ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

What's my blog focus in 2017? C'mon Aussie, c'mon!

Hi there!

I haven't been posting much lately. I've seen posts from fellow bloggers who've made changes to their blogs and have thrashed about ideas for a blog focus. My posts have been fairly random--writing craft, guest bloggers, WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) news and posts, random book reviews, some political flavour, the odd photo essay, an occasional travel article.

But no focus.

So...what to do? Many bloggers have given up the weekly post for a monthly post, only turning up for the IWSG where there's a wider readership. I totally get this, and I've considered it, but the idea doesn't work for me. I totally get how time consuming blogging is, because it's not just about the post, it's about visiting other bloggers, commenting, encouraging, applauding. We all have time constraints. We'd all like more time to write. We'd all like to ignore social media at times. And once a month blogging is better than not at all...but is it? If you want to have a 'live' blog, I think you need to turn up maybe once a week or at the very least, once a fortnight. What do you think? Hit me with your wisdom!

Everyone likes different things so no matter what focus I choose (and I'd definitely like to be more focused) there will be those who like my posts and those who won't. That's human nature.

So, except when I have WEP business (and do note the badge in my sidebar telling you all about our challenges for the year), I'm thinking of making my blog more about Australia. I started blogging as L'Aussie. (I know, yawn, yawn, yawn). Time for bed. Time to run to another blog. We don't have the exciting Donald Trump-- our pollies are boringly normal and earnest people and sometimes even honest which doesn't make good copy. Australians are generally satisfied with their standard of living, high wages, unpolluted air, even if we're feeling the effects of that 'fake hoax' of climate change.

We're sizzling down here and not just from bushfires. (Peregian Beach had bushfires just last week when I was travelling in Northern Queensland -- the tropics).


Our summers have gone from three months to six month heatwaves. We go from air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices or to air-conditioned shopping centres (malls), swimming pools, the waterways or beaches (80% of us live 10 kilometres (6.21 miles) from the coast.


We also have embraced solar power, a bit slowly for sure, but it makes good sense with all that hot sunshine. Our beach house is covered with solar panels. We sell to the electricity company and have another system that stores captured heat in batteries, so we can go blissfully about our lives not worrying about electricity bills, rather, the rebates go towards trekking the globe.

I know some people in the Northern Hemisphere are sometimes confused as to where Australia is and what Australia is about, and let me tell you, judging by what I read (heaps!) and what I see on TV (24-hour news), Australia and New Zealand are a completely different ballgame (to coin an American phrase). We really are lands of the free, at least up til now. All this CNN watching has cooked my brain, but here are some of the good things about Good 'Ole Oz:

  • Our health care is paid for by a small surcharge in our taxes we don't even notice (Medicare) and we can also pay private health care to ensure no waiting for procedures and a private room in hospital, doctor of choice etc... 
  • Our food is still close to nature. We usually cook from scratch. We buy organic when we can. Avoid Genetically Modified food. 
  • Nearly everyone works out. We're sporty. 'They' keep telling us we're fat, but we don't show up on the Top 10 Fattest Countries list. You don't see many obese people here. Go figure.
  • Our election campaigns can be measured in weeks or even days! We'd get too bored if it went any longer. And voting is compulsory. With a population of only 24 million, we need the turnout. We just take it as a necessary evil but appreciate election day being open to all. 
  • We're friendly to each other, even though New Zealand won't let us win too many rugby games.
  • Despite a couple of big-time crackpots who should not have been out on bail, Australia is a fairly safe country if you can avoid the wild storms, bushfires, floods, the odd earthquake and poisonous snakes. (I can always share snake stories!)

Which brings me to the fact that we like to take the mickey out of people. I've learned to stop joking too much in my posts as I've been misunderstood, but to me and many Aussies, life is a good laugh.

Here's a sample of the Australian Tourism Bureau's Frequently Asked Questions about travelling to our Lucky Country:

Q: Does it ever get windy  in Australia ? I have never seen it  rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK ).

A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around  watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? ( USA )


A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q:I want to walk  from Perth to Sydney - can  I follow the  railroad tracks? ( Sweden)

A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you  send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay ? ( UK)

 A: What did your last slave die of?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? ( USA )

A: A-Fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not ... Oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q:Which direction is North in Australia ? (USA )

A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions. 

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? ( UK )

A:Why? Just use your fingers like we do...

Q:Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? ( USA )

A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is Oh forget it. Sure,  the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia ? ( UK )

A: You are a British politician, right?

