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Poetry Fishbowl Report for June 13, 2008 - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Report for June 13, 2008
Yesterday's poetry fishbowl went substantially slower than usual, breaking the general upward trend. For those of you who made it, thank you for your attention.

I wrote 10 poems. Of those, I posted one, "Memories of Wind and Clay," as the freebie. Two people have said they plan to sponsor poems via snailmail payment. There were a total of 25 comments including mine. 5 people posted prompts while the fishbowl was open, and I found inspiration elsewhere too. I wound up closing the fishbowl earlier than usual because nothing new was coming in.

This month's general donor was je_reviens and there are a couple of poem sponsorships pending. I should be able to get a perk post up later tonight. Your appreciation and support are most welcome.

Almost all of these poems were single inspiration pieces; the prompts I got were solid and there wasn't a lot of room to mix and match. I did, however, discover some useful new materials. I'm also pleased with the poetry I got, which is sufficient to the day, since the primary goal is to get a good batch of poems written.

So ... what went wrong? Possible reasons for June's low turnout include:

  • The fishbowl was announced for Wednesday and my Internet service was out Wednesday & Thursday, causing a delay. People who dropped by Wednesday looking for it may not have been here Friday. This seems very likely.

  • Weather is going berserk all over the Midwest, causing widespread outages. Other people may have missed the fishbowl due to lack of access. This also seems likely.

  • Traffic seems to peak on Monday, remain fairly strong midweek, and bottom out towards the weekend. Fairly likely.

  • The economy is rapidly worsening. People might not have spending money for poetry. Possible explanation for lack of income but not lack of participation.

  • People may not have liked the theme. However, it was the second-most popular one in the poll, so this doesn't seem very likely.

  • People may be tired of the fishbowl and/or the poetry. Not very likely given established feedback, unless this pattern repeats enough to override previous data.

Feedback on these or other reasons for absence (or presence) is welcome. Suggestions on maximizing appeal/participation are also encouraged.

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Current Mood: busy busy

23 comments or Leave a comment
morningdove3202 From: morningdove3202 Date: June 15th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry I missed it! I think more advanced notice would be great. I would say, a two week alert would help me participate. I don't get on LJ every day.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 15th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)


That's possible in theory, more challenging in practice. I can plan ahead for things, but the more full my schedule gets, the harder it is to make everything fit neatly. I've been running the poetry fishbowls as a semi-flexible scheduling item nailed down a few days in advance. That lets me aim them for early to midmonth and still maneuver around immovable events. If advance notice would pull in substantially more people, however, that might make it worth the tradeoff.

Would other folks find a two-week notice really useful?
From: minor_architect Date: June 15th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you could split the difference and put out a one-week notice of upcoming Poetry Fishbowls? I certainly understand the previous commenter's point about people missing down-to-the-wire events because they don't log into LJ every day. However, as you point out, your busy schedule may not allow you to set these events in stone that far in advance...which reminds me of a saying that's attributed to the Marine Corps: "Plan early, plan twice."

Does that sound reasonable?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 16th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you...

... for this idea. I've made a note to try the one-week warning for the July fishbowl.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 17th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you...

Another option would be to do them less often, which would give people more notice and might keep the idea fresher. Maybe every 6-8 weeks?

arielstarshadow From: arielstarshadow Date: June 15th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine is slightly related to your #4 - at the end of this month, some of my expenses will be going up drastically (my sister-roommate is moving out), so until I get a feel for it, I have to really keep a tight leash on my spending.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 15th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear about your household situation; I hope it works out okay. Thanks for letting me know.
arielstarshadow From: arielstarshadow Date: June 15th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, actually, it's a good thing (I'm loving living by myself once again), but it may take a month or two for me to re-balance the budget and such.

Another thing that might have affected this one is that it hit square in the middle of the month, before the 15th (when some people get paid), but also when people are likely paying a lot of bills.

It's definitely safe to say that if the economy continues as it is, people will have to tighten their belts and anything except the bare necessities may fall by the wayside.

