One Time at Wordcamp…
It was five minutes till 9am and the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF was already brimming with 20 and 30 somethings eager for the daylong Wordcamp San Francisco to begin. While I noticed scattered heads of gray hair, the vast majority of attendees were young; many of whom wore glasses and scanned their laptops and iPhones before the first speaker took the stage. I overheard the group behind me discussing how long they had been blogging and what they write about. A blonde girl to my front left quickly updated her Twitter page as the young Asian man to my right checked his Buddy Press. All the while, I was sitting alone with nothing but a notepad, asking myself what I was doing there.
First, he posed the question “why blog?” It’s a simple question, but it’s something we bloggers should at least contemplate for all the time and energy we put into our posts. Ferriss answered with a heartfelt “to love, be loved and never stop learning,” which he explained further as access to people and resources and to create a laboratory for learning and sharing. The second half reminded me of the conclusion Jackie, Will and I came to after a long conference call a few months back when we were first starting this blog. We envisioned the purpose of this blog to “tell the backstories behind our images and articles to share the adventures we as journalists go through to get our stories out to the world.” We also hope to create a community for learning and sharing–hence the resourceful posts we provide for each other, as well as our desire to get people to join the conversation and comment.
Another piece of advice was about blog content. In Ferriss’ opinion, “the most important thing is not being a good writer but having a voice.” Although I believe narrative voice develops as people grow, I have been pleasantly surprised by the variety of voices on Meridian. What do you readers think? Ferriss also emphasized a need for passion. “Passion beats poling and focus groups,” he said. “When you’re blocked, write about what makes you angry.” While I’m not sure we aim to express anger here, this collective was born out of passion and so do good posts.
But the part that hit home for me was the concept of making work fun. “Think big but play often,” Ferriss says. “Take fun seriously.” I’ve been noticing more and more that I’m a serious person by nature. I take work seriously; I take life seriously, and sometimes I have a hard time melding the two in a way that doesn’t stress me out. “Blogging can be your own self-imposed hell if you let it,” Ferriss continues. These words echo in my mind.
I want to be a journalist, not only because I think it’s important, but also because of the journalist’s lifestyle. However, too often in my rush to get things done, I forget how fun it can be going to new places, interviewing renowned people and writing about what interests me. That’s why we all want to be journalists deep down right–to do things we enjoy or investigate subjects that interest us and hopefully intrigue others and get paid in the process? I think the same can be said of blogging, but I need some lighthearted ideas. Any one?
I was encouraged to hear that Tim Ferriss takes between 20 minutes and six hours on a single blog post. He thinks some posts are just as important as op-eds for the Economist and should be treated as such. He also said that writing doesn’t always come naturally to him; in fact, sometimes he wants to cry in his pillow. But he pays attention to his biorhythms, functioning best between 1 and 5am, and relaxes with a glass of wine or matte. He’s also very good at entertaining himself with his blog.
If you don’t even enjoy your blog, how do you expect others to read it?
So what helps you stay motivated and cope with stress? What are some ideas for making blog posts fun? Please comment with your ideas and tips.