Q:Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )

 A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q:Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. ( USA )

A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q:I have a question about a famous animal in Australia , but I  forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA )

A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q:I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? (USA)

A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather

Q:Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? ( France )

A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )

A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first


Let's see how this goes! 
Photo of koala taken by moi on Magnetic Island off Townsville

Thanks for coming by. I hope you'll be back for more tall stories...

And please note, WEP's first challenge for the year opens on February 1st. I hope you'll get those thinking caps on and join us!






54 comments:

  1. I adore the Tourism Bureau's answers! Spot on. :) I'd love to learn more about the land of Drop Bears.

    I have noticed a lot more blogs doing the once a month thing too. To each and all that, but I prefer weekly then taking a month off every 3 months.:)

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    1. That works well for you, Holly. I'll be happy to post more about the wonderful world of Oz, including Drop Bears, LOL!

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  2. When I originally came to Canada, I was on my way to live in New Zealand. Then I saw Vancouver and decided to stay. It felt like home. I became Canadian, and I love the west coast. We also had friends here who travelled to Australia often. I would love to read more about Australia! More images please. I'm one of those once a month bloggers right now due to the extra responsibilities I have since hubs illness. And, I'd like to get back to a couple of novels sitting in limbo, so blogging time is reduced. I'm sure most bloggers don't notice my absence as I'm not on social media, and not a part of some of the other group efforts. I visit a few blogs, like yours when the title catches my eye. I will keep blogging as I still enjoy it. It takes me away to a good place when I work on posts. What happened to 'less is more' btw?

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    1. I love the look of Vancouver and can imagine how happy you are there. I enjoy seeing your photos on your blog. They say Australians and Canadians are much alike and the Canadians I've met so far bear that out. I, too, don't feel anyone notices my absence. But I often pop over to yours to see if you have anything new up, even though you're on my blogroll. 'Less is more.' Sometimes...:-)

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  3. Hi Denise - I usually post once a week now - once I'd got readership up and felt relaxed that people would visit ... because it looks like they're interested and that's the way it is. So funny people's questions and answers ... what I can't understand is - do people have common sense, or in some instances a brain ... it's frightening how little some people know - or more importantly aren't prepared to look.

    You've got the abilities and the computer knowledge to do what you'd like to do ... oooh I see "Bridges" makes an appearance - as I have a family interest I could do that one ... but life is a wee challenging here - so need to sort that out.

    Holly might have the right idea ... I need to rationalise my thoughts and ideas and get some more abilities into my internet presence ...

    Take care and I'm sure you'll make the right decision - preferably don't do what everyone else is doing!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, Hilary, it's keeping a readership that's important which is why we blog more than we have time for. I hope you do 'Bridges' if life allows. Thanks for your advice, wise one! Keep it different! As you do...:-)

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  4. Thank you for the FAQs. That was just lovely. Still giggling over the hippo races.

    I think a focus on Australia is a wonderful idea.

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    1. Thanks AS. I think I'm going with it.

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  5. But do you have drop bear races at Kings Cross?
    Very funny! I think you just found your groove.
    Posting once a week works for me.

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    1. And me. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  6. lol damn, and here I thought I would see kangaroos in the street. Once a month really doesn't leave a blog alive too much. But to each their own. Never knew solar power was so rapid down there, makes sense. Good to none of that gmo nonsense, long arse elections and not many being fat due to being lazy, over eating, turds haha

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Amazing how many people expect to see kangaroos bouncing around down our city streets, LOL! Best time to see them is along the highway nibbling on green shoots after the rain. And we've taken to eating them big time as they're in plague proportions.

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  7. Do you celebrate Christmas? LOL Just because you don't have snow at the time doesn't mean it's not Christmas.

    There's a solar field not far from us and from what I understand, it powers 100 homes in our county.

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    1. The dumb questions people ask and there's plenty more. Christmas means prawns Down Under, not snow, although many of us would like a bit of that! Just sayin'.

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    2. Oh, and some big African company is installing a huge solar field in Western Queensland. About time.

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  8. Sigh. I know what you mean about blogging. I'm working on changing my blog up as well, but my big issue right now is time.

    Yeah I know I know. Everyone has a lack of time.

    My issue is that I'm writing, freelance editing and helping two family businesses, so basically, I'm doing four jobs. Which means that I've been saying I'll do three posts a week, and then STILL don't manage to post frequently because there aren't enough hours in a day.

