I first remember Michael from the mindlovemisery challenges but was most impressed with his creativity and wide range of posts … I can’t stop reading his current “Envy” series and eagerly await the next post!
Who is Michael Grogan.
I live in the city of Maitland, on the east coast of Australia, north of Sydney in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. I was an English and Drama teacher for 39 years in public schools in New South Wales.
I have six children from my marriage of 23 years. They are a very diverse group of people, each amazing in their own way. They have provided me with eight grandchildren.
I have always had an interest in writing, as a teenager, I wrote songs and in the early days of my teaching living in a small isolated country town I wrote two musicals using the musical resources available within the school and the community. Later when I moved to a bigger school one of those musicals, I converted to a bigger production.
Creative writing was a task that I set my students, and I would join in more often with mixed results when came the time to reveal where my mind went. I enjoyed my teaching, especially drama as it enabled my students to experience a different form of self-discipline than applied to the more traditional subjects.
Tell us a bit about your blogging?
My blogging began back in about 2012 at that time there was an Australian blog site and I began putting my work there. The only issue for me was that I was one of a few bloggers there, the occasional reader might come by. So I looked for a wider audience, and that took me to Word Press which gave me access to many wonderful writers and a whole new world of writing opportunity.
I was initially so blown away by other people’s comments on my work and thought it rare that anyone would like what I was writing. When I began I posted a lot of stuff I wrote exploring sexuality using the characters of Summer and Tommy to do that. After a time I ‘got over that’ phase of my life and moved on to other writing.
On my blog you’ll find a lot of character-based material. I like character and so have created the likes of Miss Marble, Cyril Rum and Wayne and Greg, and more recently Mary Dowd and Vera Winston-Jones in my Envy series. These have allowed me license to explore and develop more intriquing characters.
To me characters contain substance and mine are never perfect they have flaws but they also have a sense of humour. That sense of humour allows me to comment on society, to explore satire and for my characters to develop. I don’t pretend to make them politically correct for example I know that my Wayne and Greg stories about the angels of Heaven and Hell do ruffle a few feathers. But I think writing can and should do that and make us think about what we are on about. I think we take ourselves far too seriously at times and sometimes its good to stand back and have a good laugh at our behaviours and beliefs.
So blogging to me is about exploring ideas in the form of story. When I started blogging a good friend said to me that my blog was mine, what I wrote was what I thought, and I shouldn’t get caught up in what other people might think. So in a nutshell that is what it means to me, “being able to express myself and being pleased with what I write.”
Can you please share some blogging tips or advice?
Understand why you are doing what you are doing.
Do you like the writing process? It’s good if you do.
Who might your audience be?
Your blog should be for you; you don’t have to answer to anyone so write what you like writing about. Write about what you know and that can be from life experience and from what you have read over the years.
Don’t be disappointed if you only get a few if any comments when you start. It’s a way to attract followers if you write to flash fiction prompts as they often have huge numbers of bloggers submitting stories.
Don’t start blogging as a way to make money; you’ll be disappointed as I imagine very few bloggers make any money from it.
Once you start seeing that other bloggers are following you its normal for very few of them to ever turn up to comment on a regular basis.
It’s a blogging fact that the piece you write that you consider brilliant and a work of literary merit may not receive any or many comments. Why? I don’t know.
Most bloggers have a short attention span so blog posts over a thousand words won’t be read as much as you’d like them to be. That’s why 100-word flash fiction is so popular.
Be prepared to read other blogs with the intention of learning something from them. It is also an excellent way to create relationships with other bloggers. There are amazing writers out there.
What do you most enjoy about blogging and what have you learnt?
For me blogging enables me to exercise my brain. I really enjoy the creative side of blog prompts. I like the idea that with some forms of writing the rules are very flexible and if I can stretch my imagination maybe I can do the same to my readers.
I’ve learnt that I continue to learn the craft of writing, that I can explore and develop my writing style and that I have an ability to write both from a female aspect as well as a male one.
Has your blog or writing led to opportunities for you?
Well apart from inclusion in the recent d’verse anthology, I’d say no.
The main opportunity for me is reading other people’s work and learning from them.
What methods do you use to expand your readership?
I don’t. Though in recent times I have contributed to a couple of blog share sites.
Time management can be a challenge how do you stay disciplined and organised?
I am a retired person so time is what I have a lot of. Also I don’t stress too much over prompts. I look at the challenge before me and give it some thought but if I can’t see a story in it, then I am quite prepared not to do it. Over the years I have developed a ‘try too hard’ meter where I realise what I am doing is going nowhere, so I stop. There will always be another task tomorrow.
Which is your favourite post and why?
The one I always go back to is my first Miss Marble post in 2015.
From this point on I was able to explore her as a character, her good and bad points, the Grimace Street neighbourhood, the characters who live in the street, the role of her dog Sal, why she has lived so long, her relationship with the Klators. I think she has grown more as a voice for good than evil. To me it was important that there be some endearing quality about her.
What has been your most popular post?
I find this question one that turns some people inside out. I don’t obsess over stats, mainly because I don’t understand them so what my most popular post has been I have no idea. What I do know is so often what I think is a good post is often the least read post.
Share something funky about yourself, or something that most don’t know?
Funky? I’m a Libra. I live in my family home and share it with my youngest son. I bake my own biscuits, I have fairies in my fernery and I have a dragon lizard in my back yard called Bluey.