If you’re like me, you like the idea of making a contribution by doing things like: being on committees; helping organise events; or writing blog posts – but, when it comes down to it, you’re not very good at actually doing stuff. It’s probably something to do with wanting to be popular or something. You probably shouldn’t volunteer for stuff because you will probably end up letting people down and then you will end up not being popular at all.
However, if you are anything like me, then there’s no help for you anyway and you probably suffer from an involuntary twitch that makes your arm shoot up in the air whenever someone says something like, ‘Does anyone want to write a blog this month?’ It’s only when someone actually thanks you for volunteering that you realise that you will probably never get the thing done.
So, as an experienced blogger, who has written the VRWG blog twice and who has his own highly successful blog that no one has ever read and hasn’t been updated for over two years, I am here to offer you some advice. It may not be good advice but if I manage to get the same number of readers as I normally get, it won’t make any difference anyway.
- Write the blog as soon as possible – straight after the meeting is probably best; the next day at the latest. Beyond this, your chances of completing the thing decrease massively by the hour and you’re in grave danger of letting people down yet again.
- You don’t have to make it the same as anyone else’s – don’t worry about being more factually accurate, funnier, more poetic or having more sparkling prose. It is more interesting to read different perspectives and different styles.
- If you’re struggling, ignore number 2 and copy someone else’s.
- Take notes at the meeting – you don’t need to minute the meeting or anything, Marian will do that. (However, if Marian isn’t there, it might be a good idea to do just that because I always forget to write up the minutes when I am deputising for Marian.) But there might be something – a phrase, a question, a reading, an agenda item – that really gets you thinking and that you can write your blog post about.
- Just be you – normally this is bad advice; normally it’s better to be someone else, but a blog should demonstrate something of your passion, something of your character and your style. If you want to write a bullet pointed list, go for it. If you want to write a poem or turn your account of the meeting into a fictional story, just go for it. If you want to write a Joycean, modernist, Finnegan’s Wake-style, slightly abstract piece of literature that no one understands, just do it! But do it quickly, or it will never happen.
- Have fun – you’re not being paid, it isn’t a competition, your reputation isn’t at stake. Try something out. If it doesn’t work, so what? OK, so you may be ostracised from the group but we never liked you in the first place.