Following Mitchell’s unfortunate exit from the Surviving The Blog Contest - Here is his interview which will be followed up with some of his thoughts and reflections about the competition. Don’t forget that you can see his profile and all the other contestants over at this page
Don’t forget to read to the end for Mitchell’s thoughts!
Q1. How did you come up with the name “Anklebuster” for one of your blogs?
My wife and I had just purchased our first home. During those first hectic days, we obviously disturbed the indigenous fauna. One night, as I stood in a darkened master bedroom – I felt something dash across my beslippered feet. ”Eek-a-mouse” does not begin to describe the invective that accompanied my 18-inch vertical jump. Nor does it convey the anguished cry I uttered upon landing badly on the side of my foot.
I had severely sprained my ankle.
Thus laid up for a few days, I attempted to alleviate the boredom by exploring a local BBS. Back in 1995, I used a 24 bps modem to dial into the ONIX Bulletin Board System. There was a way to connect to a chess server, so I tried it. The server required a user name. I wanted to be clever, but could barely think through the pain.
Obviously, I made some kind of connection and Anklebuster was born.
Q2. Would you call yourself an early adopter of new technologies?
Nope. By the time I had purchased a beeper, everyone else was buying cell phones. I save so much money by ignoring Shiny Objects. Sadly, the same isn’t true of software. I gobble that stuff up like candy.
Q3. What’s your favourite gadget that you couldn’t do without?
This here laptop.
Q4. Did you ever see yourself blogging 10 years ago?
Certainly not. In 2001, I was just trying to stay alive. My Bozo of a boss was stressing me out. Interestingly, though, I was always typing up stories, poems and game concepts. Foreshadowing, I suppose. I even handed out my famous “Get Out Of Debt” worksheet to co-workers, sharing my radical thoughts on paychecks, bills and cash flow.
Q5. Have you ever had an argument with someone online? Either on your own blog, forum or another blog in the comments
Sure! Tooth and nail. Pro and con, blah blah blah. Everybody has an opinion and mine stank as much as the next person’s. The height of it or, rather, the depth of it, happened on a community blogging site called WritingUp.com, where I was a moderator. I’m not going to go into it, other than to say that I had proof that the trolls were trouncing a member and there was little I could do to stop it.
Eventually, I figured out why 90% of these arguments were a waste of time and, in a sort of digital funeral for my argumentive self, I wrote Fruitless Debates.
Q6. Do you blog for pleasure? Or just to try and make money?
Because of the WritingUp.com influence, I was always on the fence about my blog’s purpose. I was initially attracted by the revenue sharing opportunity. I made a quick 49 dollars in one day and then got banned. Eventually, it was sorted out, but that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Ironically, when I stopped focusing on AdSense and SEO, I made more money. Of course, it was pay-per-post, but effectively, my blog made more money doing scuzzy advertising pieces for Blogitive.com. To maintain my writerly integrity, I used to submit scathing or humorous pieces about the client’s product. For example, I once warned people away from Orlando, Florida after researching and discovering the drug den that supposedly existed on something called the Orange Blossom Trail. Seriously? That kind of post would’ve gotten me fired from a newspaper, as it was unsubstantiated. When I didn’t get shot, I cranked it up. So, for that brief period, I got much pleasure making money from my blog. (I got away with it because the clients only cared about backlinks. I don’t think they ever read my posts.)
Then, WritingUp.com closed its doors. I went all personal and fuzzy with my new blog. Only lately have I found the sweet spot: landing pages on my blog. Regualr fuzzy readers don’t have to be pitched, although I do promote the pages when they first come out. How cool is that? Gail Gardner of GrowMap.com taught me about that concept.
Q7. What would you do if you won the lotto in the morning?
Pretty much what I did last night. One can’t really do better than to create an idealized fiction about his or her actions – unless he or she has been previously cursed with receiving an ungodly sum of money all at once. My real answer is: in this universe, it wouldn’t happen. I’ve indulged in ticket purchases but, the futility of the whole exercise – the tax on stupidity, if you will – has convinced me to focus my investments elsewhere.
Q8. Are you an avid gamer? What’s your favourite game?
You know, things haven’t been the same since Pong. But I muddle along with some of the other simulations: Open Transport Tycoon, because I love trains; Sim City, because I love construction; Spaceward Ho!, Empire Earth and Alpha Centauri, because I love the so-called 4X genre – Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate.
Q9. What’s your favourite social network?
Hands down, CreativeCopyChallenge.com, a writing prompts site. It completed the cirlce that was blasted open when WritingUp.com went down in flames. The massive community support has encouraged me to really, really get into my storytelling realm.
Q10. Can you sit down at a computer all day everyday or would you go nuts and start throwing things around your office!?
I’m part cyborg. I literally grew up with computers, back when that meant teletypes, paper tape and acoustic modems. The idea that I can sit at a keyboard, direct some brainwaves at the screen and literally create anything boggles my mind. I would never tire of it. In fact, I dropped out of college because I spent 19 hours a day, programming in the computer lab!
Here are some follow up Questions from Mitchell on the competition
Q1.What have you learnt from the competition that will help you in your blogging career?
I am not a blogger. The competition reinforced my decision to stay focused on what I love doing most, creating software and stories
Q2.Have you any regrets from the competition?
I have no regrets from the competition, as I met and connected with a nice group of people.
Q3.Would you enter another blogging competition similar to the We Blog Better competition again?
I felt like a dolphin in a terrarium – out of my element. There is so much more to blogging than, well, blogging. There’s promotion, technology, promotion, social media quicksand traps, promotion, networking, promotion and writing. I learned enough from Surviving the Blog to know that I wouldn’t do it again.