Happy Anniversary to Amanda for ten years of blogging! What an accomplishment – not only in years but her dedicated following.
She says that one of the best things about blogging is engagement with community. Do you agree? I do. Amanda and I started talking about our different experiences.
“In all honesty, I wasn’t a serious Blogger early on … But then, something happened. I began to connect with people worldwide … The Blogger community responded with kindness and open arms, enveloping me on a truly wondrous journey that … continues to this day. ”
“What about your blogging journey? How did you start blogging? “Amanda, Something to Ponder About
Oddly enough, I started using WordPress not to blog but to enable an online writers group. I’d connected with some writers in university and floated the idea of forming a critique group. Peer feedback is an essential part of the creative writing process. Normally it’s done in person, in group sessions with printed copies of the story under review. Critical commentary is provided to the author who uses it potentially, in re-writes.
Physical meetings wouldn’t work for my group because we were scattered geographically. E-mail was an option but a blog seemed more interactive. WordPress allows for private blogs with multiple authors. It was a great fit. I cut my learning teeth with the group blog and then decided to branch out.
How did I start blogging?
Blogging brought together two of my favorite activities: writing and photography. I had recently taken up street and travel photography. Initially I used Flickr but I was as keen on the stories behind pictures, as the pictures themselves. It was a natural step to start blogging about them.
I had a third blog devoted to food. Unlike more successful food blogs, I didn’t post recipes and my photos were … meh. Food photography is not my thing. Most times, I’d be well into my second bite before thinking “I shoulda taken a picture!”
“A pivotal moment in keeping my Blog active was starting the now-defunct ‘Monday Mystery Photo Challenge,’ … Photography was definitely a major way I found and connected with other like-minded folk. (Later) Snow and I launched the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, which I now run with the extremely resourceful Sandy, in Canada. I love the Global connections … from all corners of the world!“Amanda, Something to Ponder About
At one point I had three active blogs plus Flickr plus Facebook. ‘Best advice’ on social media says to post frequently and regularly. I couldn’t do it. It was too much to post regularly, much less frequently.
What was my pivotal moment?
It was when I realized that half of the fun of blogging was getting feedback. I decided to consolidate, shut down Flickr and merge my food blog. Facebook I kept private for family.
One year ago I posted my first Friendly Friday Photo. I remember being thrilled with Snow’s enthusiastic response and I kept on going. When Amanda asked for co-host volunteers, I thought “Why not?” It’s been awesome. Amanda and I are great collaborators. Through her and the Friendly Friday following, I’ve connected with folks worldwide.
“Key to maintaining my motivation for blogging is to write about things I am passionate about. An early criticism I received was that my Blog lacked focus …(StPA had) “a lot going on” . Back then, travelling was something I posted frequently about but also … craft painting, nutrition, mental health, traditional sayings, quotes and cooking. Given the current global situation … I am very grateful my Blog was diversified in its focus.“
“Have you ever considered giving up, and if not, why did you persevere?”Amanda, Something to Ponder About
Isn’t it funny how the ‘Best advice’ is the one we like to ignore? I worried too that my blog wasn’t focused enough, that I hadn’t found my niche. The thing is, I don’t know my niche.
When I first started blogging, my tag line was “Before I forget.” I’d just moved to Beijing and wanted to capture the memories I was likely to forget.
When I started my food site it was “Family Recipes from a Chinese Jamaican Daughter.” I wanted to capture food related stories from my family growing up, for my family grown up.
When I moved to a small island community on the edge of Canada’s Pacific NorthWest, my tag line became “Exploring Life on the Edge.” Through it all I have blogged about travel, cultural heritage, food, photography, music and anything else that I thought funny or interesting.
Have I ever considered giving up?
For sure, yes. I’ve wondered many times if it’s worth it. The thing is, I like the creative aspect of blogging. It’s writing without the burden of ‘getting published.’ Frustrated creative writers will know what I’m talking about. But the motivation that keeps me going are reader comments like
- “This is incredible and made me relive so many moments in …”
- “You know, your piece has put me in the mood for …”
- “I have never been to Saigon but your photos really take me there.”
My biggest motivation comes from a surprising source – my 88 year old Dad who says, “I always read your blog.”
Going forward, what’s ahead?
I suppose I’ll still write and try to discover my niche. Photography might have to change. My preference is for travel, street and people photography but that will be harder to do.
Maybe it’s time for re-boot. Maybe food photography? I’d have to learn to stage the food, get proper lighting, design good plating … and stop myself from eating it. Hmm. No, that won’t work 🙂 But something else will come up. I’ll just keep on trying new things!
This post is the first in a new series of CONVERSATIONS between Amanda and me. Over the next little while, we’ll talk about a topic, compare notes, share Q&A and invite you to join in. What do you think? Do you like it? Any topics to suggest? Let me know!
Toronto, Canada. August 2020