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Secrets of a Productive Blogger

July 23, 2018

If you really want to be a writer, don’t let anybody or anything discourage you. (image via wikimedia)

Most advice for bloggers is pretty common.  Find a niche.  Write consistently.  Write about your passion.  Become a valuable source for others.  A lot of bloggers spread this advice, and some even follow it, but most bloggers don’t stay at it for long (I admit I have only anecdotal evidence to back that up).

I’ve been blogging consistently for over seven years, and I consider myself a productive blogger.  I’m not bragging.  I mean, I’m not putting out stuff at James Patterson rates.  But I still write consistently and haven’t given up.

I have a few disadvantages when it comes to writing.  I have a full time job and a family, so blogging is very low as a daily priority.  I don’t tell my friends or co-workers (which means I can say what I want on my blog without getting fired, but it also limits my audience).  Somehow, though, I create original content.

The secret to writing is to have lots of subject material.  I call this a secret because it seems obvious to me but many bloggers get stuck in ruts and get discouraged.  It could have happened to me.  If I only wrote about books and writing, I’d run out of stuff to write about too.  In seven years of blogging, I’ve never had writer’s block.  If I go a few days or weeks without blogging, it’s because of time constraints, not writer’s blockage.

It doesn’t do much good if I give advice about writing but don’t show what I mean.  For example, when I say that bloggers need to find unique approaches to common topics, I need to show evidence.  Fair enough.

Since I read a lot of books, I’m tempted to write straightforward book reviews on my blog, but you can find book reviews everywhere. To be different, when I discuss a book, I focus almost exclusively on how the book is written.

Bad Sentences in Classic Literature: Moby Dick

 

Despite a title that causes some people to laugh inappropriately, Moby Dick by Herman Melville is a classic for a reason. When readers who love Moby Dick discuss Moby Dick, they talk about stuff like symbolism and theme.  But when readers who despise Moby Dick explain why they hate it, they usually mention the way it’s written.  The sentences are tough to read, and there are way too many of them.

I almost didn’t want to write about Moby Dick because people will automatically assume that I am making fun of the title, but I’m not.  I’ve made fun of the title before, and it’s probably not fair to do that because the word “dick” didn’t mean the same thing back when Moby Dick was first published, so readers (probably) didn’t snicker at the title back then.  If they did, they were ahead of their time.

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When in doubt, a blogger can write about a relationship.  I like to write stories, but my imagination is limited, so I have to write about stuff that has happened to me.  Even if this next selection isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, it’s probably my greatest writing achievement, a 60-episode blog serial romantic comedy that took up about a year of blogging.

The Literary Girlfriend

When I was in college, the best kind of girlfriend to have was the literary girlfriend.  Literary girlfriends liked to read, so dates were cheap.  We could go to a poetry reading or hang out in the university library.  The only problem with literary girlfriends was that they didn’t like football, so we always broke up in September.

But after I graduated from college and entered the professional world, literary girlfriends were difficult to find.  So for two years I went without even a hint of a girlfriend.  I think I was considered by my friends and family to be a lonely guy.  It was kind of humiliating being known as the lonely guy.  But all of that ended in the most unlikely of places.

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As I get older, I find myself giving more and more advice.  People don’t usually listen, though.  Even though I’ve been blogging for years, some writers won’t see me as a credible source because I’m not famous, so I resort to writing about what famous authors say about writing.  Every writer will listen to what Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway have to say about writing, even when their advice is weird.

5 Famous Writing Quotes about Writing That Might Be Evil

When a famous author writes a quote about writing, aspiring authors pay attention. After all, nobody knows more about writing than a famous author. Some quotes about writing have become so widely known that they’re almost accepted without second thought. But what if these famous quotes were meant to be misleading? What if the famous authors were just messing with us? What if famous authors were toying with our emotions and fragile egos? What if these famous authors were just… evil?

Below are five famous quotes about writing that MIGHT be evil:

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A blogger can’t go wrong criticizing pop culture.  I knew I was getting old when I started mocking everything on TV and the radio.  Yeah, I started doing that when I was 13 (almost 40 years ago), but now we have social media where we can post our criticisms.  Every once in a while, though, I want to defend something that I actually like.

Shut Up About Seinfeld!

(image via wikimedia)

My daughter told me to shut up about Seinfeld.  Those were her exact words:

“Shut up about Seinfeld!

