The Possible’s slow fuse is lit By the Imagination. Emily Dickinson


pen and paper

Image by LucasTheExperience via Flickr

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a beloved quote of mine, so I thought today would be opportune.

Today’s quote is dedicated to my fellow blogging friends who are struggling with the concept of calling themselves ‘writers’. My advice to you all – stop fighting it because you are.

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Why people blog.


laptop

Image via Wikipedia

I recently asked the question ‘Why blog’ in one of my posts, and thought I’d share with you the vast array of reasons WHY people take up blogging, as I found the feedback truly inspiring:

  • Blogging provides a framework for writing every day;
  • I took up blogging for purely commercial reasons in to increase traffic to a website;
  • Blogging provides an outlet to try different ways of writing;
  • Blogging is a gateway to whatever you want it to be;
  • I took up blogging to get back into creative writing and expand my boundaries;
  • I wanted to share “parenting food for thought” as a means to inspire parents to think outside the box, and to gain new ways that they could enrich their parenting journeys;
  • I wanted to get feedback on my writing;
  • I use blogging to build my personal brand. By creating content you can repackage and repurpose it in other ways;
  • To meet like minded people;
  • To share ideas and receive feedback from others;
  • To share experiences in the design industry and lend advice and knowledge to the creative community;
  • To have some fun and work the kinks out of my long dormant web skills;
  • I started blogging as a new year’s resolution;
  • It makes life that little bit more enjoyable;
  • I started blogging when I was unemployed and people around me forced me into pursuing my love for writing;
  • To share what I have in mind with others and help;
  • It serves as a diversion – a stress reliever.

I believe this really shows that no matter what reason you have to start blogging, you can do it if you want to, and it is worthwhile.

Why Blog?


Why blog? Good question.

I initially took up blogging to try to get back into writing, and to see if I was actually any good (at writing and blogging). It was a test to push my own boundaries and see what I could achieve, as I was stuck in a rut to be honest.

My aim was to write, to try to have a bit of fun, and to share my experiences in the hope that in doing so I could help just one person. Pretty simple. I didn’t expect to get many readers. In fact, I was told I wouldn’t.

I started blogging on a website called Emergen (at the time it was called yGen Club – it’s a community that was created to give young professionals the knowledge, skills and connections to stand out from the crowd) ) mid-2010. Thinking back to my first post, I was terrified to press the ‘publish’ button, and when I did I found myself stressing about getting negative feedback, or worse – having no one read my posts! But, there was no reason to worry, as I couldn’t have found a more supportive bunch of people, who were open to ideas and concepts (or at times ramblings).

So after a few months of blogging on Emergen, I thought to myself ‘Why not take the plunge and start my own blog?’

Hesitantly – I registered with WordPress (after painstakingly trying to come up with a name for my blog!). And then there was no looking back.

I was lucky enough to kick off my own blog when ProBlogger was running a free ‘Intro to Blogging’ online course. This provided me with a wealth of info, and convinced me to straight away register my domain name (so instead of having a .com/wordpress address I have a .com). I haven’t taken the next step of getting my site hosted though – I have to take some things slowly!

I then somehow stumbled on the Groups facility in LinkedIn. Having only been on LinkedIn for a few months, I had discovered some groups related to Blogging and writing. So I took the plunge and joined. Initially, I was freaked out as all of the members looked so professional. They blogged about marketing, logo design, freelancing, using social media to promote your business, blogging as a career, and so forth. I had no business. I had no product. I was only just starting to blog. I just had me. But they welcomed me with open arms – and have been excellent teachers and support from all over the world. Special thanks to Keyuri Joshi, Susan Oakes, Rosanne Dingli and Patricia Weber to name but a few.

I’m now incredibly active on Twitter, and have connected with many more inspiring and informative people. I’ve also made many new friends (although I’ve never met them). Thanks to one of the people I have ‘met’ (Hajra – check out her awesome blog!) I now have a Facebook page for my blog, and have joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  The Ultimate Blog Challenge is a challenge to blog every day for the month of January (If I achieve January – I’ll continue into February and so forth). From there, I’ve joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge Facebook group, and made more friends who are really supportive. We comment on each others blogs, or offer support when struggling with writer’s block, or personal issues. As a side challenge, I’ve also taken on WordPress’s challenge to ‘Post every day in 2011.’ Let’s see how we go with that one!

