It’s the First of January, Happy New Year Everyone!!! I hope that each and every one of you has a happy and healthy 2011, filled with love and lots of laughter.
I originally had a very different post lined up for today but a bit of news hot off the WordPress bulletin got me thinking … and writing.
WordPress.com, (the platform on which this blog runs), is running a Challenge for Bloggers in 2011. The Challenge is designed to help bloggers who blog less frequently to blog more regularly, be that daily or weekly.
I’m already a blogger who blogs daily so posting more regularly than that isn’t really feasible, but I am interested in trying to make my writing and blog better and to encourage anyone thinking about starting a blog to write about things that they are passionate about, hence this post.
WordPress’s Scott Berkun outlines the Challenge in the following link:
Let me tell you with 10 Reasons, what Blogging means to me. Blogging for me is a the sum of many parts. Here is a list of those parts and although I have numbered them, it’s important to mention that no one of these points is less important to me than the others, they are actually all interconnected and interwoven, they all have equal value.
First: it is a creative outlet. I have an excellent job that I enjoy, but it’s not one where I can flex my artistic and creative skills. Over time this frustrated me, until I realised that since I also enjoyed writing that I could utilize that , so I took the bull by the horns and started my blog.
Second: I have specific hobbies and passions. I’m an obsessive Foodie, I love taking photographs, I like artistic things, handwork, embroideries, cross-stitch, drawing, making paper, printing wood and lino-cuts. I’m a detail fanatic, and adore natural materials like stone and wood. Wrought iron, carved stone-masonry and decorated tiles make me drool. Himself and I are travel fanatics. We like to go off the beaten track if possible, we love learning about new places, people and food. Thus I have plenty of passions to write about.
Third: We haul our children around on our travels with us. Kiwi Daughter “went” on a trip to New Zealand when I was six months pregnant, sadly for her there are no windows in my belly so she didn’t get to see much, but when she was three months of age I took her to Arizona USA, and basically she has been travelling regularly ever since. Young children will have a hazy recollection of the things they did a year ago, places they have been and things they have seen. I want to have a place where they can “revisit” their childhood travels, jog their memories with photos and bring back moments of their childhood that they might otherwise forget.
Fourth: I am “native” of two cultures but do not fit 100% into either. I speak Dutch and English, plus some French. I was brought up in New Zealand but have lived the last 18 years in The Netherlands. I feel both at home in both places but weirdly also feel like an ex-pat in both too. I understand the problem of being “inside” but “outside”. I understand culture shock, homesickness, learning to integrate and the frustrations, limits, highs and lows of two very different societies. I’m no longer a “newbie” in either culture ( if I ever could have been considered a “newbie” anyway). In an effort to not re-invent the wheel I hope to impart information in my blog to people settling in The Netherlands that might make their transition easier and to people visiting who might want to see more of The Netherlands though the eyes of a local.
Fifth: I take a zillion billion photos, not only when we travel but regularly at home too. Now let’s be brutally honest here: You just know what usually happens to digital photos… they sit in folders clogging up your hard-drive slowing down your computer and almost never ever viewed. If you do decide to view them then you are confronted with so many photos to view at once that even you will yawn and dread looking at your own holiday snaps. Overload. Blogging forces me to sort out my photos and to put them in a recognisable order and sequence. I blog about where they were taken and when. My photos become part of a Diary come Travel Journal, and since I weed out specifically identifying information for internet security reasons, I feel free to share my “journal” on the Internet. If you have also traveled to these places you can comment, if you like the look of these places you might make plans to get there too one day and if you are not in a situation where such a trip is possible then at least you can still travel “virtually” and go there in spirit.
Sixth: I find unexpectedly that I very much enjoy making step-by-step tutorials. Be they for craft or for my favourite recipes, I enjoy “showing” someone with step by step photos how to achieve something new. Pastry making is easier than it looks, so are Brandy Snaps or making Danish Pastries, but all of these have a “reputation” of being hard to master. Truth is that a very little practice goes a long long way and hopefully with detailed step-by-step photos to guide you, you too will conquer the fear that held you back and enjoy the tasty success of adding to your culinary skills. To be fair though, you can’t eat the craft tutorials so they are less tasty but the success mastering something new is no less satisfying.
