Post #1000. I’m just pleased I noticed to be honest – I’ve been writing for so long in so many places that it’s a milestone I’m sure I’ve lapped a couple of times. I’d say thanks for reading, but hey – we all know I’d probably keep on doing it anyway.
I had the idea to ask friends and readers for some crowd-sourced style interview questions – they’re mostly about my experiences with blogging, apart from the ones about cake.
Where do you find the time for writing all these great posts? Is it all about discipline? (Kathrin)
It definitely takes discipline to blog regularly, but at the same time it takes discipline not to.
Let me explain. I’ve been writing online for twelve years now, and this blog itself will have existed for six years come September. I’ve blogged through studies, unemployment, full time work, part time work. Office jobs and shop jobs. But I don’t think I’ve ever blogged as regularly and effectively as I am doing at the moment, despite the fact I’m working in one of the most challenging and involved environments I ever have.
Couple full-time employment with an ongoing determination to spend less time online – meaning, of course, that I’m doing more things I want to write about – and I’m not sure where I ever find the time. It seems counterintuitive, but back when I was able – and daft enough – to spend all day every day staring at a computer screen I didn’t get as much done as this. At the moment my blogging routine consists of my daily lunch breaks and one day per weekend – it’s on that day when I plan out what I’m going to write about for the rest of the week as well as taking the time to listen to the music I’ve been sent to see what’s worthy of further investigation. There are a few tools that are instrumental in allowing me to do so, most notably Instapaper and Stickies on my Mac. I might devote the odd weeknight evening to the blog as well (for example, tonight I need to transpose an interview for tomorrow’s post and on Tuesday I’d better make the monthly mix CD) but for the most part, that’s it.
I’ve never really been one for mobile blogging, probably because the WordPress iPhone app is awful. However there are times a post as good as writes itself when I’m in the bath or on the bus, in which case I’ll take it down on Simplenote on my phone before I forget what I wanted to say. My riot aftermath and News of the World posts are two recent examples of that approach.
Was there any point that you wanted to give up posting? (Ed)
Oh, there have been some pretty serious examples of that. Having blogged through the tail-end of my teens and (barring any unforseen circumstances) the entirety of my twenties I’ve made plenty of mistakes as I’ve tried to figure out the line between what I should and should not be posting, and I’ve pissed off a few people I care about. The petulant child approach was to lock up my writing or shift it to another location, rather than adjust my attitude.
Some of you may remember that I actually started this blog because I’d given up blogging. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable in the community I was a part of at the time, and my heart wasn’t in it anymore. The posts were still writing themselves though – so I came back, and I made my own community, and I was lucky enough that the people who’d enjoyed reading my writing wanted to carry on doing so even if its nature had changed a little by its more public presence.
Will I be doing this forever? I can’t say. There are never enough hours in the day to do the things that it turns out your heart isn’t in. That’s very much not the case at the moment though.
When you look back at post #1, did you think you’d end up blogging about personal stuff (like getting a Glaswegian wax) at #1000? (Graham)
This actually relates to my answer to Ed’s question above because honey, this ain’t personal. Well, okay, that bit was. But the thing is, the last place I blogged before I moved to my own public site was completely behind closed doors – the ‘gated community’, if you like, of LiveJournal. I treated my blog back in those days as more of an online diary. My first blog proper was called Glitterscars, which I suppose tells you all you need to know.
But I understand what you’re saying. Six years on there’s not much point in dicking around so I may as well come out and say that when I started this blog I was feeling pretty bitterly betrayed and heartbroken, but it wasn’t something that it would have been appropriate to address in a forum like this. I know people who do it, and who do it well, but it’s not my style. This blog was never designed to be ‘personal’ in the same way those early diaries were – it just seems to have happened because my experiences with mental illness, for example, or a friend’s suicide or planning a wedding colour whatever else I do. A whole lotta me slips through the cracks, even when I don’t intend it to. It’s just the way I write. My general rule is that I can write about myself in such a way but it’s not appropriate to do so about other people – and, of course, I have to bear in mind that despite my original plans my real name is now all over this. It’s a fine line to draw and I’m sure I keep getting it wrong, but I’ll continue to muddle through and do what seems natural to me.
Explain your fascination with wassissname. Y’know, that bloke… (Stu)
I confess to having to clarify this because, as I explained to Stu, mate, there are a lot of blokes. It turns out that he meant Jesse Malin, and given that this blog takes its title from one of his lyrics that’s probably fair enough.
