Ahead of my birthday tomorrow, I thought it would be a 'hoot' to interview myself for my SIX OF THE BEST column, as I'm always rather proud of the work I do on HeroPress and do like to talk about it. Hey, it's my birthday! Cut me some slack! I'm old!
How long have you been blogging and how’d you get into it in the first place?
Next January marks the ninth anniversary of HeroPress. Ten years ago I'd come out of hospital after an extended stay; unable to go back to work I was stuck indoors pootling around online and met this great guy called Jeff Mejia who writes the blog, The Lair Of The Evil DM.
I'd never seen a blog before and immediately knew I wanted to create one of my own! After a faltering start with one platform, I switched things up to Blogger, started HeroPress, picked Jeff's brain for ideas about what sort of articles attracted readers etc and I was off and running.
What do you blog about and how frequently do you post?
Primarily I write about geeky things that interest me (RPGs, comics, films, TV etc), spiced up every so often with tasteful pin-ups or wacky art posts. Every so often I write about what's going on in my life, whether it's fun stuff Rachel and I have done or more downbeat pieces about my health.
I try to post at least once a day, but on a good day can publish four or five articles. Having regular features (e.g. Map-A-Monday, Musical Monday, Wonder Woman Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Fleamarket Friday etc) queued up certainly helps here. You can generally judge the state of health by just how much I publish in a month.
|A Wonder Woman Wednesday bonus...|
How does your blog stand out from all the rest?
Wonder Woman Wednesday certainly helps. I'm pretty sure that feature has its own cult following. While the bulk of my text pieces are opinion, I do a reasonable job of posting up-to-date news items that people who don't spend as much time as me surfing geeky sites might have missed. And although I have no technical aptitude at all in the field of coding, I like to think that HeroPress looks good (when viewed on a computer screen) and features lots of interesting 'rabbit holes' (links to other areas of interest online).
What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?
The best thing, as many other bloggers have said in their own SIX OF THE BEST interviews, is the community spirit and the friendships that can develop through interactions with other bloggers. Sometimes it can be technical help, sometimes they can be a sounding board for my dumb ideas, and sometimes it's just great to swap jokey comments and emails.
The worst thing, for me, is the self-imposed sense of duty. Because I want to deliver the highest standard of blog I can, I try to come at HeroPress with the discipline I would bring to an actual paid job. But this also brings with it a sense of obligation and there are times when my brain is cracking the whip and my body just isn't willing.
|I try to run HeroPress as I did the Sevenoaks Chronicle when I was chief reporter and deputy editor|
Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?
I try to run the blog in the same vein as the newspapers and magazines I used to edit, but with slightly more leeway on content, obviously.
No hard swears (except sometimes in film clips, then they will be flagged as NSFW).
No nudity (although a soupçon of sauciness is acceptable).
With exceptions for 'instant' reviews and 'breaking news', I aim to post no more than once every three hours. Usually at set times: 9am, 12, 3pm and 6pm. I think some time back I 'scientifically' calculated that this was a sensible frequency to avoid articles getting lost in a flood of posts.
In my head I have a 'style sheet' for HeroPress, which includes regimented picture sizes (which isn't always possible, but I won't allow them to bust out of the margins), paragraph breaks after each sentence etc and I try to jump on typos as quickly as I spot them.
Yeah, I guess I can be a bit of a perfectionist...
Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).
Many of the blogs I'd encourage people to read are those featured in this fortnightly column, and - while there's some overlap - I'd also recommend checking out any of the blogs listed under Friends Of HeroPress on the lefthand side of the blog.