The Official Terribleminds Writer’s Guide To Blogging About Blogging
Blogging cannot get more useless when a blog blogs about blogging, and even worse, here I’m going to blog about some blogs that have in fact already blogged about blogging, and that’s so much blogging it hurts.
Did you follow that? Me neither.
Point is, Kristen Lamb wrote that writers should not blog about writing.
Then Austin Wulf said, writers should too blog about writing.
Then Albert Berg said, good points all around but Kristen might be right, now let’s everybody have a tickle.
And now, here I am.
Blogging about bloggers who have blogged about blogging.
Which is why you’ll notice a trickle of treacly blood exiting my ears.
Obviously, I am a writer (duh) who frequently blogs about writing (duh) though one might not refer to this specifically as a writing blog. Thus, I feel compelled by my deranged mind to talk a little on this subject. I figure, I’ll grab the snake and force him to bite his own tail and yammer about my blogging style here at Jolly Olde Terribleminds, and you can take this information and make love to it…
…or shove it instead up a donkey’s corn-chute.
Your call. Please to enjoy.
First: This Blog, Right Here
I started this site over ten years ago. Probably 12, by now. Before it was WordPress it was a straight-up HTML site designed by a friend and it looked pretty cool at the time, but as new browsers hit the ground, the site refused to play well with them. So, to read the site on, say, Firefox, you had to highlight invisible text and pray to dark gods and mist the screen with bergamot oil just to read what I was saying.
It only worked on Internet Explorer, which is like saying, it only worked on a computer powered by coal.
Two years ago I switched to WordPress. I opened the site up to comments. I began tracking views and page hits and what-not. I also started blogging every damn day, seven days a week.
I don’t say this to brag, only to show the growth of the blog and its readership, but: in June 2009, all month I had 922 unique guests here at the site. That number began doubling until it reached what the site had in June of 2010, which was 15,000 visitors. On June 9th of this year, the blog had 18,490 looky-loos just on that one day. Now, that was a bit extreme, admittedly, and unusual here, but even still, I’ve been getting 70-90k per month, and this month already I’m on track to see the biggest flock of readers yet.
So, am I doing something right? Well, that’s debatable. Quantity is not quality, after all, though I should note I’m quite happy with the quality of readership here. You all seem lovely. Except that one guy in the corner fondling himself. *is handed a piece of paper* Oh. Oh. That’s a mirror? Huh. Awkward.
I’m happy with the blog and its contents.
Rule One: Blog About Whatever The Fuck You’d Like
I agree with the spirit of Lamb’s law, but not the letter — I do not think that blogging about writing is a bad move for writers. The spirit of her law is more that a writer should blog about all kinds of things, not just writing, and further that a writer should not feel compelled to blog about writing by dint of being a writer, and to all that, I agree. But I’m not comfortable saying a writer shouldn’t blog about writing — whether just a little or all the time — if that’s what what makes you happy. Because that’s my ultimate law of bloggery-do: blog what you want because you want to.
Blog about: writing, editing, books, films, games, child-rearing, whisky, snake-breeding, illicit botany, wicker furniture, hookers, microphone fetishes, or the Many Ways To Murder Your Mailman.
Blog about what interests you. About things that rouse your passion, that tickle your saucer nips, that make you do a little ants-in-your-pants prancey dance. That interest and passion will translate to the blog and carry over to the readers. Don’t blog about stuff because someone tells you to blog about it. Further, don’t not blog about something because someone tells you not to.
(And can we just pause for a moment and talk about what a wretched turd-yawn of a word “blog” is? Why has nobody come up with a better word yet? Seriously? Internet, come together in this. Get down in the comments and come up with new words for “blogging,” yeah?)
You might be saying, “But that won’t garner me audience. If I’m a writer of science-fiction who blogs about knitting, that doesn’t build my platform. I should be blogging about science-fiction!”
No, you should be writing science-fiction. Blog about if only if you get jazzed about doing so. See, here’s the thing. A blog audience is not automatically your creative audience. Some crossover exists, but consider: 70,000 people visited this blog last month, but I did not sell 70,000 copies of any of my books. Did I sell 10%, or 7,000 copies, then? Mmmmnope. More like “less than one percent.”
And I’m happy with that, for the record.
All blogging is just squawking into the void. It’s free. It’s a soapbox on which you stand and bark your brain-think into the world. Be yourself. Talk about what you want to talk about. Authenticity and interest will garner readers well beyond plopping out rote, formulaic posts because they are somehow “expected.”
Truth is, since most people have multiple things that enflame their mental loins, you don’t have to worry about having One Kind Of Blog. “This is my blog devoted to knitting vagina cozies” is far less interesting to me than, “this is my blog devoted to the shit that comes out of my head which you may or may not appreciate because as it turns out I’m a complete and complicated human.”
(That again gets to the heart of Lamb’s post.)
Blog in a way that appeases you first. Otherwise, the blog is just a daily lump of stress.
Rule Two: Don’t Be A Dick
When you blog, don’t be a dick. See also:
Don’t be: an asshole, an ass-hat, a shithead, a fuckface, a scum-gargling cock-waffle, a jerk, a jerkoff, a jerk-faced jerkopolis, a douche, a douche-swab, douche-nozzle, double-douche, a doucheologist, a crap-faced stinky-butt, a bully, a prick, a sonofabitch, a bastard, a sonofabastard, a brat, a big ol’ meanie, a pig, a racist, a sexist, any anything-ist, a Nazi, a homophobe, a homophone, a homonym, a homo sapiens…
… ooh, I think I got off the rails there.
Point is, don’t be a dick.
Be tactful about things. Try to be nice. You don’t need to be funny — just don’t be dour and mean. Approach your audience with respect by not flinging boiling urine in their eyes when they come to read your work.
A slight tweak on this: you can be a bit of an asshole (Sweet Sally Struthers, I sure am) provided you do so with self-deprecation and humor in equal measure. I think. Then again, I might be wrong about that. There might exist a secret room of Wendig Haters out there plotting my demise. I’ll just don my tinfoil hat here to block out their hateful frequency, and we’re all good.
Rule Three: No Rule Three Exists, Please Turn Around And Go Home
You’re saying, that’s it?
Two goddamn rules?
Yes, that’s what I’m telling you.
And you’re saying, “But, this is about blogging for writers. Surely you have some specific information that will help them be better writer-blogger hybrid creatures?”
Ehhh. Well, sure. I have some caveats and corollaries. I try to avoid negativity. I don’t recommend writers be reviewers all that often. Blog as part of a community, not separate from it. You can use your blog as a self-promo tool provided that’s only a fraction of your content. Blog often to establish readership routine. Make a blog that’s appealing to the eyes. Own your blog and your domain (remember when Blogger shit the bed a month or two back? Yeah, seriously, own your stuff).
I don’t consider these hard-and-fast rules so much as they are suggestions, though. The only rules are the two noted above: blog how you want to blog, as long as you’re not a big honking dickhead about it.
I don’t know why you’d have any specific questions about terribleminds, but I’m happy to answer them if you do. Same goes for suggestions you may have — the site can and should be improved from time to time (and soon as I have some, HAHAHAHA, time, I plan on attacking a laundry list of challenges here at the Ol’ Bloggery-Hut). Got something to say or ask about the site or its content? Do so with my blessing.