Professional Blogging vs. Personal Connections

Two recent blog posts which talked very candidly about blogging got me thinking about the ‘cookie-cutter’ blogging advice out there. These posts are by people who put their writing first, above ‘content creation’. Most of the blogging advice seems to come from social media gurus who want to make money out of their blogs: attract millions of subscribers and therefore feature big advertisers on their sites.

AnneRAllenThe first post is by Anne R. Allen: she openly acknowledges how following advice very nearly destroyed her blog, her credibility as an author (and her health).

People will subscribe and come back if you are engaging and fun. It’s much more important to be friendly and have something interesting to offer than it is to have the right keywords, post frequency, or wordcount.

Networking with other bloggers will probably be your number one source of traffic when you’re starting out. That means making friends, not tricking people.

  • A blog shouldn’t become more important than your WIP
  • Blog to make friends, not sales.
  • For a writer, good writing is more important than SEO.
  • Manipulating people may get short-term results, but it’s a bad idea in the long run.

lucyAs for those who are confused by the contradictory blogging advice which they hear: ‘blog as frequently as possible’ vs. ‘don’t blog everyday, you will only overwhelm people’, here are some lessons learnt by Lucy (aka Blonde Write More), who challenged herself to blog every single day for a year on her blog . Lucy was successful with this strategy and won ‘Funniest Blog Award’ for two consecutive years, but she embarked upon this challenge predominantly for herself. To find her own writing mojo, as it were. Aside from the focus and discipline that the daily blogging required, it also helped her find her creative direction – the kind of writing she most enjoyed doing, find out what she was best at and what she was happiest sharing with others.

Oh, and she doesn’t intend to keep up the daily habit… She will now cut it down to 4 days a week (which still feels like a LOT), in order to spend more time on her creative writing. Daily blogging is not sustainable in the long run.

So this got me thinking about my own blogging. It’s no mystery that I started it for accounting and accountability purposes: to force myself to write something every day (not necessarily post something every day). But it achieved that goal within the first year of its existence. I have now returned to writing with a vengeance. I dream, eat, sleep, breath writing (and reading) – although, sadly, not always actual writing on my novel.

So why continue with it?

Pictureportrait
Portrait of me drawn by a charming, kind fellow member of the Geneva Writers’ Group during one of our workshops.

My blog is quite a shambles from the POV of ‘blogging gurus’. It has no clear focus or purpose. It doesn’t bark, but nor does it meow and pur and rub against you. It is neither a pure book reviewing blog, nor an author’s blog. It sometimes gets political and at other times embarrassingly personal. I have no intention of ever monetizing my blog, or using it to obtain freebies such as clothes, make-up, concert tickets or holidays. [Although, if you know anyone who is willing to trade a writing retreat for a write-up, please pass them on to me…] I don’t really believe that it will increase the sales of my book considerably when I (finally!) publish it. I never expected to have so much content, so I should probably tidy it up a bit and make it easier to find older posts by topic. It’s incredibly bushy looking at the moment!

However, it gives me two wonderful benefits:

  • A community of articulate, book-loving people with whom I can debate the finer points of a character’s unreliability without being regarded as a freak. I was going to say ‘like-minded’ people, but we are not clones, we all think and feel differently about things (in spite of some general commonality of spirit). The main point is we can debate them in a respectful and supportive way, without name-calling, and are always open to learn from one another. This is far, far less common nowadays than one might think.
  • It gives me an outlet to practise different types of writing, experiment, get some feedback. It’s an online writing group to a certain extent – especially valuable when I am in the process of moving and not sure that I will find a writing group in the Thames Valley area which will be as active and friendly as the Geneva Writers Group.

Above all, it’s poison and antidote in one. It may occasionally stand in the way of my freshest, best writing on my WIP, but it also assuaged my guilt on those days when the words refused to make their appearance. Or appeared in disguise, the rogues! Surely any writing, even if it’s dressed up as a pirate, a one-eyed cowboy, a serpent in the grass, is better than none at all…

***

So, here are my resolutions. After a break at the end of July and perhaps most of August this year, I will return to the blog with a more manageable schedule (perhaps 3 posts a week, so I can focus on my writing). I will continue to blog about whatever takes my fancy, but will make more of an effort to group them into categories such as: original work; book reviews and bookish thoughts; random rants. Fear not, escapism will continue to feature heavily in here!

