Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sunday Roast

The Portuguese Man Of Warmth

This week's interview is with Terry Fletcher,
who writes the blogs Terry's Playpen and the FLOG.

The first of the standard weekly questions: Why do you blog?

I've looked at all the questions, and on reflection this is probably going to be the most difficult one to answer. I started out years ago with a Wordpress Blog called Paradise Discovered. It was aimed specifically at recording events that were occuring in our personal life at that time, but our "Cunning Plans" got delayed somewhat and I stopped updating it. Then, recently, the Music-Police threatened the site with closure, so I decided to put it on hold myself. It is worth the click to see my 'holding page', and if you really want to see what the original looked like, simply change 'index' to 'index2' in the URL.

Now my blogging has become an extension of my main website. On the site I restrict myself to publishing what others have to say about a fairly narrow subject. But the blog element of the site allows me to continue to express a more personal point of view. I don't post frequently, the result of running the main site, updating it regularly and fending off the attentions of the mindless morons that exist in cyberspace.

What's the story behind your blog name?

I am running several, like Terry's Playpen that a few of your visitors are familiar with, but the one I consider a 'Blog-blog' is called the FLOG and is an acronym composed of the first two letters of my surname, FL, and the last two letters of the word blOG. Seemed like a good idea at the time!

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The ability to 'publish and be damned' without being constrained by the outside influences of structure, or plot, or grammar! And it is always nice to receive comments on something one has written, especially the complimentary ones. There are some very interesting people out there, and a Blog is a terrific way to reach out and touch them.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

In no particular order of merit:

  • Keep it short and sharp. Surfing bloggers don't have a long attention span. Most tend to do their blogging and reading AFTER they've done a day's work and by then they're tired and don't have much patience. If you don't catch their attention immediately they are more likely to leave than surf through the posts!

  • If you blog about a topic that isn't your primary source of living, and if it isn't about you personally, then expect the reader to wonder, "What is your authority for discussing this subject?", and leave. Most won't even be tempted to leave a comment.

  • Try to break up your textual matter with something pictorial, preferably relevant to the text. This will entertain your visitors.

  • Try to use a template that has a good contrast, preferably dark lettering on a light background. You don't want to exhaust your visitors by making it difficult to read what you have so carefully composed and written.

  • Îf you use 'parochial' references (or phrases), take every opportunity to explain them to your readers. Visitors from your own country may not be familiar with them; the international ones will certainly be thankful for the insight!

  • Post as frequently as you can, but try to be 'cohesive' about your posts. Stick to a theme, or perhaps two, or even three, max! Scribbling the first thing that is on your mind isn't necessarily going to cut it. Your regular visitors may put up with it for while, but even they will eventually drift away.

  • Never apologise for anything you've published. If you didn't mean it, you wouldn't (or shouldn't) have published it in the first place! Which means you need to give your blog posts a great deal of thought before you publish.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Tough one, this. There are dozens, but if you insist on one then it has to be the post on Shrinky's (I'm using her new pseudonym) Shrink-wrapped scream - (the first blog) - about her visit to Kenya and how her son ultimately 'accepted' their guide. A human-interest story of the highest calibre! Unfortunately, I am unable to link to the article because she has mothballed the previous blog. I hope she is going to resurrect the good stuff she had on it.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

The Old Lady. I was in the role of observer and only narrated what I saw, but I still like how it turned out.

Today's Sunday Roast with Portugal-based ex-RAF man Terry Fletcher is the sixth in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.


imac said...

Nice one David-Yet again full of life and very interesting.

Jeni said...

Since I changed the background and banner on my blog, so many readers have commented on it and complimented me on the banner photo. And, I can't really take credit for that because it was a picture loaned to me by a good friend and I e-mailed that photo along with a couple other similar scenes to Terry -your man of the hour -and he is the one who set it up to put it in as my banner on my blog. Check it out and see for yourself what a beautiful job he did with that for me! He's definitely a great "go-to" person for help with lots and lots of blog things from writing to photography to background stuff in blogging that many of us don't have a clue as to how things work but he'll help whoever and however he can to the rest of the blogging community!
Thanks David for a great interview and thanks to Terry too for being such an outstanding blogger as well!

whodatdare said...

Terry's Playpen is an excellent site for such a blog newb as myself. I use Thickbox on all my posted photos now and it really makes a difference. Thanks David for highlighting Terry. He deserves it. And Terry, thank you for everything you give in your blog.

- whodat

Jamie Dawn said...

Very interesting interview. He gave a lot of good tips.
I like the title of this post.

Dave Coulter said...

What a good post.

I especially appreciated the blooging tips that Terry provided. (I seem to have stumbled upon a couple of those on my own through trial and error!)

Corey~living and loving said...

great interview. I will be checking Terry out. :)

BarnGoddess said...

"The ability to 'publish and be damned' without being constrained by the outside influences of structure, or plot, or grammar!"

Terry Fletcher's got THAT right!

very interesting interview. As always, thank you for sharing :)

quilly said...

David, thank you for visiting my blog. Your comment led me back here. I just finished reading several of your posts and strolled through your blog roll. I see quite a few names there I know. How is it I don't remember crossing your path in the past? I will be crossing it much more intentionally in the future.

Deana said...

This guys gives darned good advice I think. ...and you always have such great photos. I really enjoyed all the color in the post below.

Josie said...

This is very interesting. The esthetics and format of a blog are very important. Often a blog will have a small font, with tight lines, and it's almost impossible to read on a computer. I don't want to work that hard to read a blog. I like it to say "here I am, and you can read me".

Shrinky said...

Thunk. (Me hitting the deck, after seeing my post mentioned.)

I had no idea Terry had even READ that post, let alone liked it. Terry is one of those selfless bloggers who freely gives endlessly of his time and support to countless bloggers, and he makes our little community in here so much the richer for it.

For someone like him, whom I hold in a high esteem, to pay my little site such an honour, both humbles and delights me in equal measure. (Read: me ears have gone pink.)

Well of course it's a wonderful interview - how could it not be (grin)?

Sorry, can't stop (scuttling off to resurrect "Kiku"..).

CrazyCath said...

Excellent interview again. Thank you David. I had no idea of Terry's existence and as a definite newbie I am rushing off to check out his site after those wonderful recommendations...

Daryl E said...

That's excellent advice he offers and I just sent it to a friend who intends to start blogging and I know will be happy to have it.

Daryl E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting. It's cool to see opinions from folks who grew up in one culture but now live in another.

Fletch said...

Thank you David and thank you to all David's visitors for the amazingly complimentary comments you've left here and on the other two sites.

I need to compose myself to respond to them, but for those of you that didn't leave a name with your comments on the FLOG (you have the ubiquitous title of 'Guest'), I thank you for taking the time to visit, read and comment.

Looks like life is going to be hectic for the next few days ... !!

Rosie said...

This is a really interesting interview David and the advice for newbie bloggers is really helpful. Many thanks.

Akelamalu said...

Another interesting interview David, I'm off to check our Terry's blog.

Indrani Ghose said...

Those were loads of tips for a new blogger.
Great interview, you had this via email, phone or directly with him?
Thanks for sharing.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Very astute remarks. Good post.

Sandi McBride said...

Wow, I finally get the "skinny" on the famous Terry. Thanks David!