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Thoughts On Blogging From the Rents

Thank you to everyone who participated in my survey last week. It turns out that about 2/3 of you think a post should be between 100 and 500 words. Not too long, not too short. The other third voted for good long posts of over 500 words and I have to give a special thanks to JJ Keith (of the JJust Kidding blog) for her thoughts on the matter. It does seem that now and then you just need to delve in a little deeper to capture the nuance of certain ideas.

Which leads me to babies. What? Babies?

Yes. If you’ve been following along you know I’m due to give birth any day now, and since I’ve done this once before (that’s my little girl in the photo there – three years ago) I know things get a little hectic when you bring home the little screaming, pooping bundle of joy. I’m afraid of loosing track of the days and not keeping up the blog.

So starting fairly soon this blog will be host to a number of guest bloggers. I’ve reached out to some writer friends (who happen to be parents) and asked them to write a short post about being a writer/parent. I’ve left the definition of “short” open to interpretation, and am excited to hear what these folks have to say on the topic of juggling the bundle with this creative profession we call writing.

So stay tuned, I’ve got some pretty great writers on board so far – it should be an interesting discussion.

A Poem For Thanksgiving

With the craziness of Thanksgiving upon us, we may not always have time to write, but we can always be soaking up beauty for future reference. Here, a poem from the 14th century, Persian poet Hafiz which always makes me smile:

The Happy Virus

I caught the happy virus last night
When I was out singing beneath the stars.
It is remarkably contagious -
So kiss me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Search of the Perfect Post

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve been blogging away for over a year without giving much thought as to how long my posts are. I tend to lean toward the shorter, snappier post, but I was wondering if perhaps I should be spending a little more time to writer longer, more involved pieces?

If you would be so kind, I would love to know your thoughts on the matter. This quiz is set up to run until the night of Nov. 24th. If you’re reading this before then, lay it on me.


The Social Media Dilemma

I‘ve been thinking a lot about how my professional and personal lives overlap, especially in relation to my online activity. As a writer, who blogs about my own writing, there are bound to be personal details that come up (for instance, I’m due to give birth pretty soon – you can bet that will influence my posts to some degree), but for the most part I try to keep it professional.

For me, that means not writing about my family or friends (except insofar as they influence my life as a writer). The question is, how should I use sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote my writing, without telling the world every detail of my personal life? Twitter is pretty easy – I really only use that for work/writing related ideas, but Facebook is another story.

The solution I’ve come up with is to create an additional Facebook page for my “business” of writing. The new “April Dávila – Writer

” page is very low on privacy – everything on it is intended for the public. Right after I created it, I increased the privacy settings on my personal “April Dávila” page so that only friends can see the embarrassing photos of me drunk in Vegas. This isn’t to say I won’t share photos on my new “professional” page, but this way I have a little more control over who sees what.

The hard part is that now I don’t want to use my personal page to promote things like my blog, or articles that are published, but only a handful of my friends have signed up for my professional page where I intend to post about my writing. How to I get my old friends to sign up for the new page? Does it even matter? Every time I think I have all this online self-promotion business worked out I realize I’m just a babe in the woods.

Environmental Heritage as Inspiration

IBurning Clay

) and she told me she took a long drive back to her home town recently to soak up some of her heritage for inspiration. She grew up on a farm in Elk Grove outside Sacramento, raised by her grandparents and a gaggle of abusive uncles. Seriously, they used to beat her up and tease her all day every day. The only peace she found was when she hopped on her horse and went out on her own, and that peace was what she went back to visit. To her, the heritage that matters is the place, not the people.

She told me she found the very path she used to ride, and that it looked exactly the same. While she talked I could almost smell the long wet grasses and dusty lots in the distance. We talked further about how it seems that place, as much as the people in a given place, is what really shapes us as individuals. And as artists, what more do we really have to offer but our individual shapes? 

Would I be the same writer if I grew up somewhere other than a small town in Northern California? How will growing up in LA mold the minds of my children? I shudder to think. I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer” right now, and I’m pretty sure the story would be pretty different if the author grew up in India. We are part of our landscapes, but more than that, they are a part of us.