I Realised Something And Now You Might Suffer For It

I Realised Something And Now You Get To Suffer For It

Plane/Train/Train/Train/Plane/Plane, in case you’re wondering

I believe there is a solitary little boy without internet access somewhere in Peru who has possibly not heard by now that I was away last month, travelling the TransSiberian Railway through Russia, Mongolia and China, followed by an entirely unrelated sojourn in Vietnam (well, unrelated other than a geographical proximity to China, which kind of makes it extremely related, but it would be pedantic to point that out).

(It would also be pedantic to point out that technically I was on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, rather than the TransSiberian, seeing as I went from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia, rather than the whole way through Siberia and on to Vladivostok, so I won’t do that either.)

Anyhoo, I may have crept away silently, saying nothing of my plans, but there are some who can testify to the fact that I haven’t bloody shut up about it since I came home.

I hadn’t been away for more than 2 weeks since 2005. This holiday was fecking momentous. I would do it all again in the morning, if I had enough clean socks.

It’s a rough-and-ready trip, kind of like a music festival on tracks, without the decibels or the overpriced burger vans, but if you like that sort of thing, which I do, it’s so worth it, it’s gone beyond L’Oréal’s wildest dreams.

On The Rails But Off The Grid

There is something utterly cleansing about staring out the window of a train, watching the landscape, the climate, the faces, and the very feel of the world around you change. (It’s fortunate that it cleanses the mind, because the body isn’t going to get a shower until the next hotel.) But the mind goes on travels all by itself, when it has nothing else to do but stare at a world which is so much bigger than it ever could have imagined, and think, and notice a stark and sometimes terrible beauty, and wonder when it will next need to go to the toilet, and what it should bring with it when it does.

While I was doing all of this staring and thinking and toilet-training, I realised something about both writing and life, which became synonymous while in that space.

What I realised is: I’ve been doing it wrong.

I Realised Something And Now You Get To Suffer For It

A stark and terrible beauty, I believe I said

I always thought of myself as a niche blogger. “My blog’s unusual,” I’d say to well-meaning friends and acquaintances, who had absolutely no interest in my blog, but were being told about it anyway. “Oh really?” they’d enquire politely. “Yes, really,” I’d nod. “I blog about books, but I don’t review them, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Eagerly getting no reaction whatsoever, I’d plough on with excruciating earnestness. “I blog about trends in the book market instead. And sometimes I write weird sketches where I anthropomorphise writing clichés,” I’d say, choosing to ignore the blank looks of discomfort, as they idly wondered how to get away from both the conversation, and me.

It’s All About The Label

But niche blogging is definitely a thing. It’s a thing loved by niche bloggers, because niche is a nicer way of saying you’re not as popular as bloggers who will get 45,000 hits on their latest vlog wherein they “unbox” a hamper of dog treats and chartreuse eyeshadow.

Niche blogging is a way of saying you’re totally popular within the miniscule section of society which actually takes notice of you. It’s lauding your own success in a very, very, small pond.

But while I was staring out the train window, marvelling at the vastness of the world around me (after Mongolia all I can say is, with horizons that far away, I can totally understand why Genghis Khan took over the world. If I could see that far from my horse, I’d want to have it all too), I wondered at my niche blogging strategy. Why limit myself to a niche? Why not write about it all? Why couldn’t I become Swiss Army Tara, I thought? There’s so much else to blog about, besides books, and personified narrative devices.

I Realised Something And Now You Get To Suffer For It

OH NO… It’s Tark and Mara

I could tick all the popularity boxes by becoming a travel blogger (Off The Rails: My Unique Experiences On The Albeit Well-Travelled TransSiberian Railway), a survival blogger (Don’t Panic: What To Do If You Run Out Of Instant Noodles, Baby Wipes And Toilet Paper), a fashion blogger (Go Down: How To Stay Chic When It’s 25 Degrees Below Freezing) or a beauty blogger (You Guys, I Totally Went Without Makeup For Four Weeks And It Completely Changed My Life #NoFilter).

I could do all of these things. Or I could just compensate for being off the grid for a while by suddenly bombarding you with posts EVERY FEW DAYS!!!

Last weekend, Tark and Mara chirped their swansong for the time being, signing off by plotting my demise. On Tuesday, I did a piece on my writing.ie blog about writers switching genre in midstream, and whether the real creative freedom is in that time before an author is published (which you can read here).

