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On Blogging

2 Sep

I had a great conversation today with one of my best friends who asked me for some tips on starting her own blog. She said she wanted to write to keep her skills sharp and to have some clips to show to potential editors or employers and wanted some input on content creation.

Git up, git out, and git something

The first thing I told her was to just do it. Outkast was playing on the radio today, imploring the world to “Git up, git out, and git something,” and I think that applies to many things, blogging included. Like I talked about in “Creativity Training,” it’s often more about consistency than about trying to strike gold every time.

Git up, git out, and git something!

Git up, git out, and git something!

But “gitting something” aside, how do you pick what to write about?

Write about something that you’re passionate about

That sounds self-evident, but I think for a personal project like a blog, you should absolutely be writing about things that you genuinely care about. Whether it’s something funny that happened while getting your tires changed, an interesting conversation about the relative merits of using Snapchat for advertisting, or a Norwegian band that you can’t get enough of, make sure it’s something that you can easily sit down and talk to somebody about with enthusiasm.

It's easy to wr

It’s easy to write when you’re somewhere cool and foreign, like on the Malecon in Cuba!

My blog is my baby. I love blogging. I started this blog as a travel blog to document my adventures in Mexico and Cuba and found it was easy to write about all of the crazy experiences that happen when you’re traveling. Since I’m not traveling as regularly or for long periods of time like I had been, I’m finding that I’m struggling to create my identity for my blog, but I’m also having a ton of fun because I choose to just write about whatever is on my mind.

Don’t be afraid to test out several identities and voices

            One of the most liberating parts of blogging is having a chance to experiment with your voice, style, and subject matter. One of my favorite posts I wrote was a spoof on “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie,” a silly look at the headache of trying to get a cell phone in Cuba. Another favorite was a much more serious homage to my grandmother that I wrote in the airport, tears streaming down my face while I typed.

I recommended that my friend pick out a tagline for her blog that is open-ended enough to allow her to cover a broad range of topics. Mine, “Working to Eliminate the Word ‘Bored’ From My Vocabulary,” gives me a wide enough umbrella that I feel comfortable writing about a variety of topics. I’m not constrained by the label of “This is a travel blog,” or “This is a food blog.”

That being said….

Determine what you really want out of your blog

            For me, blogging is a creative outlet. It’s more about the process than it is about the finished product. Blogging is a more fleshed-out journal—

I don’t edit my posts very heavily (I’m sure you can tell). It’s partially an exercise in writing quickly and partially a way to just say what’s on my mind. I admit that some of my posts (this one included) are incredibly self-indulgent… but let’s be real, isn’t that just a lot of writing in general? But deciding what you want out of your blog is an important first step— are you trying to create a huge network of loyal readers? Be a teacher? Inspire, amuse, entertain? Are you giving advice on a topic you’re in which you have expertise? Are you making your own recipes and sharing them? Are you chronicling your journey training to pogo stick up Mount Kilimanjaro?

This is pessimistic, but I think when you blog you need to have a healthy amount of realizing that if someone who's not your mom reads your blog, you're doing great!

This is pessimistic, but I think when you blog you need to have a healthy amount of realizing that if someone who’s not your mom reads your blog, you’re doing great!

But at the end of the day…

It’s your thing—do what you wanna do

            If you’re blogging for yourself, it should be fun. It should be YOUR thing and an extension of your personality. So enjoy!

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? If you have a blog, how are you using it? Why did it start?