Urban Goats and Suspicious Kangaroos (Interview)

Picture a Swiss maid, complete with bonnet, mountain cottage located in the Alps and a flock of goats she holds near and dear to her heart (think “Heidi” or “The Sound of Music”).

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Now imagine that same Swiss maiden transported to the heart of Melbourne, Australia, steaming cup of coffee in one hand, laptop under her other arm, goats following obediently behind as they cross the street. The drawstrings of her bonnet fly behind her in the wind, and curious kangaroos peer around corners in suspicion that the goats have come to invade the outback and pillage all available foliage.

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OK, maybe the goats are pushing it a little. My imagination tends to run wild at times. In any regard, this is one way I picture “Momma” when I read her story below. I started following A Momma’s View a few months ago, now I can’t wait to see a notification that she’s posted something new.

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Feeding Chickens in the Land of Dickens (Interview)

Do you ever have one of those days when you just need a pick-me-up?  When I have a day like this, where my coffee just hasn’t been enough to do the trick, I often turn to Mother Hen Diaries. Dorreen Augustine always has that special blend of optimism and wit to catch my attention and perk up my day!

Seriously…she’s funny. It’s what attracted me to her blog initially. With so many blogs that exist to simply be rant sessions, Dorreen’s blog stands out as being a beacon of positivity.

As an American living in the U.K., she has a very interesting perspective on life, one that I find inspirational, and as is the case with many bloggers, Dorreen describes herself much better than I could.  From the About page of Mother Hen Diaries, here is a snippet of what Dorreen has to say about herself:

“First and foremost, I am a Jehovah’s Witness. (Yes, I do knock on doors!) 🙂 I am also a wife, mother, cuddly Nanny, a reader, a thinker, a dreamer and a storyteller, Margarita expert, singer and entertainer, jam maker extraordinaire, serial dieter, and mother to a dozen chickens.”

After following Dorreen’s writing for some time, I was so pleased when she agreed to have a virtual cup of coffee with me to answer my questions for this interview.  Read on for Dorreen’s thoughts and advice around blogging and writing.  It’s good stuff.

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Picking the Nose of a Wicked Witch (Interview)

In this interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney of Highest Form of Whit (thanks for agreeing to the interview Whitney). Let me start by saying…I really don’t know how to best describe Whitney…the words fail me…I’m drawing a blank.

I started to try, but I had to keep erasing what I wrote as I felt I wasn’t doing the description justice. So rather than try and miserably fail (most likely causing Whitney to become enraged to the point of mass destruction), I thought I’d simply let her describe herself– as written on her About page.

 …I’m an amalgamation of the sense of humor of a 12 year-old boy, the sensibilities of an 80 year-old man, and the figure of a woman in her early twenties. Basically, I’m awesome. And so, by default, is this blog (note the sarcasm). I also suffered from untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder for fourteen years, which is a main component behind this blog.

I believe in laughing. I believe in love. And I believe in punching anyone in the face who doesn’t think those two things are great. I also believe in contradictions (or do I?).

See, wasn’t that much better than what I could have written?  I’m sure Whitney is somewhere agreeing as she reads this. 😉 She is clever, has a knack for the craft of writing and she’s funny– all things that I enjoy in a writer.

The other think I like about Whitney and her blog– she is true to herself and as a result she’s built-up a loyal following. Recently I’ve become very interested in bloggers who write transparently– letting followers find them, rather than the other way around.  With over 10,000 followers, she fits this description well! I enjoyed reading her answers; I hope you will as well! When you’re finished, if you’d like to read additional interviews with other bloggers click HERE.

(Full disclosure: Whitney uses enough profanity to singe the hair off the ears of a sailor, so read with your visual “bleepers” on if you are so inclined.)

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What motivated you to start your blog Whitney?

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. One, I had just graduated from college but I was living in LA for an extra semester and I wanted something fun to do. Two, because I haven’t read a lot of mental health comedy anywhere and I kind of saw my opportunity to start a conversation in a different way. Three, because I thought people might want to laugh at all of the dumb things I was scared of when I was a kid. Apparently, people do want to laugh at that, which is really freaking sweet!

How did you “find your voice” in blogging?  Your writing appears to be very natural and shows a lot of your personality– was that something you had to work towards or does it come natural to you?
 I didn’t really work at it at all, to be honest. How my blog reads is how I talk. Except I probably include more “that’s what she saids” in my day-to-day conversation (though I am starting to cut back on that a little bit). I’ve always been super snarky and self-deprecative with a 12 year-old boy’s sense of humor. Why try and be something I’m not?
What one thing do you feel has contributed the most towards growing your follower base?

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Sincerely? Just Write It Sincerely (Interview)

For this week’s interview, I’m publishing my notes from my conversation with Terri Webster-Schrandt from Perspectives on…Work, Life and Leisure.

