Tag Archives: routine

How Was 2012 So Far?

[fr] 2012, année chaotique, mais qui se termine avec un retour vers la stabilité. 2013 s'annonce plutôt bien.

A conversation last night had me thinking back about the last few years. This morning, I stumbled upon this post that I wrote end 2009.

2009 was a good year. I felt like I was getting my act together. Everything came crumbling down in 2010, my “shit year“, and 2011 was largely a year of grieving. Healthy grieving, I’d like to add. Not easy to go through, but a hugely empowering life experience.

What about 2012? Well, it’s not quite finished, though I have two weeks of Lausanne life to go before heading off to India for my annual vacation. So I might as well look back now.

2012 has been chaotic. It’s been a year of changes and uncertainty, both personal and professional. You know how at times you feel like your life or a relationship has not reached its point of equilibrium? That it’s in flux, going somewhere, but not there yet? That’s what 2012 has felt like. On a very practical day-to-day level (the most important one, actually!) I adopted two cats, lost one two months later, and brought another one back from the UK just about a month and a half after that. It may seem like nothing, but for somebody who sometimes finds day-to-day life a bit of a challenge, it was quite a disruption in my life, and whatever was left of the routines and habits I’d formed the previous years kind of flew out the window. To give just one example, I climbed back on my exercise bike for what is possibly the first time in 2012… yesterday.

Tounsi & Quintus à l'eclau, proximité 3

In addition to that 2012 came with its lot of work changes and uncertainty: the end of a long-standing gig, two other important sources of work and revenue left hanging for quite a few months, growing dissatisfaction with the social media industry and figuring out where I want to go these next years…

All this shuffling around was taking me somewhere, and I think that with the year wrapping up, I’m pretty much there. Things are stabilizing. (Proof if needed: In addition to climbing back on my bike, I cleaned the dust webs off my ceiling again this week-end, something I’d been doing regularly in 2009 but that disappeared sometime between now and then.)

2013 is looking good — and exciting.

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Posted in Personal | Tagged 2012, bilan, cats, chaos, habits, life, routine, summary | Leave a comment

Mais qu’est-ce qui se passe?

[en] What makes the blogger fall off the wagon? Stress. Nothing bad, just a lot of things to deal with right now. Will be back soon!

C’est fragile, la routine. Vous bloguez tous les jours pendant un moment, et paf!, quelque chose vous fait tomber du train.

Quelque chose?

Le stress.

Eh oui, c’est tout bête. Il se passe un truc pas prévu, le stress grimpe, les articles ne s’écrivent pas.

Pas pour rien que ma mission pour 2012 s’intitule “moins de travail, plus de temps pour faire mes trucs”.

Bref, tout va bien, je suis un peu prise dans le tourbillon des choses à boucler (les valises ça attendra la semaine prochaine) avant de partir en Inde pour six semaines.

Bientôt des articles ici, de nouveau. Promis. Mais oui.

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Posted in Blogging, Personal | Tagged routine, stress, wagon | Leave a comment

Variety is the Spice of Life

[fr] De l'importance de varier les choses que l'on fait pour être heureux, les façons dont on s'organise, et le type d'article qu'on publie sur son blog. La routine ne tue pas seulement le couple. Vous avez d'autres exemples?

I’m in India. I’m reading “The How of Happiness“. The two are completely unrelated aside from the fact they come together to give me the title of this article.

Spice
Photo credit: Sunil Keezhangattu/Flickr

Don’t let the slightly corny title put you off as it did me, The How of Happiness is an excellent, solid, well-researched and practical book.

I don’t want to delve into the details of the book, but just share with you something that has fallen into place for me during the last week. It has to do with variety.

You see, in her book, Sonja Lyubomirsky doesn’t only go through the various things you can do to make yourself happier, or help you pick those that seem the best fit for you: she also insists on the necessity of varying the way you put them into practice.

The example that really made this point hit home for me was the one on “counting your blessings” (yes, corniness warning, directly from the author herself, but don’t let that stop you).

First, the test groups who were asked to write down the things they were thankful for 3 times a week ended up seeing less improvement in their happiness than those that were asked to do it only once a week. Doing it only once a week makes it more of an event and keeps boredom/immunisation at bay.

