This week's interview is with Sarah,
who writes the blog Brit Gal In The USA.
who writes the blog Brit Gal In The USA.
The first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?
I was inspired to blog by a friend I made on an online board, I visited her blog and just loved the whole concept, up until that point I was totally unaware of blogs. Lynne helped me get started, encouraged me and gave me some much needed tutoring on html code. My main reason for a blog, was being an expat Brit, it would be a great way to keep family and friends abreast of my new life and save me a few repetitive emails. But I also seem to have picked up a loyal daily readership of fellow expats, local friends and new friends all around the world.
Something that never ceases to amaze me, seeing as most of the time I'm just prattling on about my daily life in rural Okieland. But I have also been an extremely frustrated writer my whole life. My school work experience at sixteen, was with the local Watford paper as a journalist, but I never fulfilled this early ambition and have always regretted it. So my blog suddenly provided me with a wonderful outlet for my writing and it has literally poured out of me ever since that fateful day in February 2008.
I am well aware I am one of the more prolific bloggers out there, it's rare for me to have writer's block, but I do wonder sometimes if I need to be more about quality than quantity! I still believe I have a book inside me deep down, but I'm going to have to cut back on blogging time to dig it out, and right now I'm sadly addicted to blogging. But to be honest the drastic life change I have gone through moving from outside London to very rural Oklahoma, is more than enough fodder to keep me going for awhile yet!
What's the story behind your blog name?
Well I was just trying come up with a name that summed up my life now in as few words as possible. Initially I played around with a few of the lyrics from the musical Oklahoma, a few ideas based on the word "expat", but none of them inspired me. Brit' Gal in the USA was a moment of pure inspiration and I was certain it would be taken, and pleasantly amazed when I found it was free. I quickly realised I had been lucky enough to grab a great blog name, easily remembered and very descriptive, probably Google friendly (which it is) and catchy.
So within a month I also bought the rights to the domain name www.britgalusa.com and then switched over my blog to this address. I still can't believe my luck that no other female expat Brits thought of it before little old me!
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
For me without doubt it's having an outlet for all this writing desperately banging around in my head for an exit. I am not artistically inclined, or especially talented in any area and so writing for me is my creative outlet and it brings me endless hours of pleasure. I also enjoy being able to write without constraint about anything that just grabs me, I would be a professional editor's worst nightmare! As my Dad has often been heard to say "she could sell sand to the Arabs if she set her mind to it", in other words I am one of life's great procrastinators!
If I can sneak in a second best thing David, it would have to be the many new friendships I have made in the blogging community. I have even met a few of them in person and they have proved to be just as wonderful face to face, as they appear to be on their blogs. I am often surprised with little acts of kindness from my bloggy friends, just recently Daryl mailed me wonderful bandaids and a voodoo doll to help my poor injured toe and crashed PC!
I often comment to the Hubster, "You know if we go there then we can visit with this blogger", it's just wonderful the friendships you make. And having met the Hubster online many years ago, I am very open-minded to meeting other people through the internet, whose path I would never otherwise have crossed.
Oh and a third thing and then I'll shut up! You discover this whole other online world you never knew existed! I read so few actual websites now that I seriously wonder what I did read online before blogs?! 95 per cent of my online time is now spent reading through my blogroll bloggers, clicking on new blogs I find through them, black-boxing (a whole new addiction for bloggers) and just reading blogs. They are so much more entertaining, informative and unique than all the other websites put together, I have little need for any other online input!
What key advice would you give to a new blogger?
Oh my, there are sooooo many things that seem to be key! Get a good, memorable and descriptive name that draws people in to your blog. Learn some html code as it will be a huge help to you when inserting links especially. Post regularly if you want to develop a readership. I certainly tend to keep up the most with the bloggers who post daily, it doesn't always need to be inspirational or a written masterpiece, it can be a great picture, a good joke, a little anecdote or just a comment on a news event - but post daily.
Share some of your personal stuff; I am not great at this but I really do try and the readers seem to always appreciate getting to know me a little better. Try to develop a regular feature that your readers enjoy and will bring them back. I have one I have run since the start, 'Brit' Word of the Day' (aka BWOTD) and it may not always be daily, but it's popular, informative and a bit of fun - so it has followers. For a little while I ran a mini feature on my many handbags (aka purses!), and 'Handbag of the Day' was especially popular with my female readers.
Join in with at least one regular weekly blog event, I do Skywatch Friday as I am fascinated by the big skies here in Okieland. You become part of another online community, it brings in new readers and also takes you out to meet some other wonderful bloggers and admire their work. Finally I would say leave comments, ALWAYS respond to comments on your blog, either with another comment, an email or a visit to their blog - it's just the polite thing to do people!
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
Wow this is a hard one to answer and I've really had to rack the old grey matter. I actually read one just this week, called Falling Out Of Friendship by a fellow expat Martini Molly and David picked it as a Post of the Day. This really struck a chord with me and I thought was very much written from the heart.
But there is another expat surviving out in the wilds of New York City, who's writing brilliance I hope one day to get close to. His name is Dylan or Brit Out Of Water. He has written so many articulate, direct, funny, brilliant posts it's hard to just pick one, but this would be it for me - Customer Service Hell or America As It's Also Known. I urge y'all to go and trawl through his archives during a quiet hour and be highly entertained.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
A Momentous Day Remembered - It seemed to strike a real chord with many readers. Now let me pre-empt, by stating I generally try to look on the lighter side of life and am very much a 'the glass is half full' type. So I asked the long-suffering Hubster and he thought one of my earliest and therefore little read posts, was especially significant in view of the current political activity in the USA, called Political Differences UK vs USA. The serious subject matter post I would choose is This Was A Shocker At First, my own personal viewpoint on the ridiculous control the drug companies have in the USA on medical costs.
But my most popular post to date and the one that resulted in much discussion, was a more lighthearted look at my love affair with the traditional Bacon Butty - Can You See Me Drooling Yet?.
I'd just like to end by thanking the fabulously poetic David for choosing moi! I'd like to extend an invite for a good old cuppa of rosy lea at my place to y'all, you might even learn a new language for free and I'd be extremely chuffed to hear from you.
Today's Sunday Roast with Sarah is the 55th in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.