More advice for a wannabe blogger - Part 2
There are few bloggers in Indonesia writing about issues and events that impact on life in general. The majority are 'vanity' sites and of little interest beyond immediate family and friends. Although Jakartass welcomes these efforts as they can increase fluency and writing skills, I would like to read more from concerned residents about the major issues here. This is the era of reformasi
but it takes courage to overcome the reticence, if not downright paranoia, which lingers nigh on eight years after the abdication of the control freak President Suharto.
There is a demand from Asia observers
for more voices from this country. Keep up the good work and keep trying to get more bloggers in Indonesia posting on the country. I've also complained about this before ... Something just isn't right.
Jakartass would like to make it right. As a start, I am offering the following correspondence with a valued friend and ex-colleague in the hope that he and others will be encouraged to join the Indonesian blogosphere.
I would like to blog for several reasons:
1. I think I have something to say that might be useful and interesting to others.
2. I want to improve my writing. I would learn to write better by writing ... for real readers (if any come along).
3. I want to introduce my students to blogs and use blogs for teaching writing skills in English.
1. It takes time and money.
2. It takes time.
How do you handle it?
Money? I grin and pay it - the phone bill that is. Oh, and the crappy ISP. Everything else is free, apart from the occasional upgrading of computer software and hardware.
When, as often happens, I can't access Indosat, I log on to Telkom and activate the downloaded PostCast Server
which is a free server program that enables you to send messages directly from your computer. This program is used for sending newsletters, distributing messages to different mailing lists, sending notifications to your customers, as well as for sending individual messages. You can use it instead of the SMTP server of your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
As for time, I make it.
For example, this posting has been written over the course of several days. I keep a Pending
sub-folder for notes, drafts, lists of interesting URLs etc. I did have a couple of articles ready for the Xmas period but the tsunami intervened and I doubt, due to their subject matter and to their then topicality that I will publish them.
I had a couple of reasons for starting Jakartass.
I first encountered blogging because I support Charlton Athletic
as does Inspector Sands
. He mainly writes about living in S.E. London where I lived until I went to university, so there was an immediate communality of interest.
The other reason was that I was, as you know, chronically under-employed and occupied much of my time writing. Having failed to get a few vignettes published in magazines here, and with experience of community publishing in the UK through the 70s and 80s, I realized that blogging offered an outlet and also an opportunity to improve my writing. You'll have noted that I try to post every day; this takes self-discipline but I do feel that it's worthwhile.
N. in Oman has recently sent me an email. "I commented previously that your writing is lucid and easy to read, but more importantly it's worth reading - trenchant, sometimes sardonic and leavened with humour - and you certainly have developed your own 'voice'.
Kind words, N. ~ meet you in Jaksa next time you're here? ~ and much appreciated as not only does it confirm that I have a readership, but also something to say.
I wouldn't want to just write about anything. I think it would be better to choose a focus - living and working in Indonesia, teaching and learning English, language learning in general. That is still quite a big bite to chew on.
Your reasons for blogging are all valid. I try and focus on being a Brit abroad ~ Home Thoughts from Abroad and Alien Thoughts from Home as I put it. Living in Indonesia with its manifold problems gives plenty of scope. Being an American, you will, no doubt, have a somewhat different perspective. (We Brits tend to be better liked and, therefore, less paranoid.)
I would suggest that if you don't want to make personal observations about how events here impact on your life, then focus on a specific issue. The paucity of quality education in this country, even in the so-called National Plus schools, would be a good issue, assuming that you don't criticise your employers
! Get in touch with the good folk who run Full Proof
; you may find that they can host your blog.
(Part 1 can be found here