Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BBAW Interview Swap with Gayle @ Everyday I Write the Book

Welcome to Day 2 of BBAW, the Interview Swap! I was lucky enough to draw the name of Gayle from Everyday I Write the Book. Gayle has been blogging since 2006. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and twin six-year old girls. She's a DC native (one of the few and proud) and loves living in such a beautiful and livable city. She was a lawyer in a former life, but now serves as the Vice President of Social Media Communications for Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, where she oversees social media communications and strategy for Discovery's networks. In addition to reading, she loves her dog, watching TV, pop culture in general, and social media.

1. My first question is a silly one, but one I have to get off my chest. So are you a fan of Elvis Costello? Because each time I log onto your blog, the song pops into my head and won’t leave. (I happen to be a big fan of Elvis.)

I am a fervent 80s music fan. When I was trying to settle on a name for my blog back in 2006, I wanted to incorporate my love for 80s music, and Everyday I Write The Book seemed to fit the bill. It doesn't make any sense, of course, since I don't write books, but it's memorable. I do love the song as well. It reminds me of college, and it's a very intelligent and witty song. I love that it gets into people's heads when they read my blog. The only downside is that if you Google my blog name, you get a lot of results that have nothing to do with me. Also, it's a little long, which was fine before Twitter came along.

2. I see that you have been blogging for four years, which is like 30 years in regular life, isn’t it? That is amazing. It seems like these days, everyone has a blog, but four years ago, it was still a fairly novel idea. What originally inspired you to start a book blog?

Yes, I know - I am a blog veteran. There weren't that many book blogs around back in 2006. The community has really exploded in the last two years. I started working in social media back in 2006, and as I started reading more blogs, I knew I wanted to write one. Books was a natural topic, as I'd been an active reader and had collected book reviews for years. Once I got into my head that I wanted to start the blog, I was hooked. I also write a daily blog about my kids, and I co-write the Discovery corporate blog. Blogging is a natural fit for me - I love it.

3. I’ve only been blogging a little under two years, but I can feel myself having some internal issues that might be writer’s block, or maybe burnout. With four years under your belt, can you offer the rest of us some words of wisdom? How you do find the balance, and keep the spirit of blogging fresh and new?

Burnout is tough. I don't blog every day - I just don't have the time - so I haven't made that daily commitment that is often so hard to keep up. I have two thoughts on this. First, blogging should be fun, and the minute it isn't, it turns into a chore. If you aren't having fun, take a few days off. Don't feel pressure to post every day, or to stick to a schedule or a weekly meme. If you need to take a break, take a break. Your readers won't go anywhere. And second, don't feel that you have write about a particular topic, or participate in challenges or memes. Only do so if it''s what you actually want to be writing about. Sometimes, when I have writer's block, I just ask myself, "What is on my mind? What's the biggest challenge I am facing today?" and then I write about that. When I find myself staring at a blank screen or procrastinating, then I know that I am writing the wrong post.

4. What are some of your passions outside of blogging?

My kids. Social media in general - I have been Internet-obsessed for years, and I run social media communications for Discovery, so I am immersed in it all the time. Reading (duh). Pop culture and television.

5. What is the best book you’ve read this year? OK, you can list two or three if you must!

The best book I've read this year wasn't published this year - it's Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I suspect that So Much For That by Lionel Shriver, which I just finished last night, will rank pretty high on my list of best books of 2010.

6. OK, here is my last question, and is one that I always like to end interviews with. If I could ask you to tell us one surprising fact about yourself, what would it be?

I am so not surprised by myself anymore. Hmm - would have to go with - I love to gamble, and I love Las Vegas, and go there at least once every year or two.

Thanks so much Gayle! Each and every one of us has a story, and that is the beauty of the interview swap...we get to meet the person behind the blog. Hop on over to Every Day I Write the Book to see the other side of the Gayle/Sandy swap!


Melody said...

Great interview! I'm new to Gayle's blog so it's good to learn a little bit of her through the interview swap. Now am off to visit Gayle's blog and to read your answers to Gayle's questions, Sandy!

Unknown said...

Everyday I Write the Book is a new blog to me, but this interview has made me think I'll enjoy reading it *heads off to check it out*

I'm sad to see you're suffering from burnout. I really hope that you find something that works for you as I'd hate to to stop blogging. As you know I come here every day :-) Life wouldn't be the same without you.

Susan said...

Sandy, you do such interesting interviews and know all the right questions to ask. Gayle sounds delightful, and I just happened to pick up a copy of Unaccustomed Earth a couple of days ago at Goodwill. Can't wait to read it!

Susan said...

I forgot to say that I started suffering burnout at about my two-year mark. I'm feeling better after my little vacation. Thanks for not abandoning me! ((hug))

Frances said...

Cool beans, Sandy! Another DC blogger that I did not know. And as for the burnout issue, I seem to remember you and I having that conversation this time last year too. I think that this is a crazy parent time of year, and hopefully this week gives you a little respite from regular reviews and a chance to re-charge.

Beth F said...

I agree that you have to find a balance and take the pressure off yourself. Blogging is supposed to be fun.

Word Lily said...

Really fun interview, Sandy. That blog name always puts a song in my head, too. :)

Jenners said...

So glad you asked about the Elvis Costello song ... I would have had to ask about it too!! Love that song!

And that was great advice about avoiding blogging burnout. I'm always amazed when people have been able to keep a blog going for a long time ... and 4 years is "forever" in blog terms.

And I'm 100% with her on "Unaccustomed Earth." That is one of my all-time favorite books and recent discovery. I wish everyone would read it to realize what a genius Jhumpa Lahiri is!

gautami tripathy said...

Good to learn about a new blogger!

Here is my BBAW: Interview post!

bermudaonion said...

Great interview! I love Gayle's blog and don't know how she does all she manages to do.

S. Krishna said...

Great interview! Gayle's blog is great. I totally agree with her "unaccustomed earth" pick.

Zibilee said...

Gayle sounds like such an interesting person! It's very cool that she has been blogging for so long, and it sounds like she has a really great perspective on it. I love Elvis Costello as well, and love that she named her blog after one of his songs! I am going to have to check out her blog because it sounds like just the type of thing that I would love. Thanks for the great interview, Gayle and Sandy!

Unknown said...

Great interview Sandy! I have visited Gayle's blog a few times but your interview has convinced me I need to stop by her blog more often.

Sandy, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling some burnout. Maybe you just need a break from blogging... or just to slow down a bit. You are such a great blogger and do so much so maybe a vacation is in order :o)

Hang in there! I'm off to read your interview!
~ Amy

Valerie said...

Gayle's blog is one that I read regularly -- but I'm afraid I lurk there too often. I read "Unaccustomed Earth" last year and absolutely loved it, too!

Anonymous said...

As a lover of 80's music and DC I'm happy to meet Gayle.

Gayle said...

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and for visiting my blog! I am so happy that I got paired with Sandy, and am sure to be a much more consistent reader of her blog!

Alyce said...

I've always wondered about the origin of her blog name. I knew it had to be something with a special meaning. :)

Heidenkind said...

Great advice on how to keep up blogging!

Anna said...

I enjoy Gayle's blog and have been reading it for awhile now. Glad to learn how it got it's name. ;)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Oh, yes! Each time I visit Gayle's blog I get a little Elvis earworm :)

Fun interview; I'm heading over to 'everyday I write the book' to read all your secrets now ...

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