Second, even then, Sonja Lyubomirsky invites the reader to not do it in the same way every week. By writing, by conversation with a friend, upon certain occasions, about certain areas of your life, or in yet a different manner, so that it remains a meaningful practice. (Page 97, if you want to look it up directly.)

This immediately reminded me of a flash of insight I had one day walking in the mountains around my chalet. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I can see the road I was on and I remember the insight quite clearly.

Update: I found the article I wrote at the time, it was in 2009!

I was thinking of the different ways in which I had got organized, and how I seemed to become “immune” to a given method after some time had passed. The flash of insight was this: “maybe I just need to keep on finding new ways of getting organized.” I brushed off the idea, because it wasn’t comfortable, and wrote it down to the need to have different techniques for different contexts. For example, there are times when I’m more stressed than others. Times when I have more work than others. Times when I feel productive, and times when I need to kick myself down the two floors from the flat to the coworking space to get to work. Even my recent musings on freeform versus structured work go in that direction.

But in fact, I was right. Just like it’s important to vary “happiness activities/techniques” to prevent habituation (or worse, boredom), I think it’s important to vary one’s organization methods. Or at least, for me, it is. And it could well be because there is a “happiness” component for me in the act of getting organized. I like the feeling of being on top of things, of finding solutions to be productive despite my built-in procrastination engine, of learning how I function, of coming up with strategies to prioritize and get things done. And maybe — maybe — for me, trying to find one method that I can just stick to is a big mistake.

Another area I’ve recently connected “variety is the space of life” to is blogging. I’ve been hanging out with the communication team at Wildlife SOS these last days, volunteering a bit of my time and expertise to help them make better use of social media.

As I was inviting them to vary the type of article they publish on their blog (at the moment, almost all the stories are animal rescue stories), I realized that this was another example of this theme at work: “variety is the spice… of reader engagement?”

Even if as a reader, animal rescue stories are my favourites, I will actually enjoy them more if they stand out against other types of articles. And for another reader, the favourites might very well be “behind the scenes” articles or “get to know the team” ones.

By publishing only one type of “top post”, one turns it into the “average post”. Add a sprinkle of intermittent reward to the mix, and you’ll probably positively influence the way readers perceive your content. Isn’t it more exciting to head over to a blog which might or might not reward you with a new article, which might or might not be the type that moves you most?

Now think about relationships: don’t we say that routine is the biggest love-killer? Oh, some habits are nice — but you also want new stuff, changes from the habitual, different way of being together and relating to one another. Surprises. The unexpected. This is nothing new.

So, let me summarize. Variety is the spice of life. Not only should you flee excessive routine in your marriage or relationship, but also in the following areas:

  • activities that make you happy
  • how you get organized (work, and probably life too)
  • the kind of content you publish on your blog

Can you think of other areas where it’s a little counter-intuitive, but it actually turns out to be really important to add variety to the way you do things?

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Posted in Blogging, Books, Life Improvement | Tagged blog, book, content, happiness, india 2011, insight, organisation, routine, the how of happiness, variety | 10 Comments

Weekly Planning: Weekly Routine?

[fr] Je réfléchis à un rythme pour mes semaines. Même si elles se suivent sans se ressembler, certaines choses se répètent de semaine en semaine. J'en suis ici: lundi, courte journée consacrée essentiellement à m'organiser et à planifier la semaine, et à faire un sort à autant de tâches routinières que possible. Mardi, journée bureau. Mercredi, journée bureau ou meetings suivant les besoins. Jeudi après-midi, workshops ou meetings. Vendredi pour m'occuper de ce qui a passé entre les gouttes durant la semaine et faire des tâches "légères" (annoncer et promouvoir Bloggy Fridays et autres p'tits déjs, mettre le blog de l'eclau à jour, compta, paperasse, socialiser en ligne, mettre à jour ma présence sur les réseaux sociaux, etc...)

Attempting to plan my weeks has left me wondering if I should try to settle into some kind of weekly routine — especially when a week like last week comes up, where I realize that I have only one office day planned for the whole week, and on a Friday.

One thing I need to do in advance is plan my office and meeting days. Sometimes they are decided for me: a client wants me to come and give a talk on this or that day — well, that makes it a meeting day. But most of the time, I get to choose. So, which choice is best? What are the best days of the week for me to stay in the office, and what are the best days for me to be running around or seeing people all day?