 

 

 

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80 thoughts on “Professional Blogging vs. Personal Connections”

  1. I try to publish something nearly every day on my blog. Which is hard. Monday the main focus, sacrosanct “Ausone’s notebook”. Tuesday a book review (already THIS doesn’t work every week). And, by the way, I do not have a problem being or being called a freak. I guess I’m one. And as long as I pass my mirror test everything is fine for me.

  2. I enjoy your blog. I find these blog advice posts odd but then, like you, I set my blog up to make myself write more (even if it was about other people’s books rather than working on my own work).

    1. I’m sometimes stunned how long it can take to do justice to a book you’re reading or comparing something to another thing… Perhaps I should spend more of that on my own work, as you say. In an ideal world, I would have time for both instead of that nasty paid work I have to do…

      1. HaHa, so agree about that “nasty paid work!”

        And you’re right too, when you say that perhaps we should spend more time on our own work….I’ve run into this dilemma, especially the last six months or so, trying to finish up my MFA, crank out my thesis and continue to work on my novel…the blog posts got lost, and basically crashed to a screaming halt!
        I’m now hoping to find a balance between it all. Not easy to do though!
        Any suggestions on how to go about it??

  3. I love your blog. I find the advice giving blog posts odd and confusing they leave me worrying about what I am doing. I focus on books and reviews because that’s what I feel better writing about. I am sure I break those gurus’ blogging rules all the time. 😊

    1. So we all end up feeling guilty about not being something ‘other’ than what we are… I think we should just be ourselves, write about the things that interest us – and hope that the will interest some others. Maybe not the millions who follow those You Tube videos about falling on your face and other nasty pranks, but I couldn’t handle millions anyway…

  4. For a short time I got hung up on stats but I’m pleased to say I’ve got through that – the people who stay and chat are far more important to me than a quick glance caught by a catchy headline. Yours is one of my favourite blogs – candid, witty and thoughtful, ranging over such a varied terrain. I’ll miss you over your break.

    1. Awww, thank you for your lovely words – I didn’t say that to fish for compliments (but, boy, it’s nice to hear them!).
      I think we’ve all been through the ‘stats’ phase. I saw recently someone who said that when they blog regularly they get 10,000 views per month but they consider themselves a small blog… my mouth dropped open. I think I had less than 10,000 views in my first year of blogging and still felt incredibly proud of myself. (I suspected no one at all would ever read what I’d written).
      As you say, a few people with whom you can strike up real conversations are so much more valuable. Priceless, even!

  5. Yay for your resolutions! I found that the community I found through my blog is every bit as real as the community I struggled to find IRL in elusive writing group meetups (and probably more so). I also keep a private blog where I write (bits of fiction) when I don’t blog at Smithereens. I use it as a diary or a WIP repository that’s always accessible through the cloud.

    1. That’s a good idea… and might free me of some of my endless notebooks I keep dragging around from country to country. And yes, I seem to remember some of your thoughts about writing group meetings! 😉

  6. Ooh – depending on where you’re moving in the Thames Valley… I just left Oxford last year and the Oxford Writer’s Circle is a good place to start. You might find that you want something more professional/structured, but they run fabulous events and author talks, and host weekly brunch/writing sessions (glorious!) as well as reading and feedback sessions.

  7. I do agree with you, Marina. For me, the best thing about blogging has been discovering and following other blogs, and meeting people, some of whom one would never have met in person, if only because they live on the other side of the world. I aim to blog about twice a week, probably because I don’t have more interesting stuff to say! I like to keep up with my friends, so I have no idea what I’d do if I had 500.000 of them! But, then it depends what your object is: if you were trying to sell something, the more followers you have, the better, I suppose. I think most of those ‘advice’ blogs are meant to help you do that.

    1. Good point: I too like to keep up with the blogs of those people I interact with on my own blog. Just imagine if you had to do that for 500,000 people!

  8. I enjoy your blog very much. I, too, will miss your posts during your break. I am drawn to reading your posts precisely because I never know exactly what you are going to write about–or not, when you mostly post photos. (I usually send those on to friends or my daughter.)
    I wrote a blog for perhaps a year (been so long I honestly don’t remember) so I was very interested to read the tips offered by seasoned bloggers. I quit because only a few people read it–and because I am basically completely undisciplined about writing. For those who post every day: Bravo! It is hard, especially if you want to turn out pieces that are polished but also require you to stretch beyond the mundane.

