Question Time

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“You are to leave under the act of being a tool”

A few weeks ago I was at the supermarket when I saw the cutest baby. So I do what I do when I see a baby, I stop and talk to it. My Mum does this ALL THE TIME and I have inherited this from her.

His mother asked me if I was Mrs. Woog and I answered in the affirmative.

She later emailed me, as she was a new blogger and wanted to know whether we could catch up for a coffee and if I could have my brains picked.

Yesterday we spent an hour together, with her asking questions and me playing with her baby. It was a fair deal in my opinion!

So I asked the Facebook Page whether they had any questions for me. And there were. So without further ado, I welcome you to Question Time.

Melinda – How do you separate work from home from housework and mum/wife work?

I usually work from the morning until 2pm. I get the kids off to school, put the dishy on, the washy on, do a general tidy up of the joint and then write. I take a break at 11.30am to watch the news. And then back to work until 2pm when I knock off. This is a normal day when I don’t have anything on. I block out times to respond to emails, respond to comments and pick at my face in a magnifying mirror. I shower at night. I am not sure why you needed to know that, but I felt the urge to write it. I try to be in bed by 9.30pm. We ALWAYS eat dinner together and have an hour of conversation. I use that term loosely.

Ann – Where in Ireland did your parents come from?

My parents and their parents were actually born in Australia. Their oldies were from Dublin.

Mary Anne – I have been struggling with building my blog on a SAHMs zero income. Do you really need to spend to attract? Also how do you get in touch with PR people to get on their media lists or does that just happen when you have the numbers?

I have been working with PR Guru Lena Sachs for years, and she has answered this better than I can. Lena works at Bite Communications and you can contact her here.

Hi Mary Ann!

I’m a PR person, and if you’re just starting out in the blogging world, the easiest thing for you to do would be to prepare a ‘media kit’ – essentially, it can be a 1-2 page document that includes an overview of who you are, what you write about, what your interests are and include as many ‘statistics’ as you can i.e. how many instagram followers you have, how many UMVs your blog receives each month etc. Then, I’d send it to some of the PR agencies that have clients that you’d aspire to work with.

I can tell you that with most bloggers I work with, it’s not necessarily the ‘big numbers’ that we’re looking for – rather we’re looking for people who have a genuine connection with their audience and receive great engagement with them, and we’re always looking for new people to work with. Hope that helps xx

Lena

Neeter – Would you come to Perth? We can ply you with coffee and ask you questions.

Do you know that I have never been to Perth? I would love to come!

Selina – Most important thing, that you learnt the hard way in blogging that you’ll happily share so we don’t make the same mistake please?

Don’t be up yourself. Be generous. Measure success by goals that you set yourself, and never compare yourself to others.

Emily – How do you manage the negatives responses or hurtful remarks?

Negative comments can be broken down and you need to know whether they add to the conversation, or are just trying to kill the conversation. If someone disagrees with me, and does so in a polite and intelligent way, then I welcome that. Of someone is just being an outright mole, or starts calling me or other readers derogatory names, well they are shown the door quite quickly. I am lucky enough not to experience it very often, but the bigger your blog gets the more often it occurs. #spankytown.

Jennie (My mums best friend) – Your mum is the worst for accosting babies, I’ve told her that one day the mother will call the police, thinking she’s trying to steal it, it must be the politician in her lol !!!

This I know to be true.

Jacqui – I have a blog and recently I have had a whole shitload of things to deal with regarding my 9-year-old daughter with horrendous anxiety so the blog has been put on the back burner. Now I’m wondering how I get the motivation to get back into it.

I think that looking after your daughter is paramount. You will know when it is time to get back into it. I know that this is vague, but you will just know. Sending love xx

Ingrid – How do you deal with the privacy issue? What’s the balance between connecting with people and helping others and giving your family privacy because they never asked to be blogged about (in fact, the teens are now asking specifically NOT to be blog fodder?)

Such a good question Ingrid. When I started blogging 6 years ago, I had NO IDEA that blogging would turn out like the way it has. I blogged for a year before my family even found out. Back in the day I blogged about my kids in a way I would never dream of doing now. But I cannot look back and regret things that I have done, because it is DONE. Everyone will have a different set of parameters when it comes to privacy. Just find the area that you are comfortable in.

Ruth – Can you help me to lose weight Mrs Woog. I am morbidly obese and it’s starting to kill me.

Sorry Ruth. I cannot help you lose weight. You need to do it for yourself. Find yourself a good support network and start with a visit to a great GP. You can do it Ruth. I know you can. xx

Deb – How did you believe in yourself enough to start a blog? Have you always been a writer? I often get told I should write a blog as I’m supposedly funny. My background is publishing but always working on other people’s work. It is a big thing to put yourself out there and expose your thoughts and feelings.

I started a blog when no-one really knew what one was. I started it because I was home with two small kids and I was starting to get a bit of cabin fever, so I escaped with words. Yes, I have always been a writer, even as a kid, and you want to know something, I too worked in publishing for a decade. But I was restless. It is a big thing to put yourself out there, and it is certainly not for everyone. But if you do it just for yourself, it is just so rewarding.

 

Emily – When you feel like your head is about to explode with stress or anxiety what do you do to calm the chicken farm?

Tell everyone around you to just FUCK RIGHT OFF, then go into your bedroom, drag the chest of drawers across the door and weep.

Tell yourself “This is just a current state of play and it shall pass…” Then SCENE CHANGE! Good lord I know it is so dull to hear, but get out by yourself and walk around the block very briskly taking in deep breaths as you go. You can even walk to the nearest bottle shop and pick yourself up your favourite wine! TWO BIRDS- ONE STONE MY LOVE!

Natalie – This probably a too personal a financial question, but how do you get to make blogging a career choice without a paycheck – or a business that can earn you an income so you can escape the need for being an employee. And then for part two, does trying to make a living doing something you love kill the love for it because it’s now your career?

Three years ago, I had a good long talk to myself in the mirror about what the next chapter in my life. What did I want it to look like? Was I happy? Do I have an exit strategy? Should I just throw it all in and get a job in an office? (Doing what I wouldn’t know, I am pretty sure I am unemployable after all my shenanigans!)

This blog changed the direction of my life so I consciously decided that I was going to give it a red-hot go. I joined The Remarkables Agency, who handle the commercial deals, I wrote articles for other sites and continue to do so. I got a book deal with Allen and Unwin and I put myself out there. And that gamble has so far paid off.

Part two of your question, the answer is no. I love writing on this blog and opening a fresh word document is heaven for me.

Sarai – A question I’ve always wanted to ask but seemed too silly is…are you able to use google images/pictures in your blog posts? Is there any copyright issues around that? I just always see blogs with pictures that aren’t their photos and I wonder if the images they are using are freely accessible? Thank you so much for answering.

When possible it is always best practice to use your own images. I am expecting a law suit any day now.

Fiona – Mrs Woog. Is there any way of keeping one’s blogging private from family and friends and/or local community? What happens when someone discovers you have basically called them a raving lunatic, a liar and a thief? I think I may have also called some people fucksticks. But their names were changed to protect them from being publicly identified as fucksticks, does that count?

You are walking on a tightrope there Fiona! I am not sure if there is anyway you can stop your family and friends from accessing your blog unless you set it completely to private. I understand that some people are fucksticks, but you will get curry from them if they work out that it is them that you are talking about. I follow the rule that if you create the tone, then your followers will respond in the same way.

Melissa – Can you come play with my baby so I can have a nap?

I am on my way! TO THE BATMOBILE…

And just like that, Question Time was over…

Or was it?