Why do you blog? • Blogging Insights#1

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Why do you blog? • Blogging Insights#1

Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – has been running her Blogging Insights series for nearly three months. In this quest she has unearthed a wealth of insights from bloggers, and by keeping this all in-the-public-eye so to speak it can be of tremendous value for bloggers. Not in the least for rookie-bloggers like myself. So far she has fired off 11 salvo’s, or sets if you will, of questions. Some of these are pretty easy to answer. Others require some ‘soul-searching’. Now she has given us, who like myself are pretty new to this form of ‘mental exercise’, the opportunity to catch up with the front-runners.

So here are my answers to the first salvo.

Q: Do you blog to promote your business?

No, I don’t. Primarily because I don’t own my own set up any longer. Although I find hardly any joy in the so-called professional blogs. These seem to be (well-written in some instances, bordering to the hilarious) answers to specific issues. Too limiting in my mind.

Q: Or is your blog a launching pad for your social life?

Yes and no is my cryptic answer here. To my surprise (or is it really) my blog has very little traction from my real life friends and family. Instead, the vast majority of my visitors are people who I have never physically met. Welcome to those digital new ‘relationships’.

Does it exist only to complement your business or your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter accounts?

As far as my other social accounts go, it is quite the opposite. I hate Instagram, and am hardly present anymore on Facebook and Twitter other than to draw attention to my blog posts.

Is your blog making you real money (if so please let me into your secret)?

Nope. I did not start a blog to earn an extra source of income.

Are you blogging because you are so adept at this craft that you want to teach it to others?

If only… No. To say the opposite would be quite preposterous. I started it as a writing exercise, but got distracted by many of the photo challenges. Now, just shy of six months of blogging, I’m slowly returning more to the writing part of it.

So I’m learning every day, from every post I write and certainly from most of the bloggers that I follow and read everyday.

Or are you like me : blogging just due to the urge to write?

That is exactly how it all started for me. Two things happened though. Firstly, most of my ‘writings’ are just to blow off steam and a way to come to grips with things. Just to name one of a few: I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease roughly 15 years ago (I’m just 60 now, so 15 years ago I was one of the youngest PD-patients…just my luck) and coming to grips with this new reality has been (and still is) an arduous journey. Which, so far, I have largely kept to myself and the loving ‘rock’ in my life. While I slowly start posting some of my PD-infused experiences (let’s not exaggerate this, 2 posts as of yet), most of my writing are an outlet to prevent me slipping into self-pity. Therefor strictly personal rants. For now…

What are your reasons why you put the proverbial blood sweat tears into your blog posts?

Main reason number one is listed above. Main reason number 2 is that I needed something to keep me ‘off the streets’ so to speak. After a long career in advertising, more than 30 years or so, I was finally laid off. My PD had made work impossible and to some extent irresponsible. Not that it wasn’t good work that I was still capable of producing. Some of my finest and most awarded work – two times winner of a Film Grand Prix at the International Cannes Advertising Festival (sorry, but I think I did earn these bragging rights) – was at a stage when my PD really started to kick in to an extent I couldn’t hide it anymore.

So I was suddenly faced with that question that had been troubling me for almost a decade ‘is there life after advertising?’ Is there hope for a one-trick-only-pony who’s too old (the official version) or too ill to still perform?
Only now, with the support of my girlfriend, I can answer this question with a resounding Y E S !

Blogging gives me a sounding board, something where I can ventilate, rant, comment and write without being lambasted or shot down. I find posting, and reading blog posts fun and inspiring and motivating. So thank you all for putting up with me.

If you want to sprint ahead and read my answers to Dr Tanya’s latest set of q’s, click here.

Blogging Insights • Getting Personal

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Blogging Insights • Getting Personal

I came across Dr Tanya’s blogging insights only a few days ago, so this is my first entry. For other non-inundated, click the link above to get the lowdown on what it entails, how to post etc.

Q: Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

I’ve been brought up, among many other things, with you can run,but you can’t hide. Consequently I don’t blog under a pseudonym. TiongHan is my real name. Which, so my Chinese mother tells me (repeatedly with a sigh), literally means he who walks the middle road. Or diplomat if you will. When I mentioned this to a group of friends who have known me for decades they all burst out laughing…so much for trying to live up to it. Which I kind of do, honestly. It’s just that there are certain things that rattle me. Like the orange haired and blond (in both meanings) lunatics running what seems to be a waning superpower and something that used to be called the British Empire (but what has become the joke of Europe).
But apart from this (and a few other atrocities like the division of wealth, racism on the rise, Germans claiming they build better sports cars than Italians, and above anything else the Germans claiming their football team is the best there is) I am quite mellow and more than prepared to look at both sides of the proverbial coin.

Q: Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race, or faith?

I have absolutely no problem with sharing any of these. I’m a Dutch male, of mixed race (half Chinese and the other half is Dutch with some Indonesian thrown into the mix, just enough to make it interesting.) My faith is undetermined, having been brought up by a fiercely atheist father and a Buddhist mother. The bigger q here really is something like do you believe in anything? To which my answer is a vocal yes. The issue is however I’m still trying to work out what that might be exactly.

Q: How much of your personality shows through your writing?

I would like to say all of it. But since I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson”s Disease some 15 years ago, my personality has been shifting. Comes with the territory my neurologist, psychologist and numerous articles tell me. So basically I’m experiencing a fluid me. Which can be tiresome, not in the least for myself and my cat.
When it comes to my writing I can tell you this: life is too short and brutally unforgiving to be living with pretenses. False or otherwise.
So I write about and share/post what I think. And believe in. That specific moment. What is ‘important’ enough to me that very moment that I’d like to share it. So some of it is utter crap that will not stand the cruel next-morning-test, and some of it I do stand behind.

Q: Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

Yes, absolutely. On second thought, let me rephrase that into more and more.

I hate writing this last sentence, but Google almost demands including a internal link so if you’re interested to read a very brief (a 1-minute read and that’s a promise) post on what nostalgia means for me as a PD-patient, do click here.