Saturday, 6 January 2018

So You Want To Be a Blogger?

This morning I was delighted to learn that I have just won a Rambler, that coveted prize also known as the birding Oscar. Each year Neil Randon awards a Rambler to the 'Birding Blogger of the Year' and the 'Birding Blog Post of the Year'. I am especially honoured that a piece of NQS has won the latter category, because so little of it these days has much to do with birding. Jono Lethbridge of Wanstead Birder fame is a worthy winner of the overall award. Jono writes an actual birding blog...

According to some statistics that I didn't actually make up, since 2004 the blogosphere has doubled in size every 5-7 months, and right now almost 2 new blogs are created per second. So, despite what you might think, the blogging boom is far from over. There are currently more than 53 million blogs out there. So if you are wrestling with a strong urge to start a blog, please don't be concerned. Just give in to it and join us. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

Birding blogs are legion. In the last decade or more I guess many thousands of birders have sat at their computers, two index fingers poised uncertainly, wondering quite how to start their new blog. So, in my capacity as an award-winning blogger, allow me to offer some advice...

Post regularly
You want a definition of 'regularly'? Much more often than me.

Include photos
Good photos transform a post. If the photos are good enough it basically doesn't matter whether you can string three words together. The photos will do it on their own. If you can't write, get a camera. A really good one.

Don't post late at night after lots of alcohol
It's always annoying to have to delete stuff.

Always include amusing stories of monumental dips, accidental injury to your person, etc.
Schadenfreude rules. Blog readers absolutely love it. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Personally my little heart almost bursts with sympathy whenever I read stuff like that...

Stick to your theme
If it's a birding blog, stick to birding. If it's a cycling blog, stick to cycling. If it's a fishing blog, stick to fishing. Nobody minds the occasional digression, but don't try your tiny readership's patience by jumping about all over the place. And no, don't even think about bringing running into it too. No, really. They won't stand for it.

Be old
Yes, being old is a fine goal to have. The older, the better really. Having decades of reminiscence on tap is brilliant for when nothing much is happening.

Make stuff up
This is a last resort, but of course perfectly in order when you haven't got any real stuff. But be careful. I remember one blogger publishing a thrilling tale of a rare bird tracked down and photographed. Unfortunately he published 'his' photos too. One was mine and the other was the wrong plumage. Unless you want to have to delete your blog and start a whole new one under another name don't do this.

Blogging is a curious enterprise. What exactly motivates a person to make those first, hesitant keystrokes is likely something even the individual would find hard to pin down, but there is undoubtedly something dreadfully compelling about it...

14 comments:

  1. Congrats Gav - NQS has always been one of the best blogs around.

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    1. Thanks Steve, much appreciated. Although NQS is a bit fitful these days I'm glad I still get pleasure from it and manage to keep it going.

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  2. "Don't post late at night after lots of alcohol"...now I see where I've been going wrong all of this time. Congrats on the Ramblaward, btw.

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    1. Thanks Seth. Yes, everyone knows that the creative wheels are best oiled with a nice cup of chamomile tea...

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  3. Well done on your award, you must obviously heed your own advice ;)
    Just keep on doing what you do and providing entertainment for the rest of us please.

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    1. Thank you Dave. Yep, when it comes to advice I like to set a good example :)

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  4. "If you don't know where you're going any road can take you there" George Harrison
    Blogging is all things to all those individual involved. If bouncing between birds, bikes, bugs and fish is how our life functions - so be it; the blog will follow the phasing as matter of course. As for not posting after copious amounts of alcohol, I'll start again then! Congrats on the award - Dyl

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    1. Cheers Dyl. It's probably significant that my favourite blogs are also the most varied. Even when the subject matter is not particularly my cup of tea I'll still enjoy a post simply because I enjoy reading that particular blogger's output, whatever it is. Over time I find it's the connection you make with the writer that draws you back time and time again, and not just the topic. To me that's the mark of a good blog.

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    1. Thankfully a trait to which I have never succumbed. And I never read those kind of posts more than once. Or bookmark them for easy retrieval...

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    1. Thanks Derek, it's good to know that this blog even reaches parts of Wales :)

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  7. As always a good read and some helpful hints should I ever decide to blog - even if I don't I will keep reading yours Gavin! I quite enjoy reading blogs where you know the person involved is making it up - or should I say stretching the truth. Sometimes its the only way we get to hear about it. Love the following blog too. I wonder if anyone was taken in by your wheatear...

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    1. Ha ha! Thanks Mike, your comment really appreciated.

      Re the Wheatear: I suspect anyone who reads NQS knows by now how it works!

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