A friend just asked me:
> I saw that your blog had several years of entries...so how do you do
> it...how do you get into a good routine?? Do you start just free
> form...stream of consciousness?? Or do you start a given entry with
> something to say or a little of both??
> Maybe there's no secret...or tips or tricks...but I just thought I'd ask.
In writing him back, I was surprised at my own little "tips and tricks" as it were. Reprinted for your dubious edification:
Well, check out what my rhythms of posting are really like. This is the archives listed by year and month, and it's almost like a bar chart if you just blur your eyes a little and scroll up from the bottom:
I have gone months without posting before, and it's hard to hang on to readership that way. Readership is a pretty good motivation for writing I think.
So where's the URL? I might be able to give more specific tips if I could see what your blog is like. You know, some kind of sense of intention or purpose of the whole thing really helps.
A nice design, or at least a cool, striking graphic at the top is nice too. It inspires you to fill that space with something cool.
It helps to have some kind of blogging community.
Syndication has made things easier cause now I can just subscribe to a blog (most blogging tools offer this) and I never have to check it, I just see when the person has posted. So I read even some blogs that are updated very infrequently.
I'd rather an infrequent entertaining blog than someone who posts constantly about absolutely nothing.
Think when you post, "If someone I didn't know came upon this, would they be able to find ANYTHING of value in this?" Don't just write about your day unless you can construct some kind of narrative. If you do this you'll start to see little blog stories in your life more often.
If your family knows about it, then put up some damn pictures of your kid every once in a while, the fam will apreciate it.
Let readers who know you know what's going on in your life. It's like your public statement about your life.
If you learn something new in your life, then find a way to tell a story about it in your blog.
Series' of things are cool. Think of a cool topic and do a week on it. Readers seem to really like that and come back for more. At least, until the series is over.
Get people to read and link to you, gradually (but slowly) widening the circle of people who think to click on you every once in a while. Comment on some blog you like and put the url back to your site in the comments. If people enjoy the comment, sometimes they go see who it is. Similarly, blogs can see where their hits are coming from (some can), so put a link list of blogs you like, and visit them via the links on your own page. They will see visitors from your site and possibly check you out.
Don't get too wrapped around the axle if you can't think of anything to write. Just wait and be patient. Strike when the iron is hot.
Also, assume there are in fact interesting things about your life and perspective. Sometimes it can be a little like stand up comedy. You see something in the grocery store that freaks you out and you can make jokes about it, and then actually link to the company's website.
Never just link to something cool, always provide a little bit of perspective or commentary.
Don't succumb to every meme. Especially because of peer pressure. Just ignore all the fucking quizzes and shit. Come up with your own content, unless your blog is really about memes and such. Sometimes there will be a cool one, like describing your five favorite ice cream flavors and relating them to sexual positions or something like that, that you can really rock and come up with something creative for....but make sure it's really good before you use it.
Don't natter on about every popular movie or book. Really try to hold yourself to a high standard and come up with something different for people to see. Differentiate yourself in some way from the sea of chattering monkeys and people will value it.
If possible...come up with SOME visual aspect to your posts along with the writing.
People like bite-sized posts...if you really write a long post, break it up with subheadings so it doesn't just look like one meaningless ramble.
Think about who might be reading, and tailor your content accordingly. Remember, a google cache is forever. You can take chances, but do it on purpose, not out of carelessness.
Try reading the blogs of your commentors and readers, I mean, not if they turn out to be painfully dull (or dully painful), but give everyone a chance. That builds online community.
Look inside yourself a little at what your valuable perspective is. Be honest. Don't waste 1's and 0's. They are almost infinate, but people's time on this planet certainly isn't.
Hope that helps...that was just stream of consciousness, I think I'm actually just going to post this to my blog as well. Hope you don't mind.