On blogging

I absolutely loved this post on blogging and sponsorship, and I thought it would provide me with a good opportunity to make a related point. Different bloggers have different aims, that I know. But here’s mine. This is supposed to be fun. This is not my job. I sometimes write things late at night and I sometimes write things after I’ve had a glass or two of wine or even just when I’m not concentrating because it’s the weekend and I’m lazing around on a Saturday afternoon in my pajamas. I sometimes mis-spell words and use incorrect grammar because it’s all a bit stream of consciousness. Because it’s for fun. Not my job. I have to write a lot in my job, and I have to proofread and grammar check and spell check and ensure that the sentences are all interesting and that I haven’t used the same word three times in the same line. But I don’t do that here. I tend not to go back and edit even when I do see things that, on re-reading a post the next day, make me roll my eyes at myself. But that’s okay to me, because this is for fun. Not my job. Just my creative outlet, a place to vent a bit, and more importantly of late, a place to interact with other human beings, many of whom have also moved from one country to another.

And I don’t want this to be like a job. I don’t want to have a “blog brand” or to worry about search engine optimization or any of the other things that seem to come up at the “blog conferences” or in blog books. Yes, it makes me happy when people do read what I wrote. Yes, I smiled when the site stats counter passed 100,000 visits in the time it’s existed. Of course I love it when there are comments but if there aren’t, that’s okay too. Because I do this for me. For fun. Not work.

And because of that, I don’t do things that are commercial here. I certainly don’t talk about my real work. I don’t have advertisers or sponsors or anything like that. I don’t solicit free things and then review them here. Those sorts of things, to me, all make it feel like a blog is work. That it’s something other than a person just being themselves, just using a public forum to write about something from their own point of view. Further, this is creative writing. This is not CNN.com. I reserve the right to embellish, to use creative writing devices to tell a story. If you don’t like that, I’d suggest that this is not the blog for you. As I have said before, after years of letting all comments through, no matter what they said, I decided earlier this year that I only let comments through if they are not mean. And I’m okay with that policy and I feel like this makes my blog a good read compared to the days when there were rather vicious exchanges in the comments. But if you’re not, if you want to see me getting beaten up over my little musings, then again–this is not the blog for you.

In addition, I’m not using this blog as a way to advertise my services. I am already a writer in that I write (technical things, mostly) for my job. I know many bloggers who are writers or who want to be writers, and that’s fine with me, but that’s not why this blog exists. If I was trying to launch a writing career from this platform, I would probably be more careful about my grammar and edit my ramblings! But that’s not why I’m here. You’ll not see me participating in blog memes that are associated with creative writing prompts. I know some people do that, and that’s fine for them, but that’s not me. This is purely, 100%, my own little documented (if occasionally ever-so-slightly embellished) story of my life as an American in England, including my travels, my musings, my feelings, my reactions to things I see in the real world or on the web. I write when I have something to say, which can mean twice in a day or no times in two weeks.

I may or may not take the time to put this little “badge” on the sidebar or I might just leave it here in this post, but I do quite like it. It spells out my thoughts and my intentions in a pretty straightforward manner. And now, I must get back to work. Writing, of course.

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12 responses to “On blogging

  1. Cool! I’d better go link to this…

  2. your blogs are interesting, particularly the travel in China

  3. Pingback: This Note’s For You « Dad Who Writes

  4. Great post! I’ve been lurking on a number of blogs for the last couple of years (including yours, which is always interesting) and have just begun to gather the nerve to respond.

    I definitely read blogs with ads/logos/sponsors much differently than those without. The ones without always make me feel like a welcome guest dropping in on a genuine conversation. The ones with ads/sponsors always seem to be suggesting that readers are primarily welcome because they might be useful somehow. So good for you for keeping the honesty factor high and welcoming all of us, whether we click on the money buttons or not!

  5. Amen to your comments. I have been reading you for a whjile but don’t normally say anything. You are doing fine just the way you are. Your minor “embellishments” are probably just sufficient to make the story hang nicely together which anyone who writes wants to happen. I enjoy your writings as they are very well, thanks.

  6. I don’t want this to be like a job. I don’t want to have a “blog brand”
    Yes, same here. I have written one sponsored post because coincidentally I got a request that fit very neatly with a topic that I was halfway through writing about anyway. I made it clear it was a sponsored post. I don’t like blogs where I have a suspicion that some of the posts are sponsored, and I mostly don’t read blogs that have lots of sponsored posts. I wasn’t too proud to turn down an Amazon gift card though for adding a reference to someone’s site to a post.

    I write sporadically too. That’s the joy of an RSS feed – I don’t have to keep checking to see if the bloggers I like have written something new.

  7. I totally agree – and I think your blog is all the better for its “you”ness!

  8. Well said! And I love the logo. Proudly like-minded and sponsorless too, MC

  9. I really think it depends on what your aims are as a blogger. My blog being a mix of parenting things and expat things and the waters get a bit murky. Here is my rule of thumb. If I would not pay my own money to get an item, then I won’t do a post. If I feel the company is trying to bribe me I won’t do a post. If I feel any sort of bad vibe, no post. Basically I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually done a review that was solicited to me by a PR rep. That being said, if I *did* do all the reviews I get in my inbox I would be doing reviews 24/7. Not my gig. Yes, I am a mom, therefore I would like to pass on products that are relevant to that segment other moms *IF* I actually like them. I am not however willing to sell my soul for free shit like some other bloggers.

    As for memes…I only do the one I started. I also have quit passing on “awards” (ya know little graphics that someone at made cause they were bored). I also have gotten to the point that I don’t post every day like I once did. If I don’t have anything to say I don’t write.

    Sorry for the book in your comments.

  10. I completely agree. My own blog is random and unconnected – theme-less – reflecting my diverse interests. I do kind of have sub-themes: in May I did a series of mental health posts because it was Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a topic that interests me. I post about restaurants’ use of MSG (and how they handle the question) because I know it affects my health and the health of many others, and want to reward (or call out) restaurants while providing a resource. And whenever I do “review” or recommend something, it’s my choice and for free because I want to spread the word about something cool.

    But if I tried to keep to any one topic or started to think of it as a job, it’d be horrible.

  11. Well put, NFAH.

    That’s the good thing about blogs, you can fit them to suit you. You can use it as a springboard for your “brand,” you can use it as a not-so-private journal or just put up whatever you damn well please.

    And as for filtering comments, that’s another good thing about blogs; you can filter abuse. Why should I allow someone to trash me on my own blog?

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