An Exclusive Interview With 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards Winner Vanessa van de Nes Of A Military Wife's Mayhem
Why blogging? Why did you start blogging, and what drives you now?
I blog because no one listens to me at home!
I started blogging because my husband was always away for trainings and courses with the military, I didn't want him to miss what was going on with myself and the kids. Once we moved to our first posting, I didn't have any friends or family nearby to talk to, so I started using my blog to network with other military wives and girlfriends who were going through the same things I was. And, let's face it, there is only so much conversation a six year old can have!
You have diplomas in Broadcast Journalism and Radio Announcing. Has this education helped or hindered you when it comes to blogging?
It has helped, because I originally lost my writing mojo. I was knocked down so many times for my writing when I was in high school by this teacher who was just terrible to me. It turned me off! So my first intention when I decided to go into Radio and Television Arts was to major in Television Production, specifically working behind the scenes and with cameras. But after my first year I loved being on the radio and telling stories, so I switched majors. It brought back the desire to write again.
Does your husband read your weblog while he is on deployment? Does it help to keep him connected to family life at home?
While he was in Afghanistan he tried to read as often as he could, but he couldn't always access it. It helped him to see the kids and how big they were getting, but it also helped for him to see that we were ok, which eased his mind while he was there. He loved the messages and notes the kids made and the stories of all the trouble the kids were getting into!
Where do you find ideas for your content? If you are feeling less than inspired, where do you look for inspiration?
Most of my content is everyday life. While my husband was overseas, I would write about what was going on at home but post it a couple of weeks later, things the kids do and my thoughts. I also like to talk about things in the news and entertainment.
Are you open about being a blogger? How do people offline react to your online writing?
I'm open about being a blogger. It's something I like to do, and it's nice that I have so many friends who I have reconnected with through my blog after not hearing from them in years.
Some people are concerned about having our life online, but I don't put my kids' or my husband's names on my blog. They are known as Cpl. Mayhem, Ducky (my 6 year old son), and Chicky (my three year old daughter), and I don't announce on my blog which base we live on.
Which weblogs are your current favourites? Which weblogs have been most influential in the shaping of your own blogging?
One weblog I visit often is Canadian Blogger Girl. She is also a military wife, and she is anonymous, and I envy that! I wish I had blogged anonymously!
Another weblog I love reading is called Ben and Katie about a married couple who were in a terrible car accident, and Katie is blogging about Ben's rehabilitation. It starts out with the announcement of the accident, and once Katie is home she takes over the narrative of their recovery. It's amazing, inspirational, and a true testament of love and overcoming hardships.
What advice do you have for new bloggers?
Write what you know! Write what you love!
Rule of thumb — if you wouldn't say it in front of your mom and a large crowd of people, you may not want to post it on the internet...