It’s about time

So far I’ve been a commenter and poster on other people’s blogs. For example, I did a summary of my 2011 on Alison Chisnell’s superb blog. But I’ve finally decided to have a go myself.

Over the last couple of months I have been jotting down notes for blog post ideas. It’s really about time I got those thoughts down in a more articulate form.

But why?

What’s the point in all this blogging malarky?

1. Friendships

The people around me – my network – is one of the most precious things in my life. I love the variety – from my early life friendships, work friendships, twitter friendships, and my old-fashioned-met-face-to-face-socially friendships, to of course, family.

I love the fact that my friends range from: my cherished little nephew age 5; my talented and inspiring pals in their 20s; career go getters in their 30s; deep thinking 40 & 50 somethings; to the most fabulous and badly behaved retirees. The word ‘Network‘ has rather superficial connotations. But probably my biggest realisation has been of how amazing people are, and how wonderful it is to get to know them, just for the sake of it. And that brings its own rewards. In spades. Tony Hsieh puts it a lot more eloquently than me. The connection with blogging is that blogs are a way to connect with and meet people and have a conversation. (Oh go on, comment….it’s just a couple of clicks, I’d love it if you did).

2. Geekiness

I feel really privileged to have lived through the 4 decades when technology has changed our lives. I love things like Twitter, creating an intranet from Google Sites, or messing about on my mac. Stuff like creating a blog, changing header images and messing about with custom menus, is, very sadly to say, my idea of fun. I’m no expert at all, but I enjoy having a go.

3. Loving learning

I started off in work without a clue which direction to take. By some happy accident, after a general line management spell, I ended up a training role. That became L&D management, consultancy, 4 happy years teaching at a university, etc etc…. A couple of weeks ago I realised that I’ve been specialising in this stuff for 16 years. Crikey. I think I’ve picked up the odd thing in that time. I’m interested in it. I don’t really ever have a week go by when I don’t learn something new. I genuinely love learning. Some of the time my head hurts because I feel like an overstuffed hard drive. But hopefully I remember to access the relevant things at the right time. Anyhow, it’s one reason to blog: to sort out that poor old hard drive, and to share the things I’m excited about learning this week.

4. Perspective

flora sailingI’ve got a thing about perspective. Standing at the back of a yacht, watching it bounce about, looking at amazing scenery. Or the view from the top of a mountain. That gives perspective. Being part of a manic start up business (within a corporate). Gives perspective. Getting older. Gives perspective. Reading lots about history. Gives perspective. And sometimes I feel like I’m right at the bottom of the hill or I’m being thrown around in the waves, needing to find a better direction. Either way, a blog is place to chew over that stuff.

5. Writing

Writing is fun isn’t it.

That list was in no particular order. Two questions:

(a) what’s your advice for me as a new blogger? (b) if you are a blogger, why did you start?

31 thoughts on “It’s about time

  1. Hi Flora – great first blog! A must read for any blogging-sceptics out there 🙂
    Look forward to the learning experience x

  2. glad to see you blogging, i am no blogger but keep saying it as it it, and writing in a way that gets you thinking and questioning…

  3. Flora, you’re a natural born blogger!
    I like the perspectives part and you have plenty of that to provide your readers

  4. Absolutely fab to see you starting this blog, Flora. I enjoy connecting with you when we talk and this will be a great place to hear your thoughts on so many things, and have more conversations with you.

    a) it takes a while to find your blogging rhythm and a flow that works for you. I think it took me about 14 months before I fell into a pattern I enjoy. You can feel pressure to have to write, so do it when it works for you.

    b) I started because I wanted a place to share my thoughts on a range of stuff. And that’s as specific and as vague as I can be!

    • Thanks Emily. And Sukh. And that’s useful advice about it taking time to find the right rhythm. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.
      I did ask my elephant blogger but she’s no help!

  5. Loved your LittleFlora travel blog – will this one be a little too intellectual for us poor, ageing retirees? Hope not. Enjoy keeping up with all that you’re doing since you left this neighbourhood. Suppose it’s a bit like snooping from behind the net curtains!

    • Liz I am thrilled to bits to think that you and Tony may read my blog. And that’s false modesty about it being too intellectual. You both can definitely teach me and others a thing or two!
      The alter ego elephant blogger is off up to Scotland this weekend so hopefully there will be something to report Floradventures too. So long as I don’t leave her behind like last time!!!

  6. Wow! The girl is out!!! Love the freshness, the easy to read sections, the reflection and thinking, the gorgeous pics, I reckon you’re rocking already! As Steve says ‘keep saying it as it is sister’ You and I have only managed to share a few words, but love how this allows me to get to know you just a little bit better. Honest, real and true.

