Welcome to my Rock

This post marks the end of my twelfth week in blogosphere – which means, in job terms, I’ve just passed my probation.  Yay!!!

You’d think by now I’d have some idea what it is I’m doing, but a couple of weeks ago, one question pulled me up short:

Why do you blog?

I’m very thankful to Jenny Hansen for posing this question in her post Does Blogging Jack Up Your Schedule? because (as her blog promises to do) it demanded MORE from me.

In my travels so far, I’ve found almost as many approaches to blogging as there are people in the world.

For some, it’s a means of meeting and keeping in touch with friends, a public form of ‘diary’, or a place to heal and figure out your thoughts.

For others, it’s a highly professional gig.

If you’re like me, you’re here because you finally realized that living under a rock is no longer an option for writers in the 21st century :(

Until I read Jenny’s post, I thought that was enough – except for the one small problem of it having robbed me of my Quiet.

For example, this is what I actually wrote the week I posted An Island in a Sea of Words:

I was whining explaining to my most important person that I had lost my Quiet.

Helpfully, she told me how I if I don’t learn to Logout.  Shutdown.  Exit the program. I will drive everyone insane.  Including me.  This is not sustainable.  She says.

“But that’s just it.  It’s not like I don’t know that!” I squeal, hands in the air.

“It’s like my brain is fighting with itself.  On one hand it’s like – You have to interact – and the other side is saying – You can’t keep doing this – and then I’m like – But look at all those tweets – and then it’s like – What about your writing? – and them I’m all – You haven’t read their blog posts…And next thing I’m staring at the screen and

…I am Not Responding anymore!”

By this time she is pissing herself laughing at the monster She unleashed…

Clearly, I was in need of help.

In my quest to manage this thing called a ‘Social Media Platform’, I’ve consulted some incredibly generous souls for their advice:

Anne R. Allen is an advocate of Slow Blogging.  For a variety of illuminating reasons, she promotes quality-over-quantity, which for her means blogging once a week or less.

Amber West has a refreshingly principle-over-rule approach.  Her ‘You’ve Got Questions’ series answered a lot of mine, including the big one, Do Writers Need to Blog? and a fantastic overview on Everything Twitter.

Nina Badzin is the go-to-girl for detailed Twitter tips.  This includes how to organize Twitter so you don’t go insane, as well as solid tips on how to avoid driving other people insane.  She also defends those of us with Facebook lurking tendancies! ;)

Pooky shares a succinct and sincere approach to social media.  She reminded me that the point is interaction.  After all, who has time with 5000+ followers, to send a personal tweet notifying you they’ve replied to your comment on their blog?  Well, she did, and for that I am immensely appreciative.

Suzannah Windsor Freeman tops it off with help for burnt-out bloggers.  A fellow lover of small things (including tea cup chi’s and elves), she encourages us newbies to enjoy the benefits of having a small audience.  She doesn’t need to tell me twice…

It became clear to me, from all the good advice, that the question of what to do is best answered if you know why you are doing it.

I was reminded of Mokey and her song (at 3:27 mins) from Fraggle Rock:

Sometimes I’m alone,
Sitting on my very own,
Trying to find a simple kind of clue.
And I would like to know
Why the Doozers Bloggers move me so,
Doing all the things that Doozers Bloggers do.
Why do caterpillars crawl?
Why is there a sky?
Why is there a world at all?
Why, do I ask why?

And then the answer came.

Have you ever noticed how animals won’t come near you when you’re noisy?  But sit still long enough and you get to experience a whole other kind of wild?

It’s like that with the Fraggles.  They might run away from Gorgs, but don’t be fooled – they got it goin’ on!

That’s when I realized.

Living under a rock is not the problem.  It’s failing to invite anyone else under it!

So, what can you expect from my cosy little den?

  • For now, a move from weekly to fortnightly wordy thought provoking posts (phew, relief, right?) :).
  • On alternate weeks, shorter posts about fun things Fraggles like to do – cook, chit-chat, send postcards, scamp about, sleep – I don’t know, I’ll make it up as I go along.
  • Until I have a better plan, a less-is-more approach to social media.
  • The space to Go Wild. Quietly.

Hopefully this will make me more congenial to be around for everyone concerned ;).

So – consider yourself officially invited.  And while you’re here, please tell me:

Why do you blog?  Are there any tips you care to share for all us baby bloggers?

Comments

  1. says

    Congrats on your twelfth week :). I started blogging really with no expectations…I knew there was something burning inside and it was time to let it out.

    I am glad I did…I think in a little way I am fulfilling my purpose. When I write my heart is happy…I have never experienced that before.

    I am a baby blogger myself but when I first started her a fellow blogger told me ” keep writing” I haven’t forgotten that…I haven’t stopped writing.

