Friday, 12 February 2010

The Blogger

Why do I blog? I’ll tell you.

I occasionally steal memes when I have a particularly nasty attack of writer’s block or am unhappy with ideas for posts. Last week I popped across to Sunday Stealing just to see what was on there and I found the second of a two part meme that would allow me to tell you a little bit about my blog and give you an insight into what goes on in my weird mind.

Since I missed the original meme, I thought I would answer the questions just for fun. The original item was in two parts but I have decided to combine them. In retrospect it would have made a good 200th post (and it may have made a good 300th post). But who cares? It seems like a good idea now.

1. How long have you been blogging?

My first post appeared on Friday 21st March 2008, so that’s almost two years. It was a fairly boring post about Walsall, the football team I support, and received no response whatsoever. But then again why would it? The club only has a few thousand fans and, at the time, nobody was reading the blog (unless they happened to stumble across it by accident).

2. What made you start?

I had been writing for a while and had made several attempts at writing novels and short stories. There are a lot of “Chapter 1” files on my hard drive but only one or two “Chapter 2” files. I had written a couple of travelogues and I found that I really enjoyed writing. Mrs PM suggested that I should get people to read the bilge I write and, if possible, to comment on it. I then discovered that a colleague of mine had been writing a blog for a couple of years about life in South Korea and I thought “I could do that” – write a blog I mean, not write about life in Seoul. The rest is history.

3. Who inspired you?

Mrs PM I guess. If she hadn’t suggested it, I never would have done it.

4. About how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your blog?

I would say a couple of hours writing, throwing things away, and writing again.

5. What kind of experience or background do you have with writing?

Not an awful lot really. The only writing I have ever done is technical writing and that is absolutely dreary and totally uninteresting. In fact, as much as I like writing, I absolutely hate writing technical documentation. I suppose I get paid for it, so I have to do it – but it’s hardly something that would interest the general public.

6. Talk about how you come up with blog topics. Where do you get your ideas?

When I first started the blog, I was going to use it to make the world a better place using the power of ranting as a tool. However, it soon became clear to me that there is a lot of craziness out there and an awful lot more inside my own mind. So basically, what I do is keep a little notebook handy and, as ideas pop out of the primeval weird pool that is my imagination, I capture them and imprison them in my book. Sometimes I look at that book and think “Do I take drugs?” and most of the ideas never see the light of day. However, quite a few do – as regular readers will have seen. In fact, readers may also think that I take drugs anyway. I can assure you that I don't (apart from a modicum of alcohol now and again).

7. What or who inspires you and your blog?

At the moment, it is everyday life that inspires me and the antics of those around me (both animal and human). I also prowl around cyberspace, searching for other blogs; most of them are so much better than mine. I am a positive person (despite the apparent grumpiness) so I strive to improve. Reading better blogs inspires me to try to write better posts.

8. Where and/or how do your brainstorming for your blog?

I don’t brainstorm unless I am stuck for a topic. And if that’s the case I usually steal a meme or read the blogs of others in an attempt to kick start my creativity.

9. Do you have any blogging rules or guidelines you follow?

Yes. I try not to be too controversial. I have very strong opinions on a variety of topics and I try my best not to pour forth my true feelings in case I upset somebody. If I unleashed my opinions in full, there is every chance I would offend people. So I rein myself in. Mrs PM thinks I should go for it and be controversial. However, my nature is such that I genuinely do not like distressing others. I also like to inject a little humour into my posts and, although sometimes you can mix controversy and humour, I can never do it to my own satisfaction. I prefer people to read my blog and laugh rather than feel angry about it (unless your name is Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan or any of the hundreds of so-called celebrities that annoy the hell out of me).

10. Is there anything you will not blog about?

I’m nervous about subjects like religion because people can easily be offended – so I try to avoid them when I can. Apart from that, I think I could write hogwash on a variety of subjects. The simple answer, therefore, is “no”.

11. Do you have any sort of a publishing schedule in terms of day of week or topic?

Not really. I average a post or two a week but there is no schedule.

12. How many drafts of potential blog posts do you have right now?

Quite a few; some are just ideas in my notebook, others are draft copies on my desktop.

13. In what medium do you draft your posts?

I use MS Word and then cut and paste the finished item into the blog.

14. How often do you completely scratch or delete drafts or blog post ideas?

I am my own worst critic – so quite often really. If you think the posts you get to see are shit, you should see those that end up being deleted!

15. If you had to leave your blog in your will to another blogger, who would you choose?

I certainly wouldn’t leave it to Mrs PM because she hates writing. It’s a shame really because she is so funny that I feel my blog would improve if I allowed her to post a few items. I guess it would come with me to that great blogosphere in the sky – I may have to rename it though (depending where I end up).

16. Are there other blogs that you feel are similar to yours in content, style, or voice?

Oh yes – and most of them are much better. I love reading funny blogs and have actually howled with laughter at quite a few. One particular blog post made me spray tea all over my screen and keyboard, it was so funny. Like I said before, I want people to read my drivel and be entertained, so I search for blogs that achieve that on a regular basis. And believe me, there are some cracking ones out there.

17. Has anything surprised you since you started blogging?

The amazing thing about blogging is that there are people out there who read my drivel and comment on it – and I love it. I am amazed and inspired.

