Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Bringing bliss back to blogging

Let’s face it: blogs have fallen out of fashion. We seem to prefer posting on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook instead. So why bother with maintaining a translator’s blog – or indeed a blog on whatever topic?

As Nikki Graham noted following her translation and interpreting blog survey, many translators’ blogs have either disappeared or haven’t been updated for months, and in some cases, years. One reason for this is that writing blog articles is time-consuming, and translators typically are very busy people!

To blog or not to blog

As you can see, my blog is still alive and kicking; yet, with no room for comments, no RSS feed and only sporadic posting, it is unconventional. What’s more, my blog theme is unusual – perhaps even to the point of being off-putting.

After setting up this blog many moons ago, I soon became disillusioned with blogging for the translators’ blogosphere. I found (back in 2007) I was facing a select circle of “famous” bloggers, which I realised newcomers would find hard to break into (and even harder if they were non-native English writers like me).

Disillusioned with this situation, I changed direction without further ado: I overhauled my entire blogging approach, deleted old, purely translation-related posts, and basically stopped blogging with marketing or work goals in mind. To cut a long story short, I switched from blogging for business to blogging as a hobby.

Pick a blog theme that really fires up!

Does your blog theme fire you up?

I’d also happened to read something that had set me thinking: if as a blogger you want to be in it for the long haul, it is vital to pick a blog theme that really fires up. Sadly, blogging about translation alone did not fire me up, so I decided to weave minimalism into my blog theme.
Minimalism was an obvious choice, as in previous years some of the most charismatic people I’d met (in books and online) had been minimalists, and some of the most inspiring quotes I’d seen had been about minimalism. Minimalism did fire me up, and for the first time I felt I was suddenly all set for long-haul blogging!

Making the jump to unconventional blogging

Weaving minimalism into my blog theme was a move for the better which I’ve never regretted. I’d broken free from old thought loops about what type of content ideally should be on my translator’s blog. Blogging was something I could now do in my free time! Deep down, I realised I’d never really been keen to share industry news. The pressure was off.

The decision to wave goodbye to my old translation-only blog was liberating: I started seeing blogging as a way of practising writing, tucked away from the frenzy of mainstream blogging, in my own quiet little niche. Overnight, I stopped trying to seek others’ approval of what I’d come up with in my posts. And I’ve never looked back since.

A blog is still the place for self-expression!

Despite my initial disillusionment with writing for the translators’ blogosphere, I felt I still wanted to carry on with blogging. One of my teenage dreams, after all, had been to be able to write good English one day. This ambition seemed very far off when I was 15; thanks to practising writing by blogging, it no longer seems so far off today.

I’d also read some fascinating stuff on how to write for the web – and was itching to have a go at it myself! In the end there’s no denying that for writers a blog is still an excellent place for self-expression. A blog offers space to fully flesh out an idea, where you can go as deep as you want.

I believe it is beneficial for every one of us to identify a suitable medium to unlock our own channels of creativity, whether that’s music, drawing or writing. If there’s one thing that my first hesitant blogging attempts had taught me, it was this: I’d started loving that elusive, blissful feeling of being in a “flow” state when working on my posts. And I still love it today!

Translators’ blogs may have fallen out of fashion, but there are valid reasons even today to maintain a translator’s blog. For me blogging has become a way of practising writing in my free time. It no longer means business, but pleasure!