I was anxious to talk to Terri for a few reasons.  Different from other interviews I’ve posted, it wasn’t necessarily the number of followers that drew me to Terri’s blog, but rather her way of writing.  Her posts come across in a very sincere and transparent way that make me feel as though she’s writing with her own voice, being true to herself versus writing with the intention of simply attracting followers, etc.  Personally, I value this in a writer as I find their work much more interesting.

Her journey includes making the decision to change the name of her blog as part of this effort to reflect the nature of her content. I love this willingness to evolve and grow in order to perfect; I hope to do the same.  Her life has been a colorful one thus far, and whether it be her past life teaching in northern California, wind surfing on the weekends or advocating for women’s interests, this same energy and transparency shine through.  Read on for my conversation notes! Continue reading

Medieval Penguins and Red Velvet Cake (Interview)

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What do you get when you combine someone who likes cross stitching, sewing, baking, reading and penguins?  You get Gemma Feltham, of course! As an avid reader myself, I quickly became interested in Gemma’s writing.  That said, although her basis for blogging is reviewing books, it was her thoughts around blogging itself that intrigued me even further.

With over 11,000 followers, Gemma’s If Books Could Blog site is a great example of how your audience will find you when you choose to blog about something you are passionate about.  As you will see below, she started posting as an outlet, but obviously found common ground with many others sharing her love for reading.  In my conversation with her, she was genuinely surprised at the number of followers she has acquired– she simply doesn’t pay attention to it!  (Imagine that…a blogger who doesn’t spend half their day on their ‘Stats’ page!)
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1 MILLION views or 50,000 followers? This guy has both. (Interview)

Whether it’s 10 Things Not to Ask an Asian , 10 Reasons People Hate Me, Why My Blog is No Different From Yours or Why My Blog IS Different From Yours, it’s easy to see why readers keep coming back for more. As a new blogger, it was all the blogging articles that drew me in– from there I’ve been hooked. It’s fair to say I’ve spent a LOT of time reading articles on HarshReality the past few weeks…I think I’m becoming addicted to unfiltered, unfettered honesty.  Welcome to our latest interview in our Interviews series…

Jason Cushman has had quite the journey– literally.  From Pusan, South Korea to Jackson, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee and now residing in Colorado (at least at the moment) with his wife and two young daughters, I was grateful that the blogger many of us know simply as Opinionated Man (“OM”) took the time to participate in this brief interview last week. You have only to subscribe to one of his blogs to quickly realize he probably doesn’t have a ton of spare time on his hands.  He’s a very active blogger.

Exhibiting the direct approach he’s become know for in the blogging arena, Jason makes no bones about the fact that he appreciates “conviction and passion” in people and dislikes people who “throw facts around without basis”. I can identify with both of those sentiments. While there is much more I could take the time to share here, the great news is that Jason has already done so. Take a look at the Author Bio page of HarshReality when you get a chance.

His blogging goal was “1 MILLION views and 50,000 followers” and as I’m writing this post, he is just a few days away from making both become a reality.  Now…on to a few insights from Opinionated Man.

Why blog–what motivated you to start initially?

I was motivated to start my blog because my mother is a writer and also a blogger. She helps inspired me to make one and to give it a try. I’ve always written in journals so it was a small step to make.

You give a lot of tips on your site about blogging and growing an audience, if you were choose, what one thing do you feel has contributed the most towards growing your base of followers?

Creating a physical persona behind my blog that people interact with and feel is always there. That is hard to create.

You’ve had a lot of blogging success, what characteristics/attributes do you admire in other blogs that you follow?

Well I don’t believe I’ve had a lot of blogging success. Everything I have on my blog I built and I wasn’t given anything like being “Freshly Pressed.” I gain motivation from other bloggers just as they gain it from me.

You’ve been invited to give the keynote speech at a new bloggers convention. What’s the topic of your speech?

Getting over fear and pressing forward. Fear is what keeps many from adding their voice.

Given the nature of Brews & Views, we have to ask this one final question. How do you take your coffee?

One splash of real creamer and three sugars.

 

On behalf of all new bloggers out there, I’d once again like to thank Jason for taking the time to share with us.  From starting in January 2013 to now being at nearly 50,000 followers…wow.  That’s all I can say, although once you’ve visited his blog, it’s quite easy to see why.

Now…enough fluff…I gotta’ get back over to HarshReality. I’m starting to have “give-it-to-me-straight-no-beating-around-the-bush” withdrawals…I think I still have a couple hundred articles to get through.

See you next time.

DH-

Her Goal? 1,000 Followers in Month One. (Interview)

The story was riveting. The first paragraph had my eyes quickly scanning down to find the start of the next sentence. The last thing I expected was to read a post about tense, heated moments in the middle of a battlefield on a blog that was titled Beautiful Life with Cancer.

Since that first exposure to Caroline Hendry I’ve been seeking-out her posts ever since. I was so pleased she agreed to meet me for a virtual cup of coffee and an interview– now, as a reader I find that her blog posts mean even more.  Thank you for joining us; grab a cup and fill it up. Read on for the interview details and you’ll see what I mean.  Continue reading