Feeding the Beast

Was reading the Huffington Post's Complete Guide to Blogging. Some might argue it’s dated -3 yrs in the online world is a lifetime - but it tells great stories, offers fine tips - some obvious but worth revisiting, and speaks with humour and intelligence to what I consider the relatively unchanging business of getting started.

My project is slightly more modest than Huffpo's, and while I’m unlikely to revolutionize either American or Canadian democracy, I’d argue that every blog has similar goals: get it out there, get it out there often, get it out to as many people as possible.

I stole the line 'feeding the beast' from Arianna. It leapt off the page and bit me. At this point my little beast requires only one or two light snacks a week. But with an already full life -- shoelaces that need replacing, grass stains and ground-in dirt, making historically accurate maple sugar candy, replacing perpetually empty cereal boxes, the odd telephone call and, oh ya, a novel and memoir to write -preparing these snacks on a regular basis is no small feat.

I started this blog in a moment of passion with one inspired piece of writing thinking "Man, I could come up with this kind of shit every day! It only took me 43 minutes!" (and 2 ½ hours of frediting.) Not sure if everyone frets/edits. It’s far less productive than pure editing, which I’m good at when it’s not my work. But when something is going public and 4 million, although it may be only 40, people could read it, frediting takes over. Every comma, every word can evoke concern. Do I sound stupid? Will someone take it the wrong way?

Then every day comes along. It’s not as easy as I thought to knock off new blog posts. There are ideas and there are words. It’s best when they come together, ready to compete on So You think You Can Dance. But that requires practice and perfection. Rule #2 according to Huffpo's Rules for Great Blogging: Perfect is the enemy of done. So you see the dilemma. Maybe perfect gets less important, easier to achieve, easier to fake. At the moment, however, it’s not only the enemy of done, but the enemy of sleep, cleaning and proper dinners.

Rule #3: Write like you speak –This one got me excited. Something I could check off the list. I’m told I do this already. Actually, what I’m told is that my ‘voice’ sounds appealingly conversational - two very different things. So perhaps the rule should be ‘Write like people think you speak’ with 400 less ‘reallys', ‘ verys' , ‘completelys', ‘thats', and ‘justs'.

Directly linked to this is their advice 'use the voice you have' - and if your voice happens to suck, then don’t have Google Analytics tracking your web site. Assume your readership to be shy, silent types and all will be well.

In the early days of my writing adventure, a journalist generously offered feedback on a piece. Among other things he told me it seemed I was trying to find my voice. I thanked him, not quite understanding what that meant. Isn’t my voice my voice? Did it feel like I was trying too hard? Hopefully this is it. I have no time to keep searching.

Rule #6: Know your audience. Of course that assumes there is an audience – a handful more than my family and friends. I figure I’ll start by finding one, and worry about getting to know it later.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll read the Huffpo piece on Making Money with Your Blog.


Of course she writes well, after all she is my daughter

Thanks Dad!!


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