Interview With A Blogger (Part 3)
(More from insight and inspiration from fellow bloggers)
By Elizabeth Cutright
Here’s the last in my series, “Interview With A Blogger.” (Part 2 here) If you’ve been reading so far, then you know the gist: I contacted several bloggers whose work I admired and asked them a series of questions about blogging, including how they got started and what challenges or fears they had to overcome to keep the content flowing and their blogs up and running. Their answers were insightful and interesting, and I am so thankful to all of them for taking the time to respond to my queries. Their blogs are definitely worth checking out (see the list at the end of this post), and if any of you have additional comments, questions or suggestions for future interview series, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.
Interview with a Blogger: Part 3
How does one get ideas? How do you regularly create relevant and intriguing content for your followers? How do you end up covering a particular niche or topic? These were some of the things I wondered about as I began to wrap up my first year with The Daily Creative Writer.
When it comes to topics, subjects and blog content, it’s the daily grind that helps blogger Joaquin Pineda (The Bard of Steel).
Joaquin points to “Daily life and experiences” as basic blog inspiration, adding that he writes about what “I’ve been through both as a writer and as a person.”
“My own experiences provide me with plenty of fodder,” she writes while admitting, “I’m making a resolution to start to use some of the WordPress prompts in the future.”
Veronique Darwin ( a novel journal), also culls insights and ideas from her daily life.
“I often find that a few different things in my life at any given moment are converging to allow me to create a blog post,” she explains. “Because my novel comes from the place within me where these things converge, I can then tie these things into my writing. That’s what my blog posts are made of.”
Lucky Travel got blogger Bahia finds ideas everywhere, admitting her blog subjects generate “from anything, usually articles or blog posts that I read, or books that I read. Sometimes an idea just pops into my head.
LouAnn Geauvreau-Karry ( On The Homefront and Beyond) also finds inspiration in all sorts of places:
“Books, other bloggers, magazines, conversations, things I think are quirky, my life and the people around me—there are a myriad of people, places and things I am inspired by. I have written a weekly column for 14 years and have been asked this question a lot. So far I have not run out of inspiration—life is full and my muse has never taken a vacation.”
I also wondered if my fellow bloggers are still writing about the same topics they’d initially covered. And while Sarah Berardi (Empty Nesting, Migraining and Menopausing ) divulges that she’s “still writing about being Empty Nested, Migraining, and Menopausing,” most have experienced a gradual shift in tone or content.
In one form or another, Luanne went from micro (focusing on her own stories) to macro on her blogs.
“In the adoption blog, we’ve shifted interest from our (mine and my daughter’s) own stories to the adoption scene in general. In Writer Site, I’m still focused on posting my own creative nonfiction and poetry, as well as on exploring writing theory and writing new prompts. I originally envisioned the genealogy blog as a place to “store” information, but now I can’t resist adding story elements to the posts.
Bahia also transitioned from small topics to a larger focus. “When I got back from Japan I realized that I needed to find something new to write about,” she explains, “so I broadened my focus and started writing about other topics.”
“Now I write mostly about Japan/Japanese language and international affairs, politics, and reading and writing,” she continues, adding, “Lately I’ve been reading and writing a lot more and so my blog has headed in that direction.”
Meanwhile, M. Q. Allen, fine-tuned his focus by blogging about the art of writing fantasy fiction instead of posting his own “unpublished musings.”
“Early on I tended to post my thoughts on writing,” he says, “but as an unpublished author, my musings on writing only get and deserve so much attention. I still post a bit on that but more often, I post now on fantasy world building and historical topics related to world building.”
LouAnn followed a similar route – going from her own submissions to covering the broader topics and encouraging critiques and comments from her readers.
“Initially I just posted my weekly newspaper column,” she starts, “now I post all kinds of things—from poetry to prose, quotes, and haiku (which I have learned from other bloggers does not have an “s”), bits of fiction, and I ask my readers to help me out with things—by critiquing my work or giving me advice. And sometimes I derive comfort from the other bloggers—I have a wonderful community of bloggers around me.”
Finally, while no one took me up on the request for a favorite dirty joke, (though LouAnn Geauvreau-Karry did send me a quote from Ogden Nash: “Candy is dandy; liquor is quicker”, adding “I am not sure that is the verbatim quote, but I like it.”), all the bloggers had pieces of wisdom they were willing to pass along.
Veronique encourages all writers to consider blogging.
“I think that you should, all of you, start a blog,” she declares. “It’s a great way to get out of the habit of taking your writing seriously. It’s a great way of letting people know you’re a writer without having that awkward conversation.”
Veronique goes on to quote author Annie Dillard, saying “in her book The Writing Life, [she] says that ‘whenever an encounter between a writer of goodwill and a regular person of good will happens to touch on the subject of writing, each person discovers, dismayed, that goodwill is of no earthly use. The conversation cannot proceed.’ Blogs allow these conversations to proceed.”
Luane believes the key to blogging is regularity and community.
“Blogging needs to be part of your daily routine–not just your own writing, but reading and commenting on other blogs. Also, look for outside groups to meet potential readers. For example, when I linked my genealogy blog to Geneabloggers, I not only found interesting blogs and garnered new readers, but I learned a lot of valuable information about genealogy. For Writer Site, I’ve been finding so many wonderful writing blogs right here on WordPress.
Joaquin advises aspiring bloggers to “Start small and build on daily goals.”
“Most importantly, don’t give up until you try,” he counsels. “The worst that could happen is that you get knocked down and come back a little bit wiser. Take every tragedy and every mistake and turn them into lessons.”
MQ Allen encourages aspiring bloggers to set goals and push yourself.
“It’s always good to set goals. A touch of reality helps but for the ones that really matter, be prepared to push yourself hard on them if you want to achieve your goal. If you want to be a top blogger, measure yourself against other top bloggers in terms of number and quality of posts. If you want to be a writer, WRITE! Don’t get sucked into the trap of spending too much time on your blog or reading too many blogs on how to write J But do get out a little and read some blogs & join some groups. Not only will you find some useful tips, you’ll find something more important: encouragement from others working on the same goals.”
And Bahia reiterates the mantra I’m constantly repeating here at The Daily Creative Writer.
“It’s been said, but I think it can’t be said enough: don’t stop writing. Just keep making content no matter what.”
Sarah Berardi (Empty Nesting, Migraining and Menopausing )
Veronique Darwin ( a novel journal)
LouAnn Geauvreau-Karry ( On The Homefront and Beyond)
Joaquin Pineda (The Bard of Steel).
The Bloggers Talk: Favorite Blogs
I also asked my fellow bloggers to call out some of their favorites. Below, the answers:
Veronique Darwin likes:
The New Yorker’s book blog, “Book Bench” (recently renamed “Page-Turner.”)
She also adds, “I follow other writers on WordPress, Bookslut, and anyone who I see is writing anything about living in Paris.”
Luanne Castle likes:
Writing the Girl
We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down
The Daily Creative Writer 🙂
Writing Life Stories
The Meandering Matriarch
MQ Allen likes:
- Time. Audience. Content. (thedailycreativewriter.com)
- Jump on the Blogging Bandwagon – here’s how to get started (virtual-gurus.com)
- Being a blogger today … it’s all about creating connections! (thewhyaboutthis.com)
- Interview with a Blogger (thedailycreativewriter.com)
- Blogging Basic – You Must Write! (dadblunders.com)
- So You Want to Start a Blog (letsbesocialblog.wordpress.com)