Victoria Creative Writing Group Message Board › Wordpress and a Shared VCWG Website: General Ideas
During the last Meet N'Greet Night on April 7th, people expressed interest in a creating a magazine-style shared website run by and for members of the Victoria Creative Writing Group.
Many things were discussed, including the relative ease with which such a site could be created and hosted using Wordpress.
This thread is to open that discussion further, in order to explore the idea fully. Please feel free to post your opinions, as well as contribute your expertise to the topic. Both will help us as a group decide how and if such an endeavor will best serve the VCWG and our greater writing community.
We had a good discussion of the pros and cons of setting up a magazine style website to feature writing by VCWG members.
This is a proposal to create a site on Wordpress.com - not a separate URL
The idea is to supplement exposure and create additional linkages for writers currently using other sites, and to introduce the skills and requirements of online writing to writers less familiar with web based writing.
Here were some of the cons mentioned:
Setting up, then maintaining a website is a serious effort and people have to be willing to make a commitment.
It is really difficult to build readership for any blog site
A site with such a mix of writing and topics may have difficulty in finding an audience
If a writer's intent is to formally publish their work posting on this site may reduce the attractiveness to publishers.
Please add any cons - not mentioned, here are a couple others I think matter.
There may be disagreements on what is or is not appropriate content. There would have to be editorial guidelines established.
To establish editorial guidelines, some kind of process and review would be needed
Establishing these kinds of processes may detract from the socialization aspects the group currently enjoys.
Here are some of the pluses mentioned.
It would provide an added way for group members to interact thus improving the socialization aspects of the group
It would allow more participation by group members that don't get to the actual meetup on a regular basis
It would create more online activity for content writers are posting elsewhere, improving search visibility. It would be similar to posting a notice on Facebook about something on your site.
It would help writers not experienced in using wordpress to gain these skills including HTML, image management, link building, excerpting and layout, all necessary for transmedia writing.
It would provide a broader range of comments for review of work. There was a concern mentioned that this may not be best open to general public, but a website can be set up to allow control over content and separate in-group publication from public posting.
Your writing will get more exposure than keeping it in a drawer. Anabel mentioned that one of her paid writing gigs developed out of a guest posting on another site.
Here are some other plus +
Engines search for content based on relevancy to the searchers request, first the rank of the site or page second. Which is why you get those weird results high up when you search on a longer keyword. The concern that the site won't show or rank is affected more by the quality of the writing than anything else. There are guidelines to follow to meet search engine quality standard and learning to write to these guidelines is important. Writers cooperatively publishing should benefit from the writing of their fellow authors, not so much from search, but rather proximity. It is called surfing the web for a reason, people often follow other items that appear with their search results.
It may be possible to attract people working in media to participate in the review process. For example, say the site picked a broad theme for a quarter and members wrote around that theme during the period, with the normal process of group comments and revision. At the end of the quarter it seems feasible to reach out to local published writers and have a final review. Peter mentioned a similar process available at the annual writers convention in Surrey.
Although personally I am writing on a broad range of topics, still I write a piece once in awhile that really does not fit and is without a home.
Writers dedicated to working on a major piece such as a novel, might get some enjoyment of just writing without it being connected to their main project.
It was mentioned that the group may get more fulfillment from a regular joint publication. Sounds to me a bit more challenging than a website, but I know more about websites than I do about more traditional publishing. It does seem to me that the primary requirement for publication is edited content of good quality, and building that content through a shared site would seem to advance the idea of a joint publication, such as an annual anthology.
It could have a place for essays and commentaries we all feel like writing from time to time besides fiction.
I think the biggest challenge to this idea is that it is easier to start than continue and unless several people agree to work as the core group with the help of others, it is not a practical idea. Setting up a site is simple, wordpress has it down to a couple of minutes, literally. Improving that basic blog site into something like this idea is a week or two of work - 40 -60 hrs. Maintaining the site - depending on usage would be several hours per week, but all of this is well within the ability of a group this size.
Working together, rather than just socializing is bound to include the normal forming, storming, norming and performing stages of team development, but healthy disagreement is the process that helps us grow the most. It pushes us out of our limits and we shouldn't discount this value though it might not be comfortable.
Please add your thoughts - in particular any help or skill you might want to offer