Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Things I've Learned From Blogging

I've been blogging in one form or another since 2001- Perhaps earlier, now that I think about it.  In the time I've spent doing this, I've discovered some interesting facts about myself, blogging in general, and life on the whole.  Considering how long it's been since I last posted consistently, I thought it may be a good idea to write about the lessons I've learned.

Some of these are very recent lessons, and others are not.  I hope that you get a good laugh out of these, and possibly learn something as well.

-Do Not Announce A Series Unless It Is Already Written.

I would like to say that I am always so passionate about what I'm writting that I do not need to write a great deal in advance, but frankly, that is simply not the case.  I've started several series in my time blogging, and in most cases, I've fizzled out.  Much like a fire log, I start out slow, burn brightly, and then for some inexplicable reason...  I go out befire the fire actually starts.  Anyone who has ever used generic fire logs knows exactly what I'm talking about!
SO- This more recent lesson is quite simple: Write the series ahead of time, and then announce it.

-Do Not Write An Opinion Piece Without Supporting Facts.

It is absolutely without question that if one has any sort of readership, opinions will be questioned.  Unless one is an expert on a subject, one MUST ALWAYS have supporting facts at the ready.  Cookie Monster may write a blog on cookies, and no one will question his expertise in the matter- But if he writes about garbage, you know Oscar will come along shortly to question him.
Object Lesson?  I'm not Cookie Monster, so I'd better have my facts straight.  Even if there's a difference of opinion, the facts can concievably support mine.

-Do Not Write An Opinion Piece Without All The Facts.

Never have I been so humiliated than when posting a retraction.  Writing about a news article, current event or similar issue is fine, but make sure that all of the facts have been examined- Or at least all those which are available at the time.  It is not always possible to get every detail, and in these cases, it is best to say something like "at this time," as opposed to "I was wrong on this."
Moral of the story?  Contrary to popular belief, words can hurt you, and most often, those words are in the form of retraction!

-Write About What One Enjoys.

I have attempted to write on several sorts of subjects, and without fail, any piece I start that does not have my full interest falls to the wayside.  This is often because I start thinking "I can do this," and wind up falling asleep- The subject was simply too boring to keep me focused.
So with that said...  Write about what interests you most, and success will most often be yours.

-Make Use Of Search Words And Phrases.

I once wrote a blog about what happens when I deal with insomnia.  In it, I detailed the trouble of getting my brain to quite firing on all cylinders; and how these times of sleeplessness often led to seemingly random thought patterns which wound up being rather profound.  I titled the blog "Random Thought Generator."  That one blog has more views alone than the majority of my other articles combined.  Why?  Because for some reason, when people are searching for "name generator," or something similar, my entry comes up.
Lesson: Use search phrases- but use them wisely.  Stringing them together can get you blacklisted faster than Lady Gaga's meat dress at a vegan convention.

-Write About What You Believe.

I once knew a gentleman who used to state repeatedly that if something was worth believing, it was worth discussing.  This is very true of blogging.  The articles that are written for a blog are, in effect, your half of a conversation.  Written properly, the article will garner attention and comments; written poorly, (say, written about something one does not believe in), will cause the entry to simply sit there, taking up space on the internet.
What to learn from this: Belief changes everything.  Write about what one believes, and watch it become pure gold.  Write about what one does not believe, and watch it wax archaic faster than the term "world wide web."  (Which, ironically, is all that your piece will gather.)

-Be Careful What And Who You Write About.

I once wrote a piece on the political leanings and donations of one Mark Z. while I was on Facebook.  Within a month of that piece, my account was shut down.  I probably spent far too much time on it anyway, so they actually did me a favor.  With that said, however, it really made me realize just how far some folks will go to keep their activities secret and hidden.  Needless to say, I've begun to pay as much attention to the individual's past practices when dealing with opposition as I do the story itself.
The lesson here is simple: Write about a person no one knows, or write a favorable piece on a public figure, and no one will care.  Write a story on what you witnessed the Mob doing last Friday, and be prepared for cement shoes.

I hope that you've enjoyed this little piece as much as I did in writing it.  If you actually made it this far, even more kudos to you!

If you're still reading, allow me to make a suggestion: Go write a blog of your own.  You never know just what may come out of you!