Until recently, I didn’t take blogging so seriously. I looked at the stats but didn’t really care much about them, beyond being mildly tickled by having readers from China or Russia or Turkmenistan. I’ve made a few changes in recent months. I now post the weekday posts earlier, around 5 or 6, since the stats tell me a decent percentage of readers read at that time. I actually do the same since I tend to be commuting then, my WordPress Reader a more rewarding read than Twitter or Facebook a lot of the time. I also publish more of the travel and psychogeographic posts than I do about football, partly because I gather that the travel posts are generally better read.
This is the 394th post here. The 400th post is written and it will appear some time in the next couple of weeks. I won’t say anything much about it except to say that it’s a bit different from normal. A bit special. I loved writing it – it was actually written on a Stagecoach bus going through Fife. Anyway, before all that, this post will go into why I actually write this guff and a wee bit about the blog itself.
I’ve been asked more than once why the blog is called Walking Talking. It is an in-joke, taking the piss out of myself. I’m from East Lothian where the ‘g’ tends to be lost at the end of words. I can’t even pronounce the name of my own blog properly. At one point last year, I did think of changing the name – I ended up changing the strapline from ‘Just another travel blog…but with buses’ to something about from Belhaven to Bellahouston – and came up with a big long list but in the end I decided to keep the name. I like it and this is my show.
Over the last 393 posts, I’ve written about a whole lot of things, from toxic masculinity to abandoned hospitals, taking in psychogeography, waves, religion, maps and a whole wheen of other topics. There’s been a whole lot of walking. Indeed the Streets of Glasgow strand is something I’m hoping to develop this year, possibly going into other media. I just write and post what I find interesting, in short what I myself would like to read. Even what I post and when depends on a whim. If I feel like a post should be out there, then it goes on. It helps I currently have 20 scheduled posts ready to go. That’s why there’s been more posts than normal this week.
When do I write? This post is being written on the Wednesday night before being posted two days later. I’m sitting at home in Glasgow typing while listening to Hibs playing in Dundee. I write whenever possible though I usually do the blog posts on my laptop at home, occasionally working from notes in the case of the travel posts. I often write on a Sunday morning, which was when I used to post in the early days, writing on my phone. I am suitably experienced in scribbling ideas almost anywhere, from buses to low staffroom chairs, and some thoughts come in just a few words, others with whole lines and pieces just flowing out.
What do I write? At the moment, I’m taking baby steps into seeing about writing for publication. It is a big, confusing world though I have a couple of ideas. I’ve been thinking of doing a psychogeographic zine but we’ll see. I mostly write for this blog at the moment though I also write stories which I have done for many, many moons. They’re definitely not for publication. Last year, I had a story published in a Scottish Book Trust anthology called ‘Nourish’ and that was a short piece about a seagull nicking a steak bridie out of my hand, a bit different from what I do here but it seemed to resonate with people.
Who am I? I’m a guy. I’m 28. I work in a library. I live in Glasgow. I grew up in Dunbar. I’m autistic. I’m presently single. I like to travel. Football is my therapy. My favourite song is ‘Sunshine on Leith’ by the Proclaimers. My favourite books are The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. The last book I read was Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship With Muriel Spark by Alan Taylor though I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling, not for the first or even the fiftieth time, I should add. I don’t really bother with films but my favourite is Monty Python’s Life of Brian. My politics are left-leaning. That’s all I can think of.
Why do I write? I just do. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been creative in some way, drawing when I was a kid, writing as I’ve grown older. It helps me to connect with people and to connect with myself. I like writing and I seem to be all right at it. That’s handy because there are times I just can’t help it. I can write for hours at times. Just this morning all I wanted to do was scribble because I had been onto a good thing with a story on the way to work. Hence I have a post backlog. I also write when I should be doing other things, which is sometimes to my detriment but I really can’t help it a lot of the time.
I take blogging seriously now. That doesn’t mean that I have experiences for the blog’s benefit, Streets of Glasgow aside. I actually do and see things that don’t grace this place. There’s times I can’t be bothered plus sometimes it isn’t that interesting. I also don’t do this for the freebies, which is good as the only freebie I’ve received in the last few years has been a press release. (It was appreciated, I have to say.) This is a personal blog and I would write it even if no one else read it. Luckily folk do. Two posts which have reached more people are Glasgow Women’s Library and Being autistic in a museum. They’re very different. The first was from May 2017 and it resulted from a visit to the GWL with my friend JA. It was inspiring and I wrote what I felt. The GWL found it and shared it. That night, my e-mail box filled with notifications. The other was from December 2015. That got shared by a museum blogger and again my Twitter notifications were numerous that day. I remember it was a cold January day and I was about to head to Edinburgh on my day off. Also shared were the football posts Hibstory, the walk I took into the history of Hibs on the first anniversary of the Scottish Cup win, and Programmes, about football programmes, with thanks to a very regular reader who passed these on to folk who know more about these things than I do. I like being read, as most writers do, and it’s nice to know people appreciate what I write. The most popular post this year, incidentally, so far is Streets of Glasgow: Hope Street, closely followed by the very SEO-friendly It’s a grand thing to get leave to live, about Nan Shepherd.
A few years ago, I had what is sometimes called a portfolio career. I now seem to have a portfolio life. I blog but I also work, write and study, as well as living. I like this part of my life. I like reading the comments on the posts and I certainly like responding to them. It amazes me that anyone actually reads this guff and I’m grateful that you do. If it provides some interest, then great. The world’s a dark place and it’s good to find just a wee bit of light. This blog gives me a bit of light in my own life and I hope to keep it going for a long while yet. As ever, many thanks for reading, following, commenting, sharing, scrolling past, whatever, and see you soon.