Mike Morrison is the writer behind Mike’s Bloggity Blog, a thriving Canadian website based in Calgary that attracts more than one million unique readers a year. He wrote the #1 bestselling book Calgary By Bike, a guide to everything to see and do along Calgary’s cycle tracks. Mike is one of Alberta’s most popular Twitter personalities; he’s been featured on both CTV and CBC, and he uses his online presence to advocate regularly for urban cycling and LGBTQ rights. Mike was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016 for his activism and contributions to Calgary and beyond. He directs the largest digital marketing conference on the prairies, and the second annual SocialWest convention takes place June 14 – 16. We are so pleased to present Mike Morrison in two lively capacities at our upcoming writer’s conference. First, he will offer an in-depth discussion on using social media, and later, he will entertain at the 2017 Alberta Literary Awards Gala as our keynote speaker. We hope you enjoy this latest author Q & A instalment featuring Mike Morrison!
1. What are your interests, hobbies or occupation outside of your writing/blogging life?
I have a habit of turning my hobbies into jobs. I turned the blog into my full time job, then I wrote Calgary By Bike, and now I run SocialWest. But the thing I love the most is playing dodgeball! I play every week and it’s so fun.
2. What does being a writer/blogger mean to you?
It means getting to tell stories exactly the way I want to tell them. I think blogging gives people a chance to say what they have to say. You don’t have to be the best writer, but if you have something you’d like to say, then you get your chance to say it.
3. What book has made a profound impact on you and why (at any time in your life)?
Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up changed my DNA. I’m not a comedian by any stretch of the imagination—but the way he described being different and using those differences to follow his passions really spoke to me. I find myself returning to this book and re-reading passages when I find myself needing a little encouragement.
4. What is the most important thing you have learned about being a writer/blogger?
I’ve learned that you have to find out what kind of writer you are, and that you must not be jealous of other writers…which is pretty much impossible. But you should at least try. Everyone is coming at this world with a different set of cards, and you need to just write the stories you want to write and do what’s best for you.
5. What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in your writing life and what advice would you offer other writers in the context of this challenge?
I think making the leap from writing for free to getting paid. Whether you’re a blogger or you’re writing books, convincing someone to pay you for your work is really hard to do, but it’s so fulfilling when it starts happening. It’s always a tricky world to navigate. I think it’s about respect. Respect for your work, your industry and your time. Not everyone will want to pay you what you’re worth, so it’s a bit of a chess game. But if you keep your best interests a priority, it should work out.
6. What is the best creative (or life) advice you have ever received?
My grandmother in Winnipeg is 95 years old and she’s never stopped studying, researching and interviewing people. If she reads about someone interesting in the newspaper, she calls them up to meet, simply because she wants to learn more. She’s a very curious person and that has always inspired me.
7. What are your favourite places/neighbourhoods to visit in Calgary; places that fuel you with inspiration or appreciation?
I moved to Calgary from New Brunswick 12 years ago, and I’m still finding pockets of Calgary that I love. I’m a little biased because it’s where I live, but I love Sunnyside/Kensington. There’s something about the big old houses and even bigger old trees that just reminds me of home. I look for reasons to go for walks every day just so I can enjoy the neighbourhood.
8. If you could travel anywhere in the world for one month leaving tomorrow, where would you choose (and why)?
I’m actually planning on doing this at the end of the year and I’m hoping to go to Buenos Aires. My fun fact is that I have a degree in Spanish, but I never use it. So I want to go immerse myself before I lose the language completely.
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