I might have an opportunity to speak to a group in a college class about blogging. Mostly because someone who knows someone who knows my wife and had heard that I was blogging needs someone to talk to a group about blogging.
Trying to decide on an appropriate fee. You know, so I can call myself a professional blogger now. Shoot, buy me a dipped ice cream cone and I’m happy. Just please hide the Wii fit board so it doesn’t gripe at me about getting fatter.
Can you call yourself professional if you work for food?
Now I’m suddenly picturing myself standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Will blog for food. Or dipped ice cream. Cash is cool too.
So back to this how to blog thing. I don’t know, what am I supposed to say? Okay, here’s what I did: Set up an account with WordPress. You can do it at blogger, there’s some other good ones too, I got no preference. Pick a pretty basic template without a heckuva lot of customization, write up a pretty weak profile, and sit down a few times a week and blather on about the subject at hand.
So please, no one tell the person who wants a blogger about all this. It wouldn’t take much to realize, this guy’s definitely not an expert, there’s gotta be better bloggers in the sea. That is, provided that bloggers can swim. Or they’re wading.
Of course it just dawned on me that I’ve already emailed saying I’d be glad to help out. And gave a link to this blog. Kiss that ice cream goodbye.
So I guess then since that 5 minutes is gone, I can get into some of the tricks of the trade. You know, come up with some suggestions.
Come up with these goofy lines that really don’t mean anything, throw them out every few posts never really understanding what they mean but, well, maybe they add flavor or something. Love a duck. Seriously, what??? I don’t get that one. But I say it every now and then. You can’t do it all the time, then it just gets old. It gets old anyway, who am I kidding?
Pick a theme and stick with it. Holy cow, that’s almost a serious one. What’s up with that? But you know, generally people could care less about the incredible tradition of Nebraska football in a blog about running, right? People tend to follow blogs about things they are interested in, so really if you want to build a following it makes sense to try to keep your content somewhat in the ballpark of some kind of theme. (Says the guy who has mentioned Nebraska football in two consecutive posts now AND who apparently is clueless about the fact that ‘how to blog’ has nothing really to do with running).
Try not to be too serious. Unless it’s a serious blog. If it’s about serious stuff that really matters in life, being as glib as I tend to get might not be such a great idea. But otherwise, at least as I see it it helps to be able to just sit and have fun with it all, you know?
Try not to use repetitive phrases like you know too often. That’s good advice when talking as well. Just ask me when I’m listening to my kids. Don’t ask my kids when they’re listening to me because I don’t want them to tell you all about how I’m really no better than they are. But you would think if they found it all that annoying they’d get a clue and stop doing it themselves, you know?
Speaking of getting a clue. They were playing a flash flood warning on the radio today, one of those automated things with the computer voice. Part of their instructions: “Do not drown.” Think about this, who out there is saying to themselves, “I wonder if I should drown?” Think of the lives saved because of that announcement. I cannot help but think that Charles Darwin would not be a proponent of announcements like this.
Love a Duck.
Which brings me to my last bit of advice. Become comfortable with the phrase “I digress.” This is your way out for when you fail to follow the advice about sticking to the theme. This way you can say that overall you did stick to the theme but just slipped off topic. It’s a way of saying oops, okay, I’m back on topic now until the next digression.
And no, I still don’t know what all this has to do with running.
Anyway, you know, I was thinking it would be a good idea, just in case I do get the gig and the free ice cream, to come up with some good ideas from some of you who might actually know what the heck you are doing with this blogging thing. Because seriously, if you ever saw me run (See? you KNEW I had to tie this in with running at some point, and I am not letting you down!) I’m slow, I don’t pick my feet up nearly enough, and did I mention I’m slow? I’ve said this a lot about people walking faster than I run, and I’m not even talking about these speed walkers who absolutely smoke me, there are people who can pretty normally walk a 15 minute pace and I ran a 16 minute pace.
I know, this is getting back to running, but now you’re thinking yeah, but what does this have to do with what he was saying earlier? Can I play the I digress card now?
Here’s where I’m going with all that. I run. I think I can even call myself a runner. I’m reading running books now. I’m reading running blogs. I’m soaking up what I can soak up about running. I actually have fun now with running, a fact that quite honestly terrifies me a little. That doesn’t make me an expert on running though. All this to say, I enjoy blogging, I like writing stuff down, even though it’s often a big rabbit chase that too often doesn’t make sense. It is beyond me how anyone is actually following this blog, other than maybe if I’m having fun writing it maybe that can come across as being somewhat enjoyable for someone else to read it?
*** crickets ***
Love a duck.
See what I mean about overdoing it with that stupid little phrase?
So my whole point is, I don’t see myself as an expert. But I enjoy doing it. But I figured, there are some of you that, as I read what you write, you really know what you are doing, you know? (And yes, I said that on purpose. This time.) So maybe you have some good advice for bloggers.
And on the off chance you ever wondered what I meant when I mentioned rabbit chases, these last few paragraphs would qualify.
That could probably be some good advice. Be concise. Get to the point.
Translation: Do what I say, not what I do.
What advice would you offer to anyone when it comes to blogging?