I'm in the middle of interviewing for some professional positions this week and so instead of my usual rants about PP&R, I wanted to share the transcript of a conversation I shared with a blog site this morning. I'm not sure when they're actually going to post this, so I'll just put it up here for you to read and link to it later when they post it...
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Total Blog Network: So, what's the deal with your blog?
Nathan Key: My blog primarily focuses on topics that have some sort intersection between philosophy, politics, and religion. I usually create a provocative topic, weave my own opinion within it, and then ask some questions to generate discussion.
TBN: A lot of people "blog with a purpose." What are you trying to accomplish?
NK: I think there's really three main reasons I blog. The first is because I'm an extrovert which means that I need to externalize my thoughts in order to really think through them. The public nature of a blog is a great forum for that so I don't drive my wife crazy.The second reason is because I like to engage other minds. I find that blogging attracts response (especially when it's done provocatively) and thus, I've been able to read through the comments of others and continually keep my own opinions in check through the input of others. Third, I think blogging is a great way to hone my writing/critical thinking skills. I try to write something every weekday (Mon-Fri) so that I actively engage that balance between creative and analytical thinking which is necessary for writers to wrestle with.
TBN: You're blogging on your own site now rather than one of the blog generators like wordpress or blogspot. Why is that?
NK: I used livejournal for a while and it was a great experience, but I was a little disappointed when advertising began to pop up on my site. So, eventually I moved the blog over to my personal website where I house some short stories and essays I've written. It was a hard move because while it's nice to have everything all in one place, I had a three year history with livejournal, and you feel like you're betraying a friend when you abandon a site.
TBN: What do you blog about most?
NK: It depends on what I'm thinking through. I try to limit my blogs to something related to philosophy, politics, and religion. Obviously this past year (2007) it leaned a little more political because of the Presidential elections, but I try to keep a good balance between all three topics.
TBN: What are the worst blogs out there?
NK: Blogs that aren't really blogs make me angry. Lately, I've seen a few that are actually money-making scams made to look like blogs. I think it's deceptive and it brings down the whole industry.
TBN: What are the top 5 tips you'd share with a new blogger?
NK: First, stick to a main topic. Blogs that are about "everything" usually aren't about "anything" and if you decide to write about everything under the sun, you'll only find readers who happen to like your take on life (basically, that limits it to your mom).
TBN: What are some things you would NEVER blog about?
NK: I don't know that I'd limit myself by saying that I'd NEVER blog about something- but as I've gotten further and further into my career as a blogger I write less and less "Dear Diary" type things. I don't think most people really care about what I did today, so I rarely write about everyday things unless they directly tie-in to something I'm learning about philosophy, politics, and religion.
TBN: A lot of people start blogging for the purpose of making money. Are you making money by blogging?
NK: I started blogging before I knew you could "make money" blogging, so I didn't really get into it because of the money aspect. However, even though I don't put ads on my blog in order to make money, I think blogging has made me a better writer & thinker. And because I'm better at both of those, it's also made me more valuable to organizations who need writers and thinkers- so in a sense I'm making money from blogging because it's a developmental piece to my own skills and abilities.
TBN: What mistakes have you made that you could warn others about?
NK: In my early days as a blogger, I had absolutely no direction. I eventually learned to limit myself to topics I knew about rather than trying to blog about my personal life or about random things that no one cared about.
TBN: OK, one final question- they say that the best way for writers to start the day is with a good breakfast, what do you think?
NK: Who is "They?" Well, I guess I agree. I had Golden Grahams and a cup of coffee this morning, and I can't think of what I'd be like without some sort of recharge like that.
Nathan Key likes to think about faith and philosophy and talk about it with others. He lives with his family in New Hampshire. He doesn't always refer to himself in the third person.