    • Well Andi, getting people started with stuff is what I do. And what I like doing. I’m so glad you’ve got so much from it.

      And you have the distinction of providing me with my first “shall I moderate this sweary comment?” dilemma ;-)!

      • Yes – I rarely swear But I was so enthused I coudn’t help myself. Well done! looking forward to reading your stuff.

  7. Well Flora, I’m already inspired! Your first post and your comments really capture what you are about. You got me going on my first blog after I saw what AKH had produced. Sadly my postings are few and far in between these days but I don’t consider it dead as its a record I can add to when I want. My blog is to bring back memories of things, or to record what’s happening on my life really. It’s more of a diary of happenings and thoughts. Good luck with your blog, I am sure it will be a great success.

  8. Fantastic post…you have encouraged so many of us (including me!) to blog and to keep on blogging, its wonderful to see you take the plunge too. I love how you articulate your network and also how your voice and personality really come across in your writing – and look forward to reading more!

    To answer your very good questions. I started blogging, as you know, as a result of the connectingHR unconference and because someone pointed out that it was a little feeble to work in publishing and not experiment with these things. I think that in some ways the first post can be easy, its often the keeping it going that can be the challenge. The things that have kept me blogging have been the enjoyment in finding my voice, having a creative outlet, the comments and interactions I get from others, the social aspect of sharing my thoughts and opinions in a blog.

    Advice? I’m pretty sure you won’t need much, you’re a natural if ever there was one! But, if you insist…
    – Take it at your own speed – I found blogging fairly terrifying to begin with, but you start to get comfortable with it after a few posts
    – Remember that you blog for pleasure and feel free to have a break from it when you need one
    – Be honest with where you’re at and ask for help if you need it – many times when I have been open about things that I’m finding tough, it has resulted in some of the best conversations and most engaging comments and helped to move me forward.

    Really delighted you’ve started, website looks great and can’t wait to read more!

    Alison xx

    • Thank you both, Alison and Bernadette, for your encouraging comments. I agree that it’ll be the keeping going that is harder than starting. When I blogged on an intranet, that was the bit I found hard at times. But you hit the nail on the head when you say that it is for pleasure. So long as my motivation is intrinsic, it should be ok.

  9. One of the things I miss most about you Flora is the fact you always made me think.
    Reflect. Think again.
    You have a way with words that really makes me reflect on the positives rather than drilling into the negatives which can take over.
    I am now so glad you have got me thinking again, and I look forward to the next one.
    Think, think, think, i’m thinking!!!
    Fab first blog. x x x

    • Aw Gemma, what a lovely thing to say. Thinking is most underrated, and so very useful – in our mad rush workplaces. I’ll try and keep you thinking then…that gives me a useful focus.
      And I miss you too! x

  10. It feels like you have always been blogging! Cant explain that but thats how it feels. You have a great style and I can see what gemma means about reflection. Im looking forward to more posts.

    Advice? Well you have contributions from some of the best here so little to add! The only thing I would say is there are no rules really – beware oft he blog police! As mentioned above, its a personal outlet so the only rules are your own.

    Good luck and keep them coming 😉

      • Meanwhile back at Blogger Central the Blog Police were checking their records… “Does she have a license?” Rookey Mike O’Flatterely asked Sargent Minski. “Don’t look like it young fellah. Better start up the bullhorn.” Whhhhhaaaaararararararararaaaaaarrrrr – to be continued…

  11. Hi

    I read your first post just as I was getting home from a holiday spent just outside Plymouth (Devon, UK). I now find myself in another Plymouth (Minnesota, USA). I thought about your debut blog for much of the 8 hours on my long flight over Greenland and Canada. The time flew by. I enjoy blogs that make me think. This was one of them. I was supposed to be catching up on email etc., ho hum.

    When I read my comments back today, they were way too long and contained the phrase, “the best bit”, amusingly often so I had to edit it a lot. Anyway, delighted doesn’t cover it. I bought it the day it came out and it went straight in at number one in my blog parade.

    Why did I start my blog? (securely hidden behind the Thomson Reuters (TR) firewall)

    I always wanted to be a journalist (I bet you didn’t know that!) but I hate deadlines and the pay is rubbish unless you are Jeremy Clarkson and amusing to 12 year olds, you are Michael Heifer and merely contemptible or in management but with extremely crap hours and, these days it seems, respect issues.

    On the other hand, blogging at the ether and hoping, always seemed a little, well, odd, so I waited for a relevant opportunity and then along it came.

