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Rated: E · Interview · Writing.Com · #2227805
5 Things with Robert Waltz

{suser:cathartes02} has been a WDC member since 2004 and in 2019 his blog, {item:1196512}, took home the Quill Award for {b}Best Blog{/b}. He resides in Charlottesville, VA, has completed NaNoWriMo three times, and prefers science fiction and fantasy, with a sprinkling of comedy, mystery and horror. A retired civil engineer, he enjoys travelling and meeting fellow WDCers. His blog is a fan favorite, and the other day he took a few minutes to answer a few questions.

{b}1) What brought you to blogging? What made you say "It's time for me to start a blog"?{/b}

I joined WDC in September of 2004. My first blog -- though I resisted actually calling it a "blog" for a while because I don't like bandwagoning -- began on January 1, 2005. I don't remember much of my thought processes from over 15 years ago, and even glancing through that blog doesn't help much, but I suppose I thought I might have things I wanted to say that I couldn't quite manage with fiction or poetry. My blogging focus has morphed over the years, less "what's going on in my boring life" and more of "hey, here's something interesting and now for my take on it."

{b}2) Your blog is very popular among a wide variety of WDC users. Is there anything you can attribute that to? You read through a good amount of blogs as well...is there something you see that tends to set your entries apart from others?{/b}

I'd like to think that any popularity my blog might have is due to my advanced sense of humor, superior intelligence, stunning good looks, and overwhelming humility... but I know better. I have a variety of interests, including (but not limited to) science, comedy, philosophy, gaming, absurdity, mathematics, adult beverages, linguistics, movies, music, engineering, reading, writing, travel and finance -- and I think different subjects appeal to different people. If you're not interested when I wax poetic about astronomy, wait a day and maybe I'll go all cosmic about tunes. Or something entirely different. Also, I try not to stray too far into taboo topics such as religion or politics, because those discussions are rarely productive -- though they do come up from time to time. And finally, I try to write in it daily, to be consistent; not only is this good writing practice in general, but I think it helps one maintain an audience's interest.

Partly, though, I think it's what I call the Writer's Paradox: If you try to write to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one; but if you write for just one person, more people will find it interesting. So I have a target audience of one. Not always the same one.

{b}3) Congratulations on your 2019 Quill Award for Best Blog. What was your impression when you found out?{/b}

Thank you! It was certainly surprising; there are lots of great blogs here. I was thrilled, of course, but also felt a bit of pressure: keep up the quality! Whether I've succeeded in that or not is left as an exercise for the reader.

{b}4) Do any other WDC authors inspire you or in any way give you a boost when you're writing? Even if it's not blogging. I know you've described yourself at times as a fiction writer. Your blog is often informed by a link or two related to a prompt...is there a way you differentiate between fiction and blogging?{/b}

Well, sure, they're very different kinds of writing. I can't say I've always told 100% of the truth in my entries, but hopefully people can recognize sarcasm and hyperbole for what they are. I generally keep fiction out of the blog. As for inspiration, I find it wherever I can; sometimes I'll incorporate things I think of from reading stuff on WDC, or respond in some way to a comment someone left on a previous entry. I appreciate all the comments I get, even when they disagree. Especially when they disagree, because it makes me think more. Like I said above, I usually have a target audience of one, and it's almost always a fellow WDCer. But most of my entries, when I'm not participating in something like your blog challenge, are based off of articles I find lying around on the internet. I don't want to get in the position of using my blog to argue with other authors, though.

{b}5) What do you see for your blog in the near/far future? Your newsfeed posts tend to be cryptically on point, which I'm sure draws readers in. If you needed to make changes in the future to your content, would you? Why/why not?{/b}

My current blog is my second, and it's been around since 2007. Even with a long hiatus from blogging, I'm sure it'll hit its limit sooner rather than later. Which is a shame, because I'm still inordinately proud of "Complex Numbers" as a blog title. I know some people free up space by deleting older or less interesting entries, but I like keeping things around for posterity, so, point is, eventually I'll probably have to start a third blog. Anyway, just as I've changed a lot over the last 15 years, I expect that I'll be different in the future as well. Life throws curveballs, as we are all well aware this year. As for the newsfeed, well, all I try to do there is add a funny gif that has some bearing on the blog's subject matter.

{b}Bonus Question: What blogs do you like to read, here at WDC and/or offsite? We always kinda like to know what makes the blogger.{/b}

Aw, man, I like bonuses. But I fear that if I list a few blogs I tend to read here, I'll surely leave out someone and make them feel bad about not being on the list. So all I'll say to that is... (and here's a free plug for you) check out the {item:30dbc} by {suser:fivesixer}; the participants (and judges!) there often have lots of great entries. Also, just check out other blogs from the community; you never know when you'll find someone else you like to read. Concerning offsite blogs, well, I've riffed off of quite a few of them from time to time; mostly they're about the subjects I've mentioned above.

Thanks for your time Robert, and if you haven't, please be sure to check out {item:1196512}!
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