Monday, 14 February 2011

This Strange Business of Blogging.

"A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list."
- Unknown

Being a blogger is an odd kind of thing. I've been doing this for a few years now ... sometimes I get all writery, sometimes I act like a fool.

Why do I blog?

Last week, I received an email.

"I debated writing today, because I don't know if I sound off base and bitchy, and maybe out of line. But here goes - I don't feel like your blog and your twitter sound like "you" lately - I am reminded more of mommy bloggy conferences and brands than I am of you. (I have left this in my drafts folder for three weeks, I am so wishy washy about sending it.)

But since I don't know you I feel ridiculous saying that - all I have ever known is what you choose to share and write, and whatever and however is not something I should be having an opinion on, no? Besides, we all change and evolve.
So, that's my observation, based on nothing but a few months of a vague feeling. I'm not making a value judgment, or trying to be unkind - I really am coming from a place of genuine affection for you and a feeling that you would want the feedback."


I was fascinated by this email - I recognised the email address it was sent from, so I knew she was genuine. I thanked her for her honesty, and really appreciated the fact it was sent as an email and not an anonymous comment. After a few exchanges back and forth she wrote: "I think it's awesome that you're going to conferences and speaking and whatnot - and I have a little bit of invested pride, like hey, I read her way back when!  Confession, I still read the boys' names as Tiger and Monkey."

Oh, the Tiger and Monkey days. Back when Max was a six-year old Tiger and the tiny embryo was a baby Monkey Rocco. Back before it all went to shit.

Dave getting cancer is something I'm not sure I'll ever be "over." Even though he's in remission now - even if the cancer never comes back - life took the biggest dump on me back then and I kind of went crazy and never completely came back.

Seriously - a few weeks ago I had a bit of a mental health episode, so I rush to my GP and crisis person and meetings and end up in a counsellors office. And she asks me, "So, Eden - have you ever had therapy before?"

And I laughed so long and so hard, waiting for her to laugh too. Except she didn't laugh, and I was the crazy lady who stopped laughing and said that yes, yes I've had a LOT of therapy before. And I suddenly became super-aware of my body language, and my facial expressions, wondering what she thought of me as I gave her a "brief" rundown of my history that ended up with us *both* tearing up. (I make therapists cry!)

I didn't blog about that, because I'm waiting until it doesn't hurt so much so I can make fun of it. Maybe that's what prompted the above email .... I usually am very open in my blog, and I have felt quite guarded lately.


So all week I've been wondering ... why do I blog?

A lot of reasons - I like it. It's free. It's the biggest and best hobby of my life. I get to share things, like the Valentines Day card I gave Dave this morning. (I am *so* romantic):

He laughed so hard - a big throaty laugh. I gave him a present, too. When I handed it to him, his exact words were, "Oh you bloody bugger!" I know he won't get me anything, and these days I don't care. I used to, but not now.

I share my life here. Maybe, as I change and learn and grow ... so will my blog? Is that ok? Am I allowed? I love the business of blogging, but for me it isn't a business. Just a hobby.

I have known for a while that some people and brands are interested in my blog, which is a great ego-booster. I'm not good at how to do life, very well. This year I am determined to get more organised and focussed. I like talking about my struggles - I want you to know that you are not alone. We're all walking around this strange planet, bumping into each other, doing the best we can. I hate pretending.

I've never scheduled a post, just come here and see whatever feels like spilling out. Sometimes the post that demands to be written just writes itself and I have little to do with it, just hit publish and go and clean some poo up or something. I know I need to install a better commenting system, so that I can reply back to comments.

I've shied away from monetising this space, for a while now. I didn't want to answer to anyone. Would it be so bad, if I hooked up with a sponsor who might be a good "fit" with me? If I did, I might be able to make this space even better by writing more consistently, to justify putting more time and energy into it, instead of sneaking time away from my family and other work. I don't have a media kit or PR page or any of that shiz .... but I can talk to you about the benefits of blogging until the cows came home. I'm passionate about it.

I'm in the middle of getting to know a lot of wonderful Australian bloggers. The scene down here is just heating up; with brands and agencies and sponsors starting to cotton on now, to the benefits of social media. Next month is the Inaugural Aussie Bloggers Conference, and I have a feeling it's going to be pretty big. I like being in the same room as other bloggers. Like, if you're a chess player at a chess conference.

