I realised, after posting this video about a ballerina dancing on butcher knives, that I’d hit a hundred posts on the blog. A century is still pretty arbitrary, really, but it’s as good a place as any to stop and think about why I keep a blog.
I started writing the blog six months ago to track the progress of my novel. The book was called Riptide Heart, back then. It’s now called The Visitors, and it will be published by Quercus Books in 2014. All that has happened in the lifetime of this blog. I’ve tracked my highs and lows and uncertainties throughout the publication process, from finding an agent (a year ago) to signing the contract (last week).
As well as the novel, I’ve written a lot about reading my work live, and the struggles I’ve had with my nerves. Each of my various readings has been painfully revisited, but that return has helped me filter and understand the experience. I’ve also explored my decision to gather my flash fiction into a collection, which is called Marrow, and will almost certainly be self-published, and teaching myself InDesign to lay it out professionally. (More on this soon! As I approach the end of my redraft and clear my backlog of film jobs, I should have the time and space to push ahead and get this wrapped up and printed.) I’ve posted published and unpublished flash fictions, and talked about my writing processes. I’ve written about my film work, and catalogued some of the things that I find inspiring or magical. I’ve posted galleries of the threshold spaces I’m so obsessed with.
All in all, then, my blog has ranged far wider than I ever thought it would. More than anything else, I’ve been surprised at how personally I’ve addressed some of these subjects. When I started, I expected the blog to be fairly analytical, for want of a better word; dry, professional. But in struggling with my live performance readings, and in wrangling my novel redraft, I’ve found myself at times alarmingly open about how I feel about my work. I like that the process of writing has taken me in that direction quite organically.
One of the joys of using WordPress is browsing through the stats, which tell me what brings people to the blog, what they look at, and often where they come from. I’ve had visitors from as far afield as Mozambique and Mongolia, searching for everything from devil dogs to gay porn. (Hopefully not everyone will be as disappointed as those two internauts.) I’ve had a week without any views, then hundreds of visitors the day Neil Gaiman retweeted this post about libraries. Have a look at this screen grab and see if you can guess which day that was:
The two things that bring people to the blog most often are on the periphery of my interests; this post about a nursery rhyme and this post about a WW2 fighter pilot preserved in a peatbog. People have searched for Bancree, which is the fictional Scottish island I created for The Visitors, and for novelist friends like Iain Maloney and Ali Shaw. Lots of people come to the blog looking for information about my agent, Sue Armstrong at Conville & Walsh, and my publisher, Jane Wood at Quercus.
More than anything else, though, the blog is for me. It’s how I filter my ideas and monitor what I’m doing. Writing about my life is what I need to live my life.