Why the fascination? Timing, I guess, as a previous post on the subject indicates. There are prettier band boys, ones with less naff lyrics, but there hasn’t been another artist I’ve come to so early in the career of or followed around the country or felt like such a part of the career of. My mum asked me if he was married once, and I said no. “Oh, he’s saving yourself for you!” she said. Until I pointed out that he looks exactly like my dad did before growing a moustache (only shorter).
Who’s the one hot boy with a guitar that you most hope is secretly reading your blog? (Lola)
Hot boy with a guitar in a professional capacity, or hot boy who just happens to own one? No, I know where you’re going with this – serious answer (or less serious, depending on how you look at it?). Every time I write a piece about a band or an artist I really admire I write it from the perspective of hoping that they’re reading it and pleased that I get it – and sometimes, thanks in no small part to Twitter, they actually do.
If I had to pick a favourite? Well I’m not going to, because of course the rest of them are reading. But let’s just say I know that an album review of mine was forwarded to its subject as a birthday present, and apparently he liked it. That was the best day ever.
Rest of your life without eating baked goods, or rest of your life without choosing what music you hear? (Richy)
I can sense you giggling at the back there, but this really isn’t a hard question at all: music, to quote a poster I liberated from the wall of a venue in Preston, is the most important thing there is. And I’d still have chocolate and ice cream to satisfy my sweet tooth – right?
What’s your absolute favourite bakery item? (Paige)
Eek, that’s a tough one because it changes with my mood. Those chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes I made that one time were good enough that I’d imagine, created professionally, they’d be pretty hard to beat and I do love a good toffee apple muffin. Right now though, I’m jonesing for a fruit scone and butter like nobody’s business.
What is the greatest rhyming couplet you’ve ever heard? (Dave)
I know what this is in reference to, but my consummate sense of professionalism means I will not be drawn. So instead I am going to go with the Mountain Goats’ entire discography.
If you could only listen to one album from now on, what would it be? (The Other One)
That is a horrendous question. These days it’s mostly a toss-up between Jenny Owen Youngs’ Batten The Hatches and Frank Turner’s Sleep Is For The Week – they both have great lyrics, great laughs, plenty of heart and are in the perfect pitch to sing along to.
What’s your favourite blog post that you’ve ever done? (Sarah)
Ever ever ever? Hmm. I like the ones I get a response to best, I suppose – recently the News of the World post and the one about women music bloggers. And mind that time we had a fight with the Web Sheriff? Getting to interview Franz Nicolay and David Bazan, in particular, has been fantastic and I love the posts our chats turned into. There was that introspective one about the time I walked out of a Ryan Adams show, and got a tattoo; and I still allow myself a wicked smile at my descriptions of The Checks and the Endrick Brothers. Generally my favourites are the travel blogs, particularly New York and Memphis and Melbourne and Jerusalem. There will be more of course, but with the archives being a bit fucked it’s hard to track them down!
Oh, and this was one of my favourite things I wrote in my favourite notebook. Back in the day.
Does anything new still get you anywhere near as excited as the first Hole song you heard? (Paul)
Every time I go to say no, of course not, I discover another Frank Turner. So yes, because music is amazing like that.
How do you believe blogging has affected your life, in positive and negative ways? (Neil)
It’s made me some of my best friends (well, apart from you of course!), allowed me to sleep on sofas all over the world and given me the chance to meet some of my favourite musicians. It’s pissed off friends and family, and taken up more time than I wanted it to. It means people know who I am. That’s a good and bad thing. It’s helped me to be more open, which is something I’ve always struggled with; and sometimes it’s led to me being too open.
And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
After the jump, find out this blog’s ten most popular posts since I started monitoring it with Google Analytics.
10. i mean, it’s not like belle and sebastian predicted a riot; (Aug 11)
9. i knew lissie before she got famous: last month’s mix, october 2010; (Oct 10)
8. and if all was well and you heart could find the words // would we be for better, baby, would we be for worse; (Jul 10)
7. there’s nothing ‘only’ about being a girl; (May 11)
6. “c’mon laura… we’re married now”; (Aug 10)
5. i’m not scared of the aftermath; (Apr 10)
4. the songs that make you feel like everything will be okay: last month’s mix, june 2010; (Jun 10)
3. high-top sneakers and sailor tattoos: why the gaslight anthem will rock my (your?) 2009; (Jan 09)
2. how i learned to stop worrying and love the stringer; (Jun 09)
1. you should blog about: gregory and the hawk; (Aug 08)