Recently I started a YouTube channel. I had one before, years ago, and a few subscribers, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience. I felt uncomfortable with it and there was little room for error. I was instantly told in the comments that I was doing it wrong.
But lately I have been asked to make videos of myself teaching, introducing my work, and reading, and after six months of work moving from in-person meetings over to Zoom, we are still learning how to adapt.
I am encouraging school-age poets to allow themselves to make all the mistakes; they are the portals of discovery, after all. I am allowing myself to make lots of errors too and turning comments OFF.
I used to read my work aloud quite often, the more often you do something the more natural it feels. I could talk about my work and my themes, and writing in general, all day and all night, but sometimes I’m not fond of reading my work. Once it’s published, I like for it to be read by the reader.
Yet in my teaching videos I have noted that it adds another layer to a poem to hear it being read aloud by the poet. And I do like reading my poems far more so than reading my prose. I think it is something to do with breathing and rhythm.
Being out of the way of sharing my writing vocally for a while now I seized up a little bit about recording myself. So, that is how I knew I had to get over myself. We need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone every now and then. (I know, I know, all of life is like that nowadays!)
I have a new YouTube channel, and probably I should have just used my old one as it had a few subscribers. So far I have posted a video of me reading from The Sleeping Season. I also posted a villanelle that appeared in the most recent issue of the Bangor Literary Journal on Culture Night.
I have never taken part in Culture Night as it usually falls on a family birthday. This year I missed out again due to health.
Check out this fantastic video that Sharon Dempsey, James Murphy, Simon Maltman and Tina Calder made about writing in a pandemic. It aired on Culture Night and I watched it nodding away in agreement. Good to know we are all having similar experiences reading and writing right now.
I am busy this time of year and glad. Busier than ever. Last year I was about to go and present at Boston Book Festival with Sharon Dempsey, and I am, of course, disappointed that there are no such adventures this year but I am writing loads, facilitating lots. I finished my Nanowrimo(ish) manuscript – a horror! – (see previous blog post) and I have two books coming out next month that I’m involved in.
Problems with Girls is launching 20 November.
Underneath the Tree is launching 4 November.
(UTT is co-edited my me and Claire Savage and features many local writers.)
I will blog separately about this project soon.
Seeing as I am trying my hand at being more visual I joined Tiktok. It’s quite fun. There will be no dancing; my teenagers would never forgive me.
I have always loved Instagram but it feels a bit stale during the pandemic. We are still adapting and finding different ways to connect with other readers and writers and talk about books.
How has writing/reading changed for you?