Despite being displaced and still not having power post-Hurricane Sandy, Julie Davidoski of Go Jules Go took valuable time away from searching for places to charge her phone and reading the latest issue of Chipmunk Enthusiast Monthly by candlelight to answer ten questions for The Daily Post.
Where does your post inspiration come from?
Seriously. I offer my inaugural blog post as proof.
I rely on ridiculous real-life experiences and guilty pleasures — like Labradoodle obsessions — for my blog. I’ve always coped better with reality when looking at it through a writer’s lens: “Well, this is steaming pile now, but at least it’ll make a good story!” Like project management boot camp or the time I received a bag of my father-in-law’s back hair.
What’s your typical process for developing and writing a post?
I’m very visual, so my posts often start with a photograph (or ten). I spend the majority of my time on presentation and trying to get the most bang for my buck with each sentence, shirking any standard word count guidelines. I schedule posts a day or two in advance, which lets me come back to them with a fresh pair of eyes before they go live. I usually proofread everything a half a dozen times or more, tweaking it each time.
I never want reading my blog to feel like a chore.
The whole process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to three+ hours. And the video blogs? DAYS.
It’s really important to me that the reader’s experience is effortless, even if it means I’ve spent three hours making a goofy PowerPoint presentation that they can read in 30 seconds. I never want reading my blog to feel like a chore.
What are your five daily reads?
It’s no secret that my favorite blog/blogger is The Byronic Man. Vacation, power outages, K-Stew/R-Patz break-up, doesn’t matter — I’ve gotta read every post. It’s my go-to pick-me-up. Sort of like The Daily Show, but with more talking animals. But you should know he can’t fold a fitted sheet for crap.
I’m also a big fan of My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours, so was thrilled when I recently had the opportunity to help Marlene during filming of her web series pilot episode, which is based on her blog.
And you can’t lose with Childhood Relived, where Angie Z. makes growing up in the 80s the funniest topic this side of Caboodles.
I can’t believe I have to stop now.
You have a vibrant and engaged community of readers and commenters. How did you create and sustain it?
I had no idea what I was doing. I started blogging in February 2011 as a way to start writing again, and to hopefully build a writing portfolio. (I went to school for creative writing, but now work in project management for Big Pharma.) A few months in, I began reading other blogs and interacting through comments, and got completely swept away by the sense of community. I felt like I had finally found my home planet.
Now maintaining friendships, supporting other bloggers, and having fun creatively are my top priorities when it comes to blogging. It’s very natural to develop and sustain a community, just by staying engaged through reading blogs and leaving comments. No matter what, I always try to respond to all of the comments on my blog; that’s one of the best parts of blogging!
I began reading other blogs and interacting through comments, and got completely swept away by the sense of community. I felt like I had finally found my home planet.
I also LOVE hosting giveaways as a way to engage people. The first one started as a joke — slap bracelets. Only later did I realize it might help get my blog name out there. I had so much fun with it, I started thinking about what else I could give away. I don’t want to stray too far from creative writing, so I’ll often ask people to enter by answering a question that I can use to create a story.
I encourage people to stick to contests that fit their blog, because people WILL associate you with the products you give away. It can be a lot of work and money, too! I try not to overdo it, and now if I love a product, I contact the company to see if they’re willing to provide samples.
What are your top three tips for new or struggling bloggers?
Funny you should ask . . . this summer I actually wrote a post outlining my top three tips! (This reply sponsored by Go Jules Go, A Blog for Bacon Lovers.) In a chipmunk nutshell:
- Follow the Golden Rule. We creative types are sensitive, and need a lot of encouragement to thrive. If you have something nice to say, leave a comment! You’ll make someone’s day.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about serious topics, but a lot of writers get hung up on making everything perfect. Blogging is a great way to force yourself to keep writing and to just let it go. Not every post is a winner. Who cares? You’ll never write anything good if you don’t write anything.
- BE GENUINE. Write about what speaks to YOU, and write it how you want to write it. People can smell insincerity a mile away, and instead of gaining followers, you’ll only gain mistrust. Along these lines, there’s no easier way to shoot yourself in the foot than to leave comments that prove you didn’t actually read someone’s post, or to go around asking people to add you to their blogroll. If you’re worried about exposure or making money, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect — and that’s the blogging opportunity that can really change your life.
Bottom line: If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right.
Why did you choose WordPress.com?
My husband-until-Darren-Criss-calls, Peppermeister, recommended WordPress because he said it was the most popular blogging plaform, and really easy to use. I definitely have to agree. I think the interface and look and feel of WordPress.com blogs are top-notch, and I still have a lot of control over the layout.
I love WordPress.com so much. And The Daily Post. I would eat them both for breakfast if I could.
Do I get unlimited Freshly Press-ages for saying that? Because I love WordPress.com so much. And The Daily Post. I would eat them both for breakfast if I could.
What does your blogging setup look like (computer, surroundings, etc.)?
You would think, having a craft room in my house, that the answer would be straightforward here. But I blog on a laptop, usually on weekends and in the evenings, from the dining room table or living room coffee table. There are big windows and awesome curtains, and the vodka, I mean fruit bowl, is never far away.
Which of your posts has had the most influence on your readers, and why?
I think most bloggers will agree that what registers with readers is a bit of a crapshoot. We’ll work passionately on a post, and it won’t get a lot of comments, then we’ll dash off something silly, and it’ll make a big splash. Having said that, I think my post about balancing blogging and “real life” made the biggest impact, because it invited a lot of discussion, and so many readers could relate.
I’d make Babs (my mom) proud with the mile-long list I have in response to this. I stay away from anything R-rated or notoriously controversial (politics, etc.), as well as any sensitive family issues/topics.
Pepper-themed sexual innuendo, on the other hand . . . totally fair game.
Tell us about how a commenter or reader had an impact on you.
I’ve made so many wonderful friends through blogging, which has enhanced my life in unimaginable ways, but the comments/readers that have impacted me most were strangers who told me that my blog helped them through a dark time. I never, ever expected to touch lives with a chipmunk-filled humor blog.
I’m thinking of writing a post about it.
If you’re not already a regular over at Go Jules Go or you just need a new slap bracelet, take a few minutes to check her out — she also has a pretty killer blogroll to introduce you to more great writers.
Got a question for Jules? Shoot!