Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Anita's Principles of Blogging
The social blogging site where I first cut my teeth as a blogger is about to be transformed. It will either go dark, or become a somewhat pricey paid membership club, where you can drop in and read for free but you have to pay to publish. I won’t be one of the people who pays to play. It’s not that I think “FREE” is the only way to blog, but I established a mirror blog on Blogger years ago, and it is now my home site.
Impending change is a kick in the pants, and a jolt to the thought process. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned about how to blog, Here are my guiding principles.
Is this my story, or does it belong to someone else? I can be much freer when I write about my stories and thoughts. When I write about someone else’s story or when I include someone else in a post, I’ve learned to be careful with my words. Several years ago I realized that I don’t know who is reading my blog. A post about events in my town that I thought was harmless was printed and posted in the local corner store, because a person in my town thought that I insulted a notable person in our community. I’m not interested in making those types of waves. My watchword is respect if I decide to write about someone else’s story. In most such cases, I’ll write a story in my head, and let it pass through without becoming written words.
Know who your audience is. In my case, my audience is my mother. She reads all of my blog posts with pleasure. Helpful hint to all those who blog and who post on FaceBook: if you always assume that a mother-like person is reading what you write, it’s hard to go to far astray with subject or tone. This includes people like me, who are not interested in confrontation, and people who deliberately want to stir the pot.
Know what your audience enjoys. For this blog, my knitting posts are the crowd favorites. They get the most hits and the most comments. That won’t keep me from posting about other topics, but I need to throw in some knitting every now and then to keep the customer satisfied.
Prune words, crystallize, condense. The web is impatient with long-form writing.
For me, blogging is something I do when I’m feeling good about life. I do not blog to rant, and I do not blog to vent. Neither makes me feel better.
Post often if you can. Writing improves when you practice putting words together, like everything else we do. If you can’t, post when you can.
Note: my silence here for the past few months is directly tied to more than one of the above principles. Life has been darker and more difficult than usual, and it’s mostly not my story to tell. Yes, things are getting better.