Jill Haszard is the author of Just Bung It In, a blog about being a mum, wife and PhD student. She is also my sister-in-law, married to my DJ brother, and mother to my nephew and one of my nieces. After spending a few years in Sydney in the early part of the 00s, she and her family decided NZ was the place they wanted to be and started making a life in Dunedin; her posts reflect the various aspects of family life in NZ’s deep south – school, work, holidays, the neighbourhood, renovating, househunting etc.
Her words and photographs are obviously very meaningful to me as a close family member, but my enjoyment of them is not merely obligatory. I feel her writing style has just the right amount of detail and is very easy to get lost in – not to mention some charming experiments with the structure of her posts. Seeing my niece and nephew grow through her blog is an important part of my life, and it’s also fascinating and informative to learn more about her PhD study in nutrition.
Like most of my interviewees, Jill is a very busy person, but still found time to answer my questions. I suppose that busy people are much better at getting things done!
Why did you start blogging?
To connect with friends and family that live far away. To share photos of my children with those that I want to be a part of their lives.
Have you ever kept a personal journal? If so, do you see Just Bung It In as an extension of that journal?
I have kept journals in the past but I think the blog is quite different because it has that immediate audience. However, I do see my blog as a diary of sorts. It is a record of bits of my life and I really enjoy reading over past blogs and looking at the photos, as I would a photo album or a scrapbook.
What is your first memory of writing creatively?
When I was 5 years old I wrote a story that was at least a whole page long. I drew a picture to go with it and I felt that I had written this epic masterpiece. Mum sent it into the local newspaper and they printed it – I was so proud but it was a reality check to see my story printed in only two lines…. I guess my hand-writing was quite large when I was 5.
I’ve always enjoyed writing to some extent. What I’ve lacked is the confidence that I’m any good at it and I eventually came to the conclusion that it will never be a great skill of mine. However, the blog has given me a reason and the freedom to enjoy writing again.
Describe something that is beautiful to you.
There are only two things in this world that actually make my tummy flip with their beauty: my children. Sorry to be such a cliché Mum!
My daughter’s smattering of freckles; my son’s brown eyes; their knees; their necks; their skin; their lips; all the little parts that amaze me. When they are busy and lost in their own little worlds I don’t want to take my eyes off them because they are absolutely stunning to me and perfect in that moment. Nothing in this beautiful world even comes close to the beauty that I see in my kids.
You maintain a posting frequency of about once or twice a week, despite being very busy. Do you set specific time aside in your weekly routine to write, or is it whenever you get a chance?
If I go for longer than a week without posting a blog Mum rings me up and complains. I write for my Mum!
I do prioritise blogging because it is something that is important to me. I also know that if I left it three weeks, or more, it would become this massive task to catch up and I don’t have the time to do that. So even if it is just a small story, a thought or a stack of photos, I keep it chugging along so that things don’t get away from me. I don’t put too much pressure on myself to make it perfect, I just do it (hence ‘That’ll do’) and that works for me. Usually a Saturday night offers itself to blogging.
Has your blog helped you in other areas of your life?
Interesting question. I’m going to say yes to that one because it helps to form my ideas and thoughts more. When I’m mulling over something I want it to develop and mature a bit before it becomes a blog topic. Also, having a blog about my life helps me to see the good side of things. It helps me to see myself as worthwhile. Oh, and I can’t forget that the regular writing will probably have been a good thing when I come to write my thesis – eek!
Do you feel that you have complete control over ‘Just Bung It In’, that it has a life of its own and evolves on its own, or somewhere in-between?
I feel I have total control over it. It’s my life story really and I pick what goes in there!
Is there a post on your blog that you are most proud of?
No I don’t think so. The blog posts that I enjoy rereading the most are the ones with pictures of holidays and the little stories of things that my kids and husband do. In the end, this blog is for me.
Name two countries: one you’d like to visit, and one you’d like to visit again.
At this time in my life I have no pressing urge to travel the world. I love New Zealand. My dream holiday is the one that we take every Summer: camping on a classic NZ beach with friends and family. If I won Lotto I wouldn’t change the destination, I would only buy a bigger tent and a flasher beach lounger.
Ask me this question in 10 years and it may be a different answer!
Do you believe in God?
I believe that every individual has their own reality so God does exist for some. I don’t deny the existence of God for others. However, my reality does not have a God. I believe in nature and the wonder of the world. I believe that there is more. But I don’t believe in a God.
This interview is part of Inside the Bloggers Studio, an ongoing project of short interviews with bloggers I read and admire. (Apologies to James Lipton.) To view the archive, click here.