    1. That is such a lovely thing to say – enjoying the unexpected…
      I’m sorry to hear about your attempt at blogging. I do use it to give myself a bit of discipline. And, to be honest, even if no one were reading it, I would still continue. It has been of great therapeutic value for me, finding words and keeping on going on those days when everything seemed to be too much!

  9. We are very alike in our blogging, in many ways. I really like your blog, and have certainly picked up on your book recommendations. My blog doesn’t fit all those blogging ‘must dos’ either – randomness is OK though – it keeps me more interested than in a blog where someone is clearly working more or less subtle – y for some PR firm. Keep at it!

    I have been going 6 years now and although I write a lot less frequently I am OK with that. Like you, I found it a kind of writing therapy – it has literally kept me writing sometimes, and I would never have written my book without it.

    1. That is wonderful encouragement. I think at times we may well need to write more often on the blog (when the mind is too butterfly-like or self-absorbed to deal with fiction, but needs to be kept in gear), while at other times we can let go…

  10. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments here, Marina, and those expressed in the comments. My blog lurches all over the place at times, though books have dominated in terms of subject matter. But like you, and others above, I like to throw in more random pieces. It’s the community of readers that counts, as you so rightly say. Enjoy your break. I’m on holiday from paid work now, so have more time to blog; once a week is my usual limit when working. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Not sure my break from blogging will be a holiday though – I probably would prefer the pressures of writing blog posts rather than standing amongst boxes and not being sure about when the phone will be connected, if at all.

  11. One of the things I love about your blog, Marina Sofia, is that you try different things here. It makes your blog fascinating! And I always, always learn from you. I know just what you mean, too, about the community of bloggers; I’ve benefited so much from the other blogs, such as yours, that I read. Whatever form your blog takes, however often you blog, I’m eager to see where it takes you.

  12. I like your thinking, and I’m always interested to read what you have to say. My own approach is that my home on the internet is a scrapbook, primarily to be a record for me but also to keep me in the way of writing and to provide an escape from. The idea that others might find things to interest them is lovely, but it isn’t a reason for being.

    1. Wonderful attitude – that’s exactly how I feel about it (but didn’t express quite so succinctly). It may sound too egotistic to some, but it really is a case of ‘my blog, my rules’ and no one forces anyone to read things they do not like.

  13. Thank you for your helpful post. In my opinion, the “practical advices” of blogging gurus are not so practical at the end of the day. Most of those gurus repeat that to increase the traffic to your blog you should, for example, host known bloggers or they should host you. Well, when you are a new blogger how you can find somebody who would host you on his or her blog???

    1. I’ve found quite well known writers and bloggers to be quite helpful and generous with their help, if you give them plenty of time to respond. I was delighted when I got such a good response with my ‘What Got You Hooked on Crime Fiction’ feature. I stopped it because I was travelling too much and had too much on my plate (and it takes quite a bit of organisation), but I enjoyed it so much and need to restart it at some point.

  14. Interesting points here that reflect a lot of my thinking lately. I’ve focused more on my own writing and submitting than blogging. In fact, I’ve made both blogs private as I interview for jobs, and I’ve found that I don’t miss them. I still read blogs, but I’m pondering the fates of mine.

    1. Yes, the poetry submission conundrum has seen the number of poems plummet on this blog. Which is a shame really, as I often think in poems. But I can try out stranger, more experimental things, perhaps… which are never likely to find a home elsewhere. The unloved stepchildren (unloved by anyone but myself).
      Interesting that you say you don’t miss your own blogs. I miss yours, though.

      1. Thank you for saying that. I would give you permission to view my blogs…but I don’t update them, so I guess that defeats the point. I’m a member of a FB poetry critique group, but I’m not active there, either. Hmf.

      2. Your reply (and a recent article encouraging writers to continue sharing their work) helped me a great deal yesterday. Thus, my blog is back, and I’ll continue to try out my own “unloved stepchildren.”

  15. Blogging Woolf just began its ninth year. My goal is to publish a minimum of two posts a week. But sometimes I have more and a few weeks I have had less. I never pay attention to blogging advice — although I do appreciate yours — because the goal of my blog is to share information and reactions to the work of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group.

