Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In which Tamsin likes to talk about herself. A lot. At length.

Goodness, people, this is long. Maybe take a bathroom break and get a snack before you start? Possibly a nap?

1. How long have you been blogging, and what made you decide to start?
I launched Project Project (then 52 Weeks Later) on July 17th, 2008, so I've been writing for about 2.5 years now. I had written a blog before that, but that was filled with a lot more angsty, navelgazy stuff (and quite a few memes) than what I'm aiming for today. When I started the blog, it was intended as a way to give myself permission to dabble and try out all sorts of hobbies and projects, each within a one-week parameter. As I say myself in my very first post: "I decided I wanted to do a year long blog project, and I decided I wanted to something a little different from what I had already seen out there. Knowing in my heart of hearts that I would most likely not keep up any kind of project that would take much staying power, I decided to turn my weakness into a strength and indulge the part of me that wants to do all of this stuff for a week at a time. I'll do the things I want to do, try the things I want to try, and give myself one week to do it in."
Of course real life eventually set in, and juggling a new house, school, work along with a weekly project just got a bit too much, and I scaled things back to how they are today. Now I take more of a feast-or-famine approach, and do a project when the mood strikes.

2.What motivates you to write?
As far as blogging is concerned, my inspiration and motivation comes from day-to-day life. I write when I have an idea for a project or something I want to do. If I find myself wanting to do or change something, I'll often think about how to work it into a project for the blog. Since having my son, Espen, I've found that a good 80% or so of my focus revolves around him or things pertaining to him, and so it becomes very easy for me to want to write about that. However, I do try to not completely cave into the Mormon Mommy Blogger thing. 1) because not everyone who reads my blog is quite as enamored with motherhood and my child as I am, and 2) because I want to keep my blog as much for me as possible, so I try to keep my mind open to ideas beyond my little maternal sphere. Finding those ideas and projects that force me to extend myself a little bit are a huge motivation for me to write.

3. Do your family and friends read your blog? What do they think of it?
Some do, and some don't. I have several friends and family members who read very regularly and leave comments or talk to me about my blog, which I really enjoy. It's just nice to get feedback on the things to do! Then I have some very close friends and family members who aren't interested at all. I have to admit that there has been a little bit of a learning curve for me in accepting that blogging just isn't everyone's thing, and just because someone I love doesn't read my blog, it doesn't mean that they love me any less.
Of course I have to mention Nick, who lives with me and my blogging habits daily and is sometimes forced to take on my crazy schemes along with me. That man is a saint! He supports me in the things that I want to do, and helps me reign things in when they get out of control. I would say that every blogger should have one, but I'm not sharing!

4. Tell us about a post you are particularly proud of.
It's more like a series of posts, but I am very proud of a project I did called 30 days of 29. For the month leading up to my 30th birthday, I completed a new project every day. It was busy, and sometimes a little stressful, but very fun and very rewarding. I'm very glad I stuck with it and for all of the experiences I had that I might have missed otherwise.

5. Any regrets or lessons learned from blogging?
There are a few projects here and there that kind of went by the wayside, and that I didn't complete for one reason or another. For example, I regret that Project Cheer fizzled the way it did. I think I overshot the mark and tried to do something that my little blog just didn't have the kind of following to support.

As far as lessons learned are concerned, I think I am still trying to learn how to stay within realistic boundaries for what I can actually accomplish while still pushing myself a bit beyond my comfort zone.

6. What is the next big thing for Project Project?
Well, getting Project Service Project back on track (did anyone notice how that one slipped away?) is right at the top of my list of priorities right now, and I'm also looking into the possibility of having a few guest bloggers join me for some projects. And stay tuned in May when Project Project goes on the road!

