The Friends of the THATLou series is running for the month of November with guest blog posts from just that, Friends of THATLou:
I first met Abby when she joined the Food + Wine THATLou this summer. Soon thereafter she invited me to join her and a few of her peeps for a picnic at the Tuileries while being interviewed for a TV programme called International House Hunter that runs on the home and garden channel in the States. She’s bought a flat in the Marais and is currently having it renovated, the (grueling) process of which will be followed on the telly. As a corporate lawyer, she is one of my few blogging buddies who works full time as well as gets herself (and her camera) to all corners of France with peerless energy. And since our offices are near one another in the 8th Arrt we get to lunch whenever she’s not off and about!
So without further ado, I’ll leave Abby’s post to her own words (and wonderful images):
Why Do I Blog?
by Abby Gordon of www.ParisWeekender.com
I always thought of myself as a fairly private person. I don’t feel the need to recount all the details of my life to anyone who might listen. I have a full-time job, so I am not looking to making a living from blogging… well, at least not yet. I am not bored. Far from it. I already have far too many hours of work, personal projects and social engagements to fit into one day. So why would I start a blog?
It’s my personal story. I just said that I don’t feel the need to broadcast my personal story to the world and that’s true. But it’s nice to have a record of my journeys, literal and figurative, that will last forever. All my travels and explorations from the past two years are documented for me to always look back upon, and hopefully I will add to this many years of discoveries to come.
I like to be organized about things. For a type-A personality like me, a blog is the perfect solution for what to do with all of your photos, your old trip itineraries, flyers, business cards and notes in the margins of your guide books. They are all in one place now, a place that is accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. I probably refer to my own blog for restaurant recommendations more than anyone else does!
It’s a tangible product of my productivity. Once in a while it’s nice to have something to show for your work. A blog is very visual. Maybe I am pushing the definition of “tangible” in applying it to this virtual medium in cyberspace, but what I do know is that I can see it with my own eyes. When I spend a day working on the blog formatting, when I write a new post or add a new trip itinerary, I see the difference. There is satisfaction in predictable returns. That does not always mean more people will read my blog or like it or “like” it. But that’s OK. That will come.
It gives me a creative outlet. I have not met many other bloggers with full-time jobs entirely unrelated to their sites. For the last seven years, I have worked as a corporate lawyer. There’s not a lot of room for creativity in corporate law, at least not visual and linguistic creativity. Blogging allows me to fulfill many of the cravings I cannot fulfill at the office.
It gets me excited about new possibilities. I did not start my blog with the intention of making it big, of leaving my day job for a life as a full-time blogger. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about new prospects that the blog can bring. I quickly realized that I could turn the blog into a small business. I could sell my Paris touring guide and restaurant and bar guides. I could develop affiliate programs with other trusted businesses. I could offer my trip planning services. The possibilities are only limited by the number of hours in the day, and that is invigorating.
It gives me purpose. I don’t write about much that I would not have done anyways. If you are paying attention, you will recognize that as an admission that I travel a lot, always have and probably always will. I spend a good portion of my budget on travel, as well as on restaurants and other entertainment. But blogging about it helps me justify the time and expense incurred. And knowing that I will write about it later forces me to observe where I go, what I see and what I do in a more conscientious and thoughtful way than I might have otherwise. It makes me pay more attention and makes my experiences richer. Yes, there are days when I just want to leave the camera and the mental note pad behind (and so I do), but very few.
I like to share what I learn. There is more to Paris than the major tourist sites. There are so many corners of France off the usual tourist route that are well worth exploring. Not all French food is good; restaurants can be very hit or miss. It actually makes me angry when people don’t ask for suggestions. I want everyone to have the best possible experience: whether it’s your first trip to France or your seventeenth, your birthday dinner or your first hiking trip in France. If I can help to make even 10 minutes of your time here more enjoyable, that will make me happy. I have a lot of information to share, so why wouldn’t I?
It introduces me to wonderful people. This was the most unexpected and yet probably the most rewarding side-effect of blogging. I always thought of blogging as quite a solitary activity. I was wrong. Through blogger cocktails and breakfasts, meet-ups and tweet-ups, writing posts for collaborative blogs and guest posts for other Paris blogs, and through e-mails and tweets and comments others have made to my posts, I have met an amazing network of “colleagues” and now friends. You can read as many blogs as you like. So blogging is inherently non-competitive. I have found the blogging community in Paris to be ceaselessly supportive and encouraging, and my new friends are always looking for ways to promote and help each other. It’s a wonderful world to be a part of.
Abby can be found on her Blog: www.ParisWeekender.com or on Twitter at @ParisWeekender