Though my professional activities vary a lot for week to week, my personal ones are pretty regular. I finish early on Mondays and Fridays to go to judo. My Monday mornings and Thursday mornings are usually booked. I sing on Wednesday nights, or go sailing in summer. People from the coworking space often go out to eat together on Wednesdays.

There are also professional activities that I do or want to do each week: plan my week, for one. I’m the editor for a couple of blogs, and I have the choice between scheduling publications for the whole week at one moment, or publishing day-by-day. I write my column every week (on Sunday, so far). I want to write a few blogs posts every work, do some research, work on my business development, keep up with administrivia, and of course do my client work.

So, with all these different activities, and different types of days, maybe there is an optimal way of organizing my week.

Here’s my thinking so far (and many thanks to Suw who patiently listened to me thinking all this out loud over IM).

Planning my week is something, I realized, which can take upto half a day (scary!) because I’m still learning how to do it. It often involves rethinking priorities, doing a mind sweep (or an inbox sweep) to capture stray tasks that have slipped through the cracks, and sometimes dealing with actual emergencies. As I write this, I realise that my “plan my week” moments have a little “GTD weekly review” ring to them. They aren’t the weekly review, I’m aware of that, but there is some kinship.

I guess in an ideal world I would plan the next week on Friday afternoon, and make that a proper weekly review too. Unfortunately things do tend to crop up during the week-end, and I’m usually pretty tired by my week on Fridays, so I’m not in an optimal state of mind to be doing something new and a bit challenging.

As my Monday mornings are spent out of the office, and my Monday afternoons are pretty short, “Monday” actually turns out to be a good day for me to plan and get organized. Of course, if it doesn’t take the whole afternoon (which I hope!) I will get other things done — but I’ve learned it’s better to plan larger time slots than tight ones.

So, there goes my Monday.

Friday is another interesting day in the week: business is slow on that day, and meetings tend to happen earlier in the week. I’m tired (everybody is). Traditionally for me it’s an office day, and a rather quiet one: not many phone calls, not many incoming e-mails. If my brain is still functional it’s a good day to get things done, but most of the time it’s just not that productive. It’s useful to have it as an office day rather than a day full of meetings or errands, though, because it serves as a safety net to catch any emergencies that might not have been dealt with during the week. When I plan my week, I don’t usually plan to do much on Friday, apart from do the stuff I didn’t manage to do during the week.

Ten days ago, I was thinking about the type of activity that would be suitable for a low-energy day like Friday, and actually came up with quite a few ideas:

  • announcing events and promoting them (Bloggy Friday, eclau breakfasts and apéros, etc…)
  • updating blogs, mailing-lists, Facebook presence for my various projects
  • social media gardening: LinkedIn, Facebook, and all the rest
  • uploading photos
  • updating WordPress and plugins
  • trying out new toys or services (light research)
  • pruning my task lists (another hint of “weekly review”)
  • dealing with administrivia and filing paperwork
  • catching up with the week’s invoicing, accounting, and payments
  • getting back to people and socializing online.

A lot of these activities are actually more important than they might seem at first glance, and therefore they tend to slip through the cracks, grow hair and legs, and turn into scary emergency-monsters after a few weeks or months.

So, let’s say I declare Friday a “casual office” day, to catch up on the leftovers of the week and do the above. That leaves me with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Tuesday is a great office day. I have nothing planned in the evening, so it really gives me a clear day to just get on with work. Wednesday is also a good office day when I’m singing, as I can hang around until 7pm, though not so great when I’m sailing, as I’m likely to head out around 4pm. Thursday is usually only half a day, but will turn into a complete day similar to Tuesday in a few months’ time.

So, for the moment, it looks like I’m going to declare Tuesday a regular office day, Thursday afternoon a regular meeting/workshop time, and Wednesday will be office or meetings, depending on whether I have more “office” client work or more “meetings” client work.

Mondays are there to plan the week and get as much of my regular tasks out of the way. Friday is there to catch up on the “overflow”, deal with emergencies, and “casual” stuff. I’ll continue writing my column on Sundays.

