I went to a session at Sydney Writers’ Festival about writers who blog last week. The session was facilitated by Angela Meyer of Literary Minded and featured Lorraine Elliot of Not Quite Nigella , Mark Forsyth of The Inky Fool and Tara Moss. A very impressive lot! I had bookmarked a recipe by Not Quite Nigella a while ago, and on the weekend I finally got around to making it. Big success!
As well as providing culinary inspiration, the speakers made some really interesting points about blogging. Both Tara and Lorraine agreed that you have to blog about what you’re authentically interested in, without worrying about the word count. Their blogs are very different, but I think both of them have a really healthy dose of passion, and that’s what readers respond to. Blogs are a great means of self expression, for putting your opinions into the world, saying what you want to say, and starting a discussion, without the traditional moderation of print journalism.
The world wide web is a vast place, (there are over 60 million blogs on WordPress alone), and as daunting as that sounds, Mark reminded us that , as bloggers, that is your demographic. There are billions of people who use the internet, and the people who are interested in what you’re writing about will find you. And it is you that they’re interested in. The panellists discussed what makes a good blog, and while it’s an unwritten rule (actually it is probably written somewhere) that content is key, the thing the writers agreed on was that it was the writer’s voice that made a blog successful. Lorraine says that she tends to read the blogs of people she’d like to sit down and have a cup of tea with. I totally agree, whether it’s because they’re funny, share my point of view, challenge my point of view, or have a way with words or images, I reckon I’d like to have a cuppa with most of the bloggers whose stuff I regularly read.
I love writers’ festivals, but it always feels as if there is a pretty massive gap between people like me and the writers themselves. All the people who sat on the blogging panel are extremely talented, published writers, and it’s nice to hear them talk about a medium that everyone can engage in, without a publishing deal. The blogosphere is unmoderated, immediate and intimate, and I’m a pretty confirmed fan.
I’m going to go and make a cuppa and have a browse.