There’s no advice I can give you about blogging.
I might as well try to advise you about what to do with a blank sheet of paper and a pen, the options are just as diverse and every bit as impenetrable.
But I've been doing it – blogging, that is – for quite a few years now so you’d think I’d have something to say about it. Well, maybe I do, but it’s wouldn't be advice (perish the thought). Perhaps it would be more a short litany of things I do and don’t do when it comes to my blog. Perhaps that would be it…
I Know I Won’t Ever Move the Earth
It’s a lesson I had to learn. I don’t think anyone could have told me it. My blog will never cause ripples around the world or impact on international media or move masses to tears or, indeed, helpless laughter.
In fact I have a theory. I reckon that our blogs are subject to a physical rule which is almost as rigid as the intertwined laws of capillary action and gravity. ‘This Far and No More’ this mysterious rule seems to say, “You Shall Not Pass…” Perhaps I should call it the 'Gandalf Rule'. What I mean is that my blog has tended to grow to a certain size and then not to grow any more. Maybe this is just me but I don’t actually reckon it is. Unless you’re some marketing guru, I reckon your blog will get to a level of exposure and there it will pretty much stay. Argue with me, if you want, I’d enjoy that.
That ‘If I Build It, They Will Come’ Malarkey Is Exactly That
I thought this for a while, at first.
“I will just write my blog posts,” I thought (with a big noble head on me), “and, if they’re good enough, people will find them. They Will Come.”
No they won’t. Catch yourself on.
I have to push my posts a little bit to get them read. I don’t have to go mad about it or anything. A Twitter link here, a Facebook mention there, then, if they get spread around a bit from there, well and good. And, if not, well that’s okay too. I put my post out there a little bit, because nobody would see it otherwise, and after that whatever happens, happens.
It’s a bit like fly-fishing, I present the bait as attractively as I can and I wait and see what bites. If nothing bites, there’s always my sandwiches and the peace of the shady riverbank.
Content is Key
It ain't rocket science. I just try to make my blog post as good as I can, every time. It’s not a disposable thing, a blog post. It may get most of its readers in the first few days after it gets posted but it also lives on out there, floating in the cloud, and now and again people will land on it and read it, even years from now.
So I try to make it as nice as possible, for them and for you too.
I Don’t Make It Personal To You
This stuff is just about me, remember, you must do your own thing. I don’t ever ask individual people to read a post.
Sometimes there’s a new post that I would love someone to see, I still won’t ask them to read it. I do this because I believe that people need to come to my writing because they want to rather then because I want them to. If that reader/writer symbiosis is allowed to occur naturally it is a very rewarding thing, entirely worth the risk of it not ever happening at all. If a person were to come by my blog out of some sense of obligation then it would be exponentially more difficult to divert them with what they find here. As I said, this is just me. I’m not judging you. Not much anyway.
There is an exception to this rule. Say, for instance, if I’m tweeting with you and you ask me what I thought of ‘Skyfall’ then I may mention that I have a blog post on that very subject. This seems okay to me because it’s integral to the particular discussion I am having. To be honest, though, okay or not, it still makes me a little uncomfortable doing it. I think I’ll cut down on it…
I Won’t Ever Make Any Money
I’ve never made a penny from blogging but then I don’t ever try. I don’t have any adverts on the blog and I don’t want any. It’s not why I do it. Many people come to blogging to make loads of money online and drive fast cars and roger glamorous women. Trust me, that won’t happen.
Having said that, I do know blogs can make pennies and I know that pennies are extremely valuable in some parts of the world and I applaud the industry of people there who blog their hearts out to get those pennies. They create content and fill up on adverts and theirs might not be the most edifying web creations ever but they are probably saving their lives by doing it so bloody well done them.
I just do it for my own silly reasons, which I’ve written about here previously. ‘Forget about the price tag’, and all that.
I Won’t Last at It
I tend to think this way about my bloody-awful jogging too. “You’ll never make it around that lake.” “You’re Utterly Shit, why bother?” “Go back to bed and pull the quilt over your head and die.” Our inner voices are little bastards, aren't they?
I never thought I’d be blogging this long. What will I write about next week? Fuck knows.
“Nothing, you’ll be writing about nothing next week. This is probably your last blog post ever.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, inner voice, sod off eh?
And see you next week.
If you like.