Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ten Reflections on the Occasion of "Madam Mayo" Blog's Fourth Anniversary

The fourth anniversary of this blog has just slipped past... It was March 31st. So, I've been blogging steadily for longer than I imagined, and it looks like I won't be giving it up any time soon. What have I learned / concluded, and what do I continue to ponder? A quick ten items:

1. Blogging is whatever you want it to be. And that morphs. I don't worry about this so much as I once did. I just blog.

2. Thanks to the robots (search engines, web-crawlers), when regularly added to, over time, a blog becomes an increasingly powerful magnet for web traffic. Translation: though there are readers following this blog via RSS feed, and more recently, google blogs and facebook networked blogs, many if not most of my readers on any given day happen upon "Madam Mayo" via a search. This blog gets hits almost daily for ancient posts such as "what to feed your dog" (2007), "Pug Discovers Crop Circle in Carpet" (2008) and "Michael Talbot's Holographic Universe" (2009). I also get several hits a day for Catherine Mansell Carstens-- a name I haven't written under for more than 10 years.

3. But blogging isn't necesarily all writing; it can integrate video, photos, widgets, hypertext-- the genre is getting rich, soupy, and ever-morphingly fascinating. So what does it mean to be a writer? Not what it did, I know that much.

4. Many more writers are beginning to understand the power of blogging. Bless 'em. (But would you all newbies please blog about something besides your new book?)

5. Integrating facebook and twitter does help boost traffic, yes.
Follow the tweets @madammayo

6. I'm finding it increasingly less interesting to even think about querying newspapers and magazines. I've written for the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Mexico, Inside Mexico, and the like, and until I started my blog, I assumed I would continue to do so. But I prefer to put my effort into writing books (long form) and blogging (short form). Maybe I'll rethink this. Sometime.

7. On several occasions, when pressed for time, and wanting to spend more on my fiction writing, I considered quitting the blog. But then I remembered point #1 (see above).

8. Because its archive of posts is so easily searchable, a blog can also be a cabinet of curiosities. I sometimes post links (such as 11 Cool Beans and Blogs Noted) just to I know I'll have them handy later. Yes, I could just "bookmark" them, but it's fun to think someone else might enjoy seeing them, too.

9. A really good blog is, alas, rarer than I had hoped. Here are a few of the few I've been following regularly for more than a year:

Apifera Farm
Donkeys, pie & art (and lots of lambs & lavender, too) by artist / farmer Katherine Dunn.

Buzz, Balls & Hype
Ruminations and more about the publishing biz by M.K. Rose advertising guru and author of potboilers (and owner of a very cute little white lapdog).

Christine Boyka Kluge
Gorgeous poetry blog.

Clusterfuck Nation
By James Howard Kunstler. His posts are sometimes a bit much of a curmudgeony downer, but for the zippy zingers, halleluja.

El vino y la hiel
By Mexican poet and writer Agustin Cadena.

Seth Godin
Squiblets du jour by an angel of art and compassion disguised as shiny-headed marketing guru.

David Lida
Photos and more about (mostly) Mexico City.

Founded by a DC area professor of political philosophy; very eclectic; love the fruit pix; could skip the torture parts, though.

Real Delia
By Delia Lloyd, political scientist turned generalist. "Tips for Adulthood" and more. An especially intelligent blog, and rich with links.

Right Reading
Eclectic, aesthetic & amusing, by California-based translator, writer, editor, designer Tom Christensen.

Derek Sivers
By the founder of CD Baby. A music business outside-the-box thinker.

Swiss Miss
By a New York-based Swiss designer. Astonishing fun, like a daily jelly bean in a wierdly yummy flavor.

Work in Progress
Announcements, guest-blogs, advice, reflections both practical and personal, by my amiga novelist Leslie Pietrzyk.

10. More anon.