BLOGGER’S QUEST(IONNAIRE)

blogger's questionaire at design feaster

The content of this interview I did with Nate Burgos over at Design Feaster might be familiar to anyone who’s read my posts about blogging before, but you might want to take a look anyways.

On why I started a blog:

When you’re a writer in college, you have the ultimate luxury: a captive audience. Your teachers get paid to read your writing and your classmates pay to read your writing. And then, suddenly, you get out of college, and nobody gives a crap anymore. So you start a blog!

On my hatred of computers:

This might be blasphemous for a blogger to say, but I don’t like spending more time in front of a computer screen than I have to. The good stuff comes from your hands and your head. (The cartoonist Lynda Barry says, “In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits!” A blog is just a delivery system—a way to get eyeballs looking at your stuff (and minds thinking about it).

Read more here

UPDATE 9/09/2010: (Archiving the interview here:)

Why did you create a web site of regular entries?
When you’re a writer in college, you have the ultimate luxury: a captive audience. Your teachers get paid to read your writing and your classmates pay to read your writing. And then, suddenly, you get out of college, and nobody gives a crap anymore. So you start a blog!

What web-based solution did you select and why?
I use WordPress for my blog because it’s free and endlessly hackable. I use Tumblr for an online scrapbook because it’s effortless to use, and hackable enough that you can make it look like the rest of your site.

What is your definition of a good blog and what are three good blogs that you frequently visit?
David Foster Wallace said that his non-fiction pieces were “occasions to watch somebody reasonably bright, but also reasonably average, pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lifes.”

The same could be said for good blogging: someone reasonably bright, spending a lot of time thinking and posting a lot about their obsessions.

I had a teacher once who passed out our mid-term papers to the class, walked up to the blackboard, and wrote in big chalk letters on the board, SO WHAT?

Then she said, “Ask yourself that next time you write something.” Good blogging passes the So What? test!

Three amazing bloggers:

  1. Roger Ebert—The man writes as though he doesn’t have a lot of time left, which means he writes about the important stuff that he can’t cover in a movie column. His post on Death (who else blogs about death?) was one of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen, period.
  2. Steve Brodner—A cartoonist of the highest caliber: you can see his thought process alive in his drawing.
  3. Hugh Macleod—A no-B.S. cartoonist. His blog is a perfect mix of words and images. He has helped me figure out how to go about life as an artist more than any other blogger (Hint: keep your day job).

How do you create content for your blog?
Almost all the content on my blog comes from a non-digital source:

  • I’ll make one of my newspaper blackout poems and scan it into the computer
  • I’ll draw in a sketchbook or on an index card and scan it into the computer
  • I’ll be reading a book or a magazine and I’ll illustrate it with a mind map, or it will spark an idea about something I want to write about

This might be blasphemous for a blogger to say, but I don’t like spending more time in front of a computer screen than I have to. The good stuff comes from your hands and your head. (The cartoonist Lynda Barry says, “In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits!” A blog is just a delivery system—a way to get eyeballs looking at your stuff (and minds thinking about it).

How do you stay organized and motivated to contribute
to your blog?

I recently hacked my WordPress template to show a Visual Archive of my posts throughout the year. After a number of posts, your output can get kind of abstract, so I like being able to look at my output visually as a little kick-in-the-pants to make something new.

For those aspiring to make a web site composed of regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?
I drew a cartoon once called How To Blog:

  • Step one: wonder at something
  • Step two: invite others to wonder with you

You should wonder at the things nobody else is wondering about. If everybody’s blogging about apples, go blog about oranges.

Aspire to be the blogger who is linked-to, rather than the linker.

And for crying out loud, don’t do it just to make a buck. Do it because you love something and you want to share it with the world.

What is your quest in blogging?
To win friends and influence people. ;-)

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