Today, I’m pontificating from my own platform.

And next Sunday 10th December, you’ll find me over at the inimitable Anne R. Allen’s blog, where she very kindly asked me to get up to my usual festive shenanigans and make some Christmas writerly jokes on a blog I admire so much it sometimes makes me drool a bit. I’ll throw up the direct link in a post here once it’s published.

Annoying Cryptic Social Media Statement

There are also some plans and changes afoot. I don’t mean to do that annoying social media cryptic thing where I merely hint at something, thereby making it out to be more important and interesting than it actually is, but I’m totally doing that annoying social media cryptic thing where I merely hint at something, thereby making it out to be more important and interesting than it actually is.

The thing is, my professional life is changing. It means that I’m going to be more restricted in my abilities to respond to comments, and read the blogs I really want to read. My posting schedule may also have to change, but not dramatically. At best, it will only affect me, because I may just have to change to posting on weekends, when I find that my posts get a little less traction. Time will tell.

But in the meantime, I may well give you the opportunity to get sick of me, which means that none of this will really matter.

There are things I have to tell you, such as what you can actually do for a living in Russia; why competitive travelling is the offline manifestation of Facebook; and why someone needs to invent a Weapon of Mass Mindfulness, in order to combat The Attack Of The Selfies.

Between that, and me already spreading myself all over the bloody internet on other websites, well, I’m just out to prove that I really am a feast or a famine. You have been warned.

P.S…. I did kind of miss you.

  49 comments for “I Realised Something And Now You Might Suffer For It

  1. December 7, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
    Nice to see you back again Tara! Yes…do write about it ALL – I’ll look forward to reading it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 7, 2017 at 10:18 am

      It’s nice to be back, Stevie. I’m looking forward to writing about some of it myself!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ruth
    December 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Ah Taaaaaraaaaa, as I settle into a day of very important and earnest report writing, you have repositioned my ontological (look it up) perspective to such a degree, that it just might touch on……. **** it, its all gonna be ok!! You might throw in acidental philosopher to the list of reachable far distant horizons??
    Loooove it!! 😜

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Jeebus, Ruth. I looked up ontological, but then I had to lie down. I think that makes me even more accidental than most, no?!


      • Ruth
        December 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm

        The accidental aspect means you have permission to challenge every single philosophy that might touch off you…… or you off it, for that matter!! 😜

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm

          For Blog’s sake don’t be giving me permission, Ruth. It’ll never turn out well.


      • Ruth
        December 7, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        PS The word ontological is dead fancy isn’t it!! My inner accidental philosopher loves it!! When I learnt it years ago I said to myself…. “that’s a really good word that in one foul swoop makes whatever I’m thinking sound important, for a few minutes, anyway!! ” 😜

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

          I will be using it at the first opportunity Ruth, with enough confidence to make it look like I own it 😀


  3. carousel1234
    December 7, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Welcome back, Tara, but with a blog this funny, you can go away again please. 😉 Swiss Army Tara. Love it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • December 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

      I can arrange to be away permanently if enough people want to pay for it, Carolann 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 7, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 7, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Side-splittingly hilarious, as always… not sure how anyone one can be a feast and a famine, but you manage it beautifully… so good to have you back, Tara…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 10:21 am

      I’m a bit of a walking conundrum, that’s true. Now, if I could only arrange to be simultaneously here and away at the same time, I’d be complete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. December 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    I hate you (green-eyed monster rearing ugly head). Shut up philosophizing already, and tell us about your trip. I’m dying for DETAILS

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Ooooh that’s my absolute FAVOURITE type of hatred! Thank you! You know you’ve made it as a blogger when you make readers jealous, and I didn’t even have to lie to get there. I’ll get working on further boastfulness thinly disguised as blogging ASAP.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. December 7, 2017 at 10:57 am

    One of the only clever things I did in my life (which I did entirely by accident) was come up with my blog name ‘my thoughts on a page,’ which allows me write any old nonsense at all.
    When I see a blogger writing about how their life is going to change and they may need to alter their blogging schedule and lessen their time responding and reading I am usually delighted, as it’s often down to a positive change in their lives. I’m hoping 2018 is going to be all that you wish for. You have a great talent for both writing and engaging with people, now you just need time to focus on it.
    Every good wish Tara and despite envy I’ve loved the few titbits re your travel you’ve posted. (My fee is coming via email).