What’s important to note though is that this is the framework. Many of my weeks will not work out like this — just like my days don’t always follow my daily routine. But having this framework is going to allow me to plan ahead better, I think.

Do you have some kind of weekly routine, or do you just go from week to week and deal with them as they show up?

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Posted in Being the boss, Life Improvement | Tagged friday, gtd, meeting day, monday, office day, planning, routine, weekly planning | 2 Comments

L’importance du temps structuré

[en] I've realised that I feel better when my time is at least somewhat structured, so I need to figure out how to manage my "free time" (when there is lots of it, like during this staycation/holistay) a bit differently than "not plan anything and see what I feel like doing".

Ces derniers mois, et je dirais même cette dernière année, j’ai fait des progrès énormes en ce qui concerne la gestion de mon temps. Par cela, je veux dire que j’ai cessé de courir, cessé d’être aussi stressée, cessé de jouer toujours toujours toujours les pompiers. J’ai une vision assez claire, sur le court terme, de ce que je dois faire, je le fais, et en grande partie grâce au fait que j’ai maintenant un bureau séparé de mon appartement, j’ai aussi récupéré mes soirées, mes week-ends, et même des mini-vacances au chalet.

Bref, ça va plutôt bien et je suis très contente de moi.

Par contre, je remarque pendant cette période des fêtes, où j’ai décidé de lever le pied et de prendre des “vacances à la maison”, que si j’ai bien réussi à trouver un équilibre durant ma vie “travaillée”, ce n’est pas si simple pour le temps de loisir. J’avais d’ailleurs déjà constaté ça, à plus petite échelle, lors d’un ou deux week-ends très très tranquilles.

Je me rends donc compte que j’ai besoin de structurer mon temps (jusqu’à un certain point!) pour me sentir bien. Ça ne veut pas dire que je dois faire en sorte d’avoir un “programme” qui remplit ma vie du début à la fin, mais les longues journées de “libre” qui se suivent, ce n’est pas top non plus.

Tiens, c’était déjà pas top durant les longues vacances d’été interminables quand j’étais enfant.

J’ai aussi appris à quel point il est important pour moi d’avoir un minimum de routine dans mes journées.

Du coup, je réalise que j’ai besoin de gérer légèrement autrement mon temps de loisir, et de m’éloigner un peu du “je ne planifie rien et regarde d’un moment à l’autre ce que j’ai ‘envie’ de faire” — ça marche pour une journée (le week-end) mais pas pour bien plus longtemps que ça.

Solution? Pas encore tout à fait trouvée, mais j’y réfléchis, c’est la première étape!

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Posted in Life Improvement, Personal | Tagged gestion du temps, organisation, routine, structuration du temps, temps, time management, vacances | 1 Comment

Getting Back on the FlyLady Wagon

[en] Après un peu de relâchement dû à une période de gros stress, j'essaie de me remettre en mode "FlyLady". Routine du matin et du soir, 15 minutes de débordélisation de l'appart, etc.

Earlier this year I discovered FlyLady and immediately started following some of her advice, quite successfully. I went through a phase of feeling really on top of my life: I had an eye on my finances, I was sleeping, eating, and exercising sufficiently, I had quite a lot to do at work and I was doing it well, and my flat was getting uncluttered, 15 minutes at a time.

Then I went through a hectic few days applying for a consultancy at the UN, being interviewed for it and completing an assignment (which I overdid). I dropped everything to get it done (the deadlines were short) and I realized recently that I never quite managed to regain my balance after that.

I’ve been feeling an itch to get things back in shape these last weeks. I still clean my sink every evening (almost) and make my bed in the morning, but a lot of the rest of my morning and evening rituals has gone through the window.

Here’s my plan:

  • morning: get up, 30 minutes on the exercise bike, shower, get dressed, breakfast
  • evening: clean sink, plan the next day

Next things I’m going to add are:

  • 15 minutes of uncluttering per day
  • regular book-keeping (have to figure out what frequency is good, but I suspect once a week or a fortnight)
  • plan my laundry days better to include time to put dry clothes away the next day
  • regular creative writing slots (50 word stories etc)
  • regular “self-promotion” project slots
  • weekly “quick flat clean”

(Not all in one go, of course, but those are the next goals on my radar.)

