I met Kate Feld in Manchester for tea and dippy eggs yesterday. Kate is the brain behind the Manchester Blog Awards, among many other things. We chatted, as you’d expect, about blogs and blogging. I’ve been working with beginner bloggers a lot more than I used to and recently taught a workshop on Blogging for Beginners to a creative writing group in Ormskirk, West Lancashire.
I said, both during this workshop and later on to Kate, that I thought the best blogs had a focus and were specialised – and that when I write my blog I try to remember that most of the people reading it are writers, or bookworms, or people who want to be writers. They don’t really care about the other stuff I get up to. So I try to stick to posts about writing and research and editing and The Writing Life (such as it is) even though there are lots of other things that I do and think about.
It’s also important to me that most of my private life is private – so I don’t blog too much about my family or the conversations I have with other people – and when I do (like now) I stick to what I say and leave out what they say. I don’t put pictures of Small Fry and Mr on here because they wouldn’t like it and I generally don’t blog too much or too specifically about my freelance work because that effects other people too.
And, of course, I make quite a lot of this up. I had a couple of questions from the students at Edge Hill about my blogging and there was an audible gasp when I ‘confessed’ to a lot of the fiction and artifice contained in these posts. Eeep. May I refer you back to the title of this blog? I’ve got a diary for when I want to do my confessional writing. I never forget that this is public.
All this has got me thinking, and I might almost be on the cusp of changing my mind. I used to blog a lot more about my not-writing life than I used to, and I think one of the reasons why I stopped was because I suddenly started getting lots more hits and didn’t feel that I was speaking to a group of people I knew anymore. Readers became audience, and this became more performed than I intended it to be. Maybe.
What do you think? Is there an ideal balance between specialism and individuality on a blog? What’s your experience about the line you draw between your public written life and your private one? I am curious if the people reading my blog have extra things they would like to find out about me and my not-writing-life (such as it is)