Meet the bloggers

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Bloggers are a strange breed. We spend hours in front of our computer screens when other people are out partying, seeing friends or asleep (I, for example, am writing this at 6.50am – why on earth?). We obsess over details (when normal people are thinking about dinner or plans for the weekend, we will most likely be agonising over which photo to choose for our next post or wondering if the ‘and’ in the third sentence should really be a ‘but’). And we know an alarming amount about sometimes extremely niche areas of life.

So when I was invited to take part in Blog10’s inaugural social event, bringing together a group of bloggers from a variety of fields over dinner and wine to discuss ‘The Changing Face of Blogging’, I was both excited and apprehensive. Could a handful of us webby weirdos really sustain intelligent conversation over the course of several hours, I wondered. Would there come a point where we all became jibbering wrecks muttering in corners, our fingers twitching from keyboard withdrawal?

As it turned out, my fears were groundless. From the moment I arrived at Book and Kitchen (a beautiful bookshop with a café and events space in London’s Notting Hill, loved into being by director Muna Khogali), I knew this was going to be a good evening.

One of the most fascinating things about it was the range topics we covered on our blogs. From flower writer Rona Wheeldon’s award-winning Flowerona to Mark Sheerin’s art blog Criticismism, and eclectic sites such as Katie Antoniou’s London Plinth and AnOther magazine blog represented by Mhairi Graham, we hailed from a huge variety of virtual worlds. In addition, our ventures ranged in size from those with a few hundred hits here and there to Abimarvel by superstar fashion blogger Abisola Omole, who – six years after she started her blog during her GCSEs at school – employs a full-time staff member and an intern to help her run the site.

I was particularly interested to meet fellow book blogger Kim Forrester and hear about her ten years of experience writing Reading Matters – which makes A Year of Reading the World seem like a flash in the pan.

As the evening went on, topics of conversation included how blogging changed our lives, how we used social media, and potential threats to freedom on the web such as the issue of net neutrality. The debate was ably led by Kate Baxter of Fabric of My Life and the whole thing was helped along by some fabulous food prepared by Muna and her team (you can see the scrumptious chicken biryani on Mark’s plate in the photo above). And although everyone looks quite serious in that picture, there were plenty of laughs.

I’m told there will be a podcast of some of the discussion, which I’ll share here when I can. But in the meantime, I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences. How has creating and running a blog been for you?

With thanks to Marmalade PR for the invitation.

30 responses

  1. i’ve been at it for around 2 1/2 years and i’ve gained my voice and style over this time. what stands out most for me though, is the loyal and supportive community of fellow bloggers that i’ve gained. i’ve loved every minute of it, (typed at 4:47 am, when i woke up with a post idea…). wonderful that you could all get together and share and brainstorm and laugh, we need more of that in the world. and what a lovely setting you did it in – best, beth

    • Fantastic – thanks Beth. Yes, that was a big theme last night – the amazing community that blogging creates around shared interests and tastes. Good luck with your blog (particularly those middle-of-the-night flashes of inspiration!). Ann

  2. I’ve actually been blogging since 2010 — as Writingfeemail. I started ReneeJohnsonWrites as a site dedicated to my journey as a writer, while the other site is so random…. We can’t stop ourselves from writing and reading. This event sounds like fun.

  3. Great post! I’m on my second year now. I’m meeting great people but it is taking time. I still have a small outreach. I think it will take me a while to grow. I’m learning though. I am getting better at writing reviews. I struggle though to post frequently. I think it’s time consuming. It will take me time to develop a discipline of posting regularly.

  4. It’s the greatest fun in the world! Seriously though, blogging has helped me gain confidence in my writing and my voice. And it’s always nice to have something to look at when you’re having a bad day, and feel a little pride. 🙂 And yes, the blogging community is amazing, although I generally tend to stick to book bloggers.

  5. I like the fact that one blogger is checking their phone in the picture. I started blogging proletarianpoetry.com just over a month ago. It has been a great way of getting out without leaving the home and connected me with many poets.

  6. Its been a great, but sometimes frustrating experience. Its pushed me to achieve goals (reading great books, improving my writing) with added benefits of learning the wordpress.com tools. Lucky you to have a place to meet other bloggers in person! I would love to do that sometime. L.

  7. I started blogging in late 2006. That blog is now defunct, and my current blog is approaching its third anniversary.

    It has been, and still is, a learning experience. For me, the fun part of the entire process is engaging with other bloggers.

    When my blog grows up, I want it to be like yours and the other admirable sites you mentioned. 🙂

  8. Diversity is one of the most appealing things about the blogging community don’t you think? I’ve only been at it for a few months, but have already “met” an ex-squaddie, numerous foodies, been retweeted by Radio 4, and had lots of encouragement for my book project. As a former PR man, I was intrigued to see the invite to the get together was from Marmalade – wondering what their angle was etc…! A really fascinating blog.
    PS- written at 1:30am!

  9. I’m new to blogging–I’ve been doing it for six months now–but I came to it as a novelist and it’s been wonderfully freeing. I have time to rewrite and do a quick edit, but i don’t have time to rethink. I don’t have time to get bogged down. And I hear back from readers–or at least from some. It’s changing me as a writer.

  10. I knew your blog through EC English and I was very interested in your project – A year of Reading the World.
    Now I am trying to improve Reading skill by reading your posts.
    Would you mind if I ask about the meaning of this sentence: “And we know an alarming amount about sometimes extremely niche areas of life.” Please help me to understand.
    Thank you in advance!

  11. It’s like, weird to be going through my day thinking, “Is there a blog in this?” As if I didn’t have enough to crowd my mind. But no, I like it.

  12. My blog is new but I’ve met heaps of my IRL friends online first. I find the whole process fascinating as you get to see straight inside people’s heads when they express themselves in writing. You find out what interests them, what they value etc… and THEN sometimes that leads to friendly chit-chat, whereas when you meet someone face to face, it usually goes the other way around and it can take a long time before you find out what / how someone really thinks.

  13. I’ve been blogging ever since My Space came into the picture. It makes me a bit anxious, but at the same time it’s fun and it allows me to write (which is something I have a passion for). I’ve changed many blogs on many sites. Yet, as much as I want to ‘not-blog’, I can’t help it. It’s addictive and you just want to share to the world because you feel you are part of it. Thank you for this post, I really enjoyed reading it. Hope I can meet other bloggers along the way to exchange experiences.

    Best of luck!

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