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Posted in Life Improvement, Personal | Tagged balance, cleaning, flat, flylady, organization, routine | 6 Comments

The Wisdom of Small Changes: Incrementally Reclaiming My Flat

[fr] Reprendre contrôle de mon appartement, un petit pas à la fois. Chaque jour, ajouter un nouvel élément à garder sous contrôle. Aujourd'hui, c'est nettoyer la baignoire.

Aussi, diviser l'appartement en zones, et travailler chaque semaine sur une zone, 15 minutes par jour.

Inspiration: toute une longue histoire personnelle, et le site FlyLady.

I’m going to tell you about my plan to reclaim my living space, little by little, over the next weeks and months. However, you know me — I’m first going to get sidetracked a little ;-) and tell you how I got where I am, and how the plan was born.

I have lived in clutter my whole life. Both my parents were pretty active clutterers too, so I guess part of the reason is “in the genes” (we recently cleared out the family home to rent it — oh, boy). Other reasons include the fact that there are much more fun things to do in life than clean/tidy (though annoyingly, each time I actually start doing these things I really enjoy them), and my natural tendency to “not do things” rather than “do things”.

I love living in a reasonably tidy place. It makes me less stressed. It makes me less depressed. It makes me happy to spend my days in an environment which is under my control, rather than a sprawling monster of Things. How to tidy my flat and keep it tidy is something that is always on my mental to-do list.

I’ve lived in my flat since I came back from India, over eight years ago. It has been cleaned more or less from top to bottom a few times since I moved on (in 2007, for example — check the “myflat” tag to see more pictures of my living space and its transformations through the years). Over the years, I’ve become quite good at keeping clutter off the floor, but that’s about it. Clearly, I lack a process to keep My Stuff under control. I have lots of stuff.

The importance of having processes in life was driven home by my foray into the GTD (Getting Things Done) method. So far, I have not succeeded in implementing GTD completely (I particularly suck at weekly reviews, I think I haven’t ever managed to do one). I do, however, use quite a lot of elements from this method:

  • ensure I have a system in which I can capture all the stuff that’s on my mind
  • have an inbox (though I don’t empty it very often, but at least it keeps all the stuff to be dealt with in one place
  • think in terms of “next actions” and “projects”
  • know that when I’m procrastinating, either I have too much stuff sitting in my head, or my next action is not clearly defined
  • use an A-Z classification system, with printed labels on folders, for all my paperwork.

The idea of having a process is underlying in two previous “housecleaning” articles: Taming the Dirty Dishes, way back in 2002, and Keeping The Flat Clean: Living Space As User Interface, in 2003. But it’s not quite there yet, or expressed clearly.

Two years, ago, I had a groundbreaking conversation about my diet with my Doctor. I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle (even without smoking or drinking) and knew it, but I was so wracked with guilt and discouraged by the amount of changes I had to make to my life that I just didn’t do anything. He showed me how important it was to not disrupt my life and diet completely, but to make small easy changes like prepare a few leaves of lettuce while my pizza was warming in the oven, or cut up an apple before the meal so that I’d eat it for dessert.

A year ago, I officially rediscovered the importance of morning rituals. I’ve also come to accept that having some things under control is better than none, even if all the rest is going to the dogs. Last autumn, for example, I decided that even if my kitchen was a mess, I would at least keep the table clean and void of any clutter, so that I would have a nice place to eat.

Recently, I started cleaning my bathroom sink (almost) every morning. I don’t use soap or anything fancy, but I have a sponge I keep on the sink and I give it a quick wipe whenever I use it. Looking into a clean sink in the morning is clearly nicer than when it’s dirty.

Now that I’m in the habit of (#1) washing my bathroom sink (it doesn’t require any cognitive effort for me to do it, it’s just part of the things I do like brush my teeth or use my neti pot), I’ve started thinking about other small changes I could make. And I’ve already made some:

Last week-end, I decided that if I wanted to tackle this flat, I had to do it little by little. So, on Saturday a week ago, I did two things in that department: caught up with the kitchen dishes (they were running away again) and put the laundry away (I live out of the clean laundry basket). Oh yeah, and I got Roomba to work.

Cleaning my bathroom sink each morning has reminded me of FlyLady. I first heard about it when Florence Devouard mentioned it at Going Solo Lausanne. I didn’t really investigate it then, but filed it away somewhere under “system/community which starts with cleaning your sink, and then you add extra stuff to do each day”.