Seventh: Bloggers delight in finding other Bloggers. You read them, they read you. I have many other blogs bookmarked and subscribed to and some of them in particular touch my heart as kindred spirits. Maybe they are not Foodies or Photographers or Crafting, detail fanatics… but somewhere somehow they are human beings on my wave-length. They make me laugh, their blogs brighten my day. Who knows? I might even get to meet up with some of them one day. I never would have met these people or learned so much if I hadn’t started a blog myself.
Eighth: I want to leave a legacy. Yep that one sounds a little egotistical, so let me explain. As I get older I am getting enthused about history and genealogy. What if your Great Great Great Grandma and all the generations after her had left detailed accounts of how life was back then… how eye opening and amazing that would be. And personal too, if you were related. We all know that places change, be it cities or countryside, old buildings disappear and new ones take their place, cities grow, take over countryside, technology changes dramatically and I believe will continue to do so. I hope that one day my children and grandchildren etc will also be Bloggers (or whatever they will be calling it far into the future) and that together we can leave a little slice of history behind for future generations to have a giggle at and probably feel sorry for us because of how “backwardly” we lived LOL.
Ninth: I write because I like to learn. If you have been lucky enough to have traveled, and fortunate enough to have met with locals, deviated away from the basic tourist haunts and souvenir touts, skipped the large chain hotels that deliver faceless, emotionless service to
numbers err, guests in cloned looking rooms, then you will already know that the big things are in the little things. If you want to post your postcard then the postbox that you need to go looking for will look very different in the USA to the one in The Netherlands. The French and Italians eat a small breakfast and a large lunch… the English like a hot breakfast, and if it’s not bacon and eggs then the warmth pops out of the toaster in the form of toasted bread, they drink tea with that and the smallest spoon in the drawer is called a “teaspoon”.When the English make a sandwich they serve it “closed” i.e. bread-filling-bread. The Dutch don’t do toast, it’s bread for breakfast, usually “open” i.e. bread-filling and in restaurants you will be presented with a knife and fork to eat it with. We drink coffee with that. The smallest spoon in the drawer in The Netherlands is called a “coffee spoon” (“koffie lepel” in Dutch). My list on this subject grows all the time and I love to celebrate the small, everyday things. We all start the day with breakfast, but we all do it so differently around the world and it’s fun to step out of our own comfort zone of doing things and experience (first hand or via a blog) the view when standing in someone else’s shoes. The little things make us different but show us how similar we are around the world at the same time. Thus, my Blog is very ordinary… and extra-ordinary.
… and the Tenth reason that I blog is simple: It’s for fun. Not for stats or for cash, not to beg a book offer or avertisments (Heaven forbid) .. but for plain old relaxing, old-fashioned enjoyment. If you are a natural born writer you will know. You might deny it, as I did for years, but eventually the need to write will overwhelm you, the words will drip out of your fingers like leaks from your soul and you will be delighted to write about something close to your heart. There is the key… write about what you know, about what tugs your heart-strings and makes your eyes light up: humour, theater, history, fashion, travel, kids, politics, jobs, social awareness, environmental issues, parenting, arts… you will find the full list in a large dictionary located between the letters “A” and “Z”… it doesn’t matter what your passion is, but it does matter that you are passionate about something. THAT’S what makes blogging Fun.
So my challenge(s) to you are:
A) these are my 10 Reasons for Blogging… what are yours? ( it doesn’t have to be as many as ten)
B) If there is a latent writer inside you and you are inspired to unplug it, then please leave a comment to let me know what your new blog is all about.
My New Year’s Wish for you is that not matter if from the writing or reading side of the page, that 2011 is full of some brilliant blog posts! Happy New Year!!!