    Happy blogging…happy writing

    • says

      Thank you! I think your reason for starting out is probably the best and purest way…and you’ve done exceptionally well for someone with no expectations :). You’re right though – I think we are obliged to share our happy with the world, and I’m so glad you do. I really enjoy the read :)

  2. says

    Hi Alarna,

    Thank you so much for the mention in your post. And thank you for commenting on my blog post originally and putting the two of us in touch. In my experience, far less than one percent of readers comment – so you were very special for doing so.

    And well done for managing 12 weeks – it looks like this is going to be more than a fling. Things are getting serious between you and your blog, you’re entering into a long-term relationship…

    I think that Jenny Hansen was completely right to pose the question ‘Why do you blog?’ – I think this is the quintessential blogging question (in fact I think it was point number one in my ’10 tips for getting started with blogging’ which I wrote for a friend who had an unformed notion that perhaps she’d like to blog but had not got much beyond that thought http://bit.ly/Qz5tvP )

    Until you know why you’re blogging, it can be quite hard to find your voice. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to talk a little differently (even adopting a different accent at times!) depending on who my audience is – if I’m talking to my window cleaner I tend to go all ‘Sarf Landannnn’ (that’s South London!) and chat about the weather but if I’m presenting my PhD research at an international conference I tend to speak very loudly, clearly, with my best queens English and use all sorts of technical and specific terms I wouldn’t use elsewhere. So IMHO you need to know why you’re here and who you’re talking to in order to develop your voice (In fact I have three blogs and a very different voice on each).

    So, you asked, WHY do I blog? Well… I write my parenting blog http://www.poorparenting.co.uk because when I was on maternity leave I just couldn’t get on with anyone I met at the local mother and toddler groups and I was also a little bit bored and wanted to have some fun. So I did. It’s very tongue in cheek and was my first foray into the world of social media and it’s fair to say I’ve made some lifelong friends through it and it’s already a fantastic source of many happy and hilarious memories (though sadly it is only really about one of my children as one is adopted and I’m a bit paranoid).

    Then I developed the creative education blog http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog (sadly lapsed at the moment) as a way of easing myself back into my job in the education world. I learnt a huge amount through that blog and developed a fantastic network. I no longer write it as writing that blog and it becoming rather influential led to me be headhunted by the Times Eduational Supplement to write their blog (coming soon..) and run their social media.

    I write my eating disorders blog http://www.eatingdisordersadvice.co.uk as an outlet for the huge range of practical ideas and advice I am able to offer due to my PhD research into eating disorders in schools – that blog has led to me being able to publish a (very small) book on the topic and has led to speaking engagements and has increased my credibility in the field hugely. It has also offered advice and support to thousands of teachers and parents and, I hope, made a bit of a difference.

    And Pooky Shares – well, I write that blog so that I can learn. As I mentioned before I was headhunted into a Social Media Management role purely based on my experience and influence. I had (have) a lot to learn and I really do love to learn. So I set up Pooky Shares as a way of helping me to learn (every time I write a blog post I learn something and answer a question of my own) and also so that I can share what I’ve learnt with other people who might also find it useful. Primarily, that blog is a professional development tool for myself though it’s fantastic when others find it useful too. If I ever wanted to move jobs within social media (though I have no plans currently I couldn’t love my job more) then I think that my Pooky Shares blog would be good evidence of my skills and experience for a potential employer too.

    Good lord. That was an essay. I apologise. I hope you found it at least vaguely interesting!

    • says

      Hey there Pooky! Don’t worry, this blog is a friend of essays just as much it is of quiet reads – all are welcome :) I was wondering what the reason was for your multiple blogs (and I have no idea how you keep up with them!). But the story you weave here makes a lot of sense, and I will check out your other blogs. Particularly interested in the Creative Education one…it’s a bit of a side interest of mine.

      I love your explanation of the different voices one might adopt in different contexts – your openness comes through in Pooky Shares :) And I’m always happy to comment whenever I have something worth saying – even though it takes more time, I find it the most fun of all. Most importantly, though, thank you so much for taking the time to answer, to visit, and to comment yourself. It really is appreciated :)

  3. says

    I’ve been blogging for ten weeks now, and I’m totally committed to the fun of it. I began because I love writing, and also because my printer told me it would be one way to sell my book ( hardly!). BUt now, I love the inter-actions, the friendliness, the stuff I ;learn every day… it’s become a hobby and a joy!

    • says

      Yes, there are lots of surprises in this process – who knows about the selling of books? The most important thing is to do this stuff because we love it, and want to share something. By the way, I have to say, I’m so impressed that you are doing this and you’re in your seventies! There are many I know, younger than you, you are scared to even turn on computer, so full respect to you for that :)

    • says

      Amber, the kindest thing a newbie can hear is an offer to ask questions. I value every bit of time and care you seasoned bloggers take to help us out :) So glad you like the Fraggle involvement – one must never neglect the inner Fraggle ;)

  4. says

    Hi! I feel the need to be organized right now:

    1. I blog because I love everything about it! The writing, the reading, the comments (leaving them and receiving them.) Is the quiet gone sometimes? Yes. Is that a problem for me sometimes? Yes. I take a few weeks off every so often. In fact, I will probably do that in the end of August or over the Jewish holidays in the fall. We’ll see!