I looked it up this afternoon and spent a couple of hours reading through it. FlyLady is a system/community designed for stay-at-home moms, or “Sidetracked Home Executives“. It is e-mail based, and indeed, does start with getting you to shine your kitchen sink (read why) and get dressed to the shoes.

Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry friend, we’ve been there, too. Step through the door and follow FlyLady as she weaves her way through housecleaning and organizing tips with homespun humor, daily musings about life and love, the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE) system, and anything else that is on her mind.

The whole tone of the site is very caring and motherly, with a lot of educational redundancies and extremely detailed instructions. The system actually instructs you to stop and rest for 15 minutes doing something you like, or to only declutter for 15 minutes at a time. Some of it might make you cringe, or laugh a bit if you’re a computer geek, but I really think they’re onto something and it’s well worthwhile spending some time reading the various pages on the FlyLady website.

Obviously, I’m not a stay-at-home mum and I don’t own a house, so I’ll be taking a shot at my personal interpretation of the programme. Here are the ideas I like:

This “slow but steady” system reminds me a bit of dieting strategies. You’re better off with a diet that makes you lose weight slowly, and is in fact a lasting change to your lifestyle, than with a crash diet that makes you lose loads of weight but will see you put it all on again as soon as you stop.

Same with clutter: if you stop everything for three days to clean the house top to bottom, you haven’t in fact made any changes in the lifestyle that caused you to accumulate so much clutter in the first place. By changing things slowly, you’re actually making modifications to your lifestyle which will allow you to keep the clutter under control, rather than clean everything and end up knee-deep in clutter two months later.

As FlyLady says somewhere on her site (quoting from memory): “Your house didn’t get cluttered in a day, and it won’t become uncluttered in a day either!”

Browsing as I was writing this article has brought me over to SHE forums, a community which functions on “challenges” and peer support to deal with household tasks. Remember Website Pro Day and WoWiPAD? :-)

The FlyLady website method is actually based on a book, Sidetracked Home Executives(TM): From Pigpen to Paradise, and one of the co-authors has a site called The Brat Factor, which is all about taming your inner brat (there’s a CD and DVD involved, of course) — but it looks fun (that’s how you tame brats). Your inner brat is the part of you that procrastinates, leaves the dishes in the sink, doesn’t put the clean laundry away& know him/her?

So, I’m going to set my timer to do 15 minutes of decluttering in my hallway (zone 1, I’ll consider it’s already Feb. 1st). Each day, I’ll add a baby step to the ones I’m already doing. I’ll post each new baby step on my Digital Crumble.

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Posted in Life Improvement | Tagged changes, cleaning, clutter, control, flat, flylady, gtd, habits, home, life, life improvement, lifehacks, lifestyle, mess, Pieces of Me, Practical, Psychology / Sociology, routine, system, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read | 6 Comments

Etre Madame Blogs

[en] You may or may not know that I've become the person journalists contact around here when they have an article to write about blogs. Not always, but often. Media fame is neat, but can be tiring when it becomes routine, and you're filled with self-doubts on the part you're playing in giving the public a biased vision of what blogs and blogging are. A bit of history, some thoughts, and a little rant. If you don't read French, you're lucky -- you can come back later when I have more constructive things to say.

Je me souviens du tout premier téléphone que j’ai reçu de la part d’un journaliste. J’allais sur mes 19 ans, j’étais cheftaine scoute, et il s’agissait d’une sombre histoire concernant le terrain que nous désirions occuper durant notre camp d’été. J’ai bredouillé quelques réponses à  des questions dont je ne comprenais pas vraiment l’objet, sans même saisir que j’allais être citée dans un article.

Plusieurs années passent. Je suis en Inde. Je suis en train de marcher vers l’arrêt des taxis lorsqu’un homme à  scooter s’arrête à  ma hauteur et propose de me prendre en stop. J’accepte. Nous échangeons quelques banalités sur les raisons de ma présence en Inde. Il est journaliste. Il désire m’interviewer. Contre toute attente, l’interview se fait, et l’article paraît.

