How to blog: Write Well. Or Don’t.

Because I’m awesome, I think my blog is awesome. Actually, it was only in the last year or so that I really began to embrace my writing — I love writing, I want to write, I’m a writer — and think of my blog as more than just a place where I type out my thoughts.

In the interest of self-improvement, I often Google how to blog, or write a good blog, or write a blog people like. After all, I only have like twenty-something followers (wordpress counts Twitter followers in my “followers” count, and I think half of those people are spammers) and yet I think if people read my blog, they’d enjoy it.

Mikey Likes It!

Most of the articles start with the advice to WRITE WELL.

To which I reply: Touche! Actually, I reply, “Oh, come on.”There’s nothing like intimidating a blogger by telling them that the only way anyone is going to read their blog is if they WRITE WELL. A good piece of writing is like a good round of golf; it doesn’t change in the face of anyone else’s game. It stands alone. And there’s room for a lot of it.

“Write well” wouldn’t be my advice. There are blogs I write that I put a lot of thought and time into — blogs that I think are well written — and blogs that I toss out there because it’s been a few days since I’ve done new content, and people don’t seem to notice much of a difference. In fact, I tend to get more comments on “throwaway” content than stuff I really think about and edit heavily.

My advice on how to blog is not write well, but write often. I think it’s a two-fold process: as you write more you’ll eventually become a better writer, and people will get to know you.

Take Hyperbole-and-a-half. It’s freaking hilarious, clever, intelligent, funny and a lot of other adjectives. It’s incredibly creative — and I really envy bloggers who add that touch of je-ne-sais-quoi, because I DON’T HAVE THAT. I write. I try to add a lot of paragraphs, and I try to stick to a good rhythm or cadence (one of the most important things I learned in creative writing classes), but please don’t ask me to add any kind of sensory experience other than words. I can’t even tell you people how much it pains me to add photographs to this blog. When should I add them? Where in the blog? Why? — but she only posts like once every eleventy-seven weeks.

Likewise, there are blogs I read that are not very exciting/creative/funny/clever/creative, but they churn out content like Monsanto churns out carcinogenic food and I feel like I KNOW THEM and I keep going back to their blog.

But honestly, I could be wrong about it. I’ve been blogging consistently for three years now, and I average about 75 hits per day. Maybe one or two comments (Hi, Melissa! xoxoxo) and sometimes very little traffic. I have a bunch of Facebook likes, but some of that could be because I’m soon going to have a giveaway.

What do you think?


7 Responses

  1. You are witty and wise. I don’t know you IRL, and I began following you even before your tantalizing offer of something-other-than-a-pink-sparkly-reallysparkly-purse. I don’t think of myself as a stalker, but perhaps this makes me a Sinko Sicko? Hopefully not. If I had friends, I’d tell them about you. Although I pump my children full of non-carbon-based food and will send them to school as soon as they’re legally eligible, I find your blogs thought-provoking as well as entertaining.

    • Thank you Alison. My Chemical Romance just got paid, so I’m considering buying a sparkly sparkly pink wallet just so I can give it away! I’m just not sure I’ll ever find anything better.

  2. Ha! Hello back! xoxo
    I have some opinions on what makes a great blog. And yours is pretty much IT. I love Dooce and The Bloggess too, but your blog is better because it is more personal and less perfect. Here are MY rules for a kick ass blog:
    1. Use spellcheck.
    2. Write about your passions
    3. Be personal
    4. Don’t preach. Preachy blogs, didactic blogs, blogs where people are trying to tell you what to do and how to do it absolutely turn me off.
    5. Use text and image for every post (I don’t follow my own advice here, but then again I’m not aiming for great.)
    6. Answer comments.
    If a blog is too perfect it often makes my blogroll and then I don’t actually read it. And by ‘you’ in the above didactic list of dos and don’ts for a blog, I mean ‘you’ in general and not you specifically. =)
    Maybe as a #7 I might put, try not to be exclusively negative. I stopped following free range kids because it was such a downer. LOVE the philosophy, couldn’t handle day in and day out of the blog.

    Innyhoo, did you see the Bloggesses stuffed weasel art? Now if you bought some of that and gave it away I would pee my pants. OR you could make your own weasel art?
    I only wish I were as funny as you.
    Oh, and I totally agree about writing often as opposed to writing well. You gotta have momentum. Blogging is like Pickwick Papers; keep them coming back for more!

    • 1. Yes. Although I think most browsers underline, right?
      2. Absolutely. What else is there to write about? I’ve found when I can’t write my thoughts in about 30 minutes, it’s a waste of a topic.
      3. Yep. See #2
      4. Ha — if I was ever an expert capable of preaching about anything, I’d know we were in Opposite Land. The only thing I can preach about is… yeah, that.
      5. Thank you for loving my blog more after I added pictures!
      6. Always!
      7. I try to be more funny negative than negative negative. And this weekend I vow to find something AWESOME for my giveaway!

  3. 1. Yes: maybe grammar edits would be more accurate =)
    And maybe this is what is meant by “write well” as opposed to writing like Michael Ondaatje (my #1 favorite author, btw: also Canadian because we rock). Maybe they just mean write with correct grammar and sentence structure.
    2. I agree.
    3. Oh, you would be surprised (except I’m sure you have read what I’m talking about; impersonal coldness or vague “life is full of transitions” without any descriptive or personal details, so you wouldn’t actually be surprised). But definitely you strike a good balance between vague “transitions” and “I got a brazilian yesterday.” You don’t want to get TOO personal. =D
    4. I’m a part of the Natural Parents Network; lemme tell you, preachy. Looooooootsa preachy.
    5. It was awesome before and the photos are icing.
    6. You are actually really awesome at this (and can you imagine Dooce doing that? There’s a line of practical with this, which can only be achieved with a smaller following)
    7. Yes, you absolutely are the kind of hilarious that I like. I LOVE funny negative, especially the self deprecating kind, which you are really good at.

    I think that if you READ good blogs, it helps you write good blogs, too. Just like any other genre of writing. And the above list really depends on the point of your blog: I’m editor for the Mothers of Change blog and we write pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding related articles and want to be taken seriously so the style is different, you know?

  4. I don’t comment because I’m lazy, and only checking the blog about once a week (its the only thing I miss about myspace: blogs were IN the action. they were 50% of the reason you logged on. myspace died partly because we all ran out of time to post more than 140 characters)

    Oh–and I also don’t comment because i still don’t have a pseudonym yet. Have I annoyed you enough to compel you to make one?

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