    1. And a great job you do too…
      That feels natural (organic?) to me: some weeks you have more to say, other weeks less. You have a very specialised audience anyway, so what is the point in being obsessive about statistics?

      1. Thank you, Marina. And you’re right: Mine is a very specialized audience. You get many comments on your blog posts; I get few. I’ve often wondered if that is because the blog posts are more newsy than personal or if it is because the “comment” link is not easily noticed.

      2. I think the comment link is quite visible, but I suspect most readers are not quite sure what to add to your ‘news’ item. I seem to remember you got more comments when you talked about the TV series about the Bloomsbury group, right? So I wonder if that demonstrates what a shallow lot we are… or how incensed we were at some of the portrayals…

      3. There were plenty of comments about the TV series flying around but I’d have to go back and look to see how many of them were posted on BW. Posts that connect to pop culture always get lots of views and shares. I was able to watch the BBC show on my laptop, thanks to a tip from a Twitter follower, and I enjoyed it, though I wished I was able to see it on a bigger screen. I did think the actresses who played Virginia and Vanessa should have been switched.

  16. I think a lot depends on why you blog. For example, I personally do so just to keep a record of what I read and also to interact with other bookish and interesting people. But it’s had a knock on effect (in a good way!) on my reading, as I think I’m reading books much more in depth nowadays. I’ve had people make suggestions about monetizing the blog, but I’m really not interested. Getting a review copy of a book I really want to read is a nice enough treat, and I’d rather keep my independence. As for your blog, I love the mix you have here of original pieces, reviews, fun posts with pictures etc – keep at it! And thank you for sharing your WIP with us. Hope the move goes well and look forward to meeting you again on the other side… 🙂

    1. Yes, independence is another important element when you are a book blogger, thank you for adding that. I too like to use the blog (and Goodreads) as a memory aide, so I can go back and remind myself when I read what and what I felt about it at the time (which sometimes changes quite dramatically).

  17. I was determined not to reblog another post, at least for today. Of course I immediately found this and just cannot resist Marina. Thank you

  18. What a fabulous post! Thank you for sharing thoughts on my experience. I believe that blogging success doesn’t always mean views and visitor stats. If it makes you feel happy, allows you to connect with like minded souls and gives you a place to share your work then surely that is success! Thx and happy Tuesday!

  19. Thanks for the shout-out for my post. Before I made the disastrous move to WordPress.org, I was getting 100+K hits a month on Blogger. I was also on WDs list of the top 101 websites for writers and named to dozens of other top blog lists.

    And I have never blogged more than once a week. Frequency isn’t as important as engagement. So don’t worry about cutting back. Your peeps will still be around. Blog for fun and blog for making friends.

  20. Lovely blog Marina. Like many others here, I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts and I wouldn’t say your blog suffers from a lack of focus – it is everything that absorbs you! I can understand wanting to take a break. I have a stop-start-stop-start approach to my blogging. Sometimes it feels like a burden and sometimes I feel like it’s getting in the way of my writing, but every time I stop I write less so in the end I think I’m better off doing it that not. And it helps me think, and it’s helped me to meet some lovely people. So it’s all good in the end. 3 blogs a week still sounds like an awful lot to me!

    1. Well, we’ll have to see how it goes with 3 a week – that’s the plan, but things don’t always go according to plan.
      I’m not taking a voluntary break though: it will be an enforced one, thanks to an international move and uncertainty as to how soon I can be connected online at the other end.

  21. Definitely chatting with the ‘community’ is the best thing about blogging for me. Of course, when I started and got all those followers who never actually visit (but you don’t realise that when you’re a new blogger) I got all enthusiastic about stats and followers. But there’s only a finite number of blogs I can read and only so long in a day for chit-chat, so now I’m more than happy to have a group of people whose blogs I enjoy, like yours, and who’ve come to feel like friends. I blog five times a week in theory, but again I’m less rigid about that than I used to be, and frequently give myself time off. When it starts to feel like work, I know it’s time for a break! I hope the move goes smoothly and you find a writers’ group you enjoy… 🙂

    1. That’s the best definition of it, I believe: if it starts to feel too much like work, then it’s time for a break! And I too found that only a small number of people stick with you for years – which is fine, as I can only read and comment on a small number of blogs myself!