On est en Inde, le pays des aventures extraordinaires. Je rentre donc en Suisse avec l’article sous le bras, des tirages des photos, et une promesse morte-née de rôle dans un film hindi qui perdra son financement lors des événements du 11 septembre 2001. Je n’en reviens pas, je n’y crois qu’à  moitié, mais en Inde, tout peut arriver : il y a eu un article à  mon sujet dans le Pune Times.

Entre 2002 et 2004, je compte cinq interviews, dont quatre sur les blogs. C’est très excitant, je me sens tout à  fait honorée d’être digne de l’attention de ces Messieurs-Dames journalistes. C’est même assez incroyable de penser que ma petite activité sur Internet a une répercussion dans « le vrai monde ». Je passe à  la radio pour la première fois de ma vie, et je découpe quelques articles dans lesquels apparaissent mon nom.

Début 2005. Là , tout s’accélère : dès la publication de « Née pour bloguer » dans Migros Magazine, les interviews s’enchaînent. Le 20 février, je suis l’invitée du plateau de Mise au Point à  la Télévision Suisse Romande : 10 minutes de direct. Pour un baptême-télé, c’est énorme. Ça continue.

Pourquoi diable est-ce que je vous raconte tout ça ? Il y a deux raisons. La première, c’est qu’il y a depuis quelque temps des petites voix (dans mon entourage et ailleurs) qui chuchotent que je prends un peu trop de place dans la presse romande, et qu’il y a en Romandie des tas d’autres personnes aussi (voire plus) compétentes que moi en matière de blogs. La deuxième, c’est que je commence à  me sentir passablement blasée face à  toute cette attention médiatique, même si je l’apprécie, et que donner des interviews et voir mon nom dans la presse a perdu l’attrait de la nouveauté.

Je ressens ces temps le besoin de me situer un peu par rapport à  l’attention que portent les médias, et au statut de « Madame Blogs » qui semble être devenu le mien. je me pose beaucoup de questions. Est-ce que je fais du tort « aux blogs » en étant un peu l’interlocutrice privilégiée des médias sur le sujet ? Est-ce un peu de ce ma faute si maintenant, un blog est en Romandie un « journal intime d’adolescent plein de photos », à  l’exclusion de toute autre chose ? Est-ce que je sais vraiment de quoi je parle ? Devrais-je refuser des interviews ? Est-ce que je pourrais faire encore plus pour envoyer les journalistes qui me contactent vers d’autres blogueurs compétents que je connais ? Est-ce que je fais preuve de complaisance envers la presse ? Est-ce que la célébrité me monte à  la tête et m’aveugle…?

Pour commencer, disons-le haut et fort, je ne m’imagine nullement être l’autorité ultime en matière de blogs. Certes, j’ai des tas de choses à  dire sur le sujet, je connais la blogosphère (non ! une petite partie de la blogosphère !) de l’intérieur et depuis belle lurette, et je porte sur elle un regard doublement double : technique et humain, francophone et anglophone. Je sais bien qu’il y a des tas d’aspects des blogs et de l’Internet social qui m’échappent. Je ne peux pas tout suivre !

Mon métier principal n’a rien à  voir avec Internet et les blogs : il consiste à  enseigner l’anglais et le français à  des adolescents. Internet bouge vite, la blogosphère aussi, et de plus en plus de personnes travaillent dans le domaine. Il est normal que je paraisse « larguée » sur certains points : je suis une généraliste du blog, avec, un peu à  mon corps défendant au départ, une petite spécialisation dans les affaires adolescentes. Les généralistes en savent toujours moins que les spécialistes, c’est bien connu.

Plus j’y réfléchis, plus je me dis que ma principale qualité d’interviewée, avant ma « connaissance de la blogosphère », c’est peut-être simplement mon talent de vulgarisation. Je sais généralement expliquer les choses de façon à  ce que les gens comprennent. Je n’éprouve aucune difficulté à  mettre mes idées en mots. Je m’exprime plutôt bien, que ce soit par oral ou par écrit. Une journaliste avec laquelle j’avais sympathisé m’a dit une fois : « Tu te demandes pourquoi on t’appelle autant ? Mais c’est parce que tu nous mâches le travail ! »

Donc, voilà . Les journalistes romands ont leur « spécialiste-généraliste du blog » qui est plutôt bavarde (un ami journaliste m’a raconté son interview-cauchemar : un interviewé qui répondait à  ses questions par un grognement à  mi-chemin entre le oui et le non), qui leur facilite la tâche… et qui en plus est photogénique. Moi, je réponds aux interviews, qui se suivent et commencent à  se ressembler, je me creuse la tête (je vous promets !) pour leur proposer d’autres noms lorsqu’ils en cherchent ou lorsque leurs questions nouvelles dans des domaines qui me paraissent mieux maîtrisés par d’autres.

