Blogging is not for everyone, but for me it has been a professional and personal life saver.I live in a tiny town away from the luxury of regular large writing groups, poetry readings, dear artistic and writing friends, my family – and blogging has become a way of life.Sometimes on top of all that we are also flooded in!
When I began my blogging journey I was writing a small family oriented blog, on life in North Queensland.It was never intended for a large readership, but being ever the writer I found that my topics diversified – I inlcuded my own poetry on my blogs, as well as memories of family, reflections on being an RE teacher and facilitating workshops, interesting sites I came across particularly for educational purposes, postcards and all the emails we received from family and friends during Cyclone Larry.Bloggers on the spot of any newsworthy event have the potential to write something close to the bone.I have been eclectic with my blogging because that is the main way I keep up my interest in writing.In blogging I am constantly shifting genres and experimenting until I feel settled enough to finish a story or poem.
At about the same time I started blogging I became a prolific self taught photographer, and branched out to flickr a photo sharing group.At first I was swamped by the activity and groups there but I was also excited by its possibilities. I used my own photographs frequently on my blogs, which at times influenced the sort of photographs I took as I selected images to match the stories, and then I reversed that at time and wrote things to go with images.
I’ve found with flickr especially that the internet is not always a safe place, many mothers on flickr email each other to say which flickr friends to boot out of your connections- but nevertheless I did find some genuine people whose photos I kept visiting and who kept visiting mine.I learnt protective measures to kick out worrisome people. I put on an online exhibition for friends and family “Archives in the Land” and that was so much fun. I am still always learning more about protecting copyrights, as are most people functioning on the internet.
Last year I came across the most amazing set of blogs in the Soul Food network, and found myself writing and residing in the world of the Foodies, Ravens, the Tholos, and then this year setting sail on a virtual imaginative artistic and writing cruise on the SS Vulcania.This amazing labyrinth of blogs and yahoo groups, and squid lenses, is a creative space to nurture and be nurtured and was begun by Heather Blakely.In it we are exploring the issues of how to protect our copyrights on the net, make a living out of our work, practice writing daily, and network with trusted others.I am learning new things there all the time.I am always myself and don’t hide behind a façade, but yes I do have pen-names, and characters and I have learnt to make use privacy settings on my blogs, facebook photos, and am careful about who receives access to what. There are privacy settings in blogs, you can password protect posts, which is a fantastic invention if you want a few close artist/writing friends to review your work for you.Recently I found out about a poetry network, which I am now also apart of.It has photographs, poetry, bulletin boards.It is new so we’ll see how it develops.I have a pretty good idea of dodgy emails and spam, so far so good (touch wood!) I’ve been able to have great filters.
Now it seems quite naturally I am facebook regular.Facebook has notes capacity, you can customise your photo viewability, and I combine it with blogging platforms and flickr.I am enjoying the networking capacities with writers, artists, family and friends.It has not isolated me into a virtual world, but actually made me closer to the three local friends (around the corner) who I see in person and who also message me there.It makes me closer to the friends I see less regularly as we can message when we think of each other, and the message stays there on the wall when it is convenient for them to read it.So many of my facebook friends are busy Mums!
During my blogging days one thing that did frustrate me at the start was a large number of visits and no comment on how people were responding to the work, and using the lesson plans, so I started to password posts, and ask people for feedback.Slowly that method actually worked, and I became aware of some of my readership and was able to actually network with some of them.Another thing I did was to not finish a post, and leave it hanging- it really does work if people like that blogging topic they will actually leave a comment saying “where is the rest of this… I want to quote it, follow this idea.”I also started operating in invitation only blogs where work is developed but not widely published but sent to publishers.
Lately I have begun to see there is a real possibility of making a living out of blogging, for I have had around 71 thousand visits to all my sites combined.I feel I have loyal readers who would want to know where I was if I suddenly disappeared.
Maybe it’s time to ask people to donate to my blog so I can keep blogging? After all I do write but don’t receive much supper for it. A few dollars each and that could be an income.Tell me would you donate to my blog to keep me writing
Since beginning blogging I have found a way of balancing my blogging, creative writing, and facebooking.It requires some discipline but I am becoming better and better at scheduling my day and my projects.I find facebook features that support writing, blogging, and developing writing.I have been paid for publishing a short story, a few poems, and a photograph and most of all I have kept writing, not felt isolated, been inspired, supported and encouraged others in their writing, artistic and social struggle journeys.“Leave a comment please.”
© Dr June Perkins 2009
This article appears at Global Teacher Network