Wednesday, 12 March 2008

On Blogging – How do you do it?

No, this really isn’t going to be a tedious post offering tips on how to be a better blogger.

Quite the reverse in fact.

Blogging for me is very much a seat of the pants affair. Most of the time when I sit my self down at the computer I never really know what sort of post I may or may not come up with.

Occasionally I will formulate the bare bones of an idea whilst walking home from work, listening to the radio, sitting in the bath, feeding the children. Sometimes a flick through my favourite source sites will provide something of interest.

But there is never really a post, mentally fully formed waiting to be typed up.

And in truth it’s a bit of a struggle sometimes. Many a cup of tea has cooled down or a beer warmed up whilst waiting for an obvious way of traversing from a to b or for a hook line or peroration to become apparent.

I have quite a few saved drafts of posts that I started but couldn’t quite complete. You know when it’s really not going to work when you're about 20 minutes in and decide to go visiting on the self deluding promise that you will complete and publish later. It just never seems to happen.

And yet it seems that all of my favourite reads (many to be found in the links) seem to be able to effortlessly produce posts of interest and consistent quality. And it makes you wonder how the hell they do it. And not a little jealous if I'm honest.

I’d love to know.

It does also make you wonder how others view what you produce. A few days ago Womble on Tour (having picked up on my tag for him to undertake the ‘seven good thing’s meme) said over at his place that he was ‘seriously honoured’ (to be tagged by me) ’ because Grendel is a serious blogger. I haven’t been in these elevated circles before’.

I replied in the comments that he was doing me far too much honour with his kind words. Really, if these are elevated circles I wonder how the basest levels of blogging read to their visitors. I also thought that if WOT and indeed anyone else could see the slipshod way in which the ‘Mere’ is operated then the kind comments wouldn’t be forthcoming or could hardly be justified.

And why the unusual introspection? Well like most forms of irrational self interrogation it’s to do with birthdays. Not my recent RL one but rather the fact that in a couple of weeks this humble site will have been in operation for a year. More of that anon.

But I would be genuinely interested to know how other members of the bloggerati go about plying their trade. It’s got to be an improvement on my current methods and would make the project potentially more sustainable than it is now.


ThunderDragon said...

I make it up as I go along. I might have an idea or two during the day or on my way home from home - or even on the toilet [thought you might like to know that] - but mainly I just make it up as I go.

I'll flip through the news websites and my rss feed of blogs, then just post whatever I happen to have thought of/caught my eye. It's a very haphazard process.

Toque said...

There was a time when I was getting 1000 or so unique visitors / day to Little Man in a Toque and I felt a little bit of pressure to write stuff. And I was always networking, leaving comments or writing posts in response to other bloggers.

Now I sometimes go for weeks without writing anything, and my stats are well down, but I don't care to be honest. And I hardly comment or post responses at all.

I just post things that are of interest to me, or that I want to comment upon and leave it at that. It's just something I enjoy doing, and if I don't feel like doing it, or lack inspiration, I go down the pub.

Ole Phat Stu said...

Three tips from this end :-
1) Entries often triggered by current affairs/dates. E.G. predicting the UK budget content (and getting it wrong ;-) or posting about PI-day tomorrow.

2) Use a laptop, so you can write anywhere.

3) Don't wast time polishing. We're not writing Shakesperian quality stuff.

4) learn to count ;-)

jmb said...

We all think that everyone else is doing it so effortlessly, but the truth is many are struggling, just as you feel you are sometimes.

Everyone thinks that the others produce wonderful, erudite, interesting stuff while his/her own stuff is garbage. We all doubt ourselves.

I'd say that in my 250 plus posts I have been really pleased with maybe ten of them. I don't write the type of blog where one comments on news or politics. Nor do I talk about ideas. I call it places I've been, things of done, things I find interesting. Wherever my fancy leads me. Pretty ordinary really. Lately it seems more like mediocre photojournalism.

I swore I'd make it to the year and then feel I could quit. But I still seem to be churning it out although not daily like most.

Bloggerati sounds like such an elevated word. I don't think I quite belong there.

TBRRob said...

All I do is focus on one thing. Try not to make things to big, or I lose my way.

Edland said...

I certainly don't write effortlessly. It really helps if you are angry because that helps switch off the self-criticism!

I rarely draft a post then leave it unpublished. I tend to start a post, realise that it's not quite what I had in mind and delete it.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I usually find the posts I've written quickly and without too much thought are the most popular, and I've seen other bloggers say that, so I suppose the lesson there is as the above comment says to switch off the self criticism.

I tend to find the longer more political posts take a long time to write, particularly if they're well referenced with links. My other posts are often inspired by very small day to day events that strike me has funny or having a point to them. I do just make it up as I go along though.

What do you want to change about your current site? I like the fact I often don't understand the subjects you post about. In a good way. I don't want to read all the same stuff with the same opinions on it all the time.

Bendy Girl

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Pretty much the same as everyone else has said.
And yes, the posts you think are awful, are the ones ev eryone reads, and the ones you think you'd frame languisg in obscurity.

C'est la vie.

Asp said...

I think the haphazard approach does often yield good results. I hear a news story, something happens - and there's a post to comment on it, in my own meandering way.

The only exception is my weekly feature (Tunes of the Week). As I know it's coming, it ends up being a continual effort - adding tracks during the week, then working on it in brief moments over the weekend. Anyone that does has a weekly feature must do it the same way, so that they're fully prepared on that day.

The only thing I don't do is look for posts. I let the ideas come to me. And, I very very rarely then save them. Means some days there could be 3+ posts, and others when nothing of interest happens. But I personally like the spontaneity is produces.

Phil A said...

I think we all tend to take what others say more seriously than what we say. Unless you happen to be a megalomaniac or politician.

I don't claim to be a great blogger - and rightly so I envisage the resonse to be.

I hate stuff I come across that does not hang together, or actually follow on - lies, self delusion, uncritical repetition.

I see a news story, or hear a comment and my mind latches on to it, takes it apart and then puts it back together again from a different viewpoint. Then I write a piece on it usually fast and furious, then I go over it to make sure I am not doing the same thing myself.

Then I post it.

Colin Campbell said...

I am completely spontaneous. It is the only way to go for the type of blog that I have.

Globus said...

use tags like 'ass' or 'facebook ex'. they work a treat.

but seriously, globus has noticed that if not careful, you can create a rod for your own back whereby visitors expect you to blog daily, and interestingly. globus has enough pressure in his life, so goes down the route most bloggers do - it's an ego thing, an online soapbox, and if other people join in at some point along the way, then great. globus liked your blog, by the way.

Daily Referendum said...

The title of each blog post is critical, write the title like you would a google search on the subject.

Three paragraphs are fine, four or more and most people can't be arsed reading them.

Post at least twice a day, even if it is one long and one short post.

Don't just post links to MSM stories - have your own opinion.

Try to reply to all comments (I'm guilty of not obeying this rule).

Spell check.

Don't get into pointless arguments with arseholes, it will only wind you up and put you off blogging. Hit delete and they'll soon piss off.

Link and get links.

Tom Paine said...

Lots of insight here. I now know my own error - I draft, redraft and revise like the lawyer I am.

Embarrassingly, my most ever hits were for a spontaneous piece (as recommended in the comments here) in which I got a key fact wrong. I still blush, so I guess I will keep redrafting and fact checking, whatever that does to the stats...

jams o donnell said...

I meant to post on this. Sorry for the lateness of this. I strated the Poor Mouth as a left of centre political blog but I got rather tired of political blogging pretty quickly.

Now Itend to blog news items that get my goat or are a bit offbeat r which simply interest me.

I am a keen but not desperately talented photographer. Photo memes like Wordless Wednesday or Photo Hunt give me a chance to air some of my better eforts.

Having said that I have no idea what path the Poor Mouth will take in the future. I say take it as it comes and blog on what interests you.

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