Blogs open me up to so many things. I need to read about Amy Turn Sharp's beautiful Lucky Teeth. I'd like a cake like this.  I love what Schmutzie wrote about blogs today. I went to the beautiful Stirrup Queens Melissa Ford's (American-based) Lost and Found Connections Abound (LFCA) - to see if I could spread any comment love to somebody who needs it. Somebody did, and I cried - for her and for Grace. Then I realised she is in Sydney. (The world isn't as big as you think.)

Last night, I sat up and watched the very powerful Henry's Story, from Mamapundit. All 28 minutes of it. It's a subject very close to my heart, and for the umpteenth time was reminded of why I see blogs as so amazing, such a powerful way of storytelling.

I have so much to say on my blog, that it feels like I'm only just getting started.

What do you think about blogging? And blogging about blogging? Do you care if a blog has ads?


There was a knock at the door while I was writing this. I accidentally didn't answer it - went and checked later, and found a big bunch of flowers. For me! I honestly had no idea who they were from, wondered how was I going to explain them to Dave?

I opened the card - "Happy Valentines Day .... love Dave."

*faints from shock*


  1. How sweet! Flowers are always so nice. I love your card though, that is hilarious.

    I am fairly ambivalent about blogging. It seems some people feel compelled to write out all their thoughts. I have to censor so much that it doesn't seem worth the effort.

    I don't pay much attention to ads on blogs, because I don't pay much attention to ads in general. If they interfere with my reading, it bothers me, and I hate all those survey pop-ups that I'm sure are $$$-related. But generally, I don't even notice - have at it if it gets you some cash.

  2. I'm STILL laughing at the card. Gold. And flowers, yum.
    Re blogging and advertising - well, clearly I'm a believer as my blog is slowly starting to attract some. I keep it all very distinct though - advertising has its home; my editorial is mine. The exception to this is a sponsored post - and I'll only do those if I believe in what I'm writing about.
    And that's the difference from when I was a journo - yes, advertising and editorial was theoretically separate but I could be asked to write a sponsored post even if I didn't like the product.
    I like being my own boss. And you should too. Make decisions based on what you want to do with your blog and don't be afraid to draw a little income. You're talented. You deserve it.
    See you in Sydney x

  3. So glad Dave was able to gobsmack you with the flowers! Does that mean you'll kiss his nose?

    I found my voice with blogging. I found you with blogging. I found stories and triumphs and trials and wit and compassion. I cannot not blog.

    I don't care if there are ads. I'd be a hypocrite if I did, since I have that big ole BlogHer one in mine.

    Oh, and the only way my flash mob experience could have been better? If you'd been zumba-ing next to me :-)

  4. Owwwh, you lucky girl. Flowers :)

    I really love this post. I feel like we have a lot in common, actually! (right down to the making therapists cry bit) I agree with your first commenter: I don't get distracted by ads on blogs. Because I don't get distracted by them anywhere. Sometimes I click, mostly not though. So I don't care if a blog has ads. What do I think about blogging? It is me. It is a firm fixture in my life now and without it, my therapy bill would have been quite a lot higher. I write to ponder, I write to reach out, I write to connect. Simple.

  5. I've seen many blogs go from quiet personal nooks to an orgy of ads and "deep thoughts" and the growing pains are often painful. I can recall in one instance how a blogger I read and commented on went through a huge growth spurt and the IM stopped; the casual emails stopped; the comments on my blog stopped. All because they had to play nice with sponsors and other big name blogs just to stay running with the big dogs.

    I miss that person she use to be. It's like I was hanging with a girl who had braces like me and oily skin like me and then *wham!* she got boobs and contacts. She still smiles at me in the hallways but we'll never hang at the mall again.

    The answer to why anyone blogs should never be anything more than, "Because I want to..." Anything else is overanalyzing and starts to ring false.

  6. My blog is my blog and i'll do with it what I want to. It is mine and I decide what goes into it. Sounds harsh but I do not write for my readers, I write for myself and share my thoughts and finds and quite often they are products I love. I swear, make the most of the mundane and and if you like it, come along for the ride. If you don't like it, then thats ok as well.
    I like blogging as I like telling stories. I love writing and reading. It is an extreme added bonus that I get to meet people such as your good self. It is icing on the cake. I would not expect everyone to like what I have to say. But I think it is a bit rich that someone feels they have the right to criticise your space. I have lost readers and followers over the year... no biggie. Every day I have a new story to tell, and my blog is my uninterrupted space to say it.
    Rant Over
    Mrs Woog xox
    PS that card is the best thing I have ever seen

  7. Mrs Woog has pretty much summed up exactly how I feel. I blog for me. My readers ebb and flow, sometimes I have heaps and other times none at all, but that's OK. I need to write how I need to write. There are often times that I feel guarded too, and that's OK.
    If you want to have ads I don't think that's a bad thing. I personally don't do a lot of reviews, but if I really like something I will. I have the occasional ad. I don't begrudge anyone who has ads though, because generally I don't think it affects the writing. Not that I've come across anyway.

