Welcome to Always Write. I am your hostess, Marsha Ingrao, creator and editor of my blog, where I hang out with my blogging friends. It took a long time to realize how much more enjoyable blogging could be when I participated in photo and writing challenges. Cee Neuner keeps a list of all the challenges, so bloggers can find the right challenges that fit the kinds of writing and photography they enjoy the most.
Over the years I developed a great respect for those who hosted those challenges and I wanted to find out why and how they did it. That’s when I developed this series of interviews.
Every host has a special niche and I learn so much from them and get to know them better during and after the interview process. I hope you enjoy getting to know my friend Brian better, too.
Please make Brian feel right at home here by leaving them lots of comments and following the links to visit their blogs. Now let’s learn a little about his backstory.
You are pretty famous online as bushboy’s.blog, which you don’t capitalize because it’s not your name. You’ve been involved in photo and writing challenges for quite a while. I started blogging in 2012 and I think we started about the same time.
I see your photos in lots of challenges. You contribute to many of Cee Neuner’s challenges and Becky B’s Squares and several others that we will learn about later in the interview. Today we will find out more about the challenges that you host and how you avoid the burnout that many bloggers feel especially at this time of year.
NOTE: In July 2018, CalmKate interviewed Brian. Some of Brian’s quotes came from his excellent interview with her. I embellished with quotes from a Zoom interview Brian gave Cee Neuner and me on December 22, 2021.
Before we learn about your challenges, though, tell us a little about yourself.
Yes, I started in 2012 and you’re right about not using capitals.
I have included lots of links about me from my blog, so I guess you’ll just have to have click and have a read to find out more about this bushboy. A lot of bloggers and people just call me BB, even my besties granddaughter from when she could first talk.
I live in the foothills of the Gibraltar Ranges in New South Wales, Australia. My home is in a forest, so I am surrounded by trees, plants and nature. One of my passions is Landcare. I am on the executive of Clarence Landcare and was Chair for over ten years. Now I am Vice-Chair and very much involved with the day-to-day activities. Brian’s post about his involvement with Landcare.
I really enjoy getting into the garden and growing plants and flowers as it brings nature close. I love our natural environment and nature.
Getting into my shed where I can repair, refurbish or rebuild wooden stuff using second-hand timber is a great way to relax. Occasionally I make new items for gifts from recycled timber.
I really enjoy being on the computer to find out so much information, some stuff that I didn’t need to know but just for fun, as I am a research addict. Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 Ultimate is the photo program I use to play with my photos.
Cooking is a favourite pastime so there are a couple of my recipes on my blog. I posted one of my Pumpkin recipes in 2012 “Roast Pumpkin” which had 4 likes and 7 comments. Fast forward to October 2020 I reblogged Roast Pumpkin for a challenge, Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge: White Thumb, and had 42 likes and 45 comments.
You just illustrated one of my main points about participating in challenges, Brian. It sounds like one important way you measure the success of your blog is through the numbers of likes and comments you get.
When, where and why did you start blogging?
My first blog was a My Space page which only had a couple of things, rubbish really. I commenced with WordPress in 2012, my first blog was about me https://bushboy.blog/2012/03/12/the-start-again/ The next few blogs had more of me, some travelling and then the photos started. My first followers were good people from my Twitter site who encouraged me to start a blog.
I also had been writing a tale so I thought I would put that on my blog also https://bushboy.blog/2012/08/24/the-seeker-part-one/ there are now 9 parts to The Seeker, which has been left undone for quite a while. Part 1 was published on an Irish web page and used as the story in a writer’s club.
Talk to us about the challenges you host?
Rag Tag Daily Prompt
First of all, I’m part of the Rag Tag Daily Prompt group. There are eight of us to do the daily challenge. I share Thursdays with a blogger, Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind. I get my words from songs, words I hear or see in magazines. Then I just post it on the Rag Tag WordPress Website and I usually get 20-30 responses depending on the word.
Do you create a post for everyone’s prompt and answer all the responses?
No, we each respond to our own post. We have a private Facebook page. To find out if a word has already been used, we use the WordPress post search function. It gets pretty hectic for me at the end of the month when my other challenges come out at the same time.
Change of Seasons
The Change of Seasons challenge I do with Ju-Lyn. It was hosted by Sue who gave it up when she got ill. There are not as many people responding as when Sue hosted. Changing Seasons is a wrap up and usually I include about 40 photos – the best of what I’ve taken that month. It takes a while to decide which photos to use and which to leave out because some days I might go out and take 150 pictures. Sometimes I include a song, too, but I haven’t been doing that as much recently. I have hundreds of CDs, and I’ll hear one, and if it fits. I’ll include it in the post. I don’t participate in any music challenges. They haven’t been too popular.
