Haiku for Kids, Questions for Bloggers

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pay dirt—
under the roses
a soccer ball

 

late at night—
a cricket sings
in the lizard’s cage

 

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved

 

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve had two recurrent questions: Who is my audience? And why do I do it? It’s been a year and a half now, and I’m still not sure I have any good answers. Am I writing for poets, teachers, kids, friends? Is my goal to write more, share more, promote more, connect more?

I’m the kind of person who likes to talk through questions like these. So, fellow poet bloggers, I ask you:

1. Who is the audience for your blog?

2. Why do you blog?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

35 replies
  1. Laura Shovan says:

    Hi, Liz. Have you been in my back yard? Your soccer ball haiku describes my gardening life.

    These are good questions and I think about them also. A few years into blogging, I figured out that my focus is arts education. My audience tends to be educators, librarians, and other poets.

    Why blog? Since I am a visiting and not a classroom teacher, the blog is my means of collaborating with other educators — sharing lessons, ideas, information, best teaching practices, best books to hand to children.

    • lsteinglass says:

      Laura,
      Thanks for taking the time to answer. I smiled when I got to: “A few years into blogging, I figured out…” It’s funny how long it takes. Perhaps I’m getting closer…
      Liz

  2. Tabatha says:

    Hi Liz! I’m worried about that singing cricket…

    I am probably not a good person to ask those blogging questions, because I pretty much just do as I please and don’t have a rhyme or reason to it.

  3. Loriann Signori says:

    Ah….. Liz, these are the questions I think all bloggers always face. My little nugget of wisdom after almost 7 years of blogging….. Blog for yourself and to share. People are interested if you are interested in what you have to say. Enjoy the blogging trip while still being true to your poetry and why you write. If the blogging messes with the writing, make changes to the blogging.

  4. jama says:

    Our resident chipmunk (“Chipper”) will be happy you’ve written a haiku about him. 🙂

    I’ll be blogging 6 years this August, and it’s been an interesting journey. I mainly do it as a creative outlet, to practice writing, to develop a voice, but mostly to send some kindness and good vibes out there. It’s been a huge learning curve for me as well; over the years I’ve been able to refine my focus and better understand my audience — what started out as a blog mainly directed at other writers, educators, and librarians, has become one with a little crossover appeal to a general foodie audience.

  5. Tara says:

    Love that last one, Liz – here’s hoping that cricket gets to continue his song! Great questions, too, about blogging. I’ve been doing this for three years now, hard to believe, and I think the reason I began in the first place has stayed pretty constant: I blog about my teaching ideas beacuse there is no one in my building who gives me the support, feedback and inspiration that my blogging buddies do. As a classroom teacher, it is critical to reach out to other educators and learn from them – me teaching requires that, and so I blog. And, blogging has also become a creative outlet. It’s a wonderful community, this blogging world.

    • lsteinglass says:

      I don’t like the idea that you’re not feeling supported in your building, but I do like the idea that blogging gives you that support. I think when it comes down to it that I blog for the community too.

  6. Buffy Silverman says:

    Is your cricket’s fleeting song in a predatory world a metaphor for blogging? Just kidding (although I do love that haiku!) I’m very new to the blogging world–I resisted blogging because I figured there are thousands of blogs out there and I had nothing novel to contribute. But then I rethought that after another poet mentioned participating in poetry friday as a way to get known and invited to submit to anthologies. I don’t know if that will happen, but I feel like blogging is helping me be a part of a poetry community, and it’s a place to share poems that would otherwise go unread. You are my audience and I am yours. Maybe someday that will expand.

    • Catherine Johnson says:

      Very good point Buffy. No one else would read my poems if I didn’t blog, though I started blogging for a platform for picture books so it’s changed a bit. Really helps with motivation too.

  7. lsteinglass says:

    I like that “you are my audience and I am yours.”
    It’s nice to “see” you in the kidlitosphere since we live too far apart to meet for a walk.

  8. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    My heart is beating hard for that cricket… Run away! Run away! LOVE it. As for blogging, while I’m too new at it to offer any advice, I can tell you why I blog… for exposure, for inspiration, to challenge myself, to learn from others, but mostly I blog in order to feel a part of a larger community. Writing is a very isolating experience, and any kind of community that supports you in that endeavor is as necessary as butt-in-chair time and a good imagination. Good questions, though, and I look forward to reading more responses from others.

    • Liz Steinglass says:

      Crickets have surprisingly little instinct for self-preservation. They literally crawl on top of the lizard. It’s no surprise they get eaten. I’m glad I asked these questions. It’s so interesting to read everyone’s answers. Thanks for taking the time.

