October 17, 2012

More Blogging Tips! You keep asking for them so here they are. But I would totally not listen to me if I were you.

For the past few months people have been emailing me for advice on starting their own blogs. I wrote a very short post about it last spring, but people still have questions. I could fake like I’m a total bad-ass mega-blogger with carpal tunnel-less hands and answer them all individually, or I could write another blog post about it and then have plenty of free time on my tingly hands to drink a beer and eat some Funyuns.

Countdown to Modelo and onion breath…

I did not go back and re-read the first post to check that I don’t regurgitate exactly the same thing. I am too lazy today and am still in my work-out clothes, and I gotta be honest with you…I smell like a dead animal. So I’ll just write what comes to mind right now and if any of it is a repeat, it’s a repeat. You’ll live. But I will try to go into more detail than I did in the other post (i.e. this will be long). And please let me preface this by saying that I don’t really know why you guys are asking me for advice. I am not a professional writer. My grammar is shit, I make up words, I have no idea what punctuation goes where, and I am queen of the run on sentence. So obviously, my advice isn’t gospel. It’s just what I think about blogging. Some may agree and some may disagree, and that’s totally cool with this idiot.

Can I be a blogger?

So you want to start a blog! First things first: Do you know how to read? Cuz that’s important. If someone is reading this to you, then you probably can’t read. Or you’re blind. Or you’re just lazy and rich and you make people do stupid things for you like that whole Puffy Diddy Daddy situation with the having the guy hold his umbrella. Douche. City. Do you know how to operate a computer? Do you know how to type? Do you know how to string words together to form sentences? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, congratulations! You too can be a blogger!

What should I blog about? 

Most bloggers write about things they like, or what goes on in their day-to-day lives. You should blog when you have something to say, and don’t blog when you don’t. If you blog too much your readers probably can’t keep up. And if you have email subscribers and blog too much, those people might arrange a posse of spork-wielding monkeys on unicorns to come stab you in the face. Or perhaps just unsubscribe. One of those. If you wanna be a blogger but you have no idea what you wanna blog about, you probably shouldn’t be a blogger. Most bloggers I know have a “thing” and that’s why they started blogging in the first place. They had something they were passionate about or they just like to talk a lot and email friends and family long, weird stories (<<<<< That last one right there? That might be me).

Why do you blog?

I was always into writing. Creative Writing classes in high school and college were my jam. When any other class had essay tests, no matter what the topic and regardless of whether or not I actually had any knowledge of it at all, I could almost always score an “A” because I could say some stuff and say it well. I think I would confuse the Professor into thinking I knew what I was talking about by making it different or funny. 

I started blogging in 2008 when I went through a series of medical mishaps, one of which almost killed me. Yeah, you heard that right. It’s called Multiple Bi-lateral Pulmonary Embolisms, bitches! And it’s hella deadly. During my hospital time, multiple procedures, and long healing process, I wrote email updates to family and friends that were perhaps a bit silly, ranty, odd, and wackadoo, and everyone seemed to enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. If I have any gift at all, it’s finding the funny in things that aren’t really funny. And that’s what I did with my health situation. After all that crap, I had to have yet another surgery that contained a big fat OOPSIE that paralyzed one of my vocal cords. That’s right, you guys. This big mouth couldn’t talk. And what does a non-stop talker do when she can’t talk? She starts writing more. Then, because of my increased email stories,  a friend of mine who had started a mommy website asked me to be a writer for them. Although I had to remain a bit focused because I had specific topics to write about, I liked it, and eventually went out on my own in 2009 and started this blog so that I could say exactly what I wanted when I wanted, with no editing or censoring of any kind. If I wanna say asshole I can say asshole. ASSHOLE!!!! ASSHOLE!!! ASSHOLE!!!

Will people read my blog? Will I become famous? 