7. What do you get out of blogging, and what do you hope people get out of reading your blog?
Blogging is tremendously selfish for me. It's a creative outlet that allows me to write for fun and for pleasure, without any big pressure to perform perfectly. My years in college taught me that I can write well, but also made me extremely self-aware as I wrote and edited and rewrote every paragraph until I was happy with it. Blogging is so much less formal, and I love that I can just hit the "publish post" without having to agonize over my writing first.
I also really, really enjoy the immediate feedback that blogging gives. I consider myself very fortunate to have such generous readers and friends who support and encourage me with every post I write.
What I'm trying to create for whoever reads my blog is something positive, fun and sometimes-a-little-bit-serious-but-not-too-serious. There is so much negativity in the world, and my highest hope is that Project Project can be sort of a little antidote to all of the nastiness out there. Similarly, if any of my projects have at all inspired anyone to go out and do something they've been wanting to try, then I really couldn't ask for anything more.

8. Any areas you'd like to improve in?
Yes! Always! I'd really like to learn to take better photos, and to write more regularly. Oh, and make a blog button and a better header, maybe and organize my content into something cohesive and logical. And and and!

9. Who are some of your blogging superheroes?
Madsta, of course! I love her! She has such a light and easy touch to her writing, and her blog is like a window into her world.
Gabrielle of Design Mom. My goodness, I worship her! She has so many great ideas for making parenthood look effortlessly beautiful and practical. And now she and her husband and five children are moving to France for a year. Can I be her? Just for a little bit?
Jill Ginsberg of Hundreds of Hundreds. After inheriting some money from her mother, she decided to spend a month giving away $100 to a stranger every day. When the month was up she just couldn't stop, and so for 2011 she is giving away 100 $100 bills. So inspiring, so uplifting.

10. How important is feedback from your readers to you?
Embarrassingly important. Whenever I post something new, I have to admit I check and check and check to see if anyone has read it and if they have left a comment. Oh, comments! Sweet ambrosia of blogs! Seriously, I love hearing back from my readers, and will often think of specific people I know who read my blog when I write a new post.

11. Do you worry about the privacy aspect of blogging whereby people can access a lot of personal information?
I do and I don't. I decided pretty early on to just be open about who I am and where I live. I have an unusual name for the area I live in, and honestly, if someone really wanted to try to find me, they could. Of course having a child makes safety more of a concern, and I could see myself reevaluating my stand in a couple of years when Espen gets older and starts spending more time away from home.

12. Would you consider going private?
Haha, no, because I'm too vain! One of the things I love about blogging is the community that you build and the friendships gained through reading and following each other's blogs. So much of that would be lost if I only allowed people I knew to read my blog.
I could, however, envision keeping a separate, private blog for family and close friends only if Espen's safety ever becomes a concern, and then just feature him less on Project Project.

13. Do you read a lot of blogs and visit certain ones daily?
Uhm, yes. I just checked, and it seems I follow 80+ via Google Reader! Although, to my defense, a lot of those don't update regularly. I just think people are so interesting, and love to see what they're up to. I guess I'm just nosy! I also follow a lot of design blogs, and just like to start my day out with something pretty to look at :)

14. Do you consider yourself a long term blogger? what are your plans?
Yes, I think so. For now, at least, blogging is my main hobby, distraction and creative outlet, and something that gives me a lot of enjoyment, so I will keep it up.

Yup, that was long, alright! Now for heaven's sake, go and do something else!


Tana said...

You challenge me to be more careful and deliberate in my blogging--even though you feel you are being less so. That's the sign of a true gift!

I think I am usually posting in a rush--then I end up going back and tweaking, because I wish I had said it better.

I'm waiting to progress beyond the angsty navelgazy stuff. :)

Loved this!

Tessalulale said...

Its fine to want comments from your readers! Besides, I don't know what I would do without my blogs that I read DAILY! Its a way of thanking them for sharing if you comment. Sooo...THANK YOU for writing!

Sandra said...

It was a long post but I read every single word because I love these "getting to know you" posts.
I laughed at the one about whether you would consider going private and you replied that you're too vain! My thoughts exactly!

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