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.
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.
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.
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….
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