Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Getting on the Blogging Tips Bandwagon


At home in Fort Worth...

I have noticed several posts lately in which the writers give tips for good blogging.  Since that seems to be in vogue, I’m going to offer a few of my own.  I think I’ve learned a good deal about writing blogs from reading posts—both good and not so good—of many other bloggers.  Although I read posts on other subjects, RV blogs are the only ones I follow through Google Reader. 

The number one criterion for a blog to make my reading list is this:  It must tell a story.  And I don’t mean a travelogue—you know, one that contains a zillion photos of scenery and a narrative that could have been copied from Wikipedia.  Thanks, but I’ll just read Wikipedia, I think. What I want to read is about the writer’s feelings and sensations about his or her experience.  This is no different from what makes people want to read a good book—to be transported through the written word to live vicariously in the writer’s experience.   It doesn’t even require great writing artistry or a compelling subject.  What is happening is not as important as telling what you think or feel about what is happening.  If it makes you happy, tell how happy and why it makes you happy.  If it’s funny, exploit it for all it’s worth; readers love humor.

Besides the dreaded encyclopedia-style travelogue post mentioned above, there are others that drive me batty: 

1) The family gathering—innumerable photos of every relative breathing, from newborn to nearly departed, all of whom are known only to the blogger.

2) Basket weaving or beer bottle collections—a complete photo guide to performing some 19th century craft, or endless posts about an obscure hobby that may have 37 adherents in the whole country. If you’re going to do a how-to series, that's fine, but realize this will be something most readers will zip on by. 

3) Wild animals, birds, pets and flowers—everybody loves them, but please…'less is more' applies here.  I just don’t need to see an elk from every conceivable camera angle.  If one feels compelled to include dozens of these photos, why not just put them in a library and provide a link for the three people who want to look at them?    

There are those folks—including me—who have said they publish a blog for their own record or just so the family can keep up with what they’re doing.  I think they (and I) are kidding ourselves!  If those were our only intentions, why would we be publishing it to the World Wide Web where a billion people can read it?  I think every blogger likes to be read; however, not all of them write about what someone may want to read.

Here are a few more tips that may be taken for whatever they’re worth:

  • Try to be positive; there’s enough negative news already.  However, if something happens to you that others can learn from or avoid, don’t hesitate to tell about it.


  • If something is just so crazy good that you know others will love it, go ahead and rave about it.  Just don’t get carried away; not all that much falls into the crazy good category.


  • Avoid politics, but an occasional rant—about anything, so long as it isn't personal—can be entertaining.  Warn readers beforehand and apologize afterward. 


  • Avoid preaching, but acknowledge God’s handiwork and blessings from time to time.

  • Write from a humorous perspective and look for humor in all things, especially yourself.

  • Tell readers about your health issues, but try not to dwell on them.

  • If you leave a blog comment, make it a bouquet and never a brickbat.  There’s always something good to say about every post.


  • Try to remember to include your location at the beginning of each post.  Most writers don't do this, and I forget sometimes.  But it surely takes the guesswork out of it for readers.

  • After I write a post, I get up and walk away for a time; then I come back later and re-read it before publishing it.  I’m almost always glad I did. 


Happy blogging!

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for your comments. I am a new blogger (only blogging for about a month), and I appreciate your tips. I have been trying to analyze why I enjoy some blogs I read, but are totally bored by others. You have made it more clear to me. I want to create blogs that are fun for ALL to read, not just my family members. I also appreciate your fortitude in being honest about what you've seen.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jill. I just read your latest post, and you are hitting all the right buttons. Fun to read--congratulations!

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  2. I'm sorry, but many times the "health issues" are the most important thing in our lives at that time. If that is the only thing that they/we can think and write about, there is a reason. There is no humor to be found in a person's fighting for their life. Where else can a person go to vent when he or she is on the road? Please don't make people feel guilty or stop posting because of how you feel.

    Posting the location is great! Many times, I have wondered what or where a person is writing about.....And here I am guilty of doing the same thing....

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Nan. Perhaps I seem indifferent to suffering, but I have great empathy, as Sandy and I are facing four surgeries ourselves this summer. For us, humor helps; it may not work for everyone. Our prayers are with you.

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  3. good job on voicing your opinions!..some bloggers are just better than others..and your writings are always one of my faves!

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    1. Sue, you are in a class by yourself. Every post of yours is a story, and I wouldn't miss even one.

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    2. 'class' by myself..that's a funny one!..