My daughter and a bunch of her friends had been binge-watching the television show Friends on Netflix and were talking about it within my ear range.  I thought, Friends?  Friends? People are still talking about Friends?  After my daughter’s own friends had left, I went on a rant about Seinfeld and how Seinfeld deserved to be watched instead of Friends.   Just so you know, it didn’t start off as a rant.

It just irked me that these teenagers had watched Friends instead of Seinfeld.  Twenty years ago, the two shows had been broadcast on Thursday nights, and Friends had kind of piggybacked on Seinfeld’s success.  Friends was okay.  It did really well after Seinfeld was done, but it was no Seinfeld.

And I wasn’t trying to disparage Friends with my rant by any means.  But the more I tried to explain how awesome Seinfeld was, the less attention my daughter gave me.  She nodded and said “uh huh” occasionally, but she stared at her phone the whole time.

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Writing about how things used to be can be risky because we don’t want to get into the “walking twenty miles to school every day in four feet of snow uphill in both directions” routine.  That stuff gets tuned out.  Instead, bloggers need to find a way to make that old stuff relevant.  I do that by connecting that old stuff with what is going on today.

Old Things That Are Tough To Explain: Lack of Safety Precautions

(image via wikimedia)

The monkey bars at our local park just got taken down because a kid broke his arm on them a few weeks ago.  At least, that’s the rumor, and I’m pretty sure it’s true.  The park still has some slides and see-saws and exercise equipment, but it’s kind of bare.  When I was a kid, parks had more stuff.  We had merry go rounds (that we shot bottle rockets off of), monkey bars (that we’d break our arms on), and sand boxes (that somebody peed in).  Most of those are gone now.

“That’s stupid,” my youngest daughter said when I told her why the bars were no longer in the park.

I don’t trust my daughter’s opinion on a lot of things.  She doesn’t understand liability, hospital bills, and stuff like that.  She knows a kid who got her toes sliced on an ice rink, so she understands inherent risk.  The ice rink is still open, but part of that might be because parents have to sign waivers.  I’m not sure the waivers mean much.  A lawyer friend of mine laughs every time we have to sign waivers at a kid’s party.

“These don’t mean sh*t,” he declares, and he signs them without reading them.  He’s my friend, but I don’t know how good of a lawyer he is.  He travels a lot, though, and his house and cars are bigger than mine.  As far as I remember, my parents didn’t have to sign many waivers when I was a kid.  Life was more dangerous back then, and we didn’t know it.

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So there you go.  These are some of the secrets to blogging.  These aren’t all of them.  I’m sure there are some more secrets to blogging that I haven’t figured out.  If everybody knew what all the secrets were, there wouldn’t be any secrets anymore.

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What do you think?  What other secrets to blogging do you know about?

7 Comments
  1. your blog really put my mind at ease. I don’t post often worried about the many “ifs’ – if this would be acceptable, if this topic is too cliched, etc. your secret to blogging is just what I needed. very helpful. thanks.

    • “I don’t post often worried about the many “ifs’ –”-

      Thanks! I went through that phase as well, until I kept telling myself that the blog should be relieving stress, not causing it. Writing became a lot more fun after that.

  2. I truly enjoyed your outlook on the blogging, and tips to keep in mind. Many of us get caught up in are we going to be a success at it, and what should we write about. I for one was one of these. Not the will I become a success, since that really wasn’t my main focus, but am I doing it in a way that will attract readers every now and then. Currently, I know my blog has been a dry spell for people visiting, and I honestly believe its because I wasn’t finding my particular niche or an original outlook. Really, my blog that I keep secret from all that I know so yes I don’t offend anyone if I am writing about them (names are always changed anyway), but I don’t want it to negatively impact any area of my life. I will continue to keep a look out for your blogs and see how I can improve myself. I believe we are only as great as to the advice and knowledge we take in, and the moments we take to observe and reflect on what it is we are doing. So thank you again!!!!

  3. Just brilliance! I needed to hear this but from someone else. I did a self analysis on how I am missing out on writing. I had jotted down some points that you have mentioned but was still skeptical. Now because you have put out there, I am able to accept. Sometimes, its just acceptance that we need.

  4. Excellent write up

  5. This is great. Thank you. Very relatable and helpful.

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