Friday, May 21, 2010

An Interview with our Author

The following, with all necessary artistic license, fairly accurately encapsulates a number of different conversations I have had with a number of different people that all revolve around the basic question of "why do you write a blog?"

So, how long have you been writing your blog?
I started in September of 2009, so that would make it about 9 months now.

What made you start one in the first place?
My brother Dave has been doing one for a few years, and pretty much the whole time he was writing his and I was reading it, I was thinking to myself "I should try that someday." I have always enjoyed writing, and it seemed like an interesting creative outlet. The thing more than anything that kept me from starting one sooner was the mistaken impression that it would be harder to do than it turned out to be. The blogger interface isn't the most sophisticated thing in the world, but it is easy. Type, add pictures, and you're done.

Has the experience been what you thought it would be?
Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that it has been a lot of fun to do, and has actually turned into another hobby in itself. No, in the sense that the content has drifted. When I first created it, my plan was to blog about one of my hobbies, wargaming with historical miniatures. The original intent was fairly narrow, and many of my early posts were on that hobby. I pretty quickly ended up straying from that path and more and more frequently just posted on whatever I felt like at the time.

Why not stick to wargaming?
I don't know that it was a conscious decision, but more a vague understanding that if my postings were going to stick to wargaming stuff, the blog was more likely to start feeling like work and less like fun. Part of that is a reflection of how my different interests fit into my life as a whole. I am very cyclical in where I spend my free time, and I think that is reflected in what I post. There are times when I am actively painting figures and playing games, during which periods I post wargaming stuff. Then I'll go through a period where I don't touch a paintbrush for a few months, but go on reading binges and post a whole bunch of little book reviews instead. Right now I'm doing a little reading but am mainly focused on hiking and geocaching with my available time. Spring time; gotta be outside! So that's what's in the blog. Plus always a generous sprinkling of family stuff and the current events of my life. Odds and ends.

Do you think that the change in subject matter has scared away your wargaming readers?
Sure, although I don't know that I ever really had any. A couple of guys are listed as followers, but that was early on and I certainly do expect that they have long since stopped popping by. Not enough wargaming going on here. Unless they like literature and hiking I guess.

And you are OK with that?
Well, I do think that the blog title ended up being a bit misleading, but as I said, I strayed from the plan. It's also not really important to me that anybody reads it anyway.

I said it's not that important to me if anyone reads what I write.

So...why write it at all then? Who are you writing for?
Me. I'm writing for me.

That sounds kind of narcissistic.
Nah, it might be narcissistic if I cared what people thought of what I was writing, or if I was writing for the attention, but I'm not. I'm writing because it's fun, and I enjoy the exercise, the process. I find it to be very relaxing. Some people do crossword puzzles, some people knit, some people play video games or watch a lot of TV. I do this, among other things. When I feel like blogging a lot, I do. When I don't, I don't. Sometimes I just don't have much to say. All that being said, I do know I have a small audience.

A few family members, a handful of friends. That's about it. Although it does seem that if you tag a post with something recognizable to the rest of the world like "Mark Knopfler concert", google will find you and some strangers will end up on your doorstep for a one-time read. Which is kind of fun.

So what's been the best thing about blogging?
When I look back over what I have written, it makes a pretty nice record of what has been going on in my life.

Like a diary?
No. No. No. That's a whole different thing. This public blog may have some opinions on certain subjects, but a diary is what's going on in your head. Very personal. This is absolutely not that. Nobody would want to read that. Well, actually they might, but I wouldn't ever dare write it. Think of it more like a chronicle. Even in the short period of four months I was blogging in 2009, when I got to the end of the year, I bought a hardcover book version of what I had written. It was maybe 75 pages, and had all the posts with all the pictures. I already love looking back through it. It's a great way to memorialize trips, events, and all the family stuff that is going on. With two small children, it is turning out to be a priceless record, with pictures. I plan on doing the book every year, and I know the books will have a better long term memory than me. Also, I think my kids will like to have them later on.

So you are writing for posterity after all?
Hmm. Yeah, I guess so.

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