Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Be the Blog --- What on Earth does that Mean?

Be The Blog award

Recently I was given this award by Ian at Failure is the Key to Success. and I do thank you for that Ian. It's a funny title for an award really, Be the Blog. Originally it came from the Me and My Drum blog, and Mark meant it to recognize successful bloggers, with his idea of successful being that they make a blog their own, stay with it, are interactive with their readers, and just plain have fun.

Now Ian, totally out of the blue, made a comment on my very first post back in February so he has seen this blog evolve from its simple beginnings to what you see today. Still relatively simple in many ways, the blog has the original simple classic template which I have never dared to change. Who knows if the whole thing might disappear? I can't risk that.

At first there was only text. Then an image appeared, followed by a YouTube video as I learned new skills. Finally a blogroll and then the sidebar grew like Topsy. Over these months I cannot believe the technical skills I have learned but also the blog content seems to have changed.

What started out, in my mind at least, as a way to leave behind for my adult children some memories of things I've done and places I've been, this blog seems to have taken on a life of its own and often I write about notions which randomly pop into my mind. But they always have my stamp on them, so yes I have made the blog my own. I'm very curious about things so you always get snippets of information which I've learned regarding whatever topic I'm waffling on about. Lucky you.

So far I've stayed with it, although often I haven't a clue what I am going to post about next and I get a bit anxious. I'm one of those people who are micro managers, the nice word for control freak, you might say. I do like to have one post in mind or, even better, as a draft, but often I don't.

There's an awful lot written about "finding your voice". I don't consider myself a writer by any means but I do think my voice does come through this blog in some way. I focus on things that mean something to me and I talk about them using my personal experiences or my perspective. Even when I'm acting as tour guide for some place I've been, I'm sure I let in little glimpses of myself. I probably have turns of phrase that I use often without realizing but maybe readers notice. Do you think you know who I am?

Thank heaven for computers, for I seem to change every word again and again before I hit publish. I imagine Jane Austen, writing in longhand in a book with pen and ink. All those words flowing out of her mind in one cohesive stream, paragraph after paragraph. I wonder if it is true or if she had things crossed out, with arrows going from one part of the page to another, everything all smudged.

Am I interactive with readers? Definitely. I never leave a comment unacknowledged. Before I ever had a blog I had an online presence as a medblog reader. What I learned from that was that I liked to have my comments answered and I've followed that rule in my own blog. In fact I think quite a lot of one's personality comes through in one's comments. Some people know me only as a commenter for they don't ever read my blog, so that's all they know of me. I think I know something of others from their comments, so the reverse must be true.

Lastly, am I having fun? Maybe fun is a bit strong, but am I enjoying this experience? That's a yes and I think it's a great challenge too. I like that especially about this blogging experience.

I would like to leave you with something I read early on in my blogging career at one of my medblogs. It's the No 1 Dinosaur's three cardinal rules of blogging.
  • Write well.
  • Say something.
  • Mix it up.
One could hardly do better than follow this simple but very effective advice.


Shades said...

The blogging 101 is great advice.

Liz said...

Yes, I think you have a distinctive voice that comes through - and tells us a bit about you!

Keep on blogging - but don't be anxious! This is your blog not ours, for you to do with as you wish.

Eurodog said...

Congratulations jmb.
Not only are you an interesting person but a kind and considerate one. You have helped me a lot shaping my blog and I thank you for that.
I also see you have put a picture in your header. Well done.
I assume it is a picture of Vancouver which I hope to revisit one day. The last visit was in the year the film ET came out because we saw it in Vancouver.
Have a lovely day.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Congrats jmb on this award as well as for scoring genius on your reading level. i enjoy both your blog and your comments and really find it hard to believe that you started so recently. You are one classy gal with a classy blog.

Ellee Seymour said...

Congratulations jmb. I agree with eurodog's comment. I never know what I am going to write about next either.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Your blog certainly has your own stamp on it, jmb and you do have a definite "voice" as a writer - one we all enjoy. I, for one, am in awe of your technical skills! I think we all get anxious about our blogs from time to time. That advice at the end is excellent. Keep blogging, jmb!

Ian Lidster said...

