Monday, 19 April 2010
I've been taking a blog break. I didn't visit my site at all, in fact I pretended I didn't have a blog (consequently I haven't looked at my blog roll either and haven't written any comments on my favourite blogs... apologies for that!)
I just felt I needed a break from the relentless (if self-imposed) ritual of writing a post every other week.
I have been thinking about blogging though, and why - for me - it's a chore rather than a pleasure. I hope that by reflecting about it, I can overcome my hesitations, and I'm also hoping for some tips - maybe from people who've been doing it for longer than me. The following are my thoughts, they're not complaints or rants, or anything serious - just some reflections.
(1) I am still struggling with the formatting and layout. When I upload photos, it can still happen that my whole body-copy gets messed up and shaken around. That's defintely something I find discouraging... but of course I know this is my own fault and could be overcome by better know-how!
(2) I am very very interested in my chosen "field". I find inter-/cross/-meta-cultural communication and everything related to it fascinating. However, this subject doen't easily find a like-minded community, like say Food, or History, or Photography. I therefore feel I lack community-support. Like I'm just writing about some odd-ball topic which people are happy to share to a certain extent, but don't find very relevant.
(3) I'm not totally comfortable with the shifting balance of personal confession and purveying of information. I know some people are happy writing about their dog, husband, or innermost feelings. And that's perfectly alright. But that sort of public diary-confessional isn't me. I recently read a post which got 30 comments, almost all of which said "Great post, thank you for sharing". That's not what I want to do at all. But it's not possible to go all scientific, and technical because a blog just isn't the right format, and readers aren't sufficiently interested (quite rightly!) to go down that route with you. So for me, there remains an uneasy balance between information and confession.
(4) Whilst a blog is your very own form of expression, and can in theory be written and designed however you want to, I feel that would be an imposition on my readers. It cannot for example, be terribly long. People would quite rightly switch off. Which means you have to talk about a subject which can easily be handled in bite-size pieces. Ideally with a short intro, a bit of banter, and own experience, and then rounded up with a question or statment at the end which makes readers want to comment. But a lot of interesting topics cannot be presented in such a way. Are they therefore unbloggable? I fear that's the case.
(5) My last point, and by far the gravest, is the promoting of posts. I really really (and I mean really) dislike hawking my stuff around and getting on people's nerves. But there's so much pressure - after all the comments are what connects you to your readers, so you need to pull' em in. I have been very fortunate with my comments, and have often felt that the comments were more interesting than what I'd written. But that doesn't make the promoting any easier....
How do you feel about blogging? Do you have similar concerns? Do you feel blogging is fun and worthwhile? I feel I could really do with some advice...
Saturday, 3 April 2010
I can't really imagine what it's like not to speak more than language. I think everyone I know does. Maybe that's just a sign of the times. People are not so rooted in one place anymore, they go abroad to study, they have foreign friends. Increasingly, people are forced to leave their country to find jobs elsewhere, so of course they need to be able to speak the language.
For me, it wasn't really a choice. I grew up bi-lingually, and then we moved to Holland, where I went to an international school. So mono-lingualism wasn't really an option. But as far as I'm concerned, learning languages isn't really a chore. I don't think there was ever any time in my life when I wasn't busy learning a language -not always successfullly!
Languages I started and then gave up on: Japanese, Russian, Old Norse, Turkish, Norwegian, Arabic, Ancient Greek, Bahasa Indonesia.....oh dear!
Still, it was fun, and not just that. Learning languages - and this is more than a truism - helps you appreciate that cultures are really very different.
Think of the word 'Bread'
These aren't just different WORDS arethey? They are a porthole into a different culture - how people live, eat, imagine food, what they eat with 'bread' (couldn't have a ploughmans with that cholla, could you?).
I'm quite curious to hear what your experiences are with languages? Do youl like learning them? Do you speak them when abroad? What was your first reaction when you first encountered the adventure of a foreign word? Please let me know... I'd love to hear your views!