March 2012

How To Be A ProBlogger (Not Really).

by Lori Dwyer on March 30, 2012 · 20 comments

If you are reading this, I’m probably in Melbourne right now for DPCon’12. Hopefully. Or else I’ve slept through my alarm and have missed my flight by a good few hours. But that does seem doubtful, considering I have to be at the airport in six hours and haven’t packed yet.

Last year was the inaugural AusBlogCon. Just over a year has passed since I proved to myself, for the first time, that I am a survivor.

Whatever. Enough mushy stuff. I’ve been to a few events in the last week where I’ve caught up with my fellow bloggers. I have never felt so comfortable or so much myself as when I’m in a room full of people who speak fluent geek with a hashtag accent.

Fellow geek and problogger Suger, pic stolen from her IG feed. She was one of my first ever blog followers and won my first blog comp- The Crappest GiveAway Ever. Appropriate, being Suger and all.

So, in honor of how much I love youse all, especially my fellow Top 50 bloggers– or probloggers, as the case may be– I’ve decided to publish the best advice I’ve got, as requested quite a while back, on how to  become– and stay– a problogger.

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a proverbial twist– this is written with my tongue planted quite firmly in my cheek. If you would prefer me not to be such a smart arse (heh), I have published real, actual social media hints and blogging tips before. But this post is taking the piss. Out of myself. And those like–minded bloggers around me; who passionately adore writing, lovee their blogs… but really have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re any good at it.

The 2012 Kidspot Top 50. That’s me, scratching the bonnet of the car. Again.Thanks to JuicySlices IG feed for the pic.

‘How to sell your soul, sell yourself out, work your fingers to the bone, slave over a slightly heated iPad all day’… Or, ‘How to be a problogger.’

Remember– no one cares. You are a blogger, dammit; and blog you will, come rain, hail, appendicitis or dead husbands. You’re sick/tired/pregnant/having an existential crisis/being evicted/have been kidnapped by a band of rogue trolls…? Initially the sympathy will flow. This is lip service. No one actually cares why you’re not blogging, just that you are not blogging, and their morning Woog fix hasn’t showed in their Reader yet. Which is completely understandable. Think about it this way– when was the last time you saw David Letterman take a night off?

Thy blog is thy temple. And thou shall tweet treat it as such, offering sacrifices of wisdom and wit to the holy Trinity of Twitter, FaceBook and the Google God (who I’m fairly sure considers Google+ to be some kind of splinter section cult).

You must reply to every single email. Always. You will blog for an hour a day, and answer emails for six. Establish yourself an email auto–pilot persona so complete it even replies to offers from Dannii’s *Big Boobs!!!!* with a polite “Please keep me in the loop for future events” and a copy of your media kit.

What the f*ck do you mean “What is a media kit?”!?!?! Back of the blogging class, please.

Remember- every PR person is trying to rip you off, take over your blog, and fill it with video ads for Nestlé. Respond to their emails in a tone similar to one you would use for people who drown Furbies or Zhu Zhu pets or kittens or something.

Write an e-book. About anything. At all. Or at the very least contribute to one. Charge 99 cents a copy for it and change your business card to read “Published Author”. It’s called ‘shameless self promotion‘ and it works.

Attend the opening of an envelope. Erm…that’s me with a cardboard cut out of Rob The Dentist. Oh, and that’s me with Abby Cadabby. And oh, look, there’s me next to Anna Fare and Miranda Kerr’s mum! (Pictures completely unrelated to point. Obviously. See you next month at Samsung!)

Do not ever, ever, ever call yourself a mummy blogger. Personal blogger, parenting blogger, lifestyle blogger, grief blogger, humour blogger, niche blogger, whatever. But you are not, ever, under any circumstances, a mummy blogger.

Have price tags and make them nonnegotiable. Charge for absolutely everything. Really. I don’t care if that child is missing a leg and has to walk six kilometers to school carrying his pet iguana on his back. My sidebar is valuable real estate, dammit, and it will stay that way.

If you have a secret, confess it. It’s great for your stats. People love a nice bloody, gory car crash; the more bod bits strewn over the kerb the better.

Always, always, always carry a camera. Always. Get one built into your retina if you can. Because you just never know when you’ll capture a magical moment like this. Or this. Or this. Or even this.

And that’s about… that. DP bloggers, if you happen to see me around today, please come and say hello. And don’t punch me, not for this post– I’m almost positive it will only make me worse.

Cheers, jellybeans– as I said, I adore you people, bloggers and readers and occasional drop-in’s and random Google bots alike. Happy DPCon’12! (I know, I know, mOmmy bloggers, you’ve been there, done all this brand new conference stuff… but us Aussie’s are still catching up).

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The Rules Of Urban Exploring

by Lori Dwyer on March 29, 2012 · 10 comments

Urban exploration, or urbexing- The examination, exploration and navigation of urban areas and structures that are often unseen, unused or abandoned.

Urban Decay The natural disintegration of man-made structures and objects.


I’ve taken up a new hobby lately- a bit of urban exploration. I caught the bug the moment I entered that desolate house stopped in time.

The TinyTrainTown and it’s surrounds are like a playground for urban explorers. There’s a stack of old and unused houses, barns, shops and farms to explore. So on the days my kids are in daycare and I can avoid doing serious adult-type things, I go urbex-ing- camera always in hand.

It’s not about ghosts…. not now, not the way it was Before. It’s about the layers people leave behind, the imprints they leave on the earth. The detritus of human life. History, crumbling and faded.

Hearing the whispers of lives already lived. Picking through pieces of the past; silent underrated homage to ordinary people living every day lives. It quells my boredom and restlessness, allows me to engage some perspective on how blessed my convenient, privileged life is.