I have a Hyundai Elantra that gets good gas mileage, but I generally have to fill up once every two/two and a half weeks, and I filled up late last week, to the tune of $35 dollars. It completely blew my mind.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 15th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)


You may have hit an important point about pay schedule. I'll keep that in mind, and try to aim closer to the beginning of the month.

A new favorite word of mine is mailawik, from an Aboriginal word for "poor" and English "week" ... literally "poor week," the one you don't get paid during when you're paid twice a month or every other week.
dulcinbradbury From: dulcinbradbury Date: June 15th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Firstly, I hadn't seen you do this before.
Secondly... it seemed complicated. I glanced at the post while very busy. You had two different ways to support the project that you explained BEFORE explaining what the project was or how it worked. Having gone back and looked at your post and the subsequent commentary... here are my thoughts.

1. Explain the Poetry Fishbowl concept clearly first. If you don't want to re-write it each time, link to a post with a good explanation.

2. Buy it now seems like a good idea, but, I think forcing a single person to pay to have something put it is going to work against you. For $20-40, I can subscribe to a poetry magazine where I'll get many poems. Unless I misunderstood, you're not working with a micropayment model with your small donations adding up to publication rates. That's part of the appeal of other cyberfunded creativity -- we add up to the right rates.
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: June 15th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think there is merit in this suggestion, in that the easier and simpler you make it for people to give you money, the better. You've been doing the Fishbowls for a while now, and have some data; changing the model and seeing if it nets you more or less money (or readers) could be illuminating.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 16th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I'm getting some good input and will try to implement as much of it as I can.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 16th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)


You raise some interesting points.

1) I had been putting the full explanation in the "advance notice" post that appears a few days prior to the fishbowl itself. Adding a description at the beginning of the "open" post is a good idea.

2) What I was aiming for was coverage of two different areas: specific prices for specific poems, for people who wanted to share one poem in particular; and the general donation, which can be any amount including very small ones, to support the fishbowl in general. I'm aware of the "micropayment adding up" concept, but not entirely sure of how to apply that in a way that would improve over the current options.

Trying to track individual donations adding up for various poems -- so that, say, three people could team up to buy one poem -- seems hopelessly complicated.

I could set a general donation target for sponsoring the fishbowl as a whole, in the advance notice. I'm somewhat hesitant to do that, because it seems like asking people to pay for something that was previously free (or freer, at least) which usually doesn't go over well.

Another possibility would be to compare the amount of general donations to the poems and choose myself which extra ones to post. Frex, if the general donation fund was $21, it would cover a $5 poem and a $15 poem, or one $20 poem, etc.

Do either of those latter two possibilities appeal? Do people have other ideas?
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: June 16th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

I would make this a separate post, so more people can see and respond to it. :)
talithakalago From: talithakalago Date: June 16th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I participated in the last two. This week I haven't slept in four nights.

I don't even remember SEEING the fishbowl.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 16th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)


Yikes! I hope you get more sleep this week.
talithakalago From: talithakalago Date: June 16th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: O_O

I had to choose between taking (vitamin!) tablets at home that would keep me awake or going into hospital.

I have to take them for six months.

I suspect I will probably accidentally fall off off the veranda to my death in the next 24 hours at this rate. I've already cut my hand emptying the dishwasher today.

Sorry I missed the fishbowl though!
talithakalago From: talithakalago Date: June 16th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: O_O

My prompt would have been something about death by insomnia.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 16th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: O_O

That is high up the list of miserable ways to die.
talithakalago From: talithakalago Date: June 16th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: O_O

Tell me about it.... :/
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: June 16th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
you got me -- I had just cashed in some retirement investments to help me survive over the summer so I was briefly feeling flush. If I continue unemployed for much longer I won't be able to afford any extras no matter how tiny.
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: June 16th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another possibility is summer vacations. I was headed out of town on Friday, to a SF convention, so my reason doesn't have to do with summer, per se, but it's that time...if you add that to weather, it could account for a lot of distraction from the virtual world.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 17th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)


I hadn't thought of that one, and I should have. Summer causes a slump in a lot of things. I'll have to watch for a corresponding hike come late August or early September.
23 comments or Leave a comment