Souvent, je suis un peu empruntée : qui est la bonne personne à  interviewer sur tel ou tel aspect des blogs ? Je ne sais pas toujours… De loin pas. Je songe parfois à  mettre sur pied une liste de blogueurs romands avec leurs compétences. Mais par où commencer ? Qui inclure, qui exclure ? Je ne connais pas tout le monde ! Si je cite Untel mais que j’oublie Teltel, on va m’en vouloir, surtout si les personnes concernées gagnent leur vie (ou une partie) avec les blogs… C’est bête, mais je commence à  avoir peur du poids de mes mots.

Je trouve d’autant plus difficile de déterminer quelle est « l’attitude juste » à  avoir face aux médias que je suis bien consciente d’avoir des intérêts personnels en jeu. D’une part, les blogs me permettent également de gagner une partie de ma vie (enfin, j’essaye). D’autre part (pour des raisons bassement psychologiques que vous pouvez vous amuser à  interpréter si ça vous chante), je trouve du plaisir à  être sous l’oeil du public, tant que cela reste à  doses raisonnables, bien sûr : j’ai adoré passer à  la télé, j’aime parler en public, être prise en photo, voir mon nom écrit ailleurs que sur un écran… Vous voyez le topo. À quel moment ces intérêts personnels risquent-ils de prendre le pas sur mon ambition d’être une informatrice fiable et consciente de ses limites ? Mon rôle d’interprète de la blogosphère, pour les personnes qui m’interviewent, peut-il être corrompu par ma recherche d’attention ou des considérations pécuniaires, malgré la lucidité que j’essaie d’avoir à  leur sujet ? Au cas où vous en douteriez, je suis quelqu’un qui se pose beaucoup (trop) de questions.

Pour tenter de clore ce trop long billet, je reviens sur la situation concrète qui m’a incitée à  le rédiger : l’effet de nouveauté des interviews est passé. Ça me met un peu mal à  l’aise de dire ça, mais c’est devenu un peu la routine. Bien sûr, je réponds encore volontiers aux questions des journalistes, et ça me fait toujours plaisir que l’on s’adresse à  moi. Cependant (et là , je vous volontiers que ce sont les motivations pécuniaires qui me poussent), les interviews, cela prend du temps. Or les interviews (une amie à  moi était fort surprise de l’apprendre l’autre jour) ne sont pas rémunérées, et le temps est une denrée précieuse qui me manque toujours, même si je n’ai pas mon pareil pour le gaspiller. (Je vous épargne le triste récit de ma situation financière.)

Donc, je disais que je prenais volontiers de mon temps pour accorder des interviews. Mais. S’il vous plaît, Mesdames et Messieurs les journalistes, faites vos devoirs avant de m’interviewer. Allez visiter quelques blogs. Mettez les pieds sur le mien, c’est la moindre des choses. Allez jeter un coup d’oeil aux articles de vos collègues, afin de ne pas me faire répéter ce que j’ai déjà  dit trois fois. Il se trouve que j’ai écrit un article (bien modeste) sur les blogs, intitulé Les blogs : au-delà  du phénomène de mode. Allez au moins y jeter un coup d’oeil, cela vous donnera une petite idée de ce que je pense des blogs, en plus de quelques points de départ pour vous faire une idée par vous-même. Et, s’il vous plaît, évitez de me dire : « Donc, un blog, c’est un journal intime d’adolescent, c’est bien juste…? »

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Posted in My corner of the world | Tagged articles, blogging, Blogosphere Interest, blogs, compétence, Essay-Like, généraliste, interview, journalisme, journalistes, journaux, lassitude, médias, Pieces of Me, presse, romandie, romands, routine, spécialiste, stephaniebooth, switzerland, Venting | 42 Comments