Friday, January 7, 2011

Want to Write a Blog?

Recently I was asked to offer some advice for blogging on a regular basis, year in and year out. This query came at an opportune time, since I have nothing to blog about today! So, for what it's worth, here's my advice for being a regular blogger:

1. Consider it exercise. Working out regularly (I'm told) may not be much fun, but it's worth doing. Regularity maintains tone and inspires positive feedback: "I did it today; I can certainly do it tomorrow. I did well today; I can do better tomorrow!" Build blogging into your schedule, and ensure that you can dedicate at least thirty minutes per session. You may need a lifetime to write the next great novel, but you should be able to bang together a decent couple of paragraphs in the time necessary to watch a sitcom.

2. Take breaks. Like exercise, regular blogging can become a deadening slog if you are compelled to work those words every day. I therefore blog four or five times a week and feel no guilt about taking weekends off. Indeed, just as muscles need some time to rebuild after serious exercise, so must your brain recharge after lots of writing.

3. Blog for yourself. Folks work out in the gym to use specialized equipment, sure. At the same time, many enjoy the public nature of the exercise. It's the same with blogging. An audience inspires exertion. Comments appear to equal success. But remember: you are the first audience. Write to express yourself, not to impress others. Working for praise - whether in the arena of sweat or ideas - is an empty pursuit.

4. Write what you know. Launching a New Year's resolution to become a weightlifter makes little sense if you have no knowledge about the skills necessary to pump that iron - and no plans to gain that background. Similarly you should not write about something that is generally foreign to you. Survey your life to determine your domain of experience, and focus there. Chances are, someone in the world wants to know what you have mastered. And if they don't, there's always Rule Number Three.

5. Stay hungry. That Survivor song, "Eye of the Tiger," was made to help Rocky find the heart necessary to defeat Clubber Lang. It was a reminder that hunger drives those who enter the ring. Writers too must stay hungry. They must yearn for knowledge. So if you want to blog, read good blogs - along with books, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc. Look for interesting topics. Listen for fascinating conversations. Stay hungry for ideas. And never be satisfied with what you have accomplished. Always try to learn something new - and you'll always have something to write about.

1 comment:

Beauswifey said...

Thanks, Andy... :0)