Why do I blog? This is a question I often ask myself when I am annoyed that no one read my latest masterpiece or when a poorly written, hastily thrown together post gets lots of clicks. In this post. I am going to answer this question and a few others.
You may have noticed a “blog hop” that is going around. Basically, there are four questions answered by the blogger, giving a behind the scenes look at what we do, and why we do it. James Louie, an extremely talented blogger who I met when I was in Hong Kong, kindly nominated me to participate. As I was reading his post, getting an insight into his writing process, I was thinking, “I’d like like to do this.” Then at the end of his post, he nominated me. Thank you James.
So without further ado, here is a look at what goes on in my brain before I hit publish.
What am I working on/writing?
I recently spent two months in Indonesia, with side trips to Bangkok and Hong Kong. I usually blog from the road, but due to a lack of wifi, I wan’t able to. As a result, I have lots of photos, tips and stories from that trip to share. Stay tuned for that.
This is now the 3rd year I’ve had this blog and I want to expand beyond my normal subject matter. Many places I’ve been – Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Mexico, Cuba, China, No-Go-Zones in Europe – are often in the news. I want to write about the things I’ve seen, share my experiences in a way that goes beyond travel.
How does my work and writing differ from others of its genre?
In a word: cartoons. I don’t see many other travel bloggers that draw cartoons to illustrate their experiences. I draw cartoons to tell stories or show things that simply would have been too awkward to photograph. One of my favorite posts is about the time I accidentally dropped an f-bomb at Petra during the moment of silence. If you Google “f-bomb heard around the world,” you will see my cartoons, plus articles on other famous f-bombs dropped by American Vice-President Joe Biden, the Pope and Tom Hanks. I am in good company.
Other than that, it is a challenge to do something different. There are thousands and thousands of excellent travel and photography blogs (and many more terrible ones!). My goal with every post is to entertain, inspire and inform. I hope that after a person reads my post, they will get an insight into the place, culture and people.
Why do I write what I do?
I started the blog mainly to share experiences with my friends and family while on the road. As it has grown, it has become more of a showcase of my photos and it has allowed me to connect with fellow travelers and writers. I do what I do because I love photography and I want to share my experiences.
How does my writing process work?
The inspiration for most of my travel stories comes from on-the-road experiences. For my photo essays, I usually realize that I have a collection of photos of something special or unique, like Alaskan rainbows, and then I create a post around the photos.
- I keep a running list of 20-30 story ideas and I usually work on anywhere from 3-5 posts at the same time, but I am never ahead with a stockpile of completed posts. I live post to post.
- I work on posts early in the morning when my brain is uncluttered, or after exercise when there is increased blood flow to my brain
- Sometimes I write posts in my head while going through a trauma, like riding on a 4th class bus or climbing a volcano. It distracts me from the suffering at the time and makes for a good story later. Tragedy + Time = Comedy
- I try to post something at least once a week and I try to post every Monday.
- As Monday approaches, I look at what I have been working on and panic. All of this is terrible!
- I then enlist the help of my wife/editor, who gives me (sometimes brutally) honest feedback mixed with encouragement.
- Then I do a few final edits, post it, and I’m surprised that anyone reads it! I’m especially grateful for comments. Comments are the lifeblood of any blog. The comments and feedback I get from fellow bloggers, travelers, friends and enemies motivate me. Thank you readers! I heart you all.
To keep this going, I’d say that anyone who reads this and wants to share should just do it. Don’t wait for the invite! I think this is an interesting thread as we get to see similar posts from like-minded people.