    I got involved in the set up of the Project Management community at TR. One of my first first acts, based on all I learned from you and yours last year, was to commit to start a conversation through a blog rather cheesily called The Flywheel.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed it more than anything I have ever (yes, ever) done at work. The best bit was convincing a bunch of project managers that not having something they recognised as a plan was ok, and that a set of behaviours, simple tactics and some success criteria would work, e.g.:

    – That no one really need remember it had anything to do with us (I lead an utterly brilliant team setting up this community)
    – Listening (believe it or not:)
    – Replying to everything and
    – Acting on what the PMs community says

    I love writing, but I enjoy it all the more when I can connect, collaborate and make things happen with other people. Apart from the cold reality of scheduled flights, nothing has else got me out of bed at 0400 for 20 years.

    What advice would I give to a new blogger?

    Easy, enjoy it in a riotous way, be yourself, invest yourself in it, connect, listen and respond.

    Most of that is obvious, but by saying that you should “invest yourself in it”, I think I am just repeating what you are getting at in this post and in the the article you reference on the value of relationships over networks. Thinking about it as I whizzed over land and sea on Sunday helped me distill something I have been mulling for ages about a spectrum of relationships. I had to edit this bit down a very great deal as it was a whole thing in itself, long, complicated and unfinished.

    Connection can lead to friendship which sometimes results in trust which very rarely leads to interdependence. I’ve got a thing about interdependence.

    Outside of family, there are no more than 3 people with whom I feel interdependent, a further 10 that I really trust, at a guess 20 real friends and, according to LinkedIn+FB+Twitter+TheParishMagazine+MyBookerPrizeWinningCV, hundreds of connections. The numbers don’t matter, but the process is an amazing one. Another time I may tell you how my version of this continuous process went from unconscious / lazy to being very conscious and hugely enjoyable. In summary, the getting older bit you refer to has helped.

    Anyway, as you continue invest yourself in your blog (this isn’t advice, I know you will anyway) you know better than I that the chances of connecting to, becoming friends with, learning to trust and becoming interdependent with people increases. I know of no greater reward.

    You know all this, in fact I suspect you told me much of it in the first place 🙂

    What unexpected or barely hoped for outcomes resulted from my blog experience? (Never ask me just two questions, especially just before I get on a plane)

    What they are doesn’t really matter, except to say that they have been a revelation. Some examples from very many, all about learning things:

    I now have the phrase “You can’t plan a conversation.”, tattooed somewhere only I get to see (that’s the inside of one of my eyelids in luminous ink in case you feel the need to press the moderate button again 🙂

    Writing things really helps you to think, connect ideas and learn. Involving other people in the process accelerates the learning process exponentially and is fabulously enjoyable.

    Inviting trouble causers in and give them responsibility is a like a social roller coaster, “go on then”, “are we there yet?”. Results: two belting ideas on one day; one already partly implemented, the other on my tatty list of impossible things, stuck in the long grass but about to get kicked out inch by inch.

    There’s a few more but I should shut up.

    Keep asking questions, I will try to keep up 🙂


    • Oooof, I want to reply, but I don’t know where to start. So first of all, thank you for taking the time to think so much about what I said and for taking the time to comment with so many ideas and reflections. I’m so very glad that your internal blogging has proved so worthwhile. My very first blogging experience was on an intranet – 3 years ago or so – but whilst I think it had some use, I don’t think it led to the same exciting outcomes as yours has. So hats off. And thank you for the advice to invest myself in it. That’s wise I think. I think that advice is useful in general. Get stuck in or don’t. It’s very easy to dodge about timidly at the edge of the water, but why not either jump in and swim or just stay on the beach and watch.

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  13. Cor blimey – what a start your maj! Have fun – that’s my advice. Do it for yourself first and foremost, and I think it’s worth trying to keep a bit of discipline. Certainly around how often you write. As a geek I could share with you my correlations between frequency and number of visitors, in fact I’m sure I blogged about that a while back. I find it kinda helps to have some themes, though I’m quite loose about that where others seem very focussed.

    I started blogging in 2008 because I like to write. And I now find myself with a useful archive of material for that book I keep thinking about…

    Happy trails.

    • Thanks Your Honour!
      Doug, when you mention the correlation between views and frequency, what did you mean? Do people find your blog more interesting if you blog less often or more often. And if so, how often?

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  15. Wonderful blog Flora, it comes from the heart with the truth is. Keep doing it from there and you will have comment overload – as you have already! Fresh and honest, thank you!

    • Steve, Andi, Dave, Liz, and Sharon, I’m
      so chuffed that you all commented. Dave – I think that the investment in yourself requires patience and also passion. When I’m passionate about something then the learning bit is easy – the time flies and I am absorbed in it.
      Steve – yes, fitting in with the place where we work is important. If short termism gets in the way of building a great culture, it’ll come back and bite in the end.
      Sharon, and Liz – thanks for the thumbs up!
      Andi – what can I say ;-)?!

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