Must read blogs are rare. We all have blogs we like to read, but then there are the cannot miss blogs. What websites or blogs keep me coming back for more? Sites with entertaining content that give real life moments in humorous ways at times, but can surprise with a bit of the serious and the deep of the heart. There are a few of those out there but one that I find very entertaining, primarily due to the personality that breaks through every paragraph is Insidethelifeofmoi. Now to introduce the star . . .
Meet Amanda Lyle
(Don’t miss the Thailand adventure movie Attack of the Mankinis at the end of the interview.)
AMANDA: I feel like I’m in the ‘cirque du life’. I’m juggling fire, I have a few plates spinning, and all whilst walking a tight rope. It’s difficult to keep those plates spinning. It’s almost impossible to juggle fire without getting burned. When I started blogging I was writing a lot more, 3 or 4 times a week, in fact. As my blog grew in popularity, it meant I had to devote more of my time, time as a mum, I didn’t really have. The way I managed things, was to reduce my posts to twice a week. My number one priority is obviously my children…and my husband! (he might be reading this!) I generally write in the evenings when my husband is watching the football, or some gangster, too-much-shooting-and-dying-for-my-liking, film. So, to answer your question, it is very difficult, but I find it equally rewarding.
RW: I think you just answered most of my questions . . . let me see what else I can come up with. Okay, what is your educational background? University graduate? Everyone is England goes to Oxford, right?
AMANDA: I was one of those people who never knew what they wanted to do in their life. I have jumped on board many a career wagon, only to climb, jump or be kicked off, again! From hairdresser to therapist. From seamstress to photographer. I’m a lady of many talents, I’m good at a lot of things…I’m just not GREAT at anything! Yes, I could cut hair without chopping off an ear. Yes, I could comfort someone whilst they bawled their eyes out. Yes, I could make a dress without throwing the damn sewing machine through the window. I can take a good photograph, too. The one thing which is a constant passion of mine, is writing. No, I didn’t go to any fancy creative writing courses, nor do I have a degree. Writing always came naturally to me. My grammar isn’t great, and my spelling isn’t perfect. Heck, my punctuation is laughable, however, I have the natural ability to write in a very relatable way. This didn’t come as a result of a degree, it came from life experience. If life had been plain-sailing and trouble-free, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have a damn thing to write about!
RW: I definitely enjoy reading your blog, but in your bio you say you have an ultimate goal of writing a book, what genre does your taste lie in as far as both reading and what you would like to write?
As a child I loathed reading. I hated it so much, I’d hide my school books from my mum so I didn’t have to read them. Unfortunately, the fish-tank wasn’t the best idea for a hiding place, and I got a good old fashioned telling off!
I went through a stage of reading a lot of thrillers, and when I was studying psychology, I would read a lot of books from the self-help genre. When I was experiencing one of the more difficult periods in my life, I turned to a self-help book called ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – by Susan Jeffers. Never before had a book had such an influence over me! It was after I had read this book three times over, when I decided I wanted to write a self-help book of my very own. I wanted to use my life experience and knowledge to help others get through their own difficulties in life. I wanted pull all my passions together, and tie them up in a big fancy bow.
AMANDA: Yes. Six months ago my life was in pieces. I was as fragile as paper glass. My marriage, practically over. One day, I decided to write. I hadn’t written anything for so long, but I had this overwhelming desire to write, and write, until I could write no more! Writing not only helped to heal many of my wounds, but it also gave me clarity. Over time it occurred to me, I wasn’t lost anymore. The book will be based on saving relationships, which for whatever reason, have become stuck. I will explore relationship issues such as infidelity, jealousy, dealing with addiction, the influence of social media and more, using my own personal experience, as well as, from a psychological point of view. I’ll be using the same writing style as I use on my blog, a mixed bag of seriousness, exploratory and humour.
The second book will deal with my relationship with my daughter and what I want to tell her and teach her through the years. The format is a little experimental in nature and thus I’m still muddling about with it.
Saying this, I am yet to write a damn word… Haha. Procrastinating is an understatement!
RW: Amanda, I hate your site. I really do, from the irritating old school almost Marx Brothers like header to just the general friendly feel you’ve created. And yet you say you are a ‘complete techno-phobe’. What’s the deal? Fess up time. Explain the great look and how you are working the site so well.
AMANDA: If you spoke to my husband, he would tell you that I am the most technically challenged person he’s ever met! When I started Insidethelifeofmoi I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I found the whole process hugely frustrating. My husband had to sit through hours and hours of my ‘effing and blinding’, and shaking my fist in the air. I can tell you, that laptop almost had a date with my wall! However, through all the swearing, air-punching and frustration, I managed to build a well-designed blog. The header was supposed to be a temporary, however, a lot of people complimented it, therefore it stayed. I am actually really proud of my blog. The fact I created it by myself, and made it my own. *Pats herself on the back* If my blog accidentally got deleted, I’d not only go into some sort of meltdown, but I would mourn for a year!
RW: One of the things I enjoy about your blog is your humor. You aren’t afraid to throw yourself out there and be honest about your failings at times. But when it comes to your writing and your subject matter you really are, as you put it a ‘mixed bag’. Do you prefer your humorous pieces or your more serious pieces?
AMANDA: I am a deep, reflective person. As much as I enjoy the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humour posts, my preference is writing from the heart. My most well-written pieces are those I write with great emotion and passion.
RW: Amanda, your blog with the humor ‘tongue in cheek’ style keeps a person engaged but then you write an article like your trip to Thailand and you show us your photography. That has to be my favorite piece you’ve done. How did you get into photography, what type of camera do you use, all of that photographer geek stuff?
