One of the best perks of being a blogger is getting to read other blogs. Sometimes I get so lost in my fellow bloggers’ worlds that I forget there are pans with baked-on grease and shoes with doggie-doo on them waiting for me. (Ok, so maybe I’m blog surfing to AVOID the more distasteful parts of my housework, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the illustration.) Certain bloggers are so incredibly clever with their posts that you know a book deal is just one good dancing-monkey-story away. And isn’t it cool to get to live in an era when material from such talented authors is as close as your laptop, and as cheap as your DSL subscription??!! I love the 21st century!!
For me, reading a well-written blog is much akin to a photographer surveying a purple-hued sunset – – it just inspires the heck out of me. I immediately am reminded of how thankful I am that I took the blog writing course, and why this whole blogging thing took hold of me! I can hardly wait to get back to my Live Writer and spew out my newly-revitalized content for my own blog. One such blogger that does this for me is Christine Moers, author of “Welcome To My Brain.” I’d love to introduce you to Christine in all her glory, but I’ll be doggoned if I can come up with any consistent label or description. So, I’ll lean heavily on her own introduction from her blog site:
I’m crazy in love with the God that made me, and the hot, bald man He gave me. Our family was built through birth and adoption. My kids are a mix of Tourettes, OCD, sleep issues, tics, and food allergies! I’m a pastor’s wife with a nose stud. I am me. I am art.
1. Christine, let’s start with the obligatory starting-gate question…what got you started blogging and how long have you had your blog?
I started blogging on March 19, 2005. What I didn’t stop to think about at the time was that this was the anniversary of our country invading Iraq. So, needless to say, I have never celebrated my blog’s birthday. Instead, I mourn the war, and pray that one day I can use that day to post about something as frivolous as a blog birthday!
I’ve now been plugging away for over three years have churned out more than 700 posts. Not too shabby.
2. Burgeoning bloggers sometimes aren’t sure where to start. Where did you get your inspiration for what type things you wanted to blog about?
Anyone can blog. Granted, you may only get one hit a day (which is YOU, just checking in!). There are plenty of blogs out there that describe how many times the baby spit up … or regurgitated daily devotionals. However, if you want it to be something that continues and is actually enjoyable for the reader, then you have to really, really, really, REALLY love to write. I think I read about four million really boring blogs initially, which is what pushed me to start my own. I promised myself that I would never write something that I would not want to read (if I wasn’t me). You won’t get any country blue lace and bunnies, surrounded by scripture. You will, however, find out why a Southern Baptist pastor’s wife would vote for a Democrat in the same week as a detailed description of how to take a dump at church without anyone discovering that you are the source of the smell. Apparently some people find this stuff valuable!
Fortunately, I really, really, really, REALLY love to write. I try to post something daily (“try” being the operative word). I talk about me, and the things and people around me. I tend to be a freak magnet, so my life oozes with inspiration.
3. Did you start to get a loyal following of readers right away, or did it take awhile?
I can’t even remember how long it took me to discover Site Meter (www.sitemeter.com). So, I had very little idea just how many people were actually reading my blog. Once I hooked myself up on that site, I realized that people were lurking all the time, just not commenting. Of course, I also discovered that my loyal readers were pretty much just my family and like two friends! However, after adding my blog address to my email signature, and commenting on blogs that I loved to read, the numbers started to grow.
I found a few blog carnivals that were based on things that were interesting to me (homeschooling, easy cooking, etc.). That draws people to my blog that might connect with me. Rarely have I noticed a drastic jump in readership that stays. You may have a really big day of readers because of something you posted, but that may only equate to about three new regular readers. The blogosphere is fickle. Again, if you really, really, really, REALLY love to write, you’ll just keep doing it because you enjoy it – even when the numbers fall.
4. What do you like most about blogging? Dislike most?
Blogging is therapeutic. I have saved thousands of dollars in therapy over the last three years. I’m cheap, so I really like that aspect.