    I don't want to only do a post a month, though. Because what would be the point to that?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah I know. Dammit. Give us another 12 hours in the day and we'd be good to go! I work on the philosophy: 'We make time for what we consider important' and blogging isn't that important in the larger scheme of things. But three posts a week! That's what we 'old' bloggers used to do...now we've cut that ridiculous amount down to once, if that. Once is enough unless you have a secretary to post and answer! And some people do think there's a point to once a month...

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    2. Once is enough ... we have to have time to think!! Brain space is required ...

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  9. Love this post! Your answers are priceless!

    I don't know that I'll ever figure out blogging or what to do with all those that I've started. I post when the desire hits, when I feel like I have something to say. Time will always be a problem and blogging low on the list of priorities. So much to do, so little to say, not enough time for either! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. So many are disgruntled with blogging, especially those who started a blog because they were advised to to sell books. As you and I both know, bloggers don't necessarily buy our books, even when they're free or 99cents. So it's not for selling books, although many hopeful souls take over every social media with that in mind. Now my blogger friends are discovering Instagram and it's full on 'buy my book'. Urk. That's not what Instagram is for. It's for pretty photos to me. Keep it to twitter or FB please people!

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  10. Oh, gosh! The Q&As are hysterical. I haven't laughed so hard in a while. Thank you.
    By all means, focus on Australia. Many of us don't know enough about your lovely land, and I, for one, would love to. And please, joke more. I didn't subscribe to your blog when you joked, but judging from this post, your funny posts might be intensely therapeutic. :))

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    1. It seems the jokes are going down well, which is a relief. I once joked about kicking my wine habit and got all these emails in support of my working on my alcoholism! LOL! Now I have to write a disclaimer: This is a joke! And laughing is SO good for our souls...and our flat tummies! Apparently!

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  11. Well, this post certainly embodies everything I loved about L'Aussie Denise. Travel and humor topping the list of fav's.

    Ghads, you're special Dx. L'Awesome. I don't come here because you have a "focus" or "brand" or "central theme." I just find you interesting, whatever you are posting. There are so few bloggers out there that can rock the random as you do. I love you, I love your blog. (psst: the only alcoholism support you'll get from me is in the "shared" bottle or six when we actually get to meet in person. Otherwise, its virtual vino, and lots of it since it so much less effective.) You know who your true followers/friends are, those that have taken the time and effort to "get" you, get to know you.

    Post what makes you happy, some of us will enjoy it. All advertising is boring. And really, why do you "have to" visit (ie post) on a schedule?Do you have a friendship schedule off-line? If I lived near you and did not visit everyday would you not want me as a friend? This is blogger, not Face Book!!

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    1. I don't think I'll ever stop smiling at this conversation, Donna. You're bloody L'Awesome too! And I love you too! One day we'll meet and share vino and get happy together!

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  12. OMG! The Australian Tourism Q & A was hilarious!! Thanks for the laughs! I had a problem when I started my blog. I focused on life in Egypt. It bored me and it was hard not to make Egypt look rather backward. But when I joined the Celebrate the Small Things hop, I had a much easier time. No, my content isn't SEO, but I have fun now and that's what counts! Good luck with your blog posts. (When I get stuck I simply post funny animal memes!)

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    1. It's good having something like Celebrate to focus on, but I never like talking about what I'm doing so much. Having fun is the thing! And I love to tell jokes, but I wonder what that's got to do with anything LOL!

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  13. LOL! Oh my goodness. There are definitely some interesting, um, people out there. =) I say definitely go for the new direction.

    On blogging frequency, yes. Once a week keeps a steady stream of traffic and gets the best response these days, but we really have to do what keeps us sane, eh? I've had to cut back several times and I feel totally out of the loop on the once a month schedule. Every other week is still a long time, but it's what works for me right now.

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    1. Nothing's ever going to suit everyone. I just know if you don't keep popping up, people ignore you when you come back...at least that's how it is for me.

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  14. "Come naked." Hahaha!!! That was hilarious!

    Other than the heat and long summers, it sounds like I should move there. I'm looking forward to learning more about Australia. :)

    This year, I'm blogging on Mondays and have guests on Friday. I decided to cut back to have more time for other responsibilities. In a couple years, I might only blog 2 - 3 times a month.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Southern Australia, especially Tasmania, have a European climate, not like Australia at all, except it is Australia. I'm over the heat. Would happily move to cooler climes if I could convince the hubs.
      Blogging frequency changes over time...