AMANDA: I have always had this natural ability to take great pictures (not to sound big headed, but people have told me so!) I have a creative eye! For my 27th birthday I finally got a proper DLSR camera (I won’t bore you with the details!)
. . . and I enrolled in a photography course. In the future I hope to combine both my passions; photography and writing, and do a photojournalism course!
RW: Your blog has grown quickly in six months time, with over 3,000 followers so far. Have you done anything to actively bring people to you such as visiting other sites? Or in all honesty, can you even explain exactly why you’ve been this successful to date?
AMANDA: I do a lot of networking. I visit other blogs of interest, and I work hard to make connections with others. As much as I enjoy writing my own posts, I also like to read other blogs, and furthermore, build relationships. I also seek inspiration from others, so reading other people’s blogs is great for my creative juices! I have a list a mile long of topic ideas, and it keeps on growing!
I think my blog differs from a lot of blogs because I have versatility. I always write with my reader in mind. I think this is key to having a successful blog. There are a lot of other factors too…this blogging malarkey is a complex thing! For tips on blogging, see my post : Let’s Blog And Roll: A Blogging Guide By The Non-professional.
RW: I reblogged one of your pieces and it ended up with a few comments and tweets aimed at both of us that were negative. How do you handle those backlashes? Those times when a reader just doesn’t get what is being said or doesn’t even read it, but just pops off with a comment?
AMANDA: I have been so fortunate. I have only ever received one negative comment in the 6 months I have been blogging. This wasn’t an attack on my writing style or ability, but rather disagreeing with the content of my post. It was one of my earlier posts – ‘The false perception of the stay-at-home-mum’, and they simply said ‘A stay at home mum doesn’t constitute to work’. The reason I shared this example, is because I wanted to make the point that people are entitled to have their own opinion. This was his opinion, and I was okay with that. If people were to attack my writing, perhaps I’d be more upset. I guess the beauty of being able to delete certain comments, eases the issue.
AMANDA: My husband tells me my blog is his favourite. This is only because he isn’t actually on WordPress, and he doesn’t read any other blogs! To be honest, it makes me feel a bit uneasy knowing he is reading my innermost thoughts. Sometimes he gets ‘the hump’ because he thinks I have portrayed him as a bit of a ‘sissy’, but I don’t think this is the case at all. He plans to write a piece called the ‘husbands perspective’ for one of my future guest posts. I’m not sure how this will go down… Haha!
Watch this space… (I have to insert a correction here. Watch her space. This is well . . . my space. Well the space that is mine, because I don’t think I can use that other phrase, I think it’s copyrighted or something, but then again I did put the space between the my and the space . . . )
AMANDA: I knew you would bring up the mother-in-law! Obviously, my blog is TOP SECRET and she will never get to read my thoughts on her…hopefully! She’d certainly choke on her Earl Grey tea! Things aren’t so bad now, hence the lack of Monster-in-law posts. She seems to have mellowed out…and no! I haven’t put sedatives in her tea!
AMANDA: Generally, I’ll have ideas popping into my head throughout the day! As soon as I think of something, the iPhone is out and I’m jotting down my notes! In the evening, from the comfort of my bed, I’ll read over the ideas and start to create a post. That’s just how I roll… I would like to say, in true writer fashion, I am sat in an antique armchair, next to a blazing fire, stroking a purring cat and drinking red wine, but it’s just not true!
(#1 About Page, #2 Dear Husband: An Unconventional Love Letter, #3 1o Things I Hate About Facebook)
AMANDA: I find inspiration in everything. I was casually looking at my shoes one day, and an idea for an entire post floated into my mind. I can be inspired by a piece of music, an image that catches my eye or even during a walk.
How do I stick to blogging? I couldn’t imagine life without it. So, It looks like ‘blogging’ is stuck with me!
RW: Now that you have been blogging for a bit where would you like to see your blog go or maybe turn into if not stay as it is? For example some might want to be discovered and start writing a column in a magazine or paper.
AMANDA: I like the way things are. I’m not after fame or popularity. I blog because I enjoy it. It’s as simple as that! If someone wanted me to write for their magazine, I’d say ‘Are you sure?’…then I’d quite possible pass out (Especially if it’s a popular one!)
I am an average writer, and I very much doubt I’d be approached anyway.
AMANDA: Yes! Obviously, I wouldn’t write about things I’m not interested in. I have to be passionate about a topic to even consider writing about it. I also wouldn’t write about subjects I have no clue about, such as; politics, religion or current affairs.
RW: What is something you have been wanting to write about or have been working on that you haven’t been able to get yourself to complete and publish? Maybe it is topic you care about and want it to be just right, or you haven’t been able to find your way to be satisfied during the process.
AMANDA: I wanted to branch out a little and explore topics of a more serious nature, such as domestic abuse, postnatal depression and the affects of porn. So far I have written posts from broad categories, I guess this is because I would consider these ‘safe’. It’s a risk to write about more specified, or taboo subjects. Is it a risk I’m willing to take? I think so…
AMANDA: My best-friend gave me Kenzo’s – Flower perfume for Christmas, about 15 years ago. I loved it so much I still use it now…the fragrance, not the same 15 year old perfume! My favourite celebrity scent is actually, rather embarrassingly, Britney Spears’ Fantasy. Purely because it smells like I have rubbed pix n mix over my body!
I would like to thank Amanda for agreeing to this interview. I am sure many of you either identify with her or learned about the blogging life through her answers. Make sure to visit and follower her blog Insidethelifeofmoi. Also you can find her on Twitter.
Watch the movie from her Thailand trip.
Attack of the Mankinis!
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