Just over two weeks ago I met The Citizen's CitiVibe features writer, Annette Bayne, on the media bus to Maropeng. We had a lot in common, especially some of the fascinating photographic projects she has in her sights. Annette was putting together a story about blogging, following the recent blog SA survey (conducted by news 24) and was interviewing regular "bloggers" about this pastime. Below are some of my answers to her questions about my blogging habits.
* When did you start blogging and how often do you blog?
I ventured, very insecurely and with a definite sense of exposing myself, into blogging for the first time in September 2005. I blog erratically, sometimes - depending on how exciting life is, or whether I've got the time or not - up to five entries in one day. I do the day after New Year strive to blog at least once every day of the week, but have - often - been known to fall horribly short of that. But I never beat myself up about it - if it's not going to be fun, I'm not going to do it.
* What are your reasons for starting a blog and do you make money directly from your blogging efforts?
I started initially blogging (anonymously, until I gained in confidence) mainly to have fun, secondly to make notes, in almost a diary-like fashion, pertaining to both my life and work, that I could type up when I had bites of time I couldn't usefully use up in any other way: like on a flight, or on trains and busses overseas, especially while waiting for unpunctual people (like myself), and especially at my special "me-time" coffee shop moments anywhere and everywhere in the world. The incredible ease of posting blog entries AND photos in a split second, and as close to 'live' as possible, on to the internet is incredibly alluring. It also means that you have typed our your notes once, as opposed to oh-so fashionably having scribbled them down in your Moleskine. The entries are then always available for whatever you want to do with them - without needing to be transcribed - straight off the 'net and anywhere in the world. And they make for great idea seeds once they've been percolating for a while out there in the soupy cyber-swamp.
PS: I've never made, nor intended to directly make a cent from blogging. However, on three separate occasions this year alone, my blog has marketed me to people that have offered me work, who accessed it as both an online CV and portfolio. Out of this I've currently got a contract encompassing three separate clients that has become the mainstay of my writing work the last six months. As a direct result of my blog I'm also currently negotiating the writing of a book in the New Year, with the ANTICIPATED publication to take place exactly a year from now. I emphasise negotiating....
* How much time do you spend on your blog and in what manner (i.e.. time set aside in the evening, odd moments, dedicated full time blogger etc)?
I blog whenever I want to doodle, whenever I'm inspired, whenever I have free time, whenever I have something to say. In other words, I don't always blog. My favourite time, as I might have mentioned, is while having meals alone (which is when I'm my most inspired), on flights (the email goes live the minute there's a signal upon landing) or public transport and when I'm on a high from coffee, like in Seattle coffee shops in book stores (the greatest combination ever invented).
* What do you blog about and do people respond to your posts in a meaningful way?
My greatest blogging challenge has been to focus my blog, which I've still not achieved, especially now that I no longer blog anonymously, and that my blog has become an extension of me in the so-called "public eye", and has inadvertently become a marketing tool (which was not my intention, and is something I'm not always comfortable with). My blogging highlights were when I blogged anonymously and could sordidly introspect online in the true tradition of a diary, except that it was online and available to the universe.
* Are you a "consumer" of other blogs on the internet?
You've got to do a lot of trawling through the outer wastes of the internet to discover blogs that you'd like become a groupie of and throw your underwear at. In fact I cannot imagine for a second why anyone would even want to read mine.
* What does the practice of blogging mean to you personally?
It means fun and, in particular, having fun while having time on my hands that would otherwise be wasted. It also keeps my friends up to date with some aspects (the less sordid of course) of my life. It also feels that I'm being forced - in a pleasant way - to keep up with the internet's rapidly changing trends and technology. (For the record I deleted my Facebook profile three months ago and have not once looked back. I had never been so invaded in all my life. Before you ask, of course I take responsibility! Ha-ha!)