As I said before, you should write what you know and love. Sometimes an audience finds you and sometimes they don’t. If you write what makes you happy, then it shouldn’t matter if you have 5 readers or 5 million readers. If you love what you do, then you will continue to do it. If you only wanna blog for attention and numbers and fame, I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably gonna suck. I’ve seen plenty of bloggers start out really, really good and then BOOM they get to thinking they are famous. They get huge egos when their audience grows and they inevitably think that they could pretty much post a photo of their poop and people will love them. Their writing totally suffers and they just start churning out crap because they think they can. That’s like a kick in the face to your readers. If you have 5 or 5 million, respect them, and keep doing what they loved you for in the first place.

I remember that when I hit 100 subscribers on this blog I almost cried and pooped my pants. I could not believe that there were 100 people who wanted to read the complete and total nonsense that I wrote. And the numbers that I have today shock, amaze, and humble me constantly. But am I famous? Hell. No. Look at the numbers most bloggers and Facebook page people have and think about it in real life terms. It’s nothing. Sure, it’s great that so many people like me, or like you, or whoever. But it’s a drop in the bucket. Mick Jagger is famous. Keep some perspective and it will keep you from being a douche. I know that writing a bunch of stuff that people find funny doesn’t make me special. And I don’t approach writing this blog any differently than I did back when I had 100 readers. I still write about things the same way that I wrote about them before. The only thing that has changed is that I have grown into my style. It takes awhile to get in a groove and find your voice. The writing comes easier the longer you’ve done it. Don’t let your numbers change that.

What should my “writing style” be?

It should be whatever comes naturally to you.  Find your own. And if you don’t have one, don’t steal someone else’s. Sure, some people just naturally write in similar styles. Over the years I have come across a few bloggers that write very similar to how I write (The Bloggess, Fetch My Flying Monkeys, and Barefoot Foodie to name a few), and I actually LOVE them and felt like I found a few bloggy soul mates when I found them. People are sometimes similar, and that’s really, really cool. But if you change your style on purpose to try and morph into someone else who is more popular with readers than you are, then it’s time to throw in the towel. In my first year of blogging I had a few people actually steal entire paragraphs of mine word for word and use them in their own blogs AS THEIR OWN. And people still steal things I’ve written. There are coincidences and there is copying. There is a difference between naturally sounding alike and becoming the Single White Female of the blogosphere. One is kinda cool and interesting and fun, and the other is prison psych ward, it puts the lotion on it’s skin, freaky scary. A few years ago I visited a childhood friend who had saved every letter I had ever written her from age 12 until mid-twenties, and we sat down and read them all. I discovered something interesting: Those letters? They could each fit in on this blog. Even the ones I wrote when I was 12. You guys could read them and KNOW that I wrote them. My way of saying things hasn’t changed much. I’ve grown into my style, but the basics have always been the same.

Will I get rich? Will I get to poop in gold toilets and eat salads made of money?

I have never had any ambition to become a big deal or make money or be famous. I wrote because I couldn’t talk and I had to have SOME way to get my thoughts out there. And honestly, I think that’s a part of why I like writing this blog and why people like reading it. I’m not using my readers to become anything and I think that they get that. I am who and what I am and that’s all I want to be. I am a firm believer that if you are in this for numbers and fame and money then it shows. Do some people get fame and money from blogging? Sure. A select few actually do. But the ones that I’ve seen it happen to weren’t out to get it. They were funny and charming and authentic and likable and entertaining and sending out good energy and they were rewarded for it. They weren’t clawing their way to the top and stepping on people the whole way. They were just hangin’ out, doing what they loved to do and “It” just happened.

Lots of you have asked me about advertising. I honestly don’t know too much about it. (You can click here if you wanna know my stock answer) Recently people have been coming to me wanting to buy space on my blog and offering me various other projects and I keep saying no. I think it stuns the people that I have said no to, and I am the first to admit that I am maybe just a tad bit controlling. This blog is all me and it’s not my thing to give up any control of something that is all me. It’s also not my thing to promote products I don’t use and love. Plus, I feel like my readers and I have a relationship of sorts. Through the magic of Facebook we have actually gotten to know each other and my readers are my people. We kinda have a trust situation and I am not willing to ruin that trust to make money. If I had the opportunity to advertise something I loved would I be game? Of course I would. As long as I advertised it my way.

