When I began this blog, ten months ago, I had recently finished a novel that was several months from publication, Bird in Hand, and was beginning a new one (working title Orphan Train). I envisioned this site as a place to talk about the writing life and the process of writing my new novel-in-progress. I thought it might be a useful tool for the graduate students I teach and advise at Fordham, students embarking on creative-writing M.A. theses (mostly novels-in-progress) — a place to put in writing the ephemeral thoughts I articulate in class.
But as more people discovered the blog, its nature changed. I began writing posts in response to readers’ queries and ideas, and found that I enjoyed talking more broadly about craft and the creative process. (The title and subtitle changed several times, reflecting my evolving shift in focus.) After a while the site attracted published fiction and nonfiction writers eager to contribute their own tips, tricks, and advice on different aspects of the writing life. I also started approaching authors whose work I admired. These guest posts expanded the scope of my project, delighting and surprising me with creative approaches to common problems and perceptive responses to metaphysical questions.
I’ve been learning as I go, and recently I stopped to take a critical look at where the blog is now. From its modest beginnings last June, the site now gets a still-modest-but-respectable average of 2,000 visitors a week, has 300 subscribers, and has attracted over 50,000 views. Each new post gets 500-600 unique views. The blog has become a place for writers to share their struggles and advice about writing with one another. It provides a community for writers at all levels, from people who’ve never published a word to authors with dozens of books.
Thanks to feedback from readers, I’ve made some changes to the site. With the help of the marvelous Jessica Wode, I created a Resources for Writers tab with links to other sites that I’ve found especially useful. (I’ll be adding to and, I suspect, whittling this list — suggestions welcome.) I’ve also updated and expanded the About tab to give new readers a better introduction to the site.
I cleaned up the sidebar to help you more quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. You’ll find a new section, “Tips for Getting Started,” with links to posts with specific advice about launching your next (or first!) big writing project. And finally, you now have a one-click shop at the bottom of each post to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, or several other sites.
You can also become a *fan* (though that word makes me cringe) of my brand-new Facebook page to have blog posts show up in your newsfeed. And in about a month I’ll launch a newly designed, easy-to-navigate website — and this site will have its own domain name (dropping the “wordpress” in the URL), which will enable me to do even more with it.
I hope these changes make the site easier and more enjoyable to navigate. I’d love to hear what you think. And try out the new Share tools! I don’t know how to use them myself, but I’m pretty sure my 15-year-old can teach me.