I enjoy opening a dialog that challenges people, however, I do not participate in arguments. You can learn from a discussion, but not from an argument. Occasionally, I will have someone come in on the comments and blast away at everyone (or sometimes just me!). I could probably count on one hand the times that I have deleted comments. Instead, I try to gently steer the conversation back to something productive. It’s a balance. I don’t think we should censor (except in cases of outright libel), but we can’t learn from one another if we do the blogging equivalent of yelling and then taking our toys and going home.
5. Christine, about how much time do you invest in your blog each week? What about it makes it worth the investment of your time?
Again, it’s therapeutic. I love to talk, and this is just me talking through my fingers. While I may post something every day, I don’t necessarily write something every day. I may have a weekend where my brain is overflowing. So, I’ll put it all down, and break it up into posts. Then I can publish them as I see fit. If I don’t write it down quickly, it will leave my mind within minutes. I may have some posts that I mull over for hours and hours. Others come flying out without any effort.
I spend a lot of time on my blog. Most days I absolutely love blogging. Some people make crafts. Some go to the gym. Others hit Starbucks. I blog.
6. Yours is a very personal blog, and you aren’t advertising any particular product or service, but do you use advertising or other methods to generate any income from your blog?
The only regular advertising that I allow on my blog is from BlogHer (www.blogher.com). I had to apply and be accepted into their network. They are a growing community of blogging women. They pay fair. They’re extremely professional, and are actively improving themselves. I might pull in about twenty bucks a month from those ads. Not much, but many times the ad boxes are actually promoting charities and other public service announcements. I like that. I like BlogHer. So, they will continue to have a prominent spot.
I tried some ad boxes that I created myself. I wanted to give my blog readers the opportunity to advertise their own blogs. Unfortunately, very few of them took advantage and I was overrun with gaming web sites. Boo. So, I pulled those off. You live and learn.
I have a lot of chachkis on my side bars, but overall I like to keep a clean blog.
7. Do you feel a sense of community with the readers of your blog? What obligation, if any, do you feel toward them?
I know I’m repeating myself a lot, but remember that the blogosphere is fickle. People come and go. Yet, I have built some really fun friendships over the years with other bloggers. I don’t reply to every comment and I don’t comment regularly on other blogs. Some days I have a lot of time to do those things. Other days I’m … well, just read my blog! Some days I can barely find time to pee! There’s just not enough time to explain all of the private emails, and personal connections that I’ve made over these three years.
I was listening to a podcast on blogging etiquette (which cracks me up – first that people are trying to create etiquette guidelines on blogging, and secondly that someone took the time to record and upload a podcast about it!). The big question of the day was whether or not it is polite to lurk on someone’s blog, without commenting. That’s like saying it’s rude to browse the library without reading every book. We’re all real people. I have a gal that I used to read very regularly. She’s in a dry spell right now. I’m not finding her interesting. I just skim past her on my feed reader these days. People do that to me, too. It’s life. Gotta’ prioritize things – even entertainment!
And no, I’m am NOT telling you who it is!
8. What type of blogs do you enjoy reading yourself?
Some of my favorite blogs talk a lot about social justice, environmentalism, adoption, foster care, following Christ, etc. I also have a few friends and family that I keep up with by reading their blogs.
9. As a blog reader, I’ll admit I frequent blogs with an offbeat – – even cynical sense of humor. What keeps you coming back for more on a particular blog?
I like fresh content and smart humor. I like to laugh, I like to writhe over injustice, I like to comfort and be comforted, I like to grow and be challenged. Mostly, though, I like to laugh.
I try to do the same thing with my own blog. Posting frequently, but keeping it worth reading.
Maybe one day I’ll run out of things to say.
I doubt it.
A huge thanks to Christine Moers for an incredibly in-depth and insightful interview about the world of a blogger. If you want to find out more about the hijinks happening in Christine’s life, please head over to Welcome To My Brain, and subscribe to her feed. And for more information on starting and writing a blog yourself, please sign up for one of our blogging courses.
Until next time,