Sorry for my absence. Uni got kind of hectic the past couple of weeks — this week, I wrote two essays in four days, finishing one of them at 3am and the other slightly earlier at 1am. Not to mention the fact that I was ill and basically stuck in bed for five days last week: that wasn’t much fun. All my energy’s been going into work, but now that lectures have finished for the term and I have no more essay deadlines until January, despite having plenty of work to do, I might be able to find time to blog occasionally.
One of my blogging friends, Cait, has just moved blogs, from Notebook Sisters to a new and shiny site called ‘Paper Fury’. (Mildly threatening as a name.) Since I know what it’s like to start over again with blogs, which happened to me when I moved hosts, I figured I’d participate in her bloggy tag game, designed to spread the word about the move. Not to mention the fact that it gives me something to write about.
And it’s all about ME. Muah ha ha.
So I’m going to answer some questions from Cait about myself, which hopefully won’t bore you all to tears, and once I’ve had a couple of days to recover from uni, read lots of trashy books, and watch some Buffy, I’ll be back with proper posts on a semi-regular basis. Hopefully. No guarantees.
1. Why did you start blogging?
I legitimately have no clue. I started blogging in 2009, when I was just getting heavily involved in writing communities including Protagonize.com and taking part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. It was a period of beginning to take my writing seriously (well, I always took it seriously, but that’s when I started writing every day and stuff), and I guess blogging was another way of sharing my writing and trying to build a readership. Okay, so my first blog only had, like, two readers and they were people I knew anyway, but that’s irrelevant.
2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?
It’s highly uninteresting, really. I think it was 2011 when I decided to use Miriam Joy as my name for writing — ‘Joy’ is actually my middle name, not my surname, but I wanted to have a degree of separation between my ‘real’ life and my ‘writing’ life. Unfortunately for me there’s another Miriam Joy who took the URL miriamjoy.com and for a long time appeared ahead of me in search results. I’m working on improving that. So I added Writes on the end to distinguish it and used that ever since.
(Former blog names included A Farewell to Sanity and A Notebook Full Of Words, I think.)
3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)
A lot? I’ve never found one that I’m entirely happy with until my current design, mostly because I was using a wordpress.com blog where I couldn’t customise my theme. I don’t think I’ve got screencaps; my original blog went through multiple designs and still exists somewhere on the internet in its final form. This design, however, has been in use since I moved to this host back in March and it was customised for me by my friend John, who worked tirelessly and for nothing to make it look just right. Thanks, John!
I will say that my themes have been primarily orange-red for the last couple of years, and I sort of stuck to that branding after I’d done it once because I liked how it looked.
4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?
Not exactly. I moved from wordpress.com to a wordpress.org self-hosted site in March this year, because I wanted it to be more customisable and under my control. I think that was a good decision, although it has had limitations and disadvantages. I used to have a secondary book blog that was on Blogger, which I imported to WordPress (because I hate Blogger and it hates me) and then overhauled and redesigned and it became Miriam Joy Reads fairly recently.
5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?
That depends a lot on the post. Sometimes they’re super thoughtful and I’ll spend about half an hour writing it and then come back to it later to make sure I said what I wanted. Usually I don’t spend more than about 25 mins on it although if I’m adding pictures, the process of finding them can take longer. My post process is usually, “Oh, I thought of a thing. I have opinions on the thing. I am going to share the opinions on my blog.” But sometimes it’s like, “Man, I haven’t posted in ages. What can I talk about? Did anyone tag me in anything recently?”
6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?
My coming out post was pretty terrifying, for understandable reasons. Generally I’m scared whenever I write about anything political, and for about a day afterwards my stomach will clench every time I get a comment in case it’s someone being confrontational, because I hate confrontation. I’m quite opinionated so I do tend to have fairly clear views on things, like Ferguson, but at the same time I’m aware that those situations aren’t ‘mine’ to talk about and I’m always afraid of stepping on people’s toes or shoving my nose in where it doesn’t belong.
7. Do you have a blogging schedule?
Ha ha. No. But I’ve stopped apologising for that.
8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?
Yeah. I’m pretty open about my writing, and I even have business cards these days that have my URL on them — it’s useful because this is where you can find all the links to my poetry, so if anyone asks where they can buy my work, I just give them a card. I don’t see the point in hiding it when they could find it by some cursory googling, and if they’re friends with me on Facebook they’ll see links all the time anyway. That said, if I’m talking to someone and I know they wouldn’t approve (eg clashing ideologies) of the things I write, I don’t advertise it to them. And I’m not going to bring it up if it’s not relevant to the conversation.
9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!
I am terrible at commenting on blogs because I mostly read posts in my email inbox from my phone. Also, a lot of the blogs I read are, like, industry or author blogs, so it’s not really a personal thing so much (personal connections I save for other forms of social media). However, you’ll see me over at Musings From Neville’s Navel and, occasionally, at Charley R’s Leaning Tower of Plot (now that I’ve persuaded Blogger to subscribe me to it, after two years of trying). I enjoy Listful Thinking and Kelly Barnhill, and I’m a regular reader of Black, Bunched, Mass, Mom, even if that may seem a little different to my usual subject matter. I like hearing about people’s lives.
10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?
Well, it would be nice to have more regular commenters, but I know I can’t really talk because I’ve already confessed I’m terrible at commenting myself. I would like to have more regular posts: regular in terms of how often they’re posted, how long they are, what subject they’re on. You know, an organised, themed blog where people know what to expect. Instead I have a multi-topic mess of oddity. But I’ve come five years this way and I’m not going to change any time soon, so that will remain an impossible dream.
So, go and check out Cait’s new blog, because there’s a giveaway happening and all sorts of exciting things like that, and feel free to answer these questions on your own blog, I guess.
See you soon for slightly more coherent and thoughtful posts — we hope.