Why I Write
A few days ago I was tagged in a post by a good friend of mine, Toni. She writes a blog called Shape of Things to Come, which is about a range of sustainability ideas and topics. In her post, Why I Write, she explains her reasons for writing, and finished by passing the buck to me (complete with Antarctic pun).
Late last year, Toni’s blog (and life) took an interesting turn. At around the same time as I departed Australia bound for Antarctica, she was bound for Lima, Peru. She’s been working there ever since in environmental management and policy; an area in which she is skilled, experienced and passionate. She champions practical and pragmatic environmental solutions that are accessible to ordinary folk (which is a much needed thing in the face of government policies that seem orders of magnitude beyond all of us), sometimes at her own expense, and something of an inspiration to me for that very reason.
But without further ado, I am to answer some questions in this, my first blog hop.
What am I working on?
Nothing. Well, not really nothing, but I don’t have any strategic goals for this blog that I’m working towards. This blog is a place for me to share photos and stories for entertainment and posterity, not a tool with which I am attempting to change the world.
Sometimes I am working on something with my photography, like when I developed (pun!) a fascination with astrophotography and managed to get a couple of decent Milky Way shots around the Vestfold Hills. At the moment I’m trying to get the portrait lens out more often, as we’ve all discovered a lack of photographs of ourselves that will be suitable for our yearbook. Many of the people around station appreciate having a small collection of different photos of themselves, and my camera gear suits candid photography so I get a few good shots every now and then.
How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
Assuming that the genre is ‘I’m living somewhere amazing for a while and brought a camera with me’, I think mine differs on the small things. My content isn’t unique as there are many talented writers and photographers in Antarctica at any given time, but my particular style of photography and writing are different in subtle ways. I do have a propensity to slip in a word that isn’t commonly used from time to time, and I’m not afraid to play with some advanced punctuation too (I love semicolons!)
Many adventure blogs lean towards either stunning photography to wow people, or personal and intimate stories and photos to drag people into the adventure. For better or worse, I try to straddle the middle ground between the two. Sometimes I’m quite pleased with how a photo has turned out and decide to share it with all of you. Other times I feel like showing you where I work, where I live, or something cool that Antarctica has done to itself while we look on in amazement. I’ve also shared my less-than-stellar photos to try and show you a little of my journey as an amateur photographer.
Why do I write what I do?
I write my blog posts for three distinct reasons. First, and foremost, I write these posts for friends and family back home and abroad. I write to share my adventure with everyone that can’t be here, that I haven’t visited in a long time, or that I just like sharing my adventure with.
Secondly, I write this blog for myself. Though I’m down here living my adventure, I want to make sure I have a record not only of what I saw, but of what I was doing, feeling and thinking. Through my writing I describe what I see and do, but I subtly include what I was thinking and feeling while sitting at my desk and reflecting on the topic at my fingertips. Even now I look back through old posts from time to time and remember the journey that lead me to where I am right now. I will ensure this content stays with me for as long as I can keep it around, as I’m sure I’ll enjoy reliving my Antarctic winter a decade from now.
My last reason for writing is in the hope that others will derive some use or pleasure from it. I especially enjoy seeing when the stats show someone from another country, a country with its own Antarctic expedition, stumbles upon my blog having searched for Midwinter celebrations (for example).
How does my writing process work?
It just does, really. Once I get writing on a topic I find that the sentences and paragraphs just flow. Finding a suitable topic, however is where the drama lies. Sometimes I have a collection of photos from an event or occasion that just need to be processed and uploaded, and that makes it easy. Other times, due to luck, poor weather or both, I have no topic in mind. In such cases my workflow is something like this:
On Thursday I note to myself that I have no topic for my blog post and start thinking about ideas. Regardless of whether I come up with one, I shortly thereafter forget all about my blog. On Saturday, in rare moments of inspiration, I will grab my camera and wander around the station taking photos and hunting for a muse. In this rare case, I will often come back with a great many photos, a small subset of which I will be quite chuffed with. Typically, however, Saturday passes with no thought of my blog having entered my mind.
When Sunday rolls around, I again remember my blog and go to high alert trying to manufacture an idea that I like. How well I do at this is entirely up to you, and if you’ve read my previous posts I’m sure you’ll have made up your own mind.
Sharing the love!
In this section I’m supposed to ‘pay it forward’ by sharing with you my favourite blogs. Unfortunately I only read one blog, and that’s Toni’s blog: Shape of Things to Come – Building a sustainable future, together. It’s good enough to be worth mentioning twice, so I don’t feel bad about that part, but I would’ve liked to pay it forward. If this post inspires you to write something similar on your own blog, please share a link to it in the comments 🙂
P.S. This post was late because it disappeared on me! No, really; I had a bit of a technical glitch and my carefully-worded post failed to save correctly. Apologies for the late publishing two weeks in a row.