  9. Donna Smith says:

    Poor cricket! Doesn’t know his audience!
    And neither do I, though I’m pretty sure whoever it is, they won’t eat me alive in the middle of my song.
    I feel like I should have two blogs really- one for my poetry and one for my observations of life. They are often overlapping. I don’t even know what I write. I think it’s settling into poetry though. Sometimes it’s for kids and sometimes adults. We don’t have to know, right? Maybe someday someone of a particular age will come up tome and say, ” Hey, are you that writer who writes those wonderful — for people ages —to —?” And I will say,”Why, yes I am!” And then I will know.

  10. mattforrest says:

    I especially like that 3rd haiku – great last line. As for my blog, I write it as a way to promote my voiceover services as well as my children’s writing. The people to whom I write are either fellow voice artists and writers or people who hire voice artists and writers – although many others (parents, creative types, fans of poetry, etc.) follow it and seem to enjoy it.

  11. Cynthia Grady says:

    My blogging has morphed into a kind of ruminating and exploring of ideas and questions, and a bit of self-promotion-like news, for an adult audience for the most part. It used to be all about poetry and reviews of poetry books for children, but too many people do that more often and to a greater extent than I was doing it . . .

    • lsteinglass says:

      It’s interesting to me that it’s morphed over time. The world of blogs does seem kind of crowded. Thanks for answering! It’s nice to see you here.

  12. Carrie Finison says:

    Liz, I love your first haiku (well, all of them really). But that’s just want a kid would notice — the roses but also the ball underneath them.

    I’ve been blogging for about 9 months and I do it for different reasons. I started it because I was reading so many picture books with my kids and wanted to keep a record of some of our favorites. I figured it would be easy to share that record with “the world” and if it started some conversations, then great. I loved Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday series and I saw that as a way to do what I wanted and also contribute to something larger.

    As I’ve found a community of picture book writers and rhymers, my blog has become another way for me to connect with those people, beyond facebook and other groups that we share.

    It has also helped me to keep on track with achieving some personal goals (like working my way through Writing Picture Books). I figure, if I make it public, then I’ll have to set aside the time to do it!

    So those are my main, mostly selfish, reasons for blogging. 🙂 It’s interesting to read others’ responses too. Thanks for asking the question.

  13. lsteinglass says:

    Thanks, Carrie. As you know I really like your series on Writing Picture Books. It seems like a creative and constructive way to participate in the community of picture book writers. Thanks for taking the time to answer. I’m finding everyone’s answers interesting too. : )

  14. Doraine Bennett says:

    I can’t decide if I am sympathetic to that poor cricket or just want to slap him and tell the stupid bug to move. I do like the haiku, though.

    I’ve been blogging for about seven years. I started without a clear reason to be honest. Just thought I would try it. I’m a fairly quiet person in real life, so it has become a place to experiment with sharing my thoughts out loud, so to speak, finding my voice, facing some fear of being public (however small a circle that public might be.) One of the benefits that has become very clear is the gift of community that I have discovered. And on weeks when I can hardly find a moment to write anything else, I almost always come up with something for Poetry Friday. So it really has kept me writing.

  15. margaretsmn says:

    Delightful haiku. Why do I blog? And for whom? Hmm. Things to think about. I blog to connect as well as to express myself. I think it is important to know your audience, but I also like Tabatha’s attitude, just do what pleases you. I am always surprised by who reads and who doesn’t. You would think that my writing group friends would read my blog, but they hardly ever do. I have been so happy to find the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life and Poetry Friday. I find a reason to write at least twice a week and at least one person reads it. I also give myself permission to skip sometimes. This week I skipped. (It’s been a stressful last week of teaching. Next week is our last week of the school year.)
    I spend a lot of time reading and commenting. I learn so much and connect with many other writers and teachers. Makes writing less lonely.

    • lsteinglass says:

      I really appreciate your comment about giving yourself permission to skip. I think that’s my next step.

  16. haitiruth says:

    I have several audiences, depending on what I’m writing about. I’ve had people say, “I read all your posts except those poetry ones.” I am kind of a Haiti blogger, kind of a teacher blogger, kind of a poetry blogger, kind of a book blogger. I think I really do blog mostly for myself. I love being able to go back and see what I thought of a book I read or how I was thinking at a certain point in the past. Now that I have been writing online for seven years, I’ve got a lot there, and I know I read my own blog much more than anyone else reads it.

