
Comments average one per every eighty readers. Why do so many readers not give some feedback? Should I imitate the majority?
To begin with, eighty clicks do not mean that eighty people read the article. Some scanned it through. Some left it sitting on the desktop while they had conversations on the phone. That’s what many of them would not want me to know—that they really didn’t read enough to form an opinion. I am grateful that they cared enough to take a look, but I am doubly grateful to those who read it through and wrote a comment. It feels great to receive feedback on an article.
My biggest surprise about comments concerns the writers who, article after article, get only one comment—mine. Yet they do not return the favor. They probably do not even read my article, but if they keep writing something that I want to read, I will read and post a comment. It is my way of saying thanks for sharing their wisdom. It's also the best way I know how to show my support.
What motivates you to write a comment?
But I intend to keep writing whether or not the answers to these questions satisfy me, so should I just throw a damper on future questions?
Often, there is not enough time to answer the silly questions that fuel my frustrations about online writing. For two weeks, I have stared at my list of articles, looking and listening for direction to begin my seventh year; and the more I stared, the more questions surfaced. Finally, I decided to answer these five in writing.
There will be many more questions, but it is doubtful that they will be serious enough to distract me from doing what I love to do. In fact, some of them may initiate content for other articles, so let them come.
I want to be a star--a writing star as constant as the stars in the heavens. Just like they shine no matter what, so I intend to write no matter what. Therein lies the answer to all my past, present and future questions.
© 2017 Dora Weithers