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      You saw RIGHT THROUGH my cryptic comments, I see, Tric. I thought by alluding to it twice and then pretty much stating it outright I’d fool everyone, but there’s just no fooling you. I should have known. Too cute by half.

      I hope good things are coming too all of us in 2018, but me especially. I’m quite selfish that way, I must admit. Thank you also for the compliment, which I have already printed out, laminated, and made into Christmas cards for my enemies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Thank you Tara. In truth I become even more clever after a glass of wine and an even better writer.
        This new year I think I too will ease off (even more) on reading and commenting so I can devote more time to drinking.


        • December 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

          I would think that wise. Actually, I’m surprised you’re only realising this now.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Patty
    December 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    YAY! Found that PressThis button!

    Reblogged at http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. December 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    ‘Swiss Army Tara’ is brilliant, and I love the silhouettes of M&T! I tell you what you have made me totally turn myself around 180 degrees in this one blog post. Niche is all very well – for some. What I’ve just realised is that if people like you, you could write about anything and everything and they’d still like you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. December 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    That epic journey puts my own little sojourn to South Africa into perspective. 🙂 Are the trains in Russia any better now than they were when I took a trip between Moscow and St Petersburg about 40 years ago. Getting from one carraige to the next in order to find the so-called dining car involved navigating a moving platform joining the two carriages while seeng the ground pass rapidly beneath your feet. Hair raising!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Not much better, I’d say! Travels up and down the carriages are still… interesting, and involving two moving plates, which was appropriate, seeing how it felt like walking through a mild earthquake. I got used to it, even if doing it in flip-flops in sub-zero temperatures never got old!


  11. December 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    You can keep going for months and months and months on this one trip alone Tara. I stretched my Big Trip out as far as I could, but I’m running out of places to share now because the mean public have not bought my books in their millions enabling me to go on more trips so I can bore more blog readers to death by writing about the life-changing feelings I had while traveling o now I shall be forced to read yours turning bright green with envy. Life just ain’t fair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      No, it isn’t, Lucinda. Which is terrible, except when we’re the ones people are jealous of, which doesn’t even happen enough, which is SO UNFAIR. QED I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Looking forward to hearing of your adventures though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. December 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Hmm, Swiss-Army Tara… I’ve had a go at this as a life directive and my CV would definitely qualify. I’ve had, and still am having, a ball, but would it work as a blog populariser? Not in my case, but it just might with you writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 7, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Nothing, and I mean nothing matters, other than having a ball, Hilary. I’ve spent the last year testing that hypothesis and proving the living bejeebus out of it. Continuation is mandatory 😆

      Liked by 2 people

  14. December 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Nothing like some time away to get some perspective, Tara. Great post with lots of humor, but loads so wisdom between the lines. We have to move forward in all aspects of life (including blogging as minuscule as that is in the grand scheme). I’m looking forward to seeing where this metaphorical journey takes you and I’m certain it will be witty and entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      You know Diana, I’d be lying if I pretended I had a clue what I was doing now, let alone what I’m going to be doing in a few week’s time. So let’s just say that I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. December 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Life changes that will limit your blogging! I think you’ve got a job as a train driver. Holidays do that to you. (I knew a barrister who spent ten minutes in an amusement arcade in Rhyl and decided to become a clown.)

    Niche blogging is good. Micro-niche blogging is better. You don’t really want to start earning a six figure monetizing income, do you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Good grief, Chris, the very idea of it! I knew a blogger once who actually made lots of money, and it turned them into an unconscionable pillock. Obviously being considered to be witty and charming on the internet is far more important than making money or becoming famous – else everyone would be doing it. Right?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. December 10, 2017 at 7:35 am

    A feast is fine by me 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 10, 2017 at 8:19 am

      That’s fortunate, Al, because there’s a good chance this is a totalitarian philosophical state, and reader choice is hideously limited.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. December 11, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Love it when a holiday turns your world upside down and inside out! The trick to living and writing well is to seize the time you have, however little, and ENHANCE it to the brim and over (not optimise! no. No. NO!) 😉

    It’s a gift to have your world/life perspective changed and reappraised, especially if it ignites your passion – all the luck in the world to you, Tara, in your in all your lives! :_D

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 12, 2017 at 12:57 am

      That’s what I keep telling the voices in my head anyway, Jan 😉 Thank you!


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