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  15. The world just can not having fun at our expense. Lots of people in the US of A need to remember how to laugh at ourselves. Your country sounds lovely and hot. I like hot. I hate cold.

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    1. If you like hot you'd love it here Susan.

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  16. I had read these Q&A somewhere before Denise...funny! I would say our country and your country is mostly same...with some differences...like our winters and the size of the country :)

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    1. Yes I've posted them ages ago. Our climate is similar.

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  17. I really enjoyed the jokes you posted and can’t believe what people ask for, like “are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year?” may be they thought Australia is like the Tuareg part of Africa … the answer was great. I liked having a post every 10 days or so. My blog was supposed to be about my years in Paris before immigrating to the US, but now I just don’t have that kind of time. Now it is writing a post once a month or so, or not posting at all. I feel a bit guilty about the little time I spend on the computer already, but it helps me with the stress. With my husband’s Alzheimer, and having to take care of him 24/7 plus trying to clear our house for our move, then not being able to walk without a cane, I am always behind. I need a knee operation but can’t have it done until we move, but cannot clear much in the house while using a cane. Once we move I may be able to get back to blogging.

    I really enjoy hearing about Australia. It sounds to me like such a great country – I wish the US would copy y’all, but I think we are going the other direction. Election campaigns lasting only weeks! What a dream – the elections here are awful. Your healthcare sounds nice too – here it’s going down. I’d like to hear about Tasmania. I bought a jar of honey from Tasmania – best honey I bought, but have no idea what Tasmania is like – sounds so foreign and far.

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    1. Hello Vagabonde. I lived in Tasmania (Tassie) for 18 months once. I'd be happy to blog about it.
      All good wishes for your move. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. :-)

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    2. Oh, don't worry. We get intense coverage of the US elections here. I can't believe the wasted money, how people can buy themselves a presidency. Better spent on poor people who need a place to live and free/low cost healthcare.

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  18. You Aussies know how to do a lot of things very well. Love the way you pay for your health care and your immigration policy is very clear. Good on you!

    As to the misinterpretation of written humor. . . I'm a firm believer in using those emoticons these days. People are amazingly thin-skinned. Must be the times. :-) (SEE? EMOTICON DECLARING I'M SMILING WHILE WRITING.)

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    1. Heh Lee. It's time blogspot added emoticons to our arsenal.

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  19. Those tourism answers reminds me of what my friend Emily said when a friend or relative had asked her if Jamaicans live in trees. She responded "Yes and I'm rich so my family has two trees." I'm speaking from memory (this was from high school) but I found it so hilarious. I think Australians and Jamaica would get along amazingly well. Especially with humor. Plus we are both from the tropics and know what the blazing heat is like. Can't wait for the next WEP Denise and I agree it can be challenging deciding exactly how to go about scheduling and choosing topics for your blog.

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    1. Thanks Sheena-kay. I like thinking about Jamaica and Australia being somewhat similar. I certainly have some lovely blogger friends up there!

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  21. Those FAQs are awesome, gave me a severe case of the giggles, 'come naked' indeed! Personally I'd love to read about Australia and life down under. Some of my favourite writers, poets and bloggers from there :) and now school friends too.

    Once a week is a great schedule - not too demanding of the readership, or the blogger. Once a month may be too infrequent - readers lose interest. But do what's fun for you and suits your commitments. That's paramount, the fun bit, horrifying if blogging becomes a chore :)

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    1. Good thoughts Nila. Great links to Oz. You're right , blogging should not become a bore.

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  22. As widely different as they are, lots of stuff about Australia reminds me of Canada. Guess that's what being in the Commonwealth does to you :-)
    I hear you about blogging taking time! But I agree, I think once a week is the necessary minimum, otherwise it's much too easy to let it slide completely. And this blogging community is so wonderful!
    Sometimes I see people come back after a few weeks or months and the first thing they do is apologise and the next thing they do is swear they won't disappear again...and then they do. That's so sad! Blogging shouldn't feel like an obligation! Who are they apologising to? I love just having a blog as my own personal space to store ideas and collate photos and keep track of writing and editing and research and music and other fun stuff. It's wonderful to think that there are people out there who might want to visit my little space :-)

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    1. I always said Aussies and Canadians were similar Deniz. Agree completely.

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  23. Interesting post! Gosh I wish voting was compulsory in the U.S. Maybe we wouldn't have gotten stuck with this idiot Trump. (Thank God I live in California, which we Californians regard as a separate country--cuz it is.)

    ReplyDelete
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I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!