Please introduce yourself and your blog
Hey I’m Matt, otherwise known as Wills, I run a blog over at MJW.Wales. I started the blog about two-three months ago, so I’m a real newbie. I used to run a Retro Gaming blog, and also another slightly random one, but both fizzled out and I lost enthusiasm. I am determined to stick at MJW.Wales as a writing platform however – it means more to me than just a blog. I want to use this as a catalyst to ultimately change my career, it’s not going to happen overnight but that’s the dream! I have a degree in journalism and had planned to get into that world after graduating, but life got in the way a little and I ended up following another career path, so blogging is a little throwback for me and can hopefully lead to something else one day.
My blog has a variety of topics, I get bored just sticking to one! I generally pitch that it is a mixture of Culture, Gaming and Lifestyle; in plain English this would include anything from Gaming reviews, poetry, random musings (and rants) and anything in between. The blog is an honest look at many of my thoughts and experiences in life, so far I’ve had good feedback so I’m going to continue down this route.
I haven’t seen many male bloggers doing a similar thing to me, so hopefully I will carve out a little niche and appeal to a bigger audience.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I really enjoy the freedom of writing about whatever I want, whenever I want. There is no word limit (although ironically I have imposed my own with some of my gaming reviews, creating the 250 game review series!), no Editor to send it to for approval, it is purely my own thought and creativity – that is pretty empowering if you think about it.
Even better is if you get a reaction. Sure it’s therapeutic to write for yourself, but it’s even better when someone reads it and reacts – whether they agree or disagree with your point, they read it and took the time to respond. This is the bit that I really like!
What is your least favourite thing about blogging?
Well, as I am still in the honeymoon period of blogging, it’s all pretty good! The biggest challenge I have is time, as I’m sure is the case for most people. I work a demanding full-time job, that has nothing at all to do with writing or my blog, and I have three children who obviously take up the majority of my time outside of work.
Some days I have a great idea for a blog or really want to get moving with an article, but I get sidetracked by something else or I’m just too wiped out to get anything done by the time everyone is in bed. I’m hoping that this settles down as I learn to manage my time better in terms of writing, and help to create a habit of publishing posts x times per week (I haven’t quite got there yet).
What have you learnt from blogging? Has it shaped any of your goals for the future?
Blogging has begun to bring back my love of writing and literature. Writing doesn’t have to be stuffy, for me it needs to be engaging and from the heart. I know that this is sounding cheesy but it’s really important and I’m sure that all writers and bloggers will identify with this.
My goal for the future is to develop into a paid freelance writing role. It’s not about money though, that is a token that someone puts a value on what I am writing, it’s about getting the work out there to a much larger audience whether that is in print or online. I would love to get into sports or gaming journalism, particularly in a freelance capacity.
What advice would you give to new bloggers? Is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again?
Don’t think about it too much – just get started! I wanted to get absolutely everything in place, from the URL to the design, so that everything was as perfect as it could be before writing. This can take some time though and if you’re anything like me, can affect your enthusiasm. I decided that I was just going to start with a fairly basic WordPress site and design. That has developed and tweaked into what MJW.Wales is now, and whilst I know that it isn’t the best out there, it is something that works for me at the moment and my style of blogging.
I wouldn’t necessarily do anything different if I started over, but as I’ve only been going for a couple of months I’m sure that there are plenty of things that I will be able to reflect on in future.
The other important bit of advice is to promote yourself! Get on to your social media channels, or create a new profile just for your blog (which is what I did – cheap plug: www.twitter.com/mjwwales). Twitter is really great, my favourite by far, there are lots of #blog chats that you can get involved in and it helps to get your message out there. The vast majority of my visitors are directly from Twitter. I see a lot of bloggers using Instagram and YouTube but that’s not really my thing, I guess it’s down to what you blog about, it’s great for a lot of the beauty bloggers out there but trust me – there won’t be much of an audience for seeing me on Instagram! Maybe I will post some gaming videos one day.
Get involved in the various blog sharing platforms as well, Bloglovin seems to be one of the most popular out there, so check it out – add your blog and give mine a follow at the same time! Bloglovin will notify your followers when you publish a new post.
Do you have any favourite blogs that you read?
One of the things that I really like about the WordPress platform is the Reader feature – a bit like Bloglovin’ you can follow blogs, search for themes and posts, and it means that you can drill down to read about whatever you fancy reading about that day. I really love this and there are so many blogs that I have found and am now following, from gaming to music, conspiracy to art, poetry to short stories, I have quite an eclectic taste!
Obviously the Chins on Tour is right up there, you do a great job and I love the style of writing (that cheque is in the post right?)!