How do I get a crap load of readers?

Do the things I said before and stop worrying about getting “a crap load of readers.” It may seem odd to some, but I actually don’t dream about bigger numbers on Facebook or on this blog. Just like that whole “Mo money mo problems” thing, it’s totally true that “Mo readers mo problems”as well. The more people that find you, the more creepers and trolls you’re gonna have (read my troll blog here). It isn’t fun. I have had issues serious enough that I have filed police reports and visited the FBI. I have also had trolls mean enough that a thinner skinned person would crumble. It all goes with the territory. You have to be prepared for weirdos and bitches to get ALL up in your grill. Some are crazy and some are just jealous. But either way, it can be a lot to take. So think about how open you want to be and how much you wanna share. I have been told that I shouldn’t show pictures or tell personal stories. But if I didn’t, what would I be? I tell stories about my day to day life. THAT’S what I do. Some are more personal than others, but I know where to draw the line. I write about the funny. But is my life funny all the time? Umm…hell no. Nobody’s is. I have sadness and stress and problems just like every person in the world does, But is that what I want to write about? Are those things what I choose to dwell on? No. Luckily I dwell on the funny and if I do write about something depressing I try to make it funny, and if I can’t, then I don’t write about it. That’s not my blog. I don’t do depressing. And I don’t publicize things that involve other people. I respect my family and friends enough to know where to draw the line and to ask their permission to post things that might impact them. You can be open without being OPEN. So make sure you know where your line is.

One thing I feel strongly about is this: Don’t exclude other bloggers. Promote them. Let them guest blog for you. Guest blog for others. Have a Blogroll on your page to give them exposure. Tell your readers who you love and share the spotlight. If you don’t you come across like a selfish asshole. If people like you they’re not gonna dump you because they liked someone you promoted better than they like you. And if they do? So what. You helped someone find something they like to read and you helped a fellow blogger get a new reader. Good for you. You still have readers. Promoting others is good juju for you. And everyone wants good juju, right?

When you write a blog and let people into your world, they feel like they know you. I’m a suburban mom with a husband and a boy and a cat who has an overactive imagination and an odd way of looking at things that some people seem to enjoy. Recently a woman accused me of making things up saying that “Nobody has that much stuff happen to them just going to target!” I don’t know what she’s talking about because nothing much happens at Target, really. Once I found a pair of shoes in the parking lot and once I answered a phone and once I had underwear static clinged to my back. It’s not like I’m telling unbelievably exciting and outlandish stories here. I’m not out on a yacht living the high life or getting rides on the space shuttle or anything. They are just day in the life stories. Nothing is made up. It’s just written with fun language and goofiness, but the underlying stuff is normal mom stuff. I think that it’s the way I write it that makes it fun. And it’s the fact that people relate to it that makes them enjoy it.

I don’t want to ever get an overblown ego or be a douche. It makes me uncomfortable when people call my readers “fans”. I seriously don’t think of it that way. I think of my readers as my friends and I am just writing the same stuff I used to write in group emials, but on a larger scale. I respect each and every one of them and I’m thankful every day that they are interested in what I have to say. I will never poop on that. And if I do, you have my permission to spork me in the ovarnads.

That’s all. Man this was long. Sorry about that. But I hope it helped at least a few of you who wrote to me. Remember: This is just all my opinion and feelings about blogging.  I’m sure that many bloggers will disagree with me. Take what you will from it, or nothing at all. Good luck to you! I am exhausted and my Modelo is calling….

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email

12 Responses to “More Blogging Tips! You keep asking for them so here they are. But I would totally not listen to me if I were you.”

