The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
I sat down recently and asked Arlee Bird, who blogs at Tossing It Out and who is primarily responsible for starting the A to Z Challenge in 2009, twenty questions.
How long have you been blogging? Started in September of 2009 so that means 10 1/2 years so far.
How has your writing changed in that length of time? Stylistically I don't think my writing has changed much, but I think I've become lazier in my writing.
What percentage of bloggers who were around when you started are still blogging? In actual statistics I can't say for sure--many have gone or I have lost track of them. But to hazard a random guess I'm going to say at least 60% might still be blogging to some degree or another.
Are there any bloggers that you miss? Being forgetful as I tend to be, I can't come up with any names at the moment. The blogging relationships that I miss most are the ones who turned against me to some degree or another, became rude, and discontinued interaction with me. I guess that's a hazard of expressing opinions on my blog that some folks didn't like. Too bad--more their loss than mine I think.
How much time do you generally put into each of your posts? These days, lazy blogger that I've become, my typical post requires about 30 minutes or so. Most of my A to Z posts are whipped together in about 15 minutes I'd say. Actually I'm guessing on all of this since I never bother to time myself.
How much time do you spend replying to comments? The total depends on how many comments I get. Most of the time I'll spend less than a minute on a comment reply so since I get maybe 16 comments per post, I likely spend less than 15 minutes replying to comments--and maybe closer to 10 minutes total.
Does what you read affect your writing? How? I'm like a monkey. Or maybe a parrot. If I'm getting into reading something then it gets stylistically reflected in what I write. That is until I read some other style that inspires me. A lot of my writing shows the influence of Flannery O'Connor because she's one of my favorite writers. One fun thing I've had a tendency to do on those occasions that I get ambitious enough to write a book review is to write the review in the style of the book I've read. I've got a weird sense of humor I think.
Other than the blog, what writing do you do? About the only other writing I've been doing of late is songwriting. I've enjoyed writing songs for over 50 years now. Maybe someday I'll get one published. It'd be nice.
Which social media platforms are you active on? On which are you most active? I sometimes put posts of Facebook or Twitter--that's about it and not very often.
Will the kind of blogging you do still be around in 5-10 years? If we're all still here, I would guess that blogging will still be essentially the same as it is now. I've seen so many different kinds of blogs that I can see how filing a niche will likely always have some kind of interest level with others. Is there any such thing as a singular kind of blog? Gosh, it's been so long since I've explored the current blog world that I'd almost forgotten what weirdness I've found in blogs in past years. But then what is weird to me fills a niche for someone else.
How much TV do you watch? What do you like to watch? I watch a whole lot more now than I did when I first started blogging--probably 3-4 hours a day, sometimes more. I like to watch news/information type shows and documentaries when it's just me. If my wife is watching with me we watch mostly old movies on TCM. She probably gets annoyed with the old movies sometimes, but she'll usually tolerate them.
What was the last album (vinyl, cassette or download) you bought? At the end of 2017 I inherited my youngest brother's CD collection. He probably had at least a thousand CD's all in very good condition. A lot is music I like so I haven't really felt a need to look for more music. The last album I bought was I believe in summer of 2016 from a comic book and collectibles store in New Jersey. My youngest daughter had gotten into vinyl. I had no intent of buying anything until a ran across a like new live album by NJ band The Good Rats. I'd had the album on cassette back in the 80's and loved it.
When do you usually go to bed? Had to laugh since I'm writing these answers right before bedtime. Usually I go to bed about 11 PM. I find it very difficult to sleep more than 6 hours.
You were a juggler in your younger days. Do you still do it? Since you asked, my A to Z blog post talks about that. To directly answer your question, I think about juggling a lot--or should I say that maybe my mind thinks in a sort of juggling interpretation of life and the world around me--and I do keep three colorful juggling balls on our media shelf so, now and then, I can just pick them up to toss around a bit. Hmm--that wasn't very direct, but maybe there is something metaphorical to what I said.
What was the worst job you ever had? Maybe because my first actual job was working in my parents' juggling act, somehow appropriate work for me should also be fun. Or maybe I just tend to be a generally positive and optimistic person I've usually found something good about every job. However, one job that came to mind was my first job (outside the family act) when I was about 14. I signed on to become a golf caddie. It might make for a blog post in the future so I won't go into details, but I'll just say that I only went out once and then that was it.
Your bio on your site mentions two other blogs, "A Faraway View" about dreams and "A Few Words" for Sunday contemplation. They both appear dormant. Any chance you might reactivate them? There's always a chance which is way those blogs remain accessible to readers. There were a few years when I had all the blogs in the Challenge. I wasn't watching as much television then.
If you didn't blog, what would you do with the time? One thing I don't ever feel is being bored. There are so many things I'd like to do as well as things I need to do. It seems there is never enough time in a day. Sometimes I wonder how managed my own life when I was working.
Why did you decide to start blogging? At the beginning of 2009 my business branch shut down and the job hunt wasn't working out well. As I recall it was kind of a bad time--certainly for me jobwise. Then I started seeing this stuff about blogging being a way to riches. I started my blog. Maybe some people get rich with a blog--not me.
Your site says that you "won" NaNoWriMo in 2009 and 2010. What happened with the two novels you wrote? They're on my computer and various other places for safety. Waiting I guess--or just being stored.
If you had a chance to restart your life from a point in the past, where would you restart from? Why? Nothing would change in my life timeline, but it would be cool to travel back throughout time to visit. For me things have worked out pretty good and looking back it seems like I was a participant in some pretty interesting times.
Thanks, Arlee. If you have any questions for him, leave them in the comments!
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