18. What are your goals or plans for your blog going forward?

I don’t know. I would like to make some improvements – possibly even post excerpts from my two travelogues, possibly on a blog of their own. I guess I want to increase my readership but that’s not the most important thing. As long as people are happy and entertained that’s good enough for me. And as long as I am happy writing then I shall continue – so sadly for you, dear reader, there is more claptrap to come.

19. Do you make any money from your blog? (optional) about how much a month?

Bugger all. I responded to Adsense and thought “that might be worth a try” but apart from a few pennies it’s not worth it. I may just get rid of it in the near future. Money is not my main driving factor by any means.

20. What blogging system do you use?

I use Blogger.

21. How did you come up your blog name?

A bloke I used to work with, called Chris, is a Liverpool fan who has never actually lived there. He has lived close enough to the city to have a vague Scouse accent though he is not really a Scouser. We call him “The Plastic Scouser”. I’m originally from Walsall and have lived in Manchester for the past 26 years – but I am not really a Mancunian. “The Plastic Mancunian” seemed an obvious name.

22. How many blogs do you have? What was your peak?

I have two. The other one is called The Plastic Mancunian’s Eye and is a photo blog. I am trying to improve my photography skills so that particular blog is basically a place where I can show off some of my better efforts. It’s fun and I post fairly regularly (though I have neglected it this year a little bit). I don’t intend to start any more blogs, unless I publish my travelogues.


23. Are you having as much fun as when you started?

I’m having much more fun. I love writing blog posts and have discovered some amazing blogs written by some very talented people world wide. I don’t intend to give up at all.

24. Where do you find other bloggers like you?

I search out new and interesting blogs on subjects that I am interested in and stumble across a lot from various places. Also, if people comment and they have a blog, I will always pop across for a quick shufty.

25. What’s your one wish when it comes to blogging?

I would love to become a writer and blogging has made me concentrate on writing more and more. I just want people to enjoy what I write because that is a step in the right direction.

Well I hope that gives you another insight into my world. Thanks for reading.

8 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

Nice one, PlasMan - now I know why you call yourself that.

I started in 2005 and was initially known as 'Millymoo' for the first couple of years. Then it seemed obvious for me to reveal myself as I quit the cube-farm world and decided to try taking on the life of a freelance writer.

Like you, I think having a blog does a lot for expanding your creativity (I keep a notebook too) and it's a great outlet for writing practice, ideas and to connect with other bloggers.

A Blog In The Rough said...

Dearest PM -

Keep up the writing, you're good at it, and I expect a copy of your book when it comes out (or even if it doesn't) so I can review it and brag that I know the author.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

One day I will quit the cube-farm world of Dilbert - and then I may reveal myself (so to speak).

Sadly, the cube-world is one of the subjects I would love to rant about but since most of my fellow cube-buddies know who I am I simply can't - not yet anyway.

I have to say, you are one of the bloggers who make me laugh out loud - some of your posts are really funny.

Keep it up Millymoo!

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lady from Delaware,

I wouldn't brag that you know the author - it might tarnish your reputation as a book reviewer.

I am plugging away though (slowly but surely).

:0)

Cheers

PM

bingkee said...

It's nice to get to know you better through your purposes and the "methods" of your blogging. You did technical writing? That's the most boring type of writing of all.

I agree with you religion is hard to write about but it's up to your faith. If you feel strongly of your spiritual conviction, you know who you are pleasing and that means --you don't please people.

I try to write about my beliefs sometimes when I know I have to but I make sure what I am talking about first before airing them out on public because otherwise those who don't like what I'm saying will find faults in my post.

When it comes to my beliefs in God, I post something that I have personal experience and scriptural truth to back it up.

Writers' block can be eliminated if you spend about 10 minutes just looking back at the past , present and your dreams of the future. That's what I do....I jot down ideas or phrases or just one paragraph or even a drawing ...and I go back to it when I am ready to "magnify those ideas" into a cognitive thought and post.

I'm fortunate of my various experiences that are so extreme---being a Filipino migrating to the US with an American husband, growing up poor , then becoming rich, then losing money and getting bankrupt, a college scholar from Asia's finest university to being a nanny/housekeeper and all my various experiences of joy and pain are so varied to make me come up with so many ideas that I never run out of them. Thank God.

Thanks for sharing.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

Thanks for a very informative comment.

Sadly I *still* do technical writing to document the technical aspects of my job. C'est la vie, I suppose.

Yes - religion is can be a deeply personal thing and, although I am not very religious myself, I know a lot of things based on my upbringing and I respect the beliefs of others.

Great tips about writer's block - it can be very irritating and any help overcoming it is most welcome - thanks.

You seem to have lived a very adventurous life so far and immersing yourself in a different culture has certainly made your writing interesting (hence the reason I keep popping back) - like I said to Kath - keep it up.

:0)

Cheers

PM

bingkee said...

Oh I forgot to tell you that I have a blog that is about God---it's my "praise and worship blog"---though as I've said I don't blog it often in my I Love-Hate America blog, I have a blog that I dedicate to encourage Christians and believers to praise and worship the God who loves us first and the God who's always merciful and faithful to us. It's mostly musical videos and exceprts from daily devotionals that I read. It's http://www.praisewithallmyheart.blogspot.com

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

Yes - I've seen your other blog and while I am not religious, it is good that you can share your beliefs with the world at large.

Incidentally, I read your latest blog post with interest. I am quite shocked to be honest about the nasty comments that people have written, simply because they don't really understand what you are trying to say.

We should embrace our differences and enjoy them.

Cheers

PM