*** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ***
Today my mother turns fifty-seven! Fifty-seven years young! She is currently on the road in California with my father, her father, and the little lap dog thingy they take everywhere with them! Readers, please do me a favor. Email her at deafman01 AT comcast DOT net and tell her what a fabulous human being her daughter is* and how you read her daughter’s blog and I told you to email her. I’m serious. Do it. DO IT. You can’t read any more until you do it.
*** END OF SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ***
OK, In return for your help in commemorating my mother’s birthday, I’m going to write a special piece to help further you, my dear reader, in answering mankind’s elemental burning question of: “How Can I Find A Get-Rich-Quick Internet Scheme Without Showing My Ass Online?” And as you’ve probably guessed, my money is made by: my blog.**
OK, so maybe I don’t have the best blog you’ve ever read. Perhaps you’d like a little more of the following: A. your name mentioned; B. photographs (or at least drawings) of me naked; C. snarky comments about people you know in Port Townsend; or D. links to photographs (or drawings) of sexy naked celebrities. But I must point out you are in fact reading this right now, so you must like something here. Besides, Ralph informs me I get something like 7,000 visits a month. That’s a lot! Someone is reading this! Why do they never write me? What kind of desperate acts do I have to perform before someone realizes I am desperately lonely and need attention?!?
Just kidding about that last paragraph. Anyway, as a gift to you, dear reader, who aspire to have as successful and fun a blog as mine – here is my current blog policy, summed up as well as I can write it while simultaneously hiding from my children and hurrying along to earn my cigarette break:
Write every day.
Make the time. Sit down. Write every day. Write every day even if it’s crap (it often will be). Even the crap serves as a record of your life, one you will later appreciate. Also, writing every day increases the chance of obtaining and keeping readership (there is some study that backs this up but there is also a possibility I just made up that particular truthiness).
Write every day: but actually write.
Links to articles, other blogs, or mere photograph posts should be very limited or entirely avoided. P.S. these types of entries are not only boring for readers but also less rewarding to read back on as an archival record. Needless to say, this kind of stuff does not hone writing skills or develop a tone for your body of work.
Don’t write what you think, write what happened.
First of all, writing what happens hones your writing skills. Journalling your day is also interesting for you to read later. And it is by far more interesting for your readers (especially if they are from your area or know who you know). And of course, when you write what happened, your own thoughts and biases and philosophies will emerge, anyway.
If you find yourself writing a big ol’ paragraph about how you think such-and-such or some theory or philosophy you have – let me tell you, this is some of the most boring shit I have ever read online. People do this all the time and seem to think others might find it interesting (hint: if you aren’t making money or being asked to write books – they don’t). Now, this doesn’t mean the people writing these yawner blog posts aren’t interesting. This means there is a very good reason that philosophical discussions are most exciting when the physical checks and balances of eye contact, nodding, eye rolling, aggressive staredowns, or loud, deep sighing through the nostrils can inform each conversational partner.
Think it through.
Adopt a pristine, crystal-clear policy on when to use names and how to tell stories with the degree of anonymity that will work for you. This not only covers your ass but, once again, hones your writing and develops a tone to your blog.
The first (-ish) rule of blogging: don’t talk about blogging.
The silliest stuff I ever read on blogs are self-aware blogs. Don’t tell us why you started your blog. Don’t tell us how it makes you feel to be blogging. Don’t talk about what people have said about your blog entries. Another typical death-knell: a long treatise where the blogger informs the readers why they deleted their LJ account for Blogger or how there was “a certain person” reading their blog and they have moved blogs so that they can discuss such-and-such more freely. JESUS, we don’t care! Probably three people are reading this! And now, possibly, only two!
There is a lot more to write about than blogging; that’s why you started blogging in the first place, remember?
You may get negative feedback for what you post, especially if you aren’t posting the talky boring shit I’ve discussed. Write what you really think and be prepared for anyone to read it (your pastor, your parents, your spouse, that blog-stalker you were trying to avoid). Be prepared to re-evaluate your policy, but don’t be in a hurry to. My policy: no one has to read this. If you read my blog, you are looking through my windows – don’t be offended if you don’t like how I look in my panties. That said, it is never my intention to hurt feelings or humiliate, and I’m open to reconsideration regarding my entries.
Don’t “Dear John.”
A blog is not a way to communicate with a specific individual about a subject you’re having difficulty with. A joking reference or two is fine, but don’t use blogging to communicate to someone specifically in lieu of confrontation, or to tell your story “your way”. This is cowardly, silly, and most readers can sense it when it’s going on and – for this reader at least – it’s creepy.
Wrap it up gracefully.
This is perhaps my greatest weakness as a blogger. My excuse is that it’s hard enough to make time to blog and by the time I’m winding up an entry my kids have probably fucked something up or something is smoking on the stove or the kids are smoking on the stove. But still, I aspire.
A good finale to a blog post will wrap up what you’ve been writing about. It can’t be too non-sequitur, can’t use anything like, “Whatever” or “LOL” (don’t ever use LOL in my presence unless you’d like me to punch you in the face) or “Oh well”. Don’t barf out your next action after leaving the computer monitor: “Guess I’ll go do the dishes!”
Don’t put your own efforts down.
If someone tells you they like your blog, listen to why. Tell them thank you. That’s enough. And keep writing.
Time for that cigarette! Oh well.
* Please don’t tell her that in a panic I almost paid our water bill with her credit card, simply because I have the number and was stuck at home with napping kids and couldn’t make it to the Public Works dept. Let’s just keep that between us, shall we?
** Absolutely no money is made by this site whatsoever. Ralph tells me if I put ads on it I could probably haul in $2.17 / month, though. THINK about it!