a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

Exclusive Interview with a City Girl Turned Suburban Mum

Today CityGirlNoMore, granted me an exclusive interview which I’m sharing with you. CityGirlNoMore is engaging Twitterer, Blogger, Mum and ex-Londoner and almost-kind-of-a-neighbor-if-you-don’t-believe-in-the-space-time-continuum. Apparently we have both lived in the same neighborhood at alternating times – so while we have an appreciation for the same restaurants etc, we’ve never actually been in them at the same time :0) I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. (The words are hers – the highlighting is mine.) Be sure to follow her on Twitter @CityGirlNoMore and check out her Blog at http://www.CityGirlTurnedSuburbanMum.com

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? …..
I am somebody who has managed to go through life always attempting to live a life that made me happy.  This is, and always has been my uppermost motivation and goal.  As a Capricorn, I’ve worked very hard to achieve success in whatever field I have entered, be it writing, marketing, public relations or running my own company.  As a multi-task expert, I’ve probably done most of these things in conjunction with each other.  I like nice things in life, but would give it all up in a moment for continuing health and happiness.

2. What would you consider your superpower to be? (or which would you like if you could have one)
Definitely multi-tasking and fixing things (usually problems) – So I’d probably be wonder-woman.

3. How did you first start blogging?
It was totally unplanned and something I just got up and did one morning, late last year (originally on a blogger site) until OH changed me a week later onto my own website.  I’d had a few attempts at failed novels, as I tend to get bored after about the first 12 chapters, so blogging seemed a great way to write, with an immediate audience – instant gratification.

City Girl Turned Suburban Mum

4. Did you have a goal when you started? Do you now?
No, when I initially began I was writing my own story, so my goal was to attempt to put out one chapter every ten days.  Many friends over the years had advised me to write a book about the adventures I’d been on, but this seemed a little too serious, but a blog for those purposes was great.  I soon discovered that my story in blog form was just too big and too spread out, so after lots of encouragement, recommendations and people approaching me in person and on Twitter telling me to ‘hurry up’ with the next blog and complimenting me on the writing and storyline, it gave me the courage to attempt putting my story into book form.  My goal now is to take those initial blogs, complete them and then turn them into a book and have it ready to publish by 1st June.  After that, I’m hoping to have my first fictional novel Alex Black, An End to Innocence ready for publication by the end of the year.  So blogging has certainly inspired me.  I will however, continue to blog at the same time.

5. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
No, I write as and when I feel like it.  Usually my motivation comes when there is a looming deadline.  When I wrote my weekly columns for New York, I’d generally start writing it the morning it was due to be handed in.

6. What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for bloggers?
I think the most important thing I look for is a good topic.  In blogging, I believe controversial issues can also prove very interesting.  My personal taste is positive bloggers.  I know we can’t all be happy all of the time, but blogs whose main purpose is to moan about how bad things are, without then giving a positive spin on how one would deal with those problems to turn them around, does not really do anything for me – so it definitely should have good balanced opinions.

7. What motivates you to write?
I love writing, irrespective of whether it is to complain to a company that has wronged me, to catch up with friends, to blog, to tweet.  It is my main source of communication and I don’t really need to motivate myself for this, just need time to be able to do it.

8. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Not particularly and because I do not have a ‘set time’ to write every day, I generally only sit down to write when I have something to say.  Generally as I am going about my chores, a whirlwind of ideas is flying around in my head for the next blog, or chapter of a book, and then I can’t wait to jump onto the computer and get going.  I never sit down ‘cold’.

9. What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
As my story was mostly about me, it has been challenging when I have to write about times that may have been difficult or painful.  In my general blogs, especially my ‘Twit’(ter) Awards, its keeping abreast of what is happening and who’s doing what to who, so that you have enough material and good ideas each week.  These have now come to be expected every Thursday and people have actually commented that they use them as a gauge on who to follow.  They now receive an enormous following each week.

10. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?
Probably not too serious.  I like to think people view it in the light hearted manner it is intended and hopefully see it as both funny and witty at times.

11. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
Generally helping run our family business, looking after my two boys, elderly dog, shopping and most definitely eating out, as I am a huge foodie and so are my boys now.

12. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?
The only networking I do at present is Twitter, which I also love for the banter.  I may go to a few conferences in the future when I have more time.

13. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog?
Most definitely my overactive imagination has a lot to do with it.  Also current affairs can produce some effective blogs.  It also helps to blog about things that are happening in your life, like a recent debate on whether to allow an underage child to watch 18+ games.

14. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
I think you should always prioritise content.  You only have to do a few bad posts then people will not bother going back next time you have something to say.

15. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to their readers?
Honesty, if you do not believe in what you are writing about, why would others.

16. A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
I haven’t actually approached blogging from this angle personally, but there are sponsors out there should you wish to take advantage of them.  Many Twitter friends are being sponsored to attend events, review products.  Indirectly I suppose, should I begin to make money from my book, then I will have my blog to thank for this.  

17. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Word of mouth amongst friends initially got my blog noticed, but aside from this, I advertise my posts on Twitter and find this creates the most hits to my blog.

18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
My favourite posts are my Twitter Awards, because they are enormous fun to do, I enjoy researching them and they always get a fantastic response.  My least favourite post it probably my one on food – it was pretty boring.


19. What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
I think as long as there is transparency, there is no problem doing a sponsored review.  However, if just because somebody has gifted something to you, you then feel obliged to write something positive about it, then you should not do it. (think Top Gear)  I could never recommend a product or endorse one if I did not fully believe in it, nor a person.

20. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I am going to keep a dignified silence on this, because there have been so many bloggers who’ve offered help and encouragement to me over these past few months, I would not like to miss any out.  My ‘Twit’(ter) Awards are generally a good indication of what I like and dislike, who I look up to and why.  They are always done very honestly and after a lot of research and consideration.  I am hoping to put up an archive of old Awards soon.

21. If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
Have fun and enjoy yourself whilst doing it, because it will shine through in what you are writing.  Also get yourself on Twitter or Facebook and build up a network of friends who are also bloggers.  Everybody likes to know their work is being read.

22. How do you feel about the term “Mummy Blogger”
I don’t have a problem with it, but even as a mother of two young(ish) children, I always still consider myself a person first, mum second.  I do lots of things with my children, my writing allows me to be me for a while x

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