The Writer’s Drawer is the brainchild of professional editor Beryl Belsky. As an editor she always envied writers, but had not written much herself – until she launched a couple of interest blogs, and then The Writer’s Drawer website. However, The Writer’s Drawer is more about other people’s writing. Its uniqueness lies in its offer of free editing support to other writers, especially those whose native language is not English. It is therefore a very international website, attracting writers from all corners of the globe. It includes several creative writing sections (short stories, poetry, memoirs, etc.), book reviews, book promotions and a blog section, which features not only Beryl’s own writing but that of guest bloggers, too. Beryl has published two books of stories and poems from The Writer’s Drawer: A Certain Kind of Freedom: Stories and Poems from The Writer’s Drawer and According to Adam: More Stories from The Writer’s Drawer.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Blogging is not my profession. For many years I was an academic editor at a major university. As I began thinking about retirement, I decided to use my skills to offer free editing support to writers online and to write a little myself. The Writer’s Drawer was the vehicle for doing these things.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I launched The Writer’s Drawer just over three years ago, in early 2012. Being online enables me reach out to people all over the world and the website has led me to many interesting people, some of them talented writers.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
No, I built it myself using one of those do-it-yourself platforms (Weebly).
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
It did not take me long to come up with a domain name. It obviously had to be connected with writing. The Writer’s Drawer just came to me and I was actually surprised to come across only one other Writer’s Drawer, which was a furniture site that was on the verge of closure. It had the “com” tag; I took thewritersdrawer.net.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
There again the theme is writing, so the pages feature a Weebly design, with an old-fashioned ink pen and parchment paper. As for “plugins” – to my shame, I’m not into those technical terms and have yet to learn about them.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
I use Weebly, which is fairly simple to use, although it can be a bit slow and cumbersome. There’s a lot of dragging to do and different templates for different functions. The blog section is easier and the comments go in automatically (after moderation), rather than me inserting them, which I do on the other pages.
How much time do you spend blogging?
It varies, sometimes only once every couple of months. But I usually make sure there’s a guest blogger or two in between. This makes for a great variety of posts. Unsurprisingly, many of them focus on writing, but there are also, for example, some very frank pieces on mental illness and trauma.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Social media are the only means I use to promote The Writer’s Drawer.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
It was never my intention to profit from the website (otherwise I wouldn’t be offering free editing). I do have Google ads on the various pages, but you can’t make a living from them (or I certainly can’t). The two books I mentioned, A Certain Kind of Freedom: Stories and Poems from The Writer’s Drawer and According to Adam: More Stories from The Writer’s Drawer, were published at my expense.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Yes, by all means, and especially for therapeutic purposes. Guest blogger Elizabeth Garrison, for instance, wrote a most enlightening post on this subject, titled Writing as a Way of Healing.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
First of all, you have to want to write/blog. Second, you might want to think of a theme, although just writing about what’s going on in your life (or your head) can sometimes work, too, depending on the quality of your writing (a sense of humor always helps). If you have been through trauma, illness or some other trouble in your life, writing about is it is highly recommended, both as therapy for you and for others who may have been or are in a similar situation.
Photos ©: The Writer’s Drawer