    2. Just 12 weeks??? no!! You’re a pro already.

    3. Love Anne Allen. I also only blog once a week per her advice. It’s gold.

    4. Thank you for the mention!!!!

    • says

      I love the slightly OCD quality of your reply, Nina :) Mine in kind:

      1. I appreciate most the great conversations you have going on your blog, your tongue-in-cheek humour and spot on advice. You absolutely deserve a holiday.
      2. Thank you!! I’m glad to have you fooled, then ;)
      3. Her advice was like the Quiet book…the burden lifted.
      4. You deserve a great deal more credit than this gives you. But you’re welcome :)

  5. says

    What a fantastic question, why do I blog? I have to say because I can. And because I have a terrible memory so if i journal my farm day i am less likely to lose track of what happened when. I am alone most of the day working on my wee farm and I am endlessly entertained, informed and cared for by my readers. I learn stuff all the time from them. Lovely to meet you, have a bright and gorgeous day.. cecilia..

    • says

      Thanks so much, Cecilia – and same to you! I can’t think of a better reason to blog than the one you’ve just described. It’s definitely a great way to deal with isolation in a farm setting, and your experience is a great one to record and share. Look forward to tuning into your journey :)

  6. says

    Well, this was timely! I seem to be going through at least 1/2 of what you have eloquently covered! You mean it actually POSSIBLE to exit the page and not come back for a few days? I certainly hope so, and will follow the advice: to the etter!

  7. Coleen Patrick says

    I loved Anne Allen’s slow blogging post–it made so much sense to me (and not just because I was a frazzled fraggle).
    This is a great post Alarna. I love what you say about animals not coming near when we are noisy. That also makes it so much clearer to me. :)

    • says

      Hey Coleen! Anne Allen is a wise woman, that’s for sure. Glad you’re not afraid to own the Fraggle status…and even more glad you could follow my haphazard line of thought :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Ayanna! Appreciate the encouragement (by the way, you have a lovely name – and I’m not just saying that because of all the A’s – your whole name is very lyrical ;) )

    • says

      Thanks so much Dan! I should probably tell you I don’t typically do the awards thing – purely from an inability-to-keep-up point of view (I’m hopeless). But really appreciate your thoughtfulness all the same :)

  8. says

    Love the Fraggle Rock analogy! I decided to ‘come out’ after years of writing in hiding (literally). So I challenged myself to posting daily writings – prose like poetry. And I’m loving it! The concept of sharing writings amongst fellow bloggers is wonderful.

  9. says

    Fraggle Rock! Oh my, the memories.
    I blog because I, like everyone, yearn to be known. In our age of overload and overspeed and overactivity, one rarely has moments to put themselves out and say, “this is me, this is what I look like on the inside of me.”
    Blogging does this. At least a little.

    • says

      I like that you said “this is what it looks like on the inside of me”. Because I think we are by necessity forced too much to externalise these days, but little real is said. And even less is heard. I’m looking forward to learning more of you :)

  10. says

    Alarna after reading this post I am left in NO doubt we are on the same wavelength…..fraggle rock …that song has been the theme of childhood to the point where for my 30th birthday seven yrs ago, my kids bought me everything they could possibly find connected with fraggle rock. I got bags, video tapes, t-shirts and the ultimate copy of the original song!! I can tell we are going to be great friends and I will learn a lot from you. x

  11. says

    I love the idea of going wild quietly! Blogging has taken over my life a little more than I intended it to, and it’s time for me to scale back. Thanks for these great suggestions. I’m definitely going to check out the Slow Blogging site!

  12. says

    I blog so that I don’t forget the experiences I had and because I like to inform other people about certain trips/restaurants/etc. I am also in dire need of some valuable input on certain ideas/topics I have! :-)

  13. says

    Fraggle Rock – sheer genius! (Hello, by the way…)

    Why blogging? A good question. I think I do it to get my thoughts in some kind of order while going through the process of growing into being a writer of sorts. And it’s good practice for letting the real voice in my head flow free, so that it can find its way into the novel in one form or another.

    And boy, do I know what you mean about losing the Quiet. It’s enough to drive you nuts at times isn’t it??

    • says

      Hello. Pleased to meet…another Fraggle? ;) It does help you get your thoughts in order, that’s true. And for me, it has helped with confidence, too. We’ll keep straddling those sometimes discordant realities and, with any luck, write something others can’t wait to read! May the year treat you well, fellow traveller :)

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