It makes me feel alive again, even if it is just living vicariously through the existence of the past.


And, like most things, urbexing has its rules. Some are based in what loose community urban exploration community there is online. Others are just common sense and decency. And it’s probably reasonable to document the rules, as such, if I’m going to be writing my urban expeditions here on my blog.


The rules of urban exploring.

(According to Lori. Who is absolutely no expert on the subject whatsoever.)

Scout it out. Do your research- if you come across somewhere that’s worth exploring, look into it a bit. Google is your friend. Do a daylight recon before a moonlit exploration- rotted floors and spiky bushes are easier to identify by sunlight than flashlight.

Be prepared for consequences. On occasion, getting to where you’re trying to go may involve just a little bit of trespassing. And perhaps some minor break and enter… the kind where you’re cutting through padlocks made entirely of rust. (Not that I’d ever do anything like that. Obviously.) Be realistic- if you do get caught, you will be in a spot of trouble. That’s not the end of the world. You just need to be prepared for the risks and accept the consequences of your actions, should they eventuate.

Respect what’s sacred. That being said, let’s all just be… cool. Breaking into tombs or crypts, vandalism, or pushing your way into areas considered sacred or deeply spiritual? That is not cool.

Shhhhhh…. I know, I know, it’s difficult when you’re proud of yourself and FaceBook pings your location every single place you go; but keep your best urbexing finds as much of a secret as possible. Share only with like minded adventurers- half the fun of urbexing is stepping onto floorboards and watching fifty year old dust resettle. The more people who know about a particular disenfranchised property, the less eremetic it becomes.

Be prepared. For just about anything- but at the very least to get grubby. Pack a torch, thick gloves and long pants, a mobile phone, small first aid kit, gumboots, your camera and your sense of adventure. Best to bring your sense of humour as well, you just never know when you’ll need that.

Never go alone. If it’s daytime and your taking photos from a legal, public location, solo urban exploring is no problem. But if it’s dark or remote or somewhere you shouldn’t be, take at least one person with you, and let at least one other person know where you’re going. Never enter a building alone.

Show some manners. Obviously, this is exploration of places abandoned, not of any property that society still has a vested interest in.

First do no harm. Wherever possible, leave things as you found them, as ensure that any damage caused during entry is minimal.

Be safe, not stupid. It’s natural that there will be some element of risk involved in scoping out places that may have been ravaged- or at the very least nibbled at- by time and weather and neglect. Assess situations as you go. Look up, down and around. There are no prizes here for being brave or jumping high. If there’s a little voice in the back of your mind whispering that maybe that roof will cave in, it’s probably your intuition, which is way smarter than you and has already decided that the odds here are stacked. Listen to that voice. And don’t be afraid to bail- that’s part of playing the game.

Take only photos. And leave nothing but the shadow of your presence. Nothing but another slither of human energy to add to the layers already built.

And that’s that. But hey, I’m new at this… I could have it wrong. I did have one mighty urbexing adventure just recently- let’s call the photos in this post a sneak peak. Details coming soon, I promise.

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Self-Narrative (Those Voices In Your Head)

by Lori Dwyer on March 28, 2012 · 11 comments

There’s a lot to be said for changing your own self narrative.

Most people have an internal voice. A conscious, a narrator, ‘The Thinker’ as Charlie the shrink likes to say. Writers– bloggers in particular– we’re good at what we do because we have a rich, loud, vocal self–narrative.

We tell stories to ourselves, all day.

It’s that inner story that is the voice that’s predominant in your thoughts most of the time– because that voice is your thoughts. It’s a speaker for your emotions, your subconscious, and pretty much all the other stuff that clutters up people’s brains, minds and psyches. It’s got a lot of crap to sort through. It’s no wonder that what’s it saying isn’t always correct.

Thoughts can be wrong.

It took me years to get this– just because the voice was saying it, didn’t mean it was truth. Some days the Voice was just as scared or pissed off or tired as it was. It wasn’t all of me. What it said didn’t always define me. It was just a part of me, and sometimes it told lies.

Lately, it’s been telling more.

You can slip to place, without even realizing it, where the voice in your head tells you so many lies that you begin to internalize them. You begin to believe them– it’s no longer just a voice that’s speaking your thoughts. Those negative phrases become part of your own core belief system.

Phrases like “I killed my husband.” Or “No one will ever love me again”. Or “I’m worthless and useless and nothing except a mother to my children, not a real person at all.”

That’s the kind of thing the voice in my head has been telling me lately. I know that’s not true. And I know how to fix this, how to shut the voice up. I’ve done it before. I think a lot of us have had to, when our self esteem slips.

It’s just a matter of speaking to yourself in a voice that’s louder, clearer. It feels hollow and fake, a fallacy at first– it is a fallacy at first, simple hollow words with nothing behind them. But you have to be your own cheersquad.

I’m replacing “I’m fucked” with “I’m awesome”. I’m replacing “I’m unlovable” with “There are a stack of people who love me, and there was a man who thought I was amazing.”

Replacing “I’m worthless” with “I’m Lori.”

It’s not easy (who ever said it would be easy…?) and it takes time– but only a matter of weeks, compared to living with a voice in my head that hates me for the rest of my life.

It took me most of my early twenties to learn to separate that voice in my head from who I actually am. I think it’s harder when you are a natural story teller– you narrate stories about yourself… and you believe them. But I also believe in self fulfilling prophecies. If those internal stories are negative enough… life will follow suit.

I am not my self narrative. It’s part of me, not all of me– it’s a product of me. It is the product of my core, my experiences, my past, my future. And it feeds back into all of those things as well.

But it’s malleable and changeable. And it has to start being… just kinder to me. I need to be kinder to myself.

I need to speak softly, nicely to myself. There’s no one else here who can.

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