Brazen Princess

Loud and Unashamed
JANUARY 31, 2013 1:03AM

What a blog is; What it's supposed to be....

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"BLOG" is a portmanteau (a word like “smog” - formed by blending “smoke” and “fog); a combination of the words “web” and “log”. 

This word was invented in the late nineties by two geeks sitting in front of their computers in their pajamas and braces (I can’t prove that last bit).   
 
By 2001 the number of blogs  swelled the internet so drastically that how-to manuals began appearing.

  • ·        The majority of blogs are an online diary.

For those of you that don’t know the origin of Brazen Princess, it started out as a dare.

Being in Africa, separated from family and doing our life's work, we wrote update letters regularly for two years, sending them out to my family and friends - most of whom didn’t read them

They sucked the life out of me. 

After awhile, the update letters were “Look what we did!”  and “See, this is why we’re here!”  I felt like we were justifying the calling we had on our lives.  They became less and less frequent.

One day (a normal day I would never include in an update letter) I spent at the church office syncing my pocket calendar with the church calendar.  Charles (our church administrator) and I filled in the empty spaces before getting interrupted by an emergency: there had been a possible assault of a child in the township.

I left quickly with my friend to check it out.  After I did, Charles noticed I'd left my calendar and emailed Mario with a subject line: “Janet’s Diary”.  The bulk of the letter told me that I had left my “diary” – my pocket calendar in his office. 

Mario saw the email and thought Charles was alerting him to a website or some link that he read.  When I got home (everything was alright with the child) he suggested that I do something different: move the update letters – along with excerpts from my journal -  to an online storage place  where people could see, even access an archive. 
 
I really wasn’t interested - I said "I don't have time,"
 
So he dared me.

“You should do one of those online blogs,” he smiled.  “And call it Janet’s Diary.”

I smiled back.  “What in the world would I write about?”  As soon as I said it, a flood of inspiration knocked me down. 

I would write about anything I wanted to.
 
By the way, "Janet's Diary" domain was taken.  I had a whisper in my ear to call it "Brazen Princess" - at the time I had no idea the real definition  of "brazen" 



  • ·         Most bloggers seek something called “an audience”


I grew up in a house that had two built-in fireplaces that were about one foot off the ground.  I used to perform “on-stage” for my sisters and brother, and they used to perform for me.  

I’m used to a relatively small audience.

Still, the master bloggers can attract several thousand hits a day to their own blog.  Today I was surfing twitter and found a post I loved and lapped up that was posted by a well-known literary agent – “7 Signs That You’re Not a Good Blogger”.

I checked out the site and saw that I was not a good blogger.  I make critical mistakes in marketing myself.  Ha!!  He gave me many tips – plus a “how-to-bulk-up-my-audience" book he invited me to download J.   

When I looked at it this morning it had 2 comments- right now it has 19. 

A good blogger not only captures attention, tells a good story, shares a good recipe, shows good art… they  reach a broad audience. 

As I searched for an agent to represent my upcoming book, “Treasures In Diepsloot”, one of them told me to “brand myself.”

“You should be actively building your blog audience,” she said.  “You’re a good writer, more people should be reading you.”

“How many people is a good audience?” I asked her, uncharacteristically shy. 

“A good blogger has in the neighborhood of seven hundred followers,” she said, flatly.  I felt like someone hit me on the side of my head. 

At the time I had 36.



  • ·         Posting gives people a window to my world.


People blog for all different reasons.  In the end I realized that I blogged to share my heart.  The update letters have stopped and the daily writing sometimes comes out here - on this blog.  In it I have a connection to my family, my friends and the others who read anonymously.

One of the greatest joys of writing is sharing a story; sharing my heart.  I will eventually have to figure out how to do this thing properly… until then I am all about sharing my world.  It’s a unique and special world.  I love being inside of it.
 
I ask you, my OS friends...why do you blog?  What got you started??  I'd love to know!!! 





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Comments

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Could well be Ms. Blog Police.
Then again, maybe our country's fatal problem will have been the need to force things into categories, if people can't say they weren't warned of certain risks.
Interesting and useful post. I could never write sitting on that tiny stool. Cute picture, by the way. I started blogging when it looked like I was going to be forced into retirement. I didn't know anything about it and naively thought it might be a way to a second career. It hasn't gone that way and now I do it mainly to amuse myself. I don't know if I have followers beyond the comments I get on OS and Our salon, the only places I post. I know my own family doesn't even read it anymore. I will announce on FB that I have a new post up, and no comments or likes are forthcoming. I'm not whining, in fact I am almost contrarian about it. What would you expect when you write about things like "How to Eat an Egg"? I rarely try to write about things of broad interest, i.e. politics,economics, etc. I write about the little things in life that I can get my head around and that I find amusing. If it brings a chuckle from people so much the better. At this point I don't know what the advantages to having a following are, so I am not likely to pursue one.
I guess I do this for recreation and as a mental exercise to assure myself that I still can do it as I get on in years. R
I just found out something I didn't know: unless you are on the front page, it is very difficult for nonmembers to find your posts on OS unless you specifically search for that particular name. My wife raised this issue because she alleged she can' t find me on OS. Maybe the first rule of building an audience is to post somewhere else. I don't know how those numbers on popularity are generated by OS.
I blog, therefore I am! Or is it I am, therefore I blog?
I'm with Gerald, I could not type on such a small stool.
R
I first heard of this place on NPR's Fresh Air.

My reasons for coming here were purely and simply to vent. At first, I was horrified and intimidated by OS and the many intelligent writers. Yet, having always been a party crasher, I proceeded. I proceeded to make an ass out of myself, again and again. Still do. Yet, even in the midst of my worst moments, I knew I was learning, learning something that can't be learned any other way, other than posting something you've written for anyone, anyone, who cares to read it.

I'm still an idiot, but I'm still learning, too, and to learn, even and especially, outside my comfort zone, is more important to me than staying on the porch in blissful ignorance.

Good post.
You said it: "One of the greatest joys of writing is sharing a story;"

My husband started me blogging when he told me there's a great site to showcase my writing. I jumped in headlong without knowing the whys and wherefores of blogging. Whether I'm a good blogger on not is not for me to say but I enjoy the experience and I've learned a lot from reading other OS bloggers.
It is amazing how some people just have to categorize and make rules about a perfectly normal, evolving activity.

I blog here, write articles there and even publish my fiction somewhere else. Here, I am free to write what I please, as I please and to vent when necessary.

I still try to put up the best writing I can.
Thanks for this... I believe I've read the Seven Signs before, wept, then ignored them for the most part, and hell, I used to be an ad writer. No time to share how I became an accidental blogger, stealing time now from my day job... As writer and editor of a monthly e-zine for a community org. Some of my street cred for this present gig? My blog. So go figure.