« tidbits 2.24 | Main | random amusements »

my prerogative

I don't need commission, make my own decisions. That's my prerogative.

article: How to write a better weblog.

I'm just wondering, can anyone really tell you how to write a better blog? Shel eloquently covered this subject already, but I feel the need to express my feelings about it also.

I suppose it all depends on how you view weblogs. I see them as personal sites. As such, there really can't be a formula or prescribed notion on how a weblog should be presented. Each design is different, the content is different for each one, so how can there be one set of rules?

To tell someone how to write in a journal or diary (which is, for the sake of argument, what a weblog means in this article), borders on the ridiculous. Would you do the same for someone's paper journal? I can't imagine skimming through someone's diary and correcting their usage of grammar and punctuation and descriptive prose. Most people are writing what they feel. They are not writing to hone a craft, or with the intention of handing their writing in for a grade. It's just feelings and emotions and sometimes they come out awkward and clunky, but that's the beauty of it. It's natural expression. It's raw. It's the writer's personality showing through. Sometimes I write the way I talk, because in a journal or personal entry, that is what I am doing. Talking.

It just seems silly to take people to task for writing like amatuers when that's what most of us are - amateurs. I am not a professional writer, I don't write like one. I don't go back and correct my syntax (I do try to correct any glaring typos I have) because to do so would take away from the personal nature of my "talking to you." It would definitely take away from the heart and soul of what I write if I were to go back and refine my words. Displays of emotion should never be tampered with.

And yes, sometimes a weblog is in place to entertain you. And if I want to link to the same news story that a million other bloggers already have, so be it. It's what interests me. I want to talk about what Cheney said. I want to talk about the World Series. I want to write about Lord of the Rings. Yes, so did everyone else, but isn't the writer's credo write what you know? This is the stuff I know and love and enjoy discussing. I'm not going to not link to it just because you did. I don't concern myself with what other bloggers are writing about at the moment. I just know that I have something to say and I'm going to say it. Whether you care to read it or not is your choice. Move on if it's boring or repetitive. No one is forcing you to stay.

I don't know why other people keep weblogs, I just know why I do. Maybe you are writing to the audience and maybe you are maintaining your blog with the sole purpose of getting more hits and more readers and more links. I'm not. That's what makes this a personal web site. It's for me. The fact that you decided to come along for the ride is great. I like having readers. I like that some of those readers have become friends. But I don't write here with the goals of hooking more readers in. I write because I like writing. Because I like sharing. Because I am able to take a bit of my personal world and put it down somewhere and you can either laugh with me or laugh at me . But I'll be damned if I'm going to start viewing my blog like an English 101 project where I have to go back and correct anything that may take my grade down a bit.

And while we are on the subject of blogs and their purposes and all that, I would like to address an issue that's been coming up in my email quite often lately. Links.

Take note of the following please: My link list is large, yes. It doesn't mean it's random and it doesn't mean I'm not choosy about what I put there. I put links there for one reason and one reason only. I enjoy those sites and thought that maybe you might enjoy them too. They are not reciprocal links. I'd say about 50% of the people on that sidebar do not link to me. Some don't even have links on thier site at all. I don't care. That's not the purpose. So please, do not email me and beg for me to put your link there. First of all, it just makes me uncomfortable. What if I don't really like your site or I think there is objectionable material on it? That leaves me in the awkward position of having to email you back and say no, which makes me feel bad. The likelihood is that I will not reply to your email at all if you ask me, out of nowhere, to link to you. Conversely, you do not have to ask me if it's ok to link to me on your site. It's a free world. However, if I end up at your site one day and I find anything that offends me on it, I will kindly ask you to take my link down. If for some reason you used to be on my link list and your'e not there now, please ask me why. Most likely it's just a coding mistake. It would take an awful lot for me to remove a link once I put it up. You would have to either have something horribly offensive and threatening on your site, or you just haven't updated in months.

Do I take blogging too seriously? Maybe. It is serious to me. It's my therapy. It's keeping me sane. Whether I get to tell a humorous story and purge myself of some conflicting emotions or rant about our government, it's good for me. Self-expression is more important to some people than to others. It's serious business to me.

There's been an awful lot of blogging credos running around the web lately. People making lists of what makes a good blogger and what makes a bad blogger and how to blog and how not to blog.

I have a very simple credo: This place is mine. I do what I want. If you like it, stay. Leave a comment. Tell me you like it. If you don't like it, move on. There are a billion other websites for you to go to. No need to stick around just to tell me how much I suck, although that's your right to do so. These are my feelings, my views, my politics and policies. Disagree with me, I like that. I like debate. Just don't be an asshole about it. I will not follow anyone else's rules for maintaining a blog. My place. My rules. If you don't like, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

And yea, I quoted Bobby Brown in the title. You can shoot me now.

(the preceding post was not checked for spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Just because.)

Comments

Hell yes!

I'm glad I stayed away from that article now -- I saw the title and instantly thought 'how stupid'. Thanks for confirming my suspicion!

well said. very well said.

Hrm, very interesting.
I find myself hoping the Led reads this.
However, he does own my webspace.

I am offended by said material, namely the fact that you quoted Bobby Brown in the entry title. Please remove my blog from your list of links. ;)

I knew that would go unforgiven. However, you've done worse, Keith. Don't make me go through your archives and point out your musical indiscretions.

Oh, but I want rules to follow. It makes life so much easier when I don't have to make any decisions. That way I can think safely and act safely. I won't offend anyone. (Well, except for those people who don't like rules, but they don't count!) Please tell me what else to write here.

facetiousness is always good.

That was facetious, right?

Excellent point about it being ridiculous to tell someone how to write a blog--as if anyone could be the ultimate authority. Besides rules often have a way of screwing things up. And if someone just enjoys writing in a blog there way, why rain on their parade.

I will tell you what really annoys me about things like this. I have seen some kind of contest where people vote for what they feel are the worst blogs. To me this is not only in bad taste but cruel to the persons they choose to rudely slam.

Imagine a young kid, for example, who is enjoying just writing what she/he thinks is a good blog having some group of assholes vote that the blog--the person's hours, days, months of hard work-- sucks. Can you imagine how devastating that would be to this person? It would be different if she/he entered a contest in fun--though if they got dissed they might still be pained. And you can say it's only in fur, but for whom? Surely not the person who receives the award for what some jerks think is a lousy blog.

I say just enjoy your blog, read what people say about good ways to write blogs if you feel so compelled, but follow your own good sense. The experts are often wrong and rarely agree completely. Whew! Had to get that off my chest. See ya.

Awww, you didn't like my Get a Life list?! sniff

I do think this "How to write a better weblog" article should be added to my list, though. It definitely falls under people who take weblogging too seriously.

Michele, I'm never facetious. Facetