Unconventional Advice for Unconventional Bloggers

I came to blogging seriously long after I decided to take myself seriously as a writer. This means that I’d both freelanced and worked full-time for a print magazine before I launched RedWhiteandGrew.com. For this reason, I’ve always felt a little bit out of the “norm” in the blogosphere, if there actually is such a thing as a norm online.

For me, blogging is just one more canvas to put the words swimming around in my head. Although I’m fully capable of reading a full-length novel, I’ve always loved what I call “little writing,” stuff like front-of-book blurbs in magazines. Back when I was an editor, I adored writing captions. Geeky, but true. 

Having no patience yet for writing book-length works–or maybe just lacking the sufficient inspiration to tackle it regularly (publishers take note–I did complete NANOWRIMO in ’09!!!), I’ve found blogging and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook give me the immediacy that I want to express myself and reach my niche audiences.

Ah, audiences. Every one wants one. I’ve got a fairly nice one (thank you!), although that’s largely accidental. When blogging, I tend to write what I want to read and not necessarily for a wide (re: large) target audience. When I first started blogging, I took the standard advice to write regularly (five days a week!). The regular routine was useful to get me started, but as stated elsewhere, I’m sort of into “slow blogging” now as the mood hits me.

Of course, my early routine and regular tracking of hits (comments were never, for me, as big a measure of my blog’s “worth”–such an ugly word–as my hits), I know that my victory garden blog’s readership tends to be most responsive to tweeted links on Mondays and Tuesdays. There’s a bit of a blip on Fridays–the weekend garden warriors, maybe? With this knowledge in place, I can worry less about a five-day-per-week-posting schedule.

Back to that canvas notion, which is obviously borrowed from the art world. I’ve got multiple blogs because I’m interested in different things. Some blogs work better than others. Some posts work better than some blogs. I find that interesting, so I keep tinkering, having accepted that unlike my print work, online work keeps evolving. And that’s good! That acceptance of the evolution of my work means that I can tkae take my mistakes in stride, embrace them, learn from them and correct them

You might say there’s a certain amount of improvisation in my approach. That’s true. Ever since I did a story about an improv troupe in Louisiana, I’ve been smitten with how improvisation demands saying “yes” and working to get the “yes” to actually yield a satisfying result. Actually, that’s a pretty great way to approach cooking, parenting, gardening… life… we are all making it up as we go along anyway.

I’ve written about and worked with business folks too over the years, and from the most successful people I’ve learned that failure is part of the game. Some seemingly great ideas fall flat, and many of the best entrepreneurs “make it big” on the heels of a multi-year, multi-project losing streak. It’s not personal, they almost always tell me when sharing their history, it’s just business.

Although I don’t make money of my blogs yet (well, I have picked up a few freelance gigs and sponsorship offers are always welcome!), I’ve got a couple of marginally popular blogs. They amuse me and have helped introduce me to some truly remarkable people, places, and ideas. I haven’t hit it big by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m still open and interested in learning more about social media, especially podcasting. 

Yup, even two years into intensive blogging I’m still making it all up as I go along, but I’m having a terrific time doing it. It’s been a creative outlet for me while I raise a kid, and someday I’ll turn “pro.” Until then, I’m content to let this all be for fun because, hey, it is fun. And it’s for this reason that I encourage all of my friends and colleagues who decide to try blogging to let their inhibitions go and just… write.

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2 Replies to “Unconventional Advice for Unconventional Bloggers”

  1. I’m going against the grain here & commenting on a Friday!

    The blog thing is the same for me. I don’t have to worry about word count for print (too much!) or broadcast segment length. I don’t even really have to worry about my “target audience.” For me, the blog has been an extension of what I was doing for years: writing about my garden. Before the enewsletter which morphed into the blog, I was writing all this stuff just to my family. What I’ve most enjoyed about it is in the interaction from other gardeners. I don’t have much time to attend garden clubs or other garden social events, so this is a way to do it when I catch some time in the evenings. Ever, ever, it’s just the fun of writing! And wow, I’m impressed that you completed Nanowrimo; I know I’m not ready for that!

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