writing a blog

The Mail on Sunday – Writing a blog can lead you into some funny situations…

Last week, I was quoted in a Mail on Sunday article about the renewed interest in jam making. Apparently, a researcher found a Real Men Sow blog post about making jam for my wedding, when surfing the web looking for information about preserving.

An MoS journo rang me up and we had a chat about jam, and why I’d started making it. I talked about foraging being an adventure for us generally useless 21st-century males and how these days I enjoy jam making as much as I do watch the football; as well as the jam wedding favours and how I’d once made 100 jars of jam for farmers markets, but never actually gotten around to selling them. A little while later the lady rang back and said she’d arranged for a photographer to come down and take photos.

I’m Not a Business, Just a Blogger!
I’m not sure if they expected some kind of small production line, or a thriving kitchen business, because the photographer was despatched from Surrey to my home in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, a two-hour drive away. The poor bloke looked rather confused by everything, especially when I explained that all I had jam wise was a couple of jars of damson and mine and Ailsa’s jam from the wedding. As I’m sure you’ll realise, this didn’t give the photographer much to work with.

From Gaddaffi to Gardens
He was probably even more confused, given that he’d just come back from an assignment covering Libya in the days after Gaddaffi’s death, and now he here was in Essex, in the rain, photographing some blogger on his allotment. However, the photographer was a consummate professional, and spent a good hour or so getting the right photos with all his fancy lenses, probably knowing full well the images would never get used (they didn’t!)!

(Not) Alan Titchmarsh’s New Sidekick and the Local Paper
Other odd happenings as a result of writing Real Men Sow include being contacted by a researcher from the Alan Titchmarsh show who seemed to get the wrong end of the stick and think I was some kind of up and coming television presenter. I don’t mind the odd blag, but trying to pull that one off was going several steps too far, and I rather sheepishly explained that I was merely a local government officer who spends too much time on the Internet.

The local paper like to pop down and take the odd photo too if I appear in bigger publications, or get nominated for any awards (this did happen once, believe it or not!). Recently, they sent a photographer down on a busy Sunday at the plot, and I’m not quite sure what everyone else made of it. I was certainly the recipient of a few funny looks.

I’ve even interviewed someone for a job who had stumbled across my blog whilst researching the post. That certainly broke the ice at the beginning of the discussion!

Comments Are Better
Other bloggers I know have been asked to go on radio shows, judge competitions, and even become involved in shops and products. All this is very nice for a blogger, I’ll admit. Everyone loves five minutes of relative fame, but at the end of the day, a comment means much more to me.

One of the best things about writing a blog is when I receive an email to say that someone has taken the time to leave a comment on a post I’ve written. This, after all, is what the blogosphere is about: sharing experiences and advice and geeing up others when they’re having a tough time.

Blogging by its sheer nature is a self-indulgent process, and you’re often left asking why on earth you’re doing this, and who on earth could possibly be reading your prose, but you’d be surprised. Once you get involved in using Twitter, and adding some blogs to an RSS reader, the blogging world becomes a small one, and you’re soon involved in conversations and communities that only serve to enhance the enjoyment of whatever hobby it is you’re blogging about.

Give Blogging a Go
I’ve made many interesting acquaintances through blogging and learnt a massive amount more than I would have done without it. I’ve swapped plants and seeds and received invaluable tips from far and wide. If you’re reading this and often fancied starting up a blog about something you love, give it a go. I promise you won’t regret it.

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