  22. Enjoy your break then come back and blog what and when you want…when I look at the blogs I follow very few of them follow all the rules…I’ve tried some of those but I find them shallow and often full of adverts for things I have no interest in…I’d rather read 1 post a month that interests me than 1 post a day that doesn’t.

    As for my own blog the rules are out the window. It’s my hobby and my place to do some writing about a subject that interests me (I write a lot for my day job but it’s bureaucratic nonsense that will one day send me mad). I like that I have some readers but growing that number does not matter one jot to me because I’m not interested in ‘monetising’ or otherwise turning my hobby into a job.

    1. Hear, hear! About 1 interesting post a month rather than daily mediocre ones.

      I also find that if I don’t get a chance to read something at the time but it looks interesting, I will go back to it later. And then there is all the backlog of posts from bloggers that I have only recently discovered… You could spend your whole day on blogs and still not read everything, so it pays to be selective.

  23. I love your blog, Marina, in all its eclectic glory! I think the most important thing about a blog like this is, above all, that it’s honest. Your voice and persona come through so well and that’s what makes it interesting. Keep it up, please, even if it becomes less frequent. I often mean to comment and don’t get around to it, so don’t assume no comment means no interest.

    1. That’s OK. I often read, like but don’t comment on blog posts myself. It is hard to keep up with everything – and quite often I don’t have anything of value to add, so rather than just saying: ‘Good’ or ‘Great’, I’d rather say nothing at all. Or else I read it on my tablet somewhere and find it such a hassle to comment on things via tablet, that I wait until I get back to my laptop. And then I forget or run out of time.

  24. Your blog is one of the only ones I consistently read and look forward to – when I first started blogging I made a lot of blogging friends, but many have since stopped, or their blogs have changed in some way. Your blog is unique and like other comments, I feel I know you through your posts. So do keep going! But you do deserve a break from it now and then 🙂 And just think how much you’ll have to share with us once you’ve moved.
    My blog has evolved into goodness-knows-what too. When I started it was to log my journey to publication, and then to log the steps I took to self-publish and sell a few books. Over the last four years it has become a vast catalogue of content, and I should also sort it out into some kind of manageable categories … or something. But I probably won’t. My blog now sits on the side of my author website, as I did try having an author website for readers and a separate blog, but it didn’t work out – it was too hard to keep up with. Thanks for another great insightful post x

    1. And it’s been delightful sharing your journey, Jo. I for one am happy to read your blog in whatever incarnation (except if you were to just sell, sell, sell – which you wouldn’t). But I’ve been wondering how easy it is to keep an author website and a blog simultaneously. A lot of work!

    1. And I would imagine a bit of therapy and self-analysis? I’m going through the same life experience as what ‘provoked’ your blog, so I can imagine it will help in that respect as well.

      1. Absolutely, I find it very cathartic and it helps me to view things more objectively with a broader perspective. Things don’t swirl in my head quite so much once they are on the page! Sorry to hear you are going through the same thing, look after yourself and thank you for reading!

  25. There are blogs who mainly serve the purpose to sell something, and then there are blogs where people do it for fun, for creating a network with other people, for getting in touch with like-minded souls. To me, only the second category is of interest as a reader. Although my main interest as a reader of blogs are book reviews and other literary-related topics, I enjoy most those blogs where I feel the individuality of the author behind it, an individual that most probably will be interested in many things and that therefore sometimes (just as myself on my very modest blog) publishes posts also on politics, or personal topics from time to time, or whatever catches the authors eye. Due to time constraints I am not always able to comment on all blog posts that are interesting and thought-provoking, but I have to say that I am following your blog very closely and enjoy your writing a lot, and not only your book reviews (which are always worth reading and which gave me useful hints for further reading on several occasions.). In short: keep going!

    1. So lovely of you to say that. Now I feel a bit blushy and awkward, because it sounds like I needed reassurance or was fishing for compliments… But I wasn’t, honest! I couldn’t be any different if I tried, because – as you say – blogs that are so obviously about selling things or churning out articles on every topic like machines (I include Huffington Post in this, by the way) do not interest me very much. I too like to hear personal opinions about books and cultural things, even if they contradict mine. That’s what makes the spice of life! (Perhaps less willing to regularly read someone whose political views completely contradict mine, I do admit…)

  26. I love your blog the way it is. Don’t overthink it and do whatever takes your fancy. It’s a hobby, pleasure is the most important thing.

