There were no new requests this week, but there was an extra request from last week, so that now becomes this week’s Friday By Request. Remember, I’ll do any request that I can do in a blog. Come on, challenge me to a photo challenge, scrapbook layout, fiction or real life story, editorial, mini research project or bad poetry. Even if you think it’s a silly idea...I thrive on silly! :)
This week’s Friday blog was a request from SRC. SRC is a big time flatterer. This was the lead and request: “I was trying to think of something interesting for FBR for you to write about, but all I could think of was how I enjoy your blogs and wish I could write something interesting. So here is my challenge, tell all of us uninteresting writers how to do a read-worthy blog.”
Thank you so much for the compliment! Remember, I share a home with a professional writer. Some of the quirks that make my blogs mine drive him nuts! I don’t think there really are any “uninteresting” blogs, but I will gladly give a few pointers that make blogging easier for me.
LESSON 1 -
First, I want to address the notion of an uninteresting blog or an uninteresting writer. No such thing. You may read a blog that isn’t your style or not in tune with what interests you but that doesn't make it a bad blog or a bad writer. If you are reading your own work and are telling yourself that, STOP IT! As with any project, the first thing you need to do is believe in your own ability!
So there’s lesson one. You are an interesting person with interesting things to write. Now I put the pom-pons down and get to the real tips!
LESSON 2 -
I’m going to give tips for writing a casual, friendly blog. That’s what The Chronicles of Nani is. I write a “coffee shop on the Information Superhighway” type of blog. I like to envision my blog as being somewhere with cyber sofas and chairs where guests get a big cup of cappuccino and a muffin and kick back for a few minutes of conversation. I have regulars in my cyber coffee shop and passers by that might come back some day if they enjoyed their stay. With that vision in mind, I begin to write.
Whether I’m writing a blog about what happened today, reminiscing about something that happened in the past, bragging about my nieces, showing off cute pictures of my cats or letting off a little steam, I’m having a talk. I write just as I casually speak. When I go back and proofread what I’ve written, if I think it sounds too stuffy for the way I talk, I change it to be more casual.
So, lesson 2 is “Write the same way you talk!”
LESSON 3 -
Writing the same way you talk will not only make you a better writer, it will make you a better speaker too! When you reread your own work and start to feel like you need to spruce it up, you’ll spruce up your speech at the same time. We have this wonderful tool for writing really colorful and compelling blogs. We have language.
Take a look at some blog entries you’ve dne in the past. Are there words you use often? A lot? Too much??? Well, I’m going to share my best fiend in the blogging world. This magical link has helped me though uncertainty and mediocrity! http://dictionary.reference.com/
I’m not going school teacher on you all, honest! But, the dictionary.com site is bookmarked and often used on my computer! Not only can the thesaurus give you 477 other ways to say “good,” but it also makes you look like a better speller than the programmer who created spell check! The general tip for style is that unless you are repeating the word for emphasis, don’t use the same descriptive word twice in one sentence or in two consecutive sentences.
“We ate at a really good restaurant last night. The chicken was good, my husband’s steak was good and the desserts were really good!”
It’s not a bad couple of sentences. You get the idea that the writer and her husband enjoyed their dinner out. If someone told you that verbally you’d think they had a nice meal.
But how about this -
“We went out and spoiled ourselves for dinner last night. My chicken dish was really tasty and Jim just smiled with a moan of approval when he tasted his steak. The dessert was as good as it looked, even after we’d had our meal!”
Hmm... That meal just got better!
I’m not saying you want to write everything all frilly and gushy, but mix it up a little. Lesson 3 would be “Don’t ever be afraid to try new words!”
LESSON 4 -
When you’re choosing what to write in your blog, let it be personal! Talk about the things that mean something to you, your life, your family, your passions. Generally, if they truly interest you, there will be others that find it just as interesting. The hardest blogs to read are ones that are written by an author who either doesn't know or doesn’t care about the subject. Don’t try to write about something you think someone else would be interested in. It’s your blog, write it to share what make you happy or what bugs you.
You’ll notice you really don’t see any serious poetry here, just my funny bad poetry. I’m not a huge fan of poetry and I know any attempt I made at writing a serious poem would likely be an insult to fans of real poetry, so I stick to funny verse. That I can do pretty well.
If you are writing about an idea or project to expand your interests, let the reader know that it’s something new for you. This goes back to the conversation idea. Ask readers to share their experiences or thoughts. That adds to what you get out of writing too. But also remember, if you are expanding your own interests and experiences, you’re still writing about a subject you know well - you!
I will add one security tip. In addition to the basic common sense rules of Internet privacy, as a rule, you’ll never see the names of any kids under 13 on the Chronicles of Nani, I use initials only. If you see a child's picture with a name attached to it, rest assured it’s an old picture and the child is over 13. I even did second layouts for scrapbook pages before the 94s were all 13 to make sure I didn’t have faces and names together on scrapbook layouts that I posted.
I use 13 as a cut off because most internet sites do and because by 13 years old, most kids are establishing themselves online in honestly, less safe places than an adult’s blog! For the kids in my world, I won’t use their names when they are younger, hoping that it sets a good example of being cautious and safe on line when they get older. So far, with all of the 94s being teenagers now, it’s worked pretty well.
Lesson four then, is twofold. Stick with what you know, but protect what you love!
LESSON 5 -
Don’t be afraid to be inspired! Read other blogs, when you find one entertaining, stop a minute and ask yourself why you like it! Is it the topics in the blog, do you like how serious, funny or friendly the tone of the blog is, do you enjoy pictures or jokes in the blog? Don’t be afraid to borrow some ideas from their blogs. I can tell you that Photoblog Wednesday was started by a friend on Yahoo 360, not me. I joined in because I thought it was a neat feature. I’m still doing Photoblog Wednesday today. Mug Shot Monday is my idea. I have over 150 coffee mugs from all over in my travels. They have fun stories. maybe you have a collection of other things from events in your world or places you’ve been. That could be a regular feature. Maybe you have a favorite blog that does a news round up and editorial, maybe you enjoy a poetry blog. Do you have a favorite magazine or TV show that will give you some good ideas? Hey, you might even have some ideas from things the kids in your family can’t get enough of. Don’t be afraid to get ideas from other blogs and make them in your own style!
Lesson five - Don’t be afraid to get inspired!!
So there’s our mini workshop. I hope I’ve provided a tip or two to, if nothing else, helped you feel better about your own blogging. Take the ideas that seem the most comfortable to you and get out there in cyberspace and blog on!
So now the search for next Friday’s subject is on! Any requests?