On Monday, I posted the second article in the build-up to the 2009 Formula One Championship. The post was a sort of side to the main event, giving some examples of the sites I read, including a short blurb about why I read them, or simply what can be found at the site. Following this early posting – it went up at about 6.30am – I hit the sack, having been up all night toiling away on various bits and bobs. I then took the following day (Tuesday) off, and if you’ll let me, I would like to explain why and give a little insight into the life of a Formula One blogger.
I should quickly add that this post does contain a couple of naughty words. This is because it is largely unedited Ollie-mind.
So it’s Grand Prix Month. The F1-blogosphere has awoken from its winter hibernation and everywhere is abuzz, as if charged with electricity, occasionally sparking but always on edge. It’s an exciting time for Formula One fans, bloggers and readers, and as we count down to Friday Free Practice, it would seem as though time has slowed and these two weeks are taking forever to pass.
But with this newly charged sense of excitement comes extra work, extra news to opine on and generally speaking, us bloggers spend March making sure we all have our shit in one sock. To explain that perhaps odd phrase, it means to make sure we are on-song, on the ball and ready for what is about to happen. Of course, while this is hard work, especially yesterday with all the new regulations and proposals to make sense of, it is fun. When the pace quickens and posts are fired off with the kind of rush that would make even Schumacher blush, the sense of achievement, excitement and satisfaction increases. It is nice to spend a few hours gushing about Elio de Angelis or Tazio Nuvolari, but when it comes down to it, the real crunch comes from the racing that we are all about to see.
But wait. Hang on a minute Ollie, you’re talking as if Formula One blogging is all you do. It sounds like you sit in front of a computer from 9am to 5pm, hacking away at a keyboard and publishing whatever nonsense comes to your mind.
It would be nice to say that BlogF1 pays my mortgage, my electricity and water bills as well as affording me the occasional drink in the Blogger’s Dog. Alas, it doesn’t. Approximately fifty-five to sixty hours of my week is spent away from a computer, in the real world doing my job. Sure, some real jobs do entail sitting at a computer, but mine does not. BlogF1 certainly contributes to my mortgage, I will not lie about that. The links on the homepage providing the bulk of the site’s income. But sometimes, the real world of work takes precedent. As does the real world of my mind.
When I wrote and published that post on Monday morning, I was not aware it would make me feel like crap later on. I was very much aware who I was including, and who I was not, when writing. To not put a link to F1Fanatic.co.uk was a conscious decision. It wasn’t because I don’t ever read Keith’s site, nor was it because I dislike Keith or his site. For none of those statements are true. I chose not to link out to Keith in the list of sites I read because, simply put, I do not read F1Fanatic as much as I used to, and over the winter I noticed my visits decreasing even further from that.
The whys, wheres and reasons don’t really matter to be honest, although in this hungry world of gossip and rumour, I will state if only to quell any speculation in any wondering and wandering minds. F1Fanatic is a child of Keith’s, much like BlogF1 is my little baby. Keith created, wrote, nurtured, developed and honed F1Fanatic from nothing to the successful, well written and well visited site that it is today. There is little doubt in my mind that all of these things will continue as well. However, I found myself visiting less and less as I noticed that my feed reader was showing more news stories. As much as I value Keith’s opinion on news items, being a blog author myself, I tend to stick to the source for these types of stories because there is a chance I myself will write about them.
To add a little more clarity to that, a year or so ago Keith and I were doubling up on a fair amount of content. Mostly occurring over the winter, when news is at a premium and F1-bloggers have to put their thinking caps on to come up with decent content, both sites were publishing very similar content at very similar times. There is nothing wrong with that, but I was well aware of what people might say. “There goes Ollie again, ripping off Keith” or “Keith, I just read that on Ollie’s site, WTF?”. Because of this, I wanted to ensure that my mind and conscious was clear. I don’t think anybody noted the similarity in posts at the time, but that wasn’t the point to me. I wanted to ensure that what I published was of little inspiration from someone else unless explicitly meant to be. Thus, I stopped reading F1Fanatic in the morning. In fact, at the time, I made F1Fanatic the last port of call in my evening routine of browsing, reading and writing.
After a while, F1Fanatic fell off my radar a little unless something with an interesting title (that I had little intention of writing about myself) popped up in my feed reader. And then this winter, there was a small backlash to F1Fanatic incorporating news items written by another company. Keith created a separate feed for those who wished to ignore the news items, but as someone who likes and enjoys actually visiting sites created by others, it made little difference. And it wasn’t the source that lead me to read F1Fanatic less (as it was made known by others), because as I said previously, I didn’t read them anyway. Instead, it was the apparent detraction from Keith’s other, original and usually excellent writing that turned me away. Perhaps it was all in my head, I don’t know – I do admit to being ever so slightly strange, as my followers on Identi.ca will attest to!
