One of the great things about blogging is the diversity of approaches and voices. While my main interest is in all things literary, I’ve tried, in the blogs I’ve nominated, to represent something of that range, hoping I can point readers to something new. If you’re listed here, I hope you’ll want to take part in the process, to answer my questions on your own blog and pass on the favour. But should you decide it’s not your bag, that’s fine too. This thing’s about playtime rather than heaping another load of responsibilities an already busy people’s shoulders.
Paying it forward to 10 bloggers' blogs
Clare O’Dea Writing is another of the blogs I’ve used as a launching pad for my own posts. As someone who earns her living as a journalist, Clare’s writing is always elegant, and I particularly admire the way she interweaves everyday experience with samples of her own writing and that of the literary heavyweights. Her posts usually have intriguing titles too: I Never Liked You Anyway is a recent post about confrontation in fiction and Hold on I Just Have To Answer This links the age of the smartphone with the Victorian postal service.
My third nomination is a blog I must confess I rarely read. That’s not for lack of interest, but because Avablog is written mostly in Hungarian, which unfortunately doesn’t commute with my brain. I’m flattered that Ava has translated a couple of my stories, and it would be great if her post on translation, written in English, got bombarded by comments from the English-speaking world.
Some of us will post the occasional book review on our blogs; others dedicate their entire blogs to their love of literature. Of the smorgasbord of book review blogs, two stand out for me in their erudition and in bringing to my attention novels I might not otherwise see … although I do have mixed feelings about my mounting TBR pile. Susan Osborne of A Life in Books has eclectic tastes, but with a particular interest in literary fiction and has proved an asset in suggesting novels for my series on fictional therapists. Over on Me, You, and Books, Marilyn Brady celebrates many otherwise neglected voices: why not take up her invitation to join the conversation about “reading, especially about women and diversity”.
From The Writing Closet, Lora Hughes also has an interesting take on diversity, ranting, muttering or waxing lyrical – depending on her mood – on the assumptions and constraints of gender. I love her quirky style, and her photos, in, for example, Wheelbarrows and Flowered Bums. Unfortunately I’m bamboozled by the sign-in procedure for comments on blogger blogs, so my comments are restricted to under 140 characters on Twitter.
Like Lora, I met Nicola Vincent-Abnett of the eponymous blog via that great Twitter hashtag wwwblogs (or perhaps it was Mondayblogs, who knows), the equivalent of the watercooler for writing bloggers. Nicola is an admirably prolific and enthusiastic blogger, delivering a meaty post on a topical subject several times a week. That’s about five novels’ worth of words over two years of blogging – that’s an awful lot of creativity! Using her blog to excercise her fiction-writing muscle, AnnMarie Hurtado of 52 stories in 52 weeks – it does what it says on the tin – is another blogger who deserves a Liebster for sheer dedication to her art.
Having grown up in a pre-digital age, it still takes me by surprise that our online connections can be so powerful. I’m pleased therefore to be able to complete my nominations with a couple of people who I know for sure have an existence outside my computer. Steffanie Edward is a writer I met a few years ago at an Arvon course. Her blog has a great title, which unfortunately I can’t pronounce, Sa Ka Fèt, meaning “how are you” in the language of St Lucia. In addition to writing fiction and blogging, Steff is literary editor of The New Black magazine.
Completely different in style and focus, Hindu Samaj Heritage explores the sometimes unexpected connections between the Peak District National Park (in England) and India during the British Raj, particularly through the cotton industry. There are posts on history and countryside, and sometimes both, in words and stunning photography. Although many of the contributions are from Chamu Kuppuswamy – who you may have met on my post How the Elephant God Got His Head which was prompted by our storytelling walk – the blog belongs to a collective, so I’m interested to see how they’ll address my questions: divvy them up or respond by committee? I look forward to finding out.
The things I'd like to know:
- What has surprised you most about your blogging experience?
- To what extent do you blog for your own entertainment versus for the benefit and/or entertainment of your readers?
- If your blog were to come to life, what form would it take?
- How does your blogging voice differ from how you present yourself in “real life”?
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse on your blog?
- Which famous person would you most like to visit your blog, which of your posts would you most like them to read, and why?
- If you could invite a fictional character to write one of your posts, who would you choose and why?
- If time and money were no object, where in the world would you like to go to research your next post?
- As a consumer of blogs, what are the main factors that entice you to read on?
- What else do you wish I’d asked you and how would you respond?
And other readers, do take a mosey around these blogs, and you’re welcome to answer my questions too.
Finally, a big thank you to bloggers and readers everywhere, your support keeps this whole thing going.