(Over) Six Months on the Blog

(Over) Six Months on the Blog

There’s a gun in the room where I’m staying but fortunately it’s locked away or I would have shot my pathetic internet connection by now. The past month has been spent swearing and throwing the stupid dongle around the kitchen (it’s resilient, I’ll give it that) in between doing a fraction of the work I could be doing. Fortunately the email is not too bad but when it comes to writing an article or putting up a new job it would be quicker to write everything on a piece of paper, lure a monkey into the house, shove the paper up its bum and release it randomly into the wild to find our own WordPress back end.

I’ve been writing and editing this blog for (over) six months now and one of the things I’ve learnt is without a decent internet connection it can really suck. Otherwise, and somewhat to my surprise, I quite like it. Though I’ve edited a website and a monthly email newsletter for more than ten years, running a blog is new to me; (over) six months new.

The second thing I’ve learnt is things don’t always pan out as planned which is why “over” keeps getting placed in brackets every time I mention how long we’ve been doing this. I should have written this a month ago but playing dongle discus and trying to clear the backlog of jobs posted to our sister site, the Jobs Abroad Bulletin, has meant it kept getting put back.

Here are some other things I have learnt since we began The Working Traveller.

Apartment in Cusco, Peru

It’s hard work
I wouldn’t say that every word is torturously dragged up from the depths of my soul as if I were Keats or Wordsworth but writing is hard work – all the more so when it doesn’t come naturally. And blogging doesn’t stop with writing, there is far more to this than typing something up and hitting publish. Or there is if I want an audience. (hello Bob, how are you today?)

There is answering the comments kindly left by readers, encouraging those comments in the first place, rejecting spam, reading and leaving my own comments on other blogs, tweeting, retweeting, networking, learning, researching, guest posting, fielding guest post enquiries, proof reading, exchanging links, answering advertising enquiries, answering questions, ignoring emails, thinking up ideas and plenty more.

Some of these things I’m good at, some not so much.

I enjoy it
What’s the point otherwise. The rewards at this stage are not financial, not for us anyway and I suspect they are not for 95 per cent of other bloggers and website editors.

There’s a difference between blogging on the road and at home
We’re not actually on the road yet (we’re visiting family in Northern Ireland, Wales and England) but we have left behind the comfort and convenience of our home office and reliable internet connection. In some ways we are in the worst position a travel blogger can be in, an inbetween stage where researched articles are difficult to write but we’re not doing anything much worth writing about (unless you want some stories about eating cheese?)

This is the dilemma for travel bloggers. The actual travel gets in the way of writing about it, yet when there is plenty of time to write there is less to write about. Soon, hopefully, we’ll be in Egypt and making our way back home to Turkey via Syria and Jordan where we’ll be able to experience blogging on the move. We’ve maintained websites while travelling before but they were static and I could keep them ticking over by popping into an internet cafe a couple of times a month. Keeping a blog up to date and relevant to where we are will, I’m sure, require more effort but I’m hoping the WiFi infrastructure provided by hostels and cafes that wasn’t available the last couple of times we did a fairly long trip should make up for it.

I’m not very organised
Though, to be fair, I have known this for quite some time.

Scheduling is a gift from the Gods
Scheduling is a wonderful feature that ranges in usefulness from quite handy to absolutely essential. For instance, I knew our families have an ambivalent relationship with the internet and could plan accordingly, scheduling enough posts to get us through the first few weeks when we would be without a laptop (we were getting a new one), fast connections and appropriate software.

Twitter works well with a blog and I like Twitter
It took a while before deciding to try Twitter. It seemed a bit stupid. I don’t know why I decided to give it a try (perhaps because it looked easy to learn the basics, if not to master) but I am glad I did. Blogs and Twitter compliment each other well. Whereas blogging can seem a little like people coming round to my house for dinner, where I serve up what I chose and, at the very least, point the conversation in the direction of my choosing, Twitter seems a lot more like sitting around a big table in a pub or restaurant. Some of the people you may know, most you won’t (though perhaps you’ve seen them around). You can talk one on one to the person sitting next to you, join in the main table talk or just sit back and take in what everyone else is saying.

Bloggers can do it anywhere
I might get this put on a bumper sticker and try to make my fortune. It’s either that or write an eBook but that looks like a lot more work.

I should say ‘thank you’
So I will. Thank you to everyone that has visited and read this blog, offered advice, answered our questions, guest wrote, commented on the articles and retweeted our tweets.

Photo courtesy of whatleydude

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Vito

    All true! It’s hard keeping up with a blog on a regular basis. Sometimes the words do get stuck.

    I traveled all last winter and the last thing I wanted to do after riding in hip deep powder all day was try to find a decent Internet connection and upload photos/video/blog entries.

    A shoddy Internet connection would have ruined me. I spent most of the time in coffee shops and hotel parking lots. During truly desperate times, I used a Verizon wireless card — wonder if that’s an option abroad…


  2. Just to emphasis the point it took 15 minutes (I timed it) to open this page to reply to your comments. I would like to have a look at your website but that, like a lot of things at the moment, will have to wait until I have a better connection.

    Hopefully we’ll find decent WiFi in Dahab where, with not much else to do except lounge around and eat, I’ll be able to catch up with some of our huge backlog of work. Can’t say I’d like to do much in the way of work after a day on the slopes either.

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