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  4. ...and don't forget! Do try to learn how to spell. Unless you made that point and I missed it, but I don't think I did.
    I don't care if it's American spelling (Mr. Webster didn't like all those extra letters) or British/Canadian spelling.
    It's important. Really.
    I'll admit, I enjoyed "L'l Abner" (not even sure how to spell that) but that was a cartoon. I really don't want to try and figure out what someone is saying if they think it's cute and cool to write in some sort of pigeon English.
    Plus, you NEED to know the difference between all the homonyms (there, their, they're) as well as the use of just those tiny little words like "too".
    I just erased a bunch of other stuff, since I was starting to rant.

    I liked your tips though. There does seem to be a consensus as to what makes a blog easy to read, and I've glazed over at too many family pictures or an endless stream of cacti.
    I still tend to stay away from health issues, but that's just me. My own are too trivial, and I'm CERTAINLY not going to mention any of my wife's.
    *Not recommended*.

    Always a pleasure. Keep that stick on the ice.

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    1. You're so right about the mechanics of writing, Bob. I think it's becoming a lost art, especially in the younger generation.

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  5. Sorry to burst your bubble, Mike, but there are plenty of us out there who enjoy the blogging styles that you have criticized. We really do enjoy all the pictures, as well as the description and information of the places visited. And SOME bloggers, believe it or not, have hundreds of friends who have followed their travels for years and have never met the blogger in person. Some do eventually meet "down the road" and thanks to the blog and the reader's comments, they already have a friendship in place when they do meet.

    Rather than looking for entertainment, many of us are interested the writers and in what's out there to see. Sometimes we make our decisions on where we will go after seeing their pictures and reading the information they've taken the time to share with us. We know that reading everything in a blog is an option, not a requirement. Sometimes we decide we'd never want to visit a place based on the same information; however, we sometimes Google a location to see what others have written about it before making that decision.

    We do want to know what is happening in the lives our cyber-friends, and enjoy the pictures of family gatherings, pets, and, yes, even the crafts and projects they have undertaken. Their description of something that seems too difficult for us to even think about attempting gives us the encouragement to try it and succeed.

    There are many styles of blogging. People have different reasons for following those that they enjoy, so why the criticism of someone else's style? Bloggers should write in the style that they enjoy, interact with those who enjoy their style, and leave the rest of us alone.

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    1. Well, it's hard to argue with a point of view so elegantly stated. Perhaps my perspective, like that of our president, needs to 'evolve'. Thank you for raising my consciousness, Fran. I LOVE your comment!

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  6. What Bob says is absolutely true. And your last point probably should have been your first point because it is obviously what you do. Another way to put it is "proof read the damn thing". I read a lot of blogs and it is very obvious that 95% or more writers do not proof read there own work.

    JC

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    1. JC, assuming your misuse of 'there' to mean 'their' was intentional, your comment made me smile. If that wasn't your intention, then this reply is somewhat awkward.

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  7. Shaking my head and rolling my eyes….

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  8. Good post and for me, I agree on most of the items. I know there are folks that love the travelogue for the Wikipedia folks but I'm not one of them. I'd rather have a general overview with a few good pictures rather than a history lesson. Then when I visit, it will be fresher to me.

    That said, I have only unfollowed one blog that posted that way...because it was the ONLY way they posted. I can handle an occasional post done in that mode, I'll just skim it.

    I think it's good to vary your blogs. I know mine are often too long but I still haven't acquired the short blog gene I guess. LOL!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Donna. All this is meant to be in fun, but it's also interesting to see what I can learn from the comments of others when I offer a stronger-than-usual opinion piece. And we should never stop learning, should we? Thanks to all who contributed.

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  9. I don't recall how i found your blog was it only a couple of hours ago....seems years.. I have speed read back from Feb 2013 to this current one (roughly 8 months in the past few hours!)
    Anyway I have 2 points:
    1/. You mention that you try to include your location at the beginning of each post - are you ever concerned about safety, esp if you have a bricks and mortar home.
    2/. May I suggest you consider having your blogs categorized so we can narrow our searches to specific topics. I for one would love to come back to your posts at later dates for advice or such!
    I am frequently on the road in our RV caravan in Australia with my husband!(Robbiebago.blogspot.com if you are interested!)

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    1. Hi, Michelle! How exciting that you are living such an exotic lifestyle! Wish I had the guts to do something like that. In regard to posting my location, I never gave much thought to the safety aspect of that, although perhaps I should. Another consideration is that our stick and brick is protected by some significant alarms and weaponry that I will not hesitate to use if needed, and neighbors keep a watchful eye when we're gone. Police response time is very quick. As far as the blog subject categorization goes, I'm going to think about that; thanks for mentioning it. I like your blog, too...gonna read some more. Many happy travels.

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