I am however, just one of a few thousand visitors to F1Fanatic each and every day; Keith does not write F1Fanatic for me. He writes it for you, just as I do here at BlogF1.
So why does all this lead to an unexpected day off? C’mon Ollie, get to the point, I’ve got the dinner in the oven and EastEnders is about to begin.
The day off occurred because I felt bad at not including one of the F1-blogosphere’s most read sites. Not because I felt I had to, but because my initial reaction was that of offending someone who I absolutely had no intention of. Behind each and every website is a person. You all are looking at a monitor right now, just as I am writing this. But on the other side of that monitor sits a person who spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours developing the sites you look at and enjoy. I know what goes into creating a website. I know what goes into creating original, well written and enjoyable content. It is, with not a word of a lie, thousands of hours. Would you believe me if I told you that the current design of BlogF1 site took several months to construct (and it wasn’t all done by myself either)? The next version of BlogF1’s design was started in December ’08, I think. I can’t remember now, but all this, like all others, takes thousands of hours.
As it turned out, I didn’t offend Keith and once I had responded, Mr Collantine was thankful for the feedback, as I hope he will be this post. This isn’t meant for Keith though, it is meant for myself, to remind myself that I cannot spend every waking minute on BlogF1 and other F1 sites, no matter how much I want to. You see, later on that evening, and after feeling better for understanding I had caused no offense, I managed to haul myself into a debate on Clive’s F1Insight, while simultaneously discussing various points on Identi.ca with “me” from Sidepodcast.
By the time I decided my bed was feeling neglected, I was worn out. I was genuinely exhausted. Not that it was a particularly busy day, nor was it overly strenuous. But for some reason, I felt shattered. An early night to make up for the 23 hour day previously was in order. And when I arose on Tuesday and readied myself for work, I actually felt pretty good. The weather here on the South Coast of England has been rather delightful these past few days and with sunlight blaring into just about every room of my abode, I felt energised once again.
I was meant to write the second F12009 Preview post that day. I was also meant to write something similar to this post. I chose not to, despite making a promise on Identi.ca. Although I was made to feel very special by Saltire (Pitlane Fanatic) because of said promise. Anyway, I digress… I took a day off because I felt I wanted one, I felt that I deserved one, and that I needed to remind myself that BlogF1 is not my job.
BlogF1 is what I enjoy. It keeps me off the streets at night and enables me to talk openly to many like-minded people about something I love. Sometimes it stresses me a little, other times it makes me laugh until I cry. Generally it is all good, and that is primarily because of all those people who take the time to comment and email me. Those who own sites themselves and support through good and bad. Those who bounce ideas off one another, sometimes even just bouncing off one another. Contributing, taking part, joining in and laughing with. Sometimes even laughing at.
I have now completely forgotten the point of my post. What was I trying to say here? Nope, it’s gone. Oh yes! Insights into writing a Formula One blog…
…this wasn’t the post I was going write when I decided to write on Monday evening. In fact, it is quite different. I may publish that in the future, I may not. But in what turned out to be a rather grand day off, this little ditty formulated and conveyed quite nicely what I think I’m wanting to say. And for those waiting for the preview posts, I will catch up tomorrow and run through the weekend. Originally I wasn’t planning to use the weekend, but I likely will now to avoid having several go up on the same day.
Anyway, I’ll let you get back to dinner, EastEnders, breakfast, Big Brother or lunch or whatever.
Here’s to 2009, and the fucked up points system.
PS. There are intentionally no links in this post, and I was meant to mention that I once had a links page, but I took it down a couple of years ago after I read something Tyme White once wrote either on her own site or in 9rules. Tyme said that she (at the time) disliked or disagreed with links pages and/or blogrolls because she didn’t like playing favourites. I realised this good point, and through my own decision, took mine down. I will of course link out in the future in my posts, just as I always have done. And once again, I’m now having difficulty ending a paragraph. So I’ll just end it.
PPS. As I think I’ve written all that can reasonably be expected to be read today, I’ll post today’s testing post tomorrow afternoon, along with the resumption of the preview posts. I have 531 unread items in Google Reader to get through at some point as well. This is what happens when you take a day off! It’s all good though.
PPPS. I chose the picture because it was nice. No other reason. If I could have been bothered, I would of hunted for an atmospheric Schumacher shot. But this post isn’t describing anything of any importance to any part of Formula One, and I didn’t feel like taking another funny shot of myself. So Lewis it is.
PPPPS. And for the final dilemma/PS.: comments on or comments off? Ah, who am I kidding, comments on…
PPPPPS. Ah shit, in all this I forgot the Caption Contest. I’ll put one up before the weekend. And this really is the final post script. G’night all.