    This is your space, do with it what you will. You'll know what's right for you and what you feel comfortable with.

  8. I never see the ads either.

    Some of my favorite blogs are those that are like interior design mags and they are full of links and endorsements... I have found a lot of beauty through them.

    I do notice when writing seems less real. I tune out then. If I thought you were guilty of that I'd come over and bop you.

    And that quote you led in with is spot on..


  9. OMG! That card is HILAIR!!

    But yeah, you know me and my stand with monetising blogs or making your blog as a springboard to bigger and brighter things. I am all for it. But, and here's the but. I have to have fun along the way.

    Love to you my crazy beautiful

  10. I'm a bit stuck with my blog right now. I haven't been drawn to it as much lately, because there isn't a lot of coherency when I sit down to write. And a lot that I can't share yet.

    And I have a product review/giveaway to write that has been hanging over my head for a while. I'm actually considering offering to pay for the product rather than write the review. Not because I don't like it, I do, it's just that I agreed to do it at a time when I shouldn't have.

  11. Ha, love that card!

    I think advertising on blogs is fine if that's what you want to do. It only ever turns me off of blogs when bloggers do sponsored reviews or giveaways too often.

    I know there are times when I have to sit back and process what I'm going through before I share it with the world, and then other times when I write as in the midst of whatever I'm feeling.

    I think this space should be whatever you want it to be.

  12. LOVE the card! The flowers were sweet too!

    If it doesn't interfere with reading I don't care if there are ads, but really, it's your blog so you can have them if you want.

    I think blogging can be a good thing and it can be awkward. I'm still stuck in not wanting to be vulnerable...or repeat myself again and again. Which I do a lot. One of the things I love about your blog is that you live it out loud. Poo filled or flower filled, everyday is a blessing even in its struggles.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  13. I love to blog and I love to read blogs but I don't like it when famous bloggers (not you) actually spruik products and have giveaways under the guise of just being nice when actually their sites are owned by large corporations. That does happen and readers should be aware of it, because it changes the content of each post.

  14. Your head and my head are in very similar places right now I think. Balancing our blogging profiles with family privacy, with what we can and can't share and tbh, it's changing my writing too, I just don't have anyone emailing me about it.

    I don't mind ads on a blog, in the slightest. I am not a fan of sponsored posts and that comes from me doing a few and realising how much I had to stifle myself to make the client happy. If I can't be honest, what is the point? If you put ads on this blog, I wouldn't blink. If you started reviewing stuff, so that every second post was a review? Then I'd worry about you, but I'd stay and read anyway.

    Monetising for me is tough, because I have walked the line of having sponsors get shitty with me. H*nda pulled their ads on my blog when I reposted my posts about vibrators and I'm surprised Disney didn't do the same thing when I was talking about vaginas, body image and sexualisation. I've had M*ttel make me rewrite a sponsored post because they didn't like the tone and seriously? SERIOUSLY?

    My thoughts are still jumbled. I'd like to sit with you and have a coffee and just talk about this space that we inhabit and what it is and what we want it to do for us now.

  15. I think that your blog can be whatever you want it to me. You can share lots or a little. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It can change. It can have good and bad days. I think the secret to blogging is to just keep writing, about whatever you want.

  16. Oh, my dear lovely girl. I so adore you! I hope you know how much...

    I wish I could be one of those people who just blogs to please herself, but truthfully I am a slave to comments and stats. Not that I do much to drive them up, but when my comments go down I get all co-dependent and mopey and check my stats 34 times a day.

    However, I do think that it is up to each of us to make the call. I read lots of blogs with ads, even though I don't want to have ads on my blog (for now...who knows what the future holds). And I know you well enough to know that you will navigate this beautifully and with grace, and smelling ever so faintly of bin juice.

    Because you write about life, and life has bin juice in it. (Is it just me, or is that last clause the best paraphrase ever for the first noble truth of Buddhism?)