At times I feel like I’m on this out of control train, which is heading faster and faster to somewhere…I just have no idea where it is going. I just know, that as every day goes on, I hold no regrets on pushing that button to publish my first blog post.

Questions to the bloggers out there:

  • What made you start?
  • Why do you blog?
  • What do you enjoy about it?

And if you don’t blog –

  • Have you ever thought about giving it a shot?
  • Is there anything that is stopping you?

Beginnings


I’ve wanted to write since I was little.  In fact, I still have the stories I wrote – and illustrated – in primary school, filed away in a falling apart folio, crammed into a box of  sentimental ‘stuff’ that I just cannot bring myself to throw out.  I decided to get them out yesterday, for old times sake (and as a way to motivate me to stop procrastinating and really get out there and do what I still want to do – which is ‘write’).

I’m especially drawn to ‘Kalgoorlie and the Sad, Giant Tomato‘.  This story was about a school science experiment gone awry. Janine (moi) accidentally creates a living, friendly, giant mutant tomato. His name is Vincent and he talks (it does appear that he was named after one of the dogs I had as a kid – Vincent – he died of cancer). One day, Vincent the Tomato runs away and hides in one of the mines in Kalgoorlie (where I lived as a little-un). There are a few ‘citings’ by people and hysteria spreads, as accusations are bandied about of ‘a big red blob’ attacking miners (witnesses refer to ‘it’ as being a Russian weapon – funny how a 10-year-old can pick up on what was going on in the news at the time).  Stereotypically, Vincent is just misunderstood (King Kong anybody?), and the story ends after a climax of helicopters, guns, army barricades, and tears. Vincent ends up shrinking back to his normal size – whilst remaining alive – with Janine and her best friends taking ‘turns of keeping the Tomato for a week each, at their houses…probably still doing it to this very day.’  I got an A+.  The spelling and grammar were atrocious.

Then there is ‘Time Zone‘, a 13 page story written in running writing, broken down into chapters, and illustrated by moi. This one involved time travel, had loads of dialogue between characters, a romantic sub-plot, mermaids, action and suspense.  I’m impressed – why can’t I create something like that now?  My teacher commented ‘A very imaginative effort Janine.  You have done well.  More care with spelling would improve your effort. I’m impressed how you’ve maintained your story line so well. Great descriptions.’ I wrote this in 1989 – I was 12, and as you can see, yes…I still had bad spelling.

And then there was my attempt at starting a teen series (at this moment in time I was obsessed with Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew). This ‘master-piece’ was created on an old type-writer – so I’ll blame the inability to delete and correct spelling on the machine itself, and not on my apparent laziness…It was called ‘The Teens – The Night They Saved Daylight,’ and it was an adventure story with another romantic sub-plot (I’d graduated to a love triangle by now!), with the premise of a group of young teenagers saving the world from the ‘evil’ warlock, witch, and their ‘evil followers’ Gizmo and Gremlin.  This must have been written off of the back of my two weeks worth of nightmares as a result of watching the movie ‘Gremlins‘, which contained a Gremlin called Gizmo.  Although wasn’t Gizmo the nice one?

Of course, there are others.  There’s the collaborative efforts from primary school, that somehow I managed to physically keep. I do have a vague recollection that it wasn’t a very pleasant experience – tantrums and tears over who did the most work, and who ‘deserved’ to keep it.  I seemingly came out on top as I was good at tears…oops.  And then there’s the Uni years – where I will not acknowledge any of my poor attempts in the creative writing department (apart from the fact that I kept a ‘consistent’ writing journal). I will never take another creative writing course as long as I live, as I found it stifling, and it succeeded in ensuring that I did not write for many years to come.  Of course, after a bit of self-analysis, this can probably be blamed on my lack of confidence and inability to accept criticism at the time – so maybe ‘never’ was a bit harsh.

Which brings me to now. Writing, or should I say blogging, which is a form of writing.  This is my attempt to actually DO what I have told myself I should be doing all of this time, whilst sharing stories from my life, family, friends, pets, travels – and whatever else may flow through these fingers and end up in these ‘pages’.