Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: inspiration

The difficult 4th year of blogging

Everyone talks to their blogs right? I’ve been having a lot of “it’s not you it’s me” conversations with mine, trying to find the writing seam that flows and feels natural. Trying to recapture the feeling you have as a new blogger when you can’t get the words out quick enough. As I approach the 4th birthday of my little piece of internet real estate I’m feeling mainly confused. Maybe this is just a part of the natural life cycle of being a blogger? It would seem though that I’m not alone and some of my fellow parent bloggers who I believe started their blogs around the same time as me are also at this inflexion point. Sarah wrote a post this week called it’s so funny, how we don’t blog anymore she has at least been scratching her blogging itch elsewhere though. Tom started his blog almost exactly 4 weeks before me and continuing the relationship theme said his writing is currently summed up by “I got married to my job and now my blog is bored”.

The parent blogging world is really in a boom time at the moment and the number of blogs has increased at an incredible rate since we started blogging. But if I’m honest I feel quite detached from it now, I’m not really interested in taking part in Twitter parties or linkies (with the exception of Me and Mine), there are few blogging conferences I would consider going to and I’m definitely not interested in reviewing things every week. I do miss the community feel that I experienced in the first couple of years of blogging, reading back old posts I remembered all the great bloggers I used to ‘talk’ to via blog comments every week, some who I realised I haven’t even tweeted with for a long time. Have I just become a grumpy old man and am missing the community feel because I’m anti social or am I just now the uncool middle aged uncle who isn’t down with the kids?

I’m reading a really interesting book by the Japanese writer Huraki Murakami at the moment called “what I talk about when I talk about running“, it’s interesting because it’s about running which of course appeals, but it’s about what it’s like being a runner rather than the actual running itself. In the book Huraki talks about his theory that writers have a finite amount of writing in their bodies so he paces himself with his writing so that he doesn’t use it all up too soon. I quite like that concept and wonder if that’s what’s happened to us as bloggers. Have we done too much in the first few years as a blogger and now those rich writing seams are harder to tap into?

At the start of the year I set out what topic areas I was going to write about with the intention that this would help me focus on the things I was really interested and passionate about. I thought this would help me focus my creative thoughts and also give this blog some identity, a core set of things it stood for, for the most part I think I’ve done that but now find myself questioning it. I’m a big believer in writing about what you want (hence the plan at the start of the year) rather than what you think you’re reader wants. But that lack of community I mentioned shows itself in the low level of interaction I’ve experienced over the last few months. It’s great when writing a post becomes the start of a discussion but I see very few people commenting on posts these days either on this blog or elsewhere. I know people read what I write (the stats and subscriber list show that) but would love to know what they/you think also.

Is 4 years as a blogger the same as turning 40? Is this a mid blog life crisis? Answers on a postcard please.

Goose bumps, tears and inspiration

I wasn’t going to write about the Olympics, so many people have no doubt done it or plan to that it just seemed overkill. But then there was THAT Saturday night, that amazing 45 minutes of incredible drama and celebration. 3 athletes reaching the very peak, climbing Mount Olympus as Kris Akabusi calls it, fulfilling their potential.

What a simply unbelievable sporting event, one where in years to come you’ll remember where you were when Mo Farrah won gold, when Bradley Wiggins won Olympic Gold to go with the Tour de France Yellow jersey, when Great Britain won their first medals for a long time in gymnastics and shooting and show jumping.

I love sport, I’ll watch almost anything, but never has is captivated me like the past 10 days. I’ve watched many a football fan cry when their team loses and thought to myself ‘but it’s just a game’. Yet there I was watching Steve Redgrave hug Kath Grainger who finally won Gold on her 4th attempt and there was a tear in my eye. I know this isn’t just me, one look at Twitter during and after a big race will tell you that. Has the nation ever been so engaged in a sporting event?

It’s not just the sporting stories creating the emotions; on Sunday morning I listened to an interview with Seb Coe on 5Live and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He told a story about meeting an Olympics volunteer on the train this week, this volunteer was working in medical support for the boxing. The volunteer thanked Seb for bringing the Olympics to London, he is an A&E consultant in London and was working on 7/7, the same day that London was awarded the Olympics. This volunteer saw the Olympics as closure, he had seen the very worst of humanity on 7/7 and now he was able to see the very best.

Everywhere you look there is inspiration, sports men and women who have given everything for 4 years to prepare for this moment and despite the many British Medals the majority still won’t have won anything. Rowers who give so much that they cannot walk when they get out of the boat, sailors whose parents re-mortgaged their homes to support them and runners who moved their families to a different country to get better training conditions.

Yet throughout all this success there has been such honesty and humility; Dai Greene apologising and clearly embarrassed at his poor performance, Christine Ohurougu live on TV saying she was disappointed with Silver, Becky Adlington so honest that she couldn’t have won no matter what the crowd hoped for. As I saw someone say it’s essentially 2 weeks of TV highlighting everything that is bad about professional football.

So as we enter the last week and revel in the joy of success I hope a lot of people will not only be inspired to take up a new sport but also think long and hard about where to spend their money. Perhaps tickets to an athletics meet at Crystal Palace is a better choice than Premiership football?

Oh and don’t forget Helen Glower had been rowing for 1 month when the Beijing Olympics were on, yet she won a Gold medal last week…

P.S I think digital media has truly arrived during these games; fantastic BBC coverage with massive choice via the red button, the BBC website and phone apps plus of course Twitter to share the moment and here the latest news. I’ve also become somewhat addicted to 5Live, great coverage and almost more enjoyable than watching the events.