In just a year, Ana, who is on our reviewing team, started blogging. Since then she has changed her mind, shelved projects and finally settled on a format and focus that works for her.
I remind my students that a blog must be sustainable, so that you are motivated to write it regularly, but that it must also be focused. Ana is a great example of someone who has had three blogs with three different titles and purposes.
It is OK to change your mind – as long as you stay focused.
I started blogging about a year ago. Initially I was dubious about the value of the exercise, and whether it would only squander the limited time I had available to myself. I had read many posts that seemed to offer little that I considered relevant, and didn’t want to add to this category. This was a valuable insight, as my initial plan was to create a blog titled: The Infallibility of My Ex-Husband. FYI: I am still married and this particular phase in marital disharmony was soon resolved.
As a serial expat, often living in countries where English is not the first language of the natives, I feel impeded in my attempts to communicate and be completely understood. Learning a new language has reduced my communication skills to a level of basic survival. By keeping verbal exchanges simple and clear, I increase the likelihood of having my message delivered intact. Yet, it is the inclusion and understanding of the nuances of language that gives a conversation color and depth. I felt that I had been gagged. This is why I started to blog.
My first blog (memoryextracts.blogspot.com) draws on my professional background working with people living with a dementing illness. Being fascinated by the unique impact dementia has on every individual’s cognition; personal coping mechanisms; carer or family responses to people with dementia, – are underlying themes in my blog posts. This blog is never going viral.
A second blog is the result of a four-year book project tackling the topic of what it is to be a Muslim woman, and written with a Malay friend. Having to admit a certain level of ignorance about Muslim people and their religion, I was fortunate to find someone who lives under the teachings of Islam and was willing to answer my questions, over coffee or lunch. The project expanded and was launched as a blog to test the waters with the reading public. Currently on the shelf again, this blog experience taught me how fickle the blog audience can be, and why SEO (search engine optimization) is important.
Created as a place to store and display my growing portfolio of written work, my third blog (anamcginley) has become more of a personal blog. This is where I post my observations about the world. I envisage that this blog will become an anthology of my experiences as an expat woman raising a large family in a foreign culture and land, and seeking to reestablish an identity outside the family and home.
So in answer to the question that started this post: I blog because it allows me to express myself in a clear voice augmented by my experience, knowledge and personality. Blogging forces me to analyze my thoughts and to check my facts. While forcing me to continually hone my writing skills, blogging stimulates my intellect and demands that I stay conscious of what is going on around me.
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