    • lsteinglass says:

      Ruth,
      That’s so funny that people skip your poetry posts. I always make sure to look for you on Friday.

  17. Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Wow, Liz–you asked us all some questions that we clearly have been noodling on but have maybe never had the reason to talk “out loud” about! I’m going to write my answers and THEN go back and see what others have said.

    1) My audience varies, since I’m sometimes posting directly for kids or families with whom I have done poetry work, and I’m very aware that children may read my posts so I try to make sure it’s G-rated. But I’ve realized that I can’t muse and leap and connect the way I want if I write directly to an audience of young people, so in general I’m writing to an audience of fellow poets/writers/teachers/creatives.

    2) I think I blog for 3 reasons.

    a) It gives me a goal and a deadline for getting some creative writing done each week; without that (as I discovered in Jan/Feb) it’s way too easy to let everything else consume my time. I don’t think, even if I had the time, that I could post every day, but 2-3 times a week would be very satisfactory. I love the compactness of it, the challenge of selecting what to write about, seeing why that’s floating to the top, crafting it into a snack-sized serving and sending it on its way.

    b) It gives me a way to connect and correspond with peers whom I can’t or don’t see in my daily life (even those who live 3.4 miles away!) The relationships I have with other bloggers who share my outlook, who respond positively to my observations and my work, are immensely important to me, even if we’ve never met in person, and being a part of this virtual community is also a good way to tend my career as a poet even when I’m not in a position to travel, submit widely, etc. Bloggito, ergo sum!

    c) Blogging is an online journal for me–it’s the one place where I feel I have the freedom from anyone else’s expectations to write about whatever strikes my fancy, to muse and leap and connect, to think outside the boxes of my roles as parent, partner, teacher, etc. And the blog platform makes it easy and fast to illustrate and share those musings in case anyone else might want to offer positive feedback on them!

    Looky there–I had a lot to say too! Thanks for the prompt, Liz.

  18. lsteinglass says:

    Hi Heidi,
    I hoped I was asking questions people had been mulling over but not talking about. Thanks for taking the time to answer. It’s interesting to me how similar people’s responses are. I’ll try to give some kind of summary next week.
    Liz

  19. Bridget Magee says:

    First off, I love your first haiku – pay dirt!
    Also, very interesting questions (and answers from fellow bloggers!) I think my audience is primarily my family and the Poetry Friday community – when I can participate. On weeks that I am unable to visit everyone’s blog, I get very little traffic on mine. I also have several people who subscribe to my blog, including teachers/kids, but I’m not sure who is a subscriber. Is there a way to know? Once in a while I’ll hear from a random relative/kid that they read my blog daily, but I never knew.
    I blog to hold myself accountable to writing poetry every day. I blog to improve in my writing. When I stopped for a few months last year I missed that public accountability component even though I wrote a poem on paper daily. I also missed the connection with my family. Does that make sense?
    I’m glad that I have found a community with fellow poets, like you. =)

  20. Robyn Hood Black says:

    A week late to this party, as it was graduation weekend for your youngest last week. But that means I got to read all these terrific responses! Thanks for posing the questions, Liz.

    I started blogging more than four years ago, but I just looked to see when I jumped into Poetry Friday seriously – and that was a little more than two years ago. I started out blogging to enhance my “online presence” as they say, and now I’m compelled to participate because of the “community” aspect mentioned by many here. So, professionally, blogging makes what could be a static website more dynamic – a reader/teacher/media specialist can get to know me a bit by perusing a few blog entries, and I love reading comments/feedback. Personally, it enriches my life to connect with all you wonderful folks across the world, and it’s nice to have company along the creative journey.

    My artsyletters.blog is still young and in need of some boosting, but I do post there at least every Wednesday, and on my writing blog at least every Friday.

    Thanks for sharing you haiku here, too –
    LOVE that third one, especially. *chirp*

  21. jeannineatkins says:

    Like Robyn, I’m late, but it’s inspiring to read the comments to your good question. I don’t have much new to add, but confirmation of a lovely community (and like you, I was kind of stung to read that Tara doesn’t find the support within her school), an ease of loneliness that comes with the job, and really because it’s fun. I like sometimes thinking about my process, finding words not just for me, so that others might get it. Or occasionally sharing books, movies, activities I hope others will enjoy. This week writing a piece, and reading others, seem to reflect what you gained from the wonderful Lee Bennet Hopkins that you mentioned in your recent post, making choices from gut and heart. Thank you for all, and best wishes for two blogs!

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