A blogging decision today: rather than try to write every day which is currently unrealistic, I’m going to write on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday – that way the topics will be, well – topical!
I’m still glued to Twitter, Al Jazeera English and Bikya Misr; along with Facebook to get news of events in Egypt and BBC Arabic on the radio.
One of the things I’d like to explore in the next few issues is my experience of blogging. I started writing here – in December last year – slightly in a rush because I’d promised myself to start blogging in 2010 and realised that time was running out! At the time I was a little confused about what I was going to write about with seemingly conflicting topics and themes, held together only by me being the originator. So I decided to write about Arabic literature, predominantly Arab women writers. It quickly became clear that I wasn’t actually reading anything new at the moment because I was writing reviews for the backlog of books I’d already read.
With this in mind, my focus shifted slightly to writing about whatever I happened to be reading and this seemed comfortable for a while too. Until events in Egypt took over and pretty much all of my reading was via the internet and I hadn’t factored this in as being ‘reading’.
My instinct is that a blog is most likely to attract readers if it has a clear identity or subject matter and I keep tussling with myself to identify what is my genre if you like. However, the flip side of attracting the reader is interesting the writer (i.e. me!). Perhaps my best advice to myself, and any other newbie to blogging, would be to clarify for yourself why you are writing – i.e. are you writing for the process of writing itself, or to find an audience and therefore for the process of being read?
In an ideal world I am writing for the process of writing, but my ego gets in the way and I very much like the idea of being read. This brings me back to my point that in order to be found and read in the enormous world that is blogging – I would be better writing to a theme that is easily identifiable and therefore easy for a potential reader to find.
Oh the dilemma! Anyway, for now, I will continue to both read and write and let’s see how my voice and virtual persona develop over time and see what happens in terms of readers and being found.
With only 100 pages left of Parrot and Olivier in America I am of course beginning to wonder about what to read next! Taxi by Egyptian writer Khaled Al Khamissi is a strong candidate bringing together 58 fictional dialogues with Cairo taxi drivers. It explores the ‘petty, daily frustrations of Egypt’s working poor’ and is almost certainly a timely look at some of the causes of the current protests.