  27. Your presentation Just made me think that when it comes to authenticity and integrity (artistic, journalistic, etc), blogging is no different than the off-off-Broadway and Broadway continuum. One might get a gem in the big productions seeking highest profit margins (Hamilton?), but chances are it in those little theaters (blogs) with their audience of 25, 50, 100 where one is most likely to stumble upon the gems.

    1. Great metaphor! And to continue with it, when the off-off productions become popular and then get sanitized and spruced up for a bigger audience, they can then sometimes lose their original ‘spark’.

  28. You could not find better evidence to the value and authenticity of the bookish thoughts of Marina Sofia channelled through this blog than the multitude of feedback above. There are some bloggers that we feel connected to and will continue to read loyally because their content resonates and yours is definitely one of those for me, even if I am absent now and then, when life suddenly takes over and reduces the amount of “me time” one has to indulge that passion.

    For me blogging, reading and writing is all about freedom, so I reject anything that might make me feel a failure and treat it more like a privilege, to actually have that time and mental space to be able to put one’s reflections on to the page, whether its a review or an opinion or anything really.

    Your community will always be here no matter where you move to, and I am sure you will find the right group when you move, just tell yourself that, just project what you want always in the affirmative, no doubting!

    1. You are absolutely right: it is such a privilege to have the opportunity (and luxury) to be able to communicate worldwide with people and share your thoughts about books, writing, favourite landscapes or anything.There have been too many periods when this was not possible and there still are people who do not have the freedom to do this. This is what I like to see the WWW used for, rather than the nasty trolling or conspiracy theories or all the rest.
      And thank you for your good wishes and thoughts about finding community wherever I go…

  29. Your blog is fantasic, MarinaSofia. I love that it seems a reflection of what would be to have a coffee with you where we would talk about books, politics, other people we both know, etc. Don’t let the advice change this xx

    1. It’s absolutely me nattering over a cup of coffee… you are so right! And I think that’s why I feel I’ve made such good friends. Not hundreds, but all the more precious for it.

  30. Nice portrait! It captures your spirit well. Love the blog as it is of course, and will love if you keep it as eclectic as it has been. Have a good hiatus! I will look forward to your return.

  31. Great post as ever Marina… interesting to hear your thoughts which I value so much more than so-called ‘gurus’ … so timely for me too.

    Coming up to my first anniversary of blogging – a year that has been more stops than starts and nowhere near to what I envisaged it would be (especially regarding quantity) – while I started it like many others to keep track of & account for my reading and writing, it’s become so much more. Lately I’ve been chewing over the upcoming year: the perceived what I felt I ‘should’ be blogging v what I want to blog & ultimately what actually helps my own writing.

    But the key thing I have learned to value is that blogging and reading blogs is an incredibly important link to fellow readers & writers and your posts are on my ‘always read’ list as they offer a great variety of information but also fun and most importantly a sense of friendship – as you so rightly say, it is lovely to see the WWW nurture good things not bad!

    I will miss you during your break but look forward to your return. Hope the move goes well and you & the boys settle back in the UK quickly xx

    1. Ah, that is the perennial question: what I ‘should’ be blogging (reading, reviewing) vs. what I want and what helps with my own writing. Let’s face it, we have to do it for selfish reasons as well, if we’re writers, otherwise it consumes too much precious writing time. Perhaps what we need to make peace with is that it’s a constantly changing animal, the blog… I wish you the very best with yours, I for one really enjoy reading it!

  32. Your blog is very informative and educational, and might I say, cosmopolitan. It covers so much European literature and history, which is fascinating to read about — especially for those of us living in the States, less urbane, less history.
    The blog opens up a part of the world not seen by many of us here.
    The book reviews are very interesting, and often about books I learn about here.
    So, whenever a blog appears, I will read it.
    Oh, yes, and appreciate the photos you’ve posted of rural France, old mansions, libraries, etc.

    1. So happy you enjoy my blog and thank you for your kind words! I suppose I am a bit like a magpie, interested in everything (or should that be ‘easily distracted’), but I hope there are many people like me, who enjoy a bit of diversity in their blog hopping.

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