That prams and art are not mutually exclusive.

Finding the bones of your blog

By Karen Charlton

A few Tuesdays ago we went into the city for my bestie’s book reading at Readings Carlton. Mum was minding the boys at our house, and just as we were heading out the door she said “I can see your hairy legs”.

“Wha …?” I asked, spinning around mid step. I don’t regularly shave my legs, and had given them the most cursory going over in the shower that morning, without really looking. I felt caught.

“I was talking to Mr Karen,” she offered, pointing toward his shorts and sandals ensemble.

“Oh.”

That is the exact same feeling I have when someone talks to me in real life about blogging, or when someone new visits the blog. Like I’ve been caught with hairy legs.

I’m rather fond of obscurity. For the most part, I can get away with hairy legs because a) I have virtually no leg hairs (thanks for the good genes, ma), and b) no one pays attention anyway.

On the flip side, I crave acknowledgement that I am here, and you’re listening. Because why else would someone spend hours, days, weeks, months and years of their life writing a blog if no one was actually reading it?

We’ve received some lovely encouragement lately, being named by Kidspot as a VIP blog in the Australian blogging scene. I guess I just wanted to say thank you for reading. Most of the time I suspend belief that anyone is reading in order to write anything at all, and yet I’m really glad you are.

Being mothers – and mothers who live in relative isolation to thriving creative communities – Gill and I both find inspiration and encouragement through blogging. Blogging has in many ways filled the gap that a writer’s group might otherwise fill, when we aren’t otherwise disposed with hand washing and yoga classes. And you know, the kids.

Writing on the internet can be frustrating, particularly the feeling that no one can hear you. For the most part I try to use this to my own advantage, somewhat like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak; I can do whatever I want because no one is paying any attention.

Other times, this stops me from writing altogether, because ‘what’s the point if no one is really listening?

Pip Lincolne – nanna of blogging* – wrote a piece for Blog School the other week, about finding and using your voice when writing into the noise of the internet. Because blogging is getting slicker, more professional and people are getting more clever (or sneaky) about how they get their message heard over the cacophony that is the www. But rather than suggesting you talk over the top of the noise, Pip says just blog to one person, and make your message genuine and good. Write with heart.

I wholly subscribe to this theory of writing, particularly writing on the internet. Pick your ideal reader and write for them.

We’ve never blogged for clicks or visits or to plug something. Yes, occasionally I get anxious about these things, but this is my modus operandi and says nothing in particular about blogging, only that I have a tendency to be neurotic (hi ma).

Our focus on quality posts over clicks doesn’t make us saints, it makes us real. And ever so slightly a little bit hairy.

~

In return for the lovely attention we’ve been getting from our computers lately, we’re giving a big computer hug back to some emerging bloggers whose voices cut through the noise. These are voices we can hear, and we love to listen to. To these people we say We see you and we like what you’re doing. Keep truckin’.

Writing in the Cold – what kind of 19 year old reads Patrick White? This one. Jay is a gentleman and a scholar. If you love literary fiction, Jay’s your man.

The Flannel Files – written by a middle age butch who came out in her 30s. One of my absolute faves.

Pushing on a rope – Terri is an adoptee learning to live out loud in midlife.

Top of the slush pile – a great resource for emerging writers by Gemma Hawdon

Loulou Loves – Australian mum living in Sweden; former trumpet player; fabulous voice.

Please visit and have a read.

* I bet you $50 that she will one day be referred to as the nanna of blogging. She is to Australian blogging as Iggy Pop is to punk music. Bless her crocheted socks.

15 Responses to “Finding the bones of your blog”

  1. Mrs Woog

    Thanks for expanding my reader! And congrats on your achievement. Off to check out your recommendations xx

    Reply
  2. Gemma Hawdon

    Oh you’ve made my evening! I really was beginning to feel as though I was blogging to a door. Thank you so so much. It’s mentions like these that give us the encouragement to keep going. Congratulations on being awarded the VIP Blogspot – you deserve it. Thank you again!

    Reply
  3. middleagebutch

    Loved your post, even before I saw that you had mentioned The Flannel Files. Thanks for the shout out. It’s nice to know that someone is out there listening. I should probably go now and shave my rather hairy legs.

    Reply
  4. Zanni Louise

    I have been reading this blog from its early days, and I never miss a post. You have very clear, intelligent voices, and I love your perspectives on life & writing. Congratulations on the acknowledgements.
    I agree, write from the heart, not above the noise. Well said. I will visit Pip’s blog now.

    Reply
  5. Carli

    It’s great to see the writing here acknowledged because sometimes I can’t believe it’s not behind a paywall. Off to check out your recommendations, I love Gemma’s writing too 🙂

    Reply
  6. Deb

    I tend to be paranoid about all sorts of things. If anyone says anything negative about someone anonymous I assume they’re talking about me! (Used to happen at work!)

    I started blogging because of the anonymity. Even now I feel more comfortable sending thoughts out into the ether than I do stating them in a conversation.

    That’s the beauty of blogging I guess.

    PS. Am a long-time reader but this is my first comment (I think!)

    Reply
  7. sara

    I started blogging to find my voice. It’s nice when people read what I write and like it (lovely in fact), but I don’t think it’s why I write here. It’s almost like I build up a head of steam in life, and it has to go somewhere, you know? I saw this saying on facebook this morning, which describes it perfectly: I write because I don’t know what I think until i read what i say. I was never able to keep a diary though, so I must need an audience to interact with 🙂

    Reply

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