Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mercurial girl on blogging

Mercurial girl is an American ex pat making a home and creating her life in Paris.

What is the first weblog you came across?

Before I start Nia, I would like to thank you for inviting me to participate. It's been fun reading the answers of the preceding bloggers in this series.

I do not remember a specific blog. I became aware of blogs in college and began searching out those that discussed issues that I was concerned with. Most dealt with politics or social justice issues. Later I discovered introspective blogs and those have become the ones that I am most interested in.

Why did you start blogging?

At the suggestion of a therapist who felt that I would benefit from keeping a journal. A blog was a more interesting medium than paper, the exhibitionist in me liked the thought of readers

Which blogs do you read?

The blogs listed on my sidebar and about 50 more that I have bookmarked. It takes me 2-3 weeks to rotate through them all.

What appeals to you about the blogs you read?

I look for good writing, a point of view and a well told story.

Whose writing do you particularly admire?

Excepting present company, this varies from time to time, but one writer who I feel is really hitting her chops is Gillette at Ex-Courtesan in Transition and another is Mandy at How About Now. Tui is a writer who I might go down to the crossroads to strike a bargain if I could have her ability.

In your reading do you seek out different points of view ?

I am looking for a point of view expressed well, in thoughtful arguments. I can take something away from writers who are persuasive in their logic, particularly when I vehemently disagree.

How do you choose items to link?

More serendipity than analysis, if something strikes my fancy I wil bookmark it for future mention. What catches my attention is a post that is saying something important, either as an observation or the writer speaking of herself.

What is your policy on comments?

Excepting spam or at the writer’s request, I have never deleted a comment. Nor do I moderate them. My attitude is that if someone wants to make a jackass of themselves by making a comment that many would find offensive, so be it. The rest of us will recognize the writer for what he/she is and we will go on.

Do you ever receive abusive comments , how do you handle it ?

Not recently, but I have in the past. I typically ignore the comment but leave it up.

Where do you find interesting links?

Two places, among the links of other bloggers and when I see a well written comment by a writer who has a profile, I will check the profile to see if they have a blog and I will check it out.

Do you ever write to provoke a reaction, how do you do that ?

Not really. Occasionally I will make an allusion to something to see if anyone picks up on it.

How much traffic do you get?

When last I checked, about six months ago, Mercurial Girl averaged about 300 page views a day. I suspect that has dropped since I am not posting as often and the content of my posts has changed. Less smut.

What is your rank on technorati?

Technorati, I have no idea, but I did check The Truth Laid Bear, and Mercurial Girl is now a Crawley Amphibian, up from being a Slimy Mollusk.

Has your writing changed since you started blogging?

Yes, when I started it was pretty much stream of consciousness. Now I take care in composing my posts, often making significant edits before sending them up. Early on I wrote directly on Blogger, but after having several posts eaten by the internet, I decided to write off line so I could have a copy to repost if necessary. Writing off line is different, it certainly is less spontaneous and allows me to be more precise, but it does not make the posts perfect. Often I will re-read a post several days after it has gone up and I will wish I phrased something differently or find a typo. Unless I realize this immediately I usually leave the post as it is.

How many hours do you spend online a day?

I am constantly online, because that is how I run my business. It is how I communicate with my contractors, check on the status of projects and review the work. Recreationally, including communicating with friends, probably a couple of hours a day.

How much time do you spend on your site a day?

On days I post fifteen minutes to an hour, otherwise not at all. I pick up comments via email.

How many blogs do you read?

80 to 100, stretched out over a two to three week rotation. Some I read carefully, others I skim, looking for a nugget.

How do you find new blogs?

Pretty much the same place I find links, among the blogs listed in sidebars and the blogs of those commenting.

How much reader email do you get?

Not tons and it tends to ebb and flow. There are a handful of readers who regularly email me so we have an ongoing exchange.

What do you think makes a successful blog?

Having a purpose for the blog and the ability to tell a story in an engaging manner.

What is your advice for a new blogger?

Have a purpose for your blog, but know that the purpose may change over time. If you are new to writing, pretend that blog is a conversation with a friend and you are telling a story. Keep the post simple and focused.

How has blogging changed your life?

I have become a much better and more confident writer. And I have become exposed to many interesting people who I might not have sought out if it had not been for my blogging.

What blogs do you think deserve wider recognition and why?

There is a young blogger, Kestral, whose blog American Kestral I have been reading for a few months who is very talented and a keen observer of the world around her. She should be showing up in more sidebars (including mine).

Annie Rhiannon, at minimum makes me smile whenever I read her, but most often induces me into fits of giggling.

What are your hobbies?

Cooking! I love having a couple or a bunch of friends over and making them dinner. Other things I do are running and biking. Checking out estate sales and flea markets with my friend Anne Marie is a pretty regular weekend activity.

How has your blog changed over the years?

Initially I wrote just for myself, but overtime the knowledge that there are readers has me choosing subjects and composing the posts with the reader in mind. This results in my playing to the crowd occasionally. Today, I also comment on current events that is something I did not do in the beginning.

Are you fairly accurate in predicting which of your items will be widely linked?

I do not have a clue.

Do you have a background in writing?

Not beyond the requirements for a marketing degree.

When do you blog?

Currently late in the evening, I am not much for TV and the blog fills that time.

With regard to blogging what was your most memorable moment?

I am not sure I can put my finger on a single moment, but it would be the support I received when I have written about crises in my life.

Would you read your site?

Of course!

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