Julie’s first post A personal A-Z of Portugal inspired me to join her by sharing “My “A-Z of Portugal”. I then asked my fellow bloggers all over the world to join us on my post My A ~ Z of Portugal; the response was overwhelming.
I propose to feature and promote bloggers participating in the Global A-Z, not only by promoting a selection of their posts, but also by interviewing a different A-Z Blogger each week. So who better to start with, than Julie herself!
Interview with Julie Dawn Fox, Portugal
Who are you?
I’m a writer, traveller and teacher but not necessarily in that order. My job as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) has enabled me to live and work in various countries over the years, including Portugal, where I’ve been living for over four years. During that time, I’ve got married, moved to the countryside, adopted a dog and begun to pursue my dream of becoming a writer.
Julie, what prompted you to create the A personal A-Z of Portugal series of posts?
The idea started with the ABC award that Alyson Sheldrake surprised me with around Christmas time. In order to accept it, I had to write a word or phrase for each letter of the alphabet that meant something to me. No need for explanations, just the words, so I did that quite quickly.
While visiting other blogs, such as Restlessjo’s, I noticed an A-Z of Travel doing the rounds. Someone, I’ve no idea who started it, had come up with a question for each letter of the alphabet and challenged bloggers to answer them.
That’s when I got the idea of writing an A-Z specifically about Portugal because that’s the focus of my blog. I began drafting a single post with a paragraph for each letter. Then I thought, hang on a minute, why not write a whole post about each of these things instead of one very long one that people probably wouldn’t bother reading until the end?
I went to bed with the idea buzzing around my head, trying to think of topics for each letter. I couldn’t sleep and in the end, I had to get up and write them down because my memory’s hopeless. Only once I had at least one idea for each letter was I able to go back to bed and get to sleep.
I’d recently read Jeff Goins’ writer’s manifesto in which he urges writers to write about what they want write, not what they think they ought to write. When I looked at my A-Z of Portugal outline the next morning, I realised that I should make it personal and write about things I care about here in Portugal which was quite liberating. I went through the list I’d created and changed some of the topics.
I was really excited at having such a great focus, and ideas for at least 26 posts! I quickly bashed out three or four posts, including the explanatory one. As soon as I published that, other bloggers started asking if they could join in and do one of their own and the idea quickly spread in blogland.
Please tell us more about your blog?
I decided to take the plunge and work on developing my writing skills over a year ago and set up my blog as a space to practice. At first, my posting was erratic. I’d publish a flurry of articles then abandon the blog for months. A while ago, I decided to focus on using this blog to write about my experiences of Portugal and since then, I’ve been adding new posts at least once a week on average.
What do you like about blogging?
I’m still relatively new to blogging and am enjoying making new friends and becoming part of the blogging community, which can be very supportive and encouraging. I like the fact that blogging has made me work on my photography as well as writing. I think I’m starting to get better at both, although there’s still so much to learn.
What advice can you offer to new bloggers?
It’s advice you hear everywhere, but for good reason: try to give your blog a focus. That way you can decide if something you want to write about is truly relevant for that space or not. If not, find somewhere else to write it or try to adapt it so that it fits within the parameters of your blog’s focus. Once I’d decided to focus on Portugal, I found it a lot easier to think of topics and not just waffle about random things.
I think it’s also important to allow people to share and comment on your posts and to make the most of social media as a tool for letting others know about great things you’ve posted but also interesting articles you’ve found on other sites.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on another A-Z project and building up my profile as a freelance writer. In the future, I’d like to devote more time to writing fiction, too.
Julie is a British expat writing about living and travelling in Portugal. Take a peek at Julie’s blog Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal I know you will be impressed! You can also follow Julie on Twitter @juliedawnfox and on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Dawn-Fox
Thank you Julie for a great interview!
If you are interested in participating in an “A-Z Blogger” interview or in the country A-Z challenge please contact me by email, twitter or leave a comment below to register your interest.