I’m a bad blogger. I know it because I was given the 4 holy commandments of blogging and according to those I am definately a fallen blogger. During my time at NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, one speaker told us the key ingredients for a successful blog. They’re the sort of tips that seem obvious but are still important so I don’t think I’m breaking any rules by sharing.
That first one is a bugger, let me tell you. Frequency? That implies consistency and some sort of schedule. You’d think that would be fairly easy, since I am currently unemployed, yet if you check the dates of my posts you’ll see there’s no rhyme or reason. What have I been doing? I got home on the first of August and here it’s September already. I guess my month could be broken down into two categories: job hunting and avoiding job hunting. The former involves a hyperactive state of mind and a frenzy of job websites and cover letters. The latter…well, it’s also sort of frantic. It’s easier for me to justify avoidance by shifting my passion and attention to another outlet. This means that a few days ago it seemed absolutely imperative that I do three art projects at once and conduct a deep-cleansing of my bedroom. Denial is not a river in Egypt, ladies and gentlemen, but it is a clean room and dried glue on your hands.
The SPI speaker stressed that successful blogs have a theme. Food blogs, travel blogs, blogs about tv or books. In theory, that sounds great. But there is no single subject I feel passionate enough about that I would dedicate a blog to it. I like reading, sure. But I know that being chained to a book blog would make me feel like I was stuck on a perpetual loop of book reports. (Not to mention, that a book blog would force me to come out of the reading closet and admit that you’re more likely to catch me with a beach read and dopey mystery than a beautiful work of literature.) I’ll gladly admit that I enjoy watching tv. The darned thing is on right now, which is probably why it is taking me forever to write this post. But even if , for example, I find The Big Bang Theory hilarious and witty (it is! it is!), the world does not need a blog devoted to Leonard and Sheldon. I couldn’t write a food blog even if I wanted, considering my limited repetoire of cooking knowledge. What all of this means is that I don’ t have a theme. My infrequent content is, like my thought processes, scattered. Which brings me, neatly, to point number three…
3. Content Organization
How do you organize a theme-less blog? I’m pretty proud of my WordPress navigation but this does not mean I know what I’m doing. Blogging, for me, feels like walking on a rickety bridge. You know, one of those wood and rope contraptions hanging over a gorge in a cartoon or Indiana Jones movie. You take a step, and if that holds your weight, you take another step, and so on. (Of course, that’s not exactly how it went for Professor Jones but hey I’m no Harrison Ford.)
4. Call to Action
This sounds either like a super hero’s duty or a priest’s holy call–regardless, somebody gets saved. But in the blogging world, I learned, Call to Action is all about user involvement. Amazon gets you to “add to shopping cart.” Itunes encourages you to “download now.” This point is especially important for professional-type bloggers. That is, bloggers who aim to live off their blogs, or at least further their professional careers by blogging. At this point, I am a blog dabbler. I have no readers to speak of. My frequency, content, and organization have all fallen by the blogging wayside.
I have a Call to Action button.
Oh my words! It’s no big thing. Just a little ole’ button that gives you (my non-existent reader) the option to sign up for email updates. I found it one day when I was testing the rickety bridge. So I may be inconsistent (I’m working on that though) and I may not have a theme, and I may not be organized……but now you can follow my meager bloggin activity every step of the way.
And you know what? 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.