March 1, 2009

Tango Lessons in New Orleans - interview with Valorie Hart, passionate blogger, designer and Argentine tango teacher.

There is a lot of discussions lately about purposes of writing a blog, how to do it, is there a sense to keep a blog alive, why others abandon blogging etc.

I decided to take part in the discussion by posting not only my own opinions, but also by inviting other passionate bloggers to talk about their own reasons for blogging and also about the ways, blogging is impacting their life.

Ewa: Please introduce yourself Valorie.
VV: I am Valorie Hart known as the Visual Vamp. I chose the name Visual Vamp because I live in New Orleans, and we are steeped in vampire culture ha ha. And I am visually attuned to everything, talking it all in with my eyes constantly. I need to see beauty to live.
Ewa: What blogs do you own, which one is your favorite, and why did you start it?VV: I just have one blog: Visual Vamp. It's one year old, which is like ten years in real life ha ha. I have many favorites, which you can see on my blogroll, and so many more that I stumble upon constantly. The talent writing and producing blogs is crazy fabulous, and we can't live long enough to feast our eyes.

Valorie's house from outside and inside.

Ewa: What is the number 1 thing you learned about blogging that has impacted your bottom line, that thing that makes the difference between succeeding and failing in blogging?
VV: First of all I never considered a bottom line ha ha. I started the blog to be and feel productive. I am a writer as well as a designer (and Argentine tango teacher). I think a blog succeeds when you participate in the community of like bloggers that you read day in and day out. This happens via comments and e-mail. I also have my little counter widget, and lots of people I don't know are reading! This is magic to me. I think don't really think any blog fails. Each person has a personal reason for blogging, so who's to say what a success or failure is. Many bloginistas are getting press now. Is that success? Not necessarily, magazines have always had a constant need to fill pages. And now that one after one is closing down, they are trying anything to stay alive, including courting bloggers, who once held the image of being pathetic journal scribblers living in their pajamas. Times have certainly changed! I think bloggers now are qutie the glam and stylish and accomplished lot of women and men.

Ewa: Can you say, that blogging changed your life? In what way? Do you see difference before and after blogging?
VV: Blogging gives me a daily routine of writing and editing, and researching and reading. It has given me new real life and e-mail friends who instantly get me (as I understand and appreciate them). It has given me employment in my field of expertise. Blogging has made me a happier, purposeful person.

Ewa: You mean you have got new job thanks to Visual Vamp? Could you please say something more about how it happened?
VV: Bloggers read other blogs, and a really great blogger just happened to be reading mine. She is The Bayou Contessa and she lives in New Orleans. When I see another blogger is from New Orleans, I drop them a line and introduce myself. I think it's cool to know another blogger in your home town. In the case of The Bayou Contessa, I found out she was participating in an art event, so I made it a point to stop by her shop and say hello. It was as if two long lost sisters reconnected! We became fast friends. And as friends we bounced blog ideas, work ideas, etc. off each other over coffee. I was trying to re-enter the work force in the design field, and I thought maybe blogging might lead me there. How I did not know. At first I thought I'd approach shop owners about me setting up and maintaining a blog for them. I also wanted to use the blog as a writing sample portfolio to pitch stories to editors.One day The Bayou Contessa said she knew of a job for me!!! I thought she had a referral for me, but in fact she asked me to come and work for her as Director of Marketing for her company Julie Neill Designs.

Valorie's house.
Ewa: If you have to bring instant visitors to your blog in the next 30 minutes, what steps will you follow?
VV: Well I don't know. Do a juicy expose of all the things I know about bloggers ha ha. Or get a scoop (and photos!) on what Michelle Obama and Michael Smith are doing in the White House.You see I am not a numbers counter. I don't do my blog to compete or hustle. I don't put ads on my blog. But I do promote other bloggers who sell things. I have an amazon widget that is useless, except to fill up the right hand margin.That's not saying I don't write about my own projects, or promote myself for gainful employment ha ha. To me the blog is all about its author, what he or she likes, what he or she does, what he or she hates, what he or she is buying, etc. Blogs are freedom of expression for sure.

Ewa: What else would you like to share, something that we other bloggers
can immediately apply to our blogs?

VV: I don't really know. I do the typical things that everyone discovers by the intuitive process of learning the nuts and bolts of blogging. I don't like to put alot of junky widgets on my blog. No You Tube or music or Twitter, etc. It's not that I don't like these things, but it really slows the page loading process. I also like a certain homey look of a blog - thought out and nice looking, but not so slick that it becomes an online copycat of a magazine. Blogs were meant to be personal, and they have morphed into this huge PR app.

Ewa: Thank You Valorie.

You may digg more on Valorie's great blog Visual Vamp.
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Gail said...

Very interesting...there are so many good blogs out there...Thanks, Ewa...gail

Lori Skoog said...

Ewa...I am going to recommend this post to an online friend who is thinking of ending her blog (which is GREAT). Going back, I love the orchid shots.

garden girl said...

Hi Ewa, I really enjoyed this interview. Interacting with bloggers around the world is enriching and inspiring.

Yours was the first European blog I came across, and I've been inspired by it and by your beautiful garden.

F Cameron said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview!


Ewa said...

This is interesting to grow online together :) Your blog was one of the first blogs I started to visit after starting blogging.

Ewa said...

There is more Interviews with bloggers scheduled, so I hope there will be even more interesting stuff to read.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is an interesting interview Ewa. I will look forward to other interviews you do.

Anonymous said...

This was a very interesting post. There are so many wonderful blogs out there. The great thing is, when you find one that you really enjoy, it generally leads you to another, which leads you to yet another. (Before you know it, three hours have completely disappeared.) I will look forward to future interviews!

Visual Vamp said...

Thank you so much for the lovely chat, and for making such a pretty post for me!
And thanks to all your readers for making me feel so welcome.
I hope one day to come to Poland to teach tango, and to visit with you my Polish soul sister.
xo xo

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Lovely interview Ewa and very interesting too.

Anonymous said...

Hello (where y'at)Ms. Hart - unless I am mistaken - this residence is off of Esplanade Ave. near the Whole Foods, n'est-ce pas?