This post is a cheat. It’s the equivalent of Seinfeld. That was a television show about nothing. So is this. Here’s all you need to know about blogging; we’re all learners in a game where there are no masters.
America Online had a hypothesis they called the “10/40” rule. You had 10 ten seconds to grab the attention of web surfers and if they didn’t find anything that interested them they bailed after 40 seconds.
So what do you blog about when there’s nothing you really want to blog about. Here’s some subjects I thought about blogging about today and couldn’t work up the passion to write an entire post about. Lawrence Taylor arrested for rape . Obama’s next likely Supreme Court pick. JaMarcus Russell being cut by the Oakland Raiders. The NBA Playoffs. The flubbed bombing of Times Square. Pam Grier’s new book. The oil spill in the Gulf and the weak attempts by the Right to call it “Obama’s Katrina.” An appreciation of Living Colour’s “The Chair in the Doorway” or why Kevin Smith is the most overrated director in Hollywood today.
Some of these topics interest me more than others, but none of them inspire me to write 600-800 words about it. The thing is it’s been four days since my last blog post which is three days longer than I usually go between blog posts. What’s a blogger to do?
Stall. Play for time. Fake it. That’s why I stuck pictures of the many curves of Vida Guerra on this post even though it has nothing at all to do with her.
The Domino Theory is three years old in June. No presents are necessary and I’m trying to give up cake, but I’ll indulge myself by slamming two cans of Diet Coke instead of one. Even I didn’t know I could b.s. that long. Sometimes I even surprise myself what I get away with. On the serious side, it’s been more fun than work, but easy reading comes from hard writing. That means there will be days like this when I have to write something even when I have nothing burning on the front stove.
I read a lot of blogs by other writers, both amateurs and professionals. Know what I’ve learned? There’s not a lot of difference between the two. The professionals write better, but a lot of them come from the structured environments of print journalism. It might be harder for a professional to learn blogging because so much of what blogging is has nothing to do with journalism.
What I’ve learned is blogging ain’t for sissies. It’s damned tough trying to find enough to feed a blog on a regular basis or at least some days it is. At other times my cup runneth over and I have more subjects to write about than I have hours in the day to write it. I spent three days on an essay for The Root and when I was finished with it I had no interest in writing anything else. Blogging is just a matter of sitting down in front of a computer and letting fly with whatever is rattling around in your dome. Journalism requires stuff bloggers don’t have to worry about such as proper sentence construction, coherent and linear writing, fact checking, sourcing, word counting, editing, revising, and more editing. It helps to spell right too.
These days occur when I say, “Dammit, I DON’T want to update the freaking blog.” At other times I can’t rest until I get to it and let fly with whatever has severely pissed me that day.
I look at the graph of my page hits and the stock market has to be easier to predict. It drives me mad to spend time and effort pouring my heart into a topic I think is really interesting, proof it, publish it and….nothing. Even the crickets won’t pay attention. Nobody reads it. Nobody comments on it and nobody gives a crap.
But let me post some trifling throw-off that I barely bat an eyelash over and WHAM! I’m got readers all over it like ants on a lump of sugar. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. All I do know is when I blog about Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, the Tea Partiers, porn, Will Smith or Lady Gaga, whatever readership I have that’s what gets them to pay attention for 10 seconds and decided to hang around past 40 second. I guess if I wanted only to blog about a dozen subjects or so I’d be set.
I’m a journalist by trade so the freedom to write what I want is a bit intoxicating at times, but it also means I can cough up some real junk too. My blog turns three years old next month and going through the archives I find posts that make me say “That was pretty good” or “What the hell was I thinking?”
I think both my blog and writing have become a bit soft, so I’m trying to write more often about what actually means something instead of the lightweight stuff. Without the structure of an editor or regular publication, I need to push harder and challenge myself as a writer more. If you don’t use a muscle it withers and entropy sets in. That includes the intellectual and writing muscles. They need regular and rigorous workouts.
When they don’t you get posts like this consisting of a writer expounding about the process of writing. That, and rick-rolling the innocent with gratuitous eye-candy photos of a Cuban-born hotty struggling to find a bikini that fits.