  1. Abandoning Pretense Said:

    DAMN WOMAN! I’m so inspired! I started my blog as a way to avoid panic attacks. (I live in a Stepford-like town, where everyone is perfect, except me.) And then I started watching numbers. You’re right, it throws things off. Thank you for taking the time to write this VERY VERY VERY LONG post. (I read every word.) -Kristen

  2. Sassy STS Said:

    I love it. Thanks for the tips! I love your “voice” and you are absolutely hilarious. I would love to share a Modelo and some funyons with you. Except I hate beer. Maybe wine or vodka? Cheers.

  3. K. L. Richardson Said:

    Reading your blog always entertains me. And thank you for the tips. I’m fairly new to blogging and I’m always looking for good advice. You’re effin’ fantasticals!

  4. Nick Said:

    Just brilliant! AGAIN and as always!

  5. Music Mom Musings Said:

    LOVE YOU, you fellow goofball sis! And everyone knows that the most bizarre happenings tend to take place at Target….my teenage daughter and I peed a bit as we watched in utter amazement and glorious wonder, as our recently parked shopping cart picked up speed like a possessed demon and literally started weaving in and out of the busy parking lot, narrowly missing car after car. It actually made a left turn and headed out into traffic. Can’t make this stuff up sis. Did we run after the errant cart, hells no! We were too busy watching the look of shock on the face of every driver who narrowly missed that crazy cart. Good times! ***disclaimer: no cars or carts were hurt, dented, or run over in this escapade. And, we would have run after the cart, but as teens and moms often do, we started fighting about who had to go fetch the darn thing. Too Late!

  6. Writer Freaks Said:

    Thanks for writing this, Patti. I just started a blog recently and sometimes I feel at sea because I can’t seem to follow the rules and I’ve never really wanted to anyway. I just want to be me and have people read what I write if they like it and go live under a bridge if they don’t. So far I don’t have that problem because I only have seven readers but you kind of scared me with the police and FBI stuff. I do not like those guys even though my husband used to be one and he won’t let me do illegal stuff like buy a monkey or paint our house a color that the homeowner people say is off limits. But it’s a tricky thing because I want people to read but not to be mean so maybe it’s okay that only seven people are interested in what I have to say because at least I know I won’t have to file a police report or call the FBI on them. One of them is my mom. Anyway I like all your tips and your blog is really funny.

  7. Christine Said:

    Well thanks for doing all that typing. Have thought about doing a blog for the last few years, but I am too damn lazy. I think I will save up all my stories and blog when I’m 85 and snowbound…
    Anyway, your blog is the only one that I do not miss. You make me laugh every time, but seriously I am sometimes afraid to re-post them on my wall. Everybody already thinks I am strange because I have a virtual husband…okay, I won’t get into that because he is more like a skype husband but the kids call him their virtual dad. You see….this could possibly be blogging material, but it will have to wait till at least the year 2045. Thanks for making me laugh out loud!

  8. Bethann Said:

    Great advise! I blog…I don’t blog…I blog again. Whenever the mood strikes me. Have fun with it, people.

  9. Blondie McBaffled Said:

    I want the duck as a pet. I can just see me walking through Walmart with my cute little duckling, people stopping saying, “What a cute little duck!” the duck quacking “Fuck Off!” Yeah, I REALLY want the duck.

  10. Maureen Wielansky Said:

    Love this! I too, am so tired of the gotta get the readers! I blog because I love it. If it can help someone; that makes my day.

    Yet, I have this p*ssed off woman inside that really wants to let it all hang out but I have been afraid of what others would think of me?

    After reading your blog; I think it is time to let that inner b*tch out to play. You inspired me to be more me.

  11. Rachel Said:

    You’ve been a favorite blog of mine for a long time, and your facebook page is awesome, makes me laugh everyday. I just started a blog like two days ago and remembered you had written this post so I had to come back and re-read it.

  12. Sherry Said:

    Inspirational!! Thank you for sharing!!

Leave a Comment

Comments are moderated, if it doesn't show immediately, please wait. Thank you!

Don't have a Gravatar? (the small photo that shows up when you make a comment). Get one here, it's FREE: Sign up for a free Gravatar


Content security powered by Jaspreet Chahal