Monday, April 04, 2011

In search of inspiration - is there a niche within the Liberal Democrat blogosphere for someone like me?

Those of you who know me fairly well will know that I am, at heart, reasonable. A bit impetuous at times, yes, but generally slow to anger. City life can be a bit irritating, but even when I'm annoyed by something, my response is generally argued rather than ranting. In short, I'm not the classic angry blogger.

However, being vaguely annoyed by something acts as a motivation to comment, and has kept me going as a blogger for more five years. And that's my problem. Since I transferred my job to Ipswich, a lot of the things that irritate me have been removed. Life is slower, and I've adjusted rather well, almost too well.

It plays havoc with the motivation to blog. I'm not a councillor, so I don't have any particularly interesting stuff to report back - Creeting St Peter Parish Council is not, in truth, somewhere where big, exciting things happen. I'm a bit isolated from the wider Party now that I live outside London and Ros is no longer President. And, as I may have mentioned before, life is good.

So I suppose I'm in search of inspiration - is there a niche within the Liberal Democrat blogosphere for someone like me?...

16 comments:

rankersbo said...

Mark, I only met you the once so most of what I know comes from your blog, so even if it is fuelled by irritation, you still give the impression of being a reasonable man.

I do know what you mean about lacking inspiration.

Mark Valladares said...

Rankersbo,

You are very kind. I do find myself wondering about whether being part of a Party in government acts as a brake on blogging in the round, or whether your political persuasion is a more important factor.

And perhaps I'm just struggling to define a new role for myself...

Mark Pack said...

Absolutely a role for you. In fact more than one, but here's just the one example - you understand how the party works, lots of people want to influence what the party does and helping them with your knowledge is, in government, even more important than it used to be.

Mark Valladares said...

Mark,

Thank you for being so thoughtful. The problem is, being worthy and dull risks being a mite soul-destroying. My column for Lib Dem Voice appeared to be broadcasting into the void (apologies for being so erratic recently, by the way), and one does wonder whether anyone really cares, it's so much easier to have a quick rant about how difficult everything is and move on.

It's just beginning to feel like the equivalent of the 'contractual obligation' album...

Paul Walter said...

Of course there is a role. Normality is refreshing in the Liberal Democrats.But there is only any point in blogging when you feel like it. Sometimes it's very liberating to pause blogging for a day or so or even a week or a month. Then when you feel like it, blog about something you feel like blogging about. You'll come back reinvigorated. And very often the interesting things happen at parish councils....

Mark Valladares said...

Paul,

You're right, of course. The problem with a blog, as I see it, is that it needs feeding, and the more you feed it, the more it needs feeding. If you stop, it dies.

Perhaps I need to manage my expectations better...

Jennie said...

Sweetheart, you're doing that MAN thing. The idea of having a blog for one subject and one subject alone is alien to me, as a laydee. I post about what I want to post about, and people read it because sometimes I post interesting things.

Post about cats or country walks. Post about gourmet beer. Post about the trains, or the local market, or anything. I, for one, will read it because I like your writing style and I care about you and I want to see what you have to say, whatever the subject of your post.

Bugger feeling isolated, and bugger straitjacketing yourself into one pigeon hole for blogging (or even unmixed metaphors). Bugger the self-appointed guardians of the Lib Dem blogosphere for that matter. There's room on The Internet for you because there's room on The Internet for EVERYBODY.

((I've not been reading you on LDV because they're still using messagespace ads so I'm still boycotting, but I'm sure what you write there is equally as interesting as what you write here))

Mark Valladares said...

Jennie,

Well yes, but I do blog about other things - not as often as I might, but I do like to maintain a degree of privacy. I just sense that blogging without purpose is an exercise in futility, and I tend to need an excuse to do something to ensure that it gets done.

On the other hand, people have been pretty reassuring, so perhaps I ought not to become so angst-ridden...

*big hug*

Caron said...

I agree with everybody else -I don't want to see a blogosphere with a Lady Mark shaped hole in it.

I'm now getting a bit worried because I don't have these existential crises about my blog - I just inflict my random thoughts on life and the universe on everybody.

Seriously, though, you are the sort of blogger who keeps their head when all around are losing theirs, you know the party so well and you always have something simple to say.

Don't force yourself to blog if you can't find something to say, but alternatively, don't hold back either.

And blogs don't need feeding. They can sleep for a while from time to time and then a new post can appear all of a sudden like a precious jewel - like Jennie's recent ones have been. She hadn't written for ages and as soon as I saw that she'd posted, I was over to see what she'd said like a bat out of hell.

No pressure to post daily, but also don't give up - and being in Government has its challenges, but there's no need to stop. Nor is there any need to agree with everything the Government does.

MatGB said...

Aye, angst is pointless.

But FWIW, I've been blogging less and less since I moved up here, in Torquay and London I was posting stuff all the time, these days I'm posting less and less.

But, I do post stuff when I've something to say. And I also post stuff when there's something useful that having a high presence in Google creates.

Like when you're actually running for the council in the winnable seat that you live in (which is nice).

Like the others have said, there's a niche--FWIW, I always enjoy reading your LDV posts (well, perhaps "enjoy" isn't the word--find useful?) but rarely have anything to comment on them. I'm much more likely to comment on an issue post, or one i think is blitheringly stupid, so news/policy posts get more comments than "this is how things work" psts, mostly because I hate "thanks, that was useful" comments, I get too many of them as spam.

I agree with Jennie though, write about anything you like or care about, regardless of whether it's party--for a start, your local voters will like you more if you're human, not just a competent bureacrat ;-)

But if there's less to say, post less, people'll still read when you do post, the "most post all the time" mindset is true, if you want to be a Top Blogger, but who wants to be Iain Dale?

Jennie said...

Blogging about other things doesn't have to mean juicy tell-all. Do some theatre reviews or something. If you want to. Or Wii games.

Blogging about what interests you =/= blogging without purpose, either. Think of it as keeping in touch with those who love you. There's a fair few of us about, you know.

* hug back *

Just, you know, steer clear of the WAAAAAAAH angsty stuff. That's my territory.

;)

Mark Valladares said...

Caron,

Again, thank you. Although it isn't an existential crisis as such - hard to think that way when the problem is a general level of happiness. I suppose my question is, is it worth doing something not particularly well just for the sake of doing it?

And, of course, I tend to blog with the brakes on anyway, that's the bureaucrat in me. I like to have a sense of the other side of the argument, even if I don't agree with it. I don't go all out on the attack because it isn't me.

I can't see me giving it up though, although it may evolve a bit.

Mark Valladares said...

Mat,

You're almost certainly right, I probably need to get out more, so to speak. And the Liberal Bureaucrat tag is a bit restrictive...

Mark Valladares said...

Jennie,

Sanity, as ever. Inspired, I'm going to shoot a few tanks on the Wii...

*another hug*

Mark Pack said...

I can understand why it feels like posting into a void, but I think it's a void that takes time to fill - and it's well worth trying to gradually expand the number of people who know how the party works and makes use of its systems to promote their views.

Mark Valladares said...

Mark,

It's perhaps all about timing, and it just seems a bit like hard work at the moment. Perhaps some time off and a change of scenery might help...