Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

My Blogging Life


Today I want to celebrate my Golden Jubilee post (50 posts since March) with a bit of talk about blogging and what it’s done for me. Litlove writes a fantastic post on trying define the blog genre here. I’ll pick up on some of things she writes that speak most particularly to me.

I encouraged my husband to start a blog because he is opinionated, forever writing off emails to people about things he cares about (in the software world specifically). A day after his blog began, I thought “I want one too”, wrote a post about a bad day with my kids, and I was off. What started as mummyblogging quickly turned into something else: I found I wanted to write about the books I was reading, the movies I was seeing, even the food I was cooking. I wanted to write about what it feels to be a transplant in a culture that is not my own. I wanted to write about my weight madness. And I just wanted to write.

I wouldn’t call it a diary, because I don’t want to bore others and myself with repeating my daily life: wake, feed children, clothe children, deliver children, fetch children, feed children, deliver children, entertain children, feed children, bath children, read to children, kiss children goodnight – not that entertaining, really. It’s not a pulpit because I don’t proselytise, it’s not a soapbox because since South Africa’s been free for 12 years I don’t have major political issues and I’m not advertising my skills since I already have enough customers.

My blog is a place where I am. It’s a place where I like to be. To quote Litlove, I’m making sense of my life through words. I think the best thing for me has been developing a voice that I like the sound of. This has translated into finding a creative voice too. A few years ago, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and while I loved the idea of morning pages (three pages written every morning as an exercise in stream of consciousness and liberating the trapped narrative voice), I couldn’t get it together. My blog has helped me free my narrative voice, and stories are emerging. A novel that I started two years ago has come back to life, but from a better, fresher angle.

I like the idea of an audience. I hope to entertain, and amuse. I like engaging with people who are interested in similar things. I love it when I trawl WordPress’s Tag Surfer and find a new blog that speaks to me, or when I read someone’s post and think “you are my kind of person”. Litlove talks about the community element of blogging, and that’s what makes it so much more real for me than morning pages or a journal. I like the public nature, the element of discovery and the randomness.

And it’s working for others too. When I started blogging, WordPress had 230 000 members, as of today, there are 310 000. I don’t want to read them all, but I hope they’re having as much fun as I am.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

13 thoughts on “My Blogging Life

  1. I am so glad that you are having fun with this! I know we cannot just have a cup of tea together but I tell you what, since you started doing this I DO have a cup of tea each day with you. I cannot wait to get my cuppa and settle down to see what you have written today! You bring a smile to my face and and put the sunshine on my heart. You make me feel normal… whatever that may be 🙂 Keep blogging! Congratulations on your 50!

  2. What a wonderful post, Charlotte! Blogging is just such good fun – I must say I’ve found my own voice better from having done it and I can see people like yourself and Bloglily jst writing more and more creatively and confidently all the time. Good luck for that novel! I can’t wait for one of us bloggers to get published. We’ll have to have an online party.

  3. Oh hi charlotte! I read your post at MomSquawk…. just nice to meet another blogging SA woman at a US site! As far as blogging goes… yes , it keeps me sane and make me feel a part of the world out there! Warm wishes!

  4. Congrats on your fiftieth post – I, for one, am thrilled you started blogging and I enjoy coming here every day to see what’s happening. And it’s interesting how this medium works for all of us. I think it’s definately helping my creative voice, but more than that it helps me pre-write, tackle things in essays and short stories. It’s experimental and it’s fun and you can try things out and make new friends. I really look at it as a place to try out new kinds of writing (review, food, etc) as well. Well, here’s to your next 50 posts!

  5. Happy Jubilee Charlotte! Here’s to many more posts [toasts in luke warm coffee]

    It’s very odd (in a good way) reading your blog. I’m the original walk away and don’t look back chameleon girl. I left South Africa at 18 (still under apartheid then) and never went back. Never even wanted to. I lost my accent really fast & most people assume I’m a NZer and I allow them to think that. But reading your blog is really awaking a lot of feelings and memories which I’m thinking I want to write about and explore sometime though its all very raw and personal.

    In fact I’m finding at the moment I’m thinking of a lot more things to blog about than I have time to say. I think that is because I’ve happened upon such a stimulating group of bloggers- you, Bloglily and Litlove and others. And also I’ve been experiencing a weird shock of recognition in the blogging of others. I’ve sometimes felt kind of a freak in my obsessions and in the way I read and ponder what I read- and it’s actually quite unusual for me to feel like a number people might get me and be similar kinds of people themselves (at least in a lot of ways).

  6. The thing about South Africa is that once it gets under your skin, it’s always there. I haven’t lived there for 10 years now, but whenever I go back I’m amazed by my PHYSICAL reaction to the land – it smells and feels and sounds right. As for the blogging thing, I’m finding the more I blog the more I’ve got to blog about. And the more I read other people’s great blogs, the more I want to carry on doing this. I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms Make Tea!

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog! I haven’t had a chance to wander through your archives, but this post really encapsulates why I blog too. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  8. Great post. I too, have been through the Artist’s Way, which was wonderful and I did do the morning pages for quite a long time. I think a blog is like a natural progression from the Artist’s Way, because in AW you learn to be aware of your thoughts and in a blog you have somewhere to put them all. I did AW in a group which was a life changing experience – after attempting to do it alone and failing at Week 5. Those people became great friends who I can talk, laugh and do karaoke with.

    If you like Margaret Atwood (she’s my favourite too), there is a link to an interview with her on Secretmojo’s site.

  9. Great post about blogging. I started in March too and the biggest surprise has been the sense of community that comes through and then how much I’m enjoying writing, not to mention the new addiction to feed back from my blog friends.

    Just found you by searching for other South African blogs with kids.

  10. Liebe Charlotte,
    Alles Gute zum deinen Blogjubileum! Es ist immer so schön zu sehen was du geschrieben hast! Du machts das so gut und interessant und amusant!
    Congratulation und bitte mach weiter!!!

  11. I enjoyed that, Charlotte. You’ve encapsulated perfectly what it is blogging does for people and, I think, especially women. I recognised my own experience in yours. It’s opened up a whole new world to me and I really do consider it a revolutionary new way for people to talk to each other, discuss what’s on their minds and improve their own skills. My only problem is finding the time to visit the ever-increasing number of great blogs I find. I’m having fun here too. Off to snoop around some more…

  12. “A novel that I started two years ago has come back to life, but from a better, fresher angle.” That’s my favorite part, because one of my own reasons for blogging is that I want to approach something like a narrative style. Not sure if I can ever put that to use, but I do wish that I can write *one* good short story sometime. Best wishes on your novel.

    And Happy 50th of course!

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