You satisfy your three criteria to a T with your blog which has consistently been one of my favorites. I love its eclecticism, and your sense of humor and irony, etc.
Keep them coming and enjoy your award.

Ian said...

Hi jmb,
I'm glad I was able to pass it on to you.
I guess it feels a bit strange to have followed someone else's blog from the start, but I have been hooked from the beginning.
I'm definitely a control freak myself, but this doesn't extend to my blog posts. Please don't get anxious over what you will post. Whatever you post will be worth waiting for, there's no deadline to meet.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

They are good criteria, I agree.

Yes, it can be challenging, but ultimately, rewarding.

Play with your template, it can be fun. Mine looks nothing like the original. When i started blogging I knnew very little about computers, but as you put your feet out, you surprise yourself.

Carver said...

Hi JMB, I think you have a definite voice that comes through and I like that. I wonder if there is something inherent in the nature of blogging that can make a blog have a life of its own. I started blogging because I made friends who have the same cancer I have, who blogged, and it seemed useful. At this point, I blog less and less about cancer. It mostly comes up when I'm in an appointment cycle.

I read the advise on your side bar about reading out loud after you write something. I'll have to find it again to remember the context but that's great advise. I started doing that except when I'm hurried. I think and write way too fast and I try to remind myself about that good piece of advise. I struggle a little bit with how much care I want to put into my blog because I don't want it to be too much like work, but I kick myself when I see how incoherent I can be. That's one thing I like about your blog. You always express yourself so well. As ever, Carver

Medblog Addict said...

Congrats on the award and on the new header!

leslie said...

You know, I honestly don't remember how I found you, but you are definitely "favourited" so that I can pop over whenever I have time. And there's always something intelligent or thought-provoking to read here. Congrats on the award.

jmb said...

Hi Shades,
I agree, I thought they summed up the situation pretty well.

Hi Liz,
Thanks for the encouraging words. I seem to keep on keeping on somehow.

Hi Eurodog,
I am willing to share what I have learned because people have been so helpful to me. You are the first to notice the header photo which is indeed Vancouver.

Thanks for the kind words. The blog is not old but I can hardly remember what I did before I had it.

Hi Ellee,
Thanks for the nice words and somehow we both come up with something, you much more often than I do.

I'm glad you all "recognize" my voice, such as it is. Well I plan to keep blogging as long as I can think of something to say.

Hi Ian Lidster,
Thanks for your kind words, that means a lot coming from a writer like you. One I enjoy very much.

Hi Ian,
Thanks for the award and the ideas. You have some wise words there yourself and I will try to follow them.

Hi Crushed,
You don't seem to lack ideas that's for sure and follow Dino's three rules very well.
I am exploring the options for blog template change. Standby for more.

Hi Carver,
We think we have one idea with a blog but everything turns all around and it becomes different. I guess it's a good thing.

Thanks for your help with the header. The print is now darker and all I have to do is make it fit into the box!

Hi Leslie,
It's very generous of you to say to say that. I believe we met via Josie and one day we'll all get together for coffee or something.

Thanks to you all for visiting and commenting.

Colin Campbell said...

Great advise. I always enjoy your considered comments.

Chrysalis Angel said...

Congratulations JMB on your award. You have a great blog and a unique voice wherever you are found. I've enjoyed your blog.

Beaman said...

If you need any help with designing a new template, then I might be able to help you. I'd need access to your html etc. Let me know if you're interested.

I agree with the others, you do have a strong blogging voice. Keep up the great work!

Ellee Seymour said...

I've just seen Welshcake's lovely post for you, another testimony in your honour.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Indeed and you do follow that advice too.

lady macleod said...

Congratulations, and well deserved.

jmb said...

Hi Colin,
It is good advice and thank you.

Hi Angel,
Thank you. I'm glad that you enjoy my "voice".

Hi Beaman,
That's a very generous offer. I don't mind the way my blog is now, not since I was helped to get a photo in the header. Although it did take a lot of trial and error to size it. Thank you.

Hi Ellee,
Wasn't Welshcakes kind? I loved all the red in the window.

Hi James,
Heaven knows I try but mostly I'm just scrabbling about.

Hi Lady Mac,
Thank you, I appreciate it.

Thanks to all of you for visiting and commenting.