Last on the Card
#Last on the Card is one of my challenges that I started myself a couple of years ago, which is becoming a popular challenge. I was looking at my photos and the last photo on my camera was rubbish. I wondered if other people took rubbish photos so that’s why I started the challenge. I just think it’s funny. I think it makes people seem more human if they share their photos even if they are rubbish. I don’t use my phone that much but some of the people were posting pictures from their cameras and their phones. So, I started doing that, too.
The rules are simple:
1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for the last day of the month.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to this post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo”
February 202 post had 260 views and was my all-time most successful post in terms of numbers of views.
What is your purpose in hosting the challenge? How does it help other bloggers?
Sharing ideas with others makes you want to get better at what you are doing but most of all have fun. Comments and conversations from people all around the world are an enjoyable aspect of hosting and participating in blogging challenges.
How did you attract people to participate? / How do people usually find out about your challenge?
I haven’t any methods really. Participating in challenges perhaps has led to an increase in followers. So, I get out among other blogs and post comments on their page. If I am in a photo challenge, I will also look at the host’s comment page to see what others have posted and sometimes make my own comment. Using tags can also help.
How much time does it take to create a challenge?
I look at things early morning from what has been posted overnight and late at night I tend to “chat” to the rest of the world who are just waking up. The time zone does make things difficult at times. Sometimes I do my posts in the middle of the day when the rest of the world is not blogging. I don’t watch much tv. It doesn’t take as much time as it used to because I set my camera to take square pictures, so I don’t have to mess with them too much if I do Becky’s Squares. I find I take a lot more square pictures.
Brian’s Blogging Friends
Which specific bloggers do you admire and want to give a shout-out to?
A lot of the bloggers I started out with aren’t blogging anymore. Of course, Cee helped me a lot, and Becky B and her wonderful Square Photo Challenge. They are a constant support and inspiration. I like Jez’s challenge, Water Water Everywhere. I’ve started focusing on reflections in the water.
In February 2017 Yvette Prior found my blog while looking for a chook photo. She started me being involved in photo challenges for all of this year. Some I didn’t participate in as the number of photo challenges is overwhelming. There are some that I did because the feedback and comments were inspiring and encouraged me to get my photos out there.
Another blogger, Dahlia encouraged me to do more photo challenges too. So now my blog is all about photo challenges, my photos about my world and the occasional poem.
There is a blog challenge I look forward to every month, Paula’s Pick a Word photo challenge. This gives me a chance to discover words and find a photo to match the word.
I enjoy Cee’s Photo Challenges too as her topics are a mixture of many different themes. Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge gives me a chance to showcase my photos to a larger audience of Cee’s followers.
With the black and white challenges, I drew inspiration from a number of people. Robert from Germany https://robert20359.wordpress.com/ showed me that black can be used so wonderfully as did https://simoneteffect.wordpress.com/ who gave me inspiration for black and white.
The other challenges I nearly always do are:
- Wordless Wednesday,
- Silent Sunday (this year I used church photos mainly),
- Macro Monday as I do like getting in close and
- Monday Portrait (one of Becky’s ideas)
All of these are unhosted and just fun. Not belonging to anyone they are easy to organise and schedule in advance
I also often post in:
- Sunday Stills
- Hammad’s Weekend Skies
- Jude’s Life in Colour
It is impossible to name everyone who has been so lovely in their comments, following my blog and encouraging me, inspiring me and generally being wonderful people who have turned into distant friends from all over the world. My love and encouragement back to you.
Concluding Thoughts about Avoiding Burnout
- Get up early and chat and visit other blogs.
- Write posts when the rest of the world is sleeping.
- Play music while you blog.
- If you partner like I do with the Rag-Tag group – don’t try to answer all the comments on your partner’s blogs. Each person does their own.
- Don’t try to create a post for all your partners’ challenges.
- Schedule your challenges and month-long challenges like Becky’s ahead of time.
- Take square photos so you don’t have to edit them.
- Don’t watch too much TV. LOL
Thank you, bushboy, Brian Dodd
I truly enjoyed our interview.
Now It’s Your Turn
Bushboy has become well known in blogging circles due to his involvement in challenges. Please leave him a comment here and maybe one or two on his blog. Share the love! Thanks again for stopping by. Happy New Year.