    I have more to say and will try to email you tomorrow. It's Valentine's Day here today and I have a cold. Manny brought me flowers and lozenges and tylenol and a maple walnut torte and cooked supper and I gave him a wrecked house with used snot rags and dirty mugs distributed evenly throughout the main floor. So I am going to bed to give him a cuddle. The nose kissing will have to wait.


    PS - I'm so glad Dave gave you flowers. You deserve a mountain of delights, every day.

  17. Oh how lovely! Flowers, lucky you! I love blogging. I am compulsed to share my life. I like to over communicate. It is how I remember who I am amongst all these small children. I think most importantly, it is a way for me to offload stress. I feel sharp and invigorated after I have posted. Maybe because I am a dag. Ads or no ads, we do what feels right for us.

    I visit all the time but always get interrupted before I get to comment. Finally we have SUCCESS! x

  18. Just wanted to pipe in on the blogging business... As an avid blog reader, I don't mind advertisements because I normally read the posts on my reader and don't really see them. They don't bother me anyway. And I love the fact that you can do what you love and get paid for it. When it becomes something you don't want to do, then maybe it's not worth the money. Or if you have to censor (I can't, and don't want to imagine you censoring anything) then maybe it's not worth the money. If you WANT to do it, then DO IT! If you don't, don't. I will read regardless since yours is my favorite blog ever. I can't completely relate with you on everything you blog about, but I can relate to your human-ness and your unapologetic honesty. I love it so much. I love that you are able to say that you've had a hard time lately, but you're working it out. Who hasn't had a hard time in their lives? And how much better do we all feel to see that someone else hates mornings too?!? Your boys are so lucky to have you as their Mama. You're doing a great job. :)

  19. My blog has been the one place where my past and present could co-exist. It's helping me feel like a whole person. It's helping me care less what people think.

    I have no problem with ads of any sort. I want the bloggers I read to enjoy success in any way possible. It's not easy for most of us maintaining a blog, especially when it's tiny and you work hard to get something meaningful posted and there's just no one there to read it.

  20. I blog because I like the connection. I started blogging because the whole infertility/miscarriage mess was making me crazy and Hubby didn't want to talk about it anymore and when I tried to talk to my friends they said all the wrong things. I turned to the internet and *GASP* there were other women out there that felt just like I did!

    To be honest and completely selfish, I love the comments and the support and all the nice things people tell me when I feel like shit. I like they way other blogs make me feel good or make me laugh or even when they make me sad because I know just how they feel. Funny how you can feel so much love and support from people you can't touch rather than the people around you. I guess blogging takes away that inhibition of "What if they don't like me?!?!"

    The ads? I really don't notice them. It always makes me wonder why advertisers try so hard.

  21. Ok I seriously love that card. Very funny.
    True about blogging. I too love the up lifting comments and such, especially when I'm feeling down but admit that I'm way more undone by or hurt by the negative comments. I go through phases of feeling like I can share or talk about anything and feeling like I will be bitched at or critisized if I share some things. Sometimes it makes me nuts. I do love how incredibly open you seem on your blog, even if you don't share everything, the things you do share are so real.

  22. I think the conversation you're having with yourself about blogging is one that anyone who takes blogging seriously has. The good ones start because they need a creative or emotional release. They continue because they find that the community around blogging is amazing. I look at it this way... it's something I absolutely love and since starting my blog, it's the only time in my life that I've felt like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. If I need to write sponsored posts or work with brands to make my avocation become my vocation, then I'm all for it.

    The thing is, I started my blog to write about whatever I want to write about. I still do. If someone wants to pay me $50 to write about how I spend "me time," I'm glad to do it. It's still my voice and it's still my words. And I don't work with brands that I don't personally feel a connection to.

    Sometimes I do have to stop and remember that when you make it just about business and not about writing, you will lose some of your authenticity. I've become much better about planning and scheduling posts... to a fault. Last Sunday, my cat passed away. He was my companion for 14 years and I was completely devastated. I did what I needed to do. I wrote about it. But where the story gets twisted is that this was a Sunday night and I already had written a Sunday post but I didn't have a Monday post. In the midst of my grief, I was thinking about the best time to publish my post.

    In that moment, I realized that I need to remember always that it's for me. I said fuck that and hit publish and it's the best thing I could have done. The warmth and emotion and caring I got THAT NIGHT was exactly what I needed and the responses I got carried me through the entire week.

    Stay true, my friend, but keep going in the direction you want to go. I still promise to read. Every 3 months or so ;)


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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