My friend's daughter, Nae, has recently been makin' some noise about blogging and was looking for recommendations for sites to start her own.
It got me thinkin' about what I'd pass along, or maybe, what I wish I'd heard those several years* ago when I first started putting my stupid voice out there.
Here are some helpful-ish tips:
1. Don't write for other people. They won't read your shit anyway. And I do mean that in the nicest way possible. They just won't. Until one day when you think no one reads it and then someone mentions to you at a party that they've been reading it. And that when they do, it's usually during a morning constitutional. But hey, they're reading it, right? Score!!
There have been a few other times people have owned up to reading my shit -looking forward to it even- and it's a funny feeling. I love you, you fucking creepers. ;)
2. Write for yourself. If you have something heavy on your mind - get that shit OUT!! Right then - write it down on something to type up later, get the mobile app....whatever...just write it down. Get those brilliant thoughts outta your head. It's actually better for your noggin health. Plus, you don't wanna let a brilliant strike slip away only to have a creative block later. I've found that while traveling or in places where I don't have a good connection, actual writing with pen & paper is best. *GASP* I knoooooow!! Who'da thunk?
The other awesome reason to write for yourself, and the reason I write for myself, is so when you're older than you ever thought was possible and your mind has left town, you have some entertaining shit to read or have read to you. Little time capsules & slivers of yourself to look back on or pass through the family. Same reason applies as to why I make the dumb videos I make.
3. Don't censor yourself or be afraid to offend people. Because fuck them. See #2. (heh...#2)
4. Proofread a shit ton of times before you publish it. Most of the time you'll come off sounding like an idiot anyway (especially if you're like me and write in a conscious thought stream that includes slang) - typos and easy grammatical errors will only compound that & cancel out any cool points you may have earned in topic.
Plus, simple errors just get on my nerves (ask Matthew) and I'd like it if more people took the time to proofread their shit.
5. Hemmingway said, "Write drunk; Edit sober."
6. If you're stumped and don't know what to write about, reviews and How-To's are always easy go-tos. Music, movies, books, events, travel, cooking, etc. (obviously, I've had no idea what to write about over the past few years.) Even old diary/journal entries are good references in times of blockage.
7. Never ever think anything is going to go viral. I stress this one here, but this goes for anything being shared via social media. "Viral" doesn't work that way. You can't set out one day thinking you're going to make a Viral Something. If you do, you'll only be disappointed and I'll point and laugh and say, "I told you so." If you end up making something that happens to go viral (see the difference there?), it will be a joyous occasion and we'll all be reading/watching it on loop and will help you celebrate.
8. As a follow-up to #3....Don't feel like you have a license to be an asshole to people. Don't make it sound like you're directing your commentary towards any one person. That's just mean. If there is anyone reading your shit, they'll probably think whatever you're saying is about them anyway, so just keep things in general terms. It's classier that way & you won't come off as just another trash talker.
9. Include pictures if you're wordy. How many times have you clicked a link and were assaulted by a giant screen of unbroken paragraphs and more words than you were able to scroll through? Did you read it all? No, you were too busy scrolling, looking for the end. Be nice to eyeballs and break it up into bite size chunks with pictures, lists (like this one), embedded vids, or just simply throw in some good paragraph breaks.
10. There's no number 10. I just wanted to see if you'd make it this far on the list. Here's a small reward if you've only scrolled to the ending because you let the amount of words intimidate you:
*Yes, I actually have been blogging for "several years". I kept up with one on multiply.com for a couple years starting in 2004. multiply.com isn't around anymore as of May 2013. Go ahead, check. Then I did the myspace thing for a few years until I started spewing all over Blogger in 2008 with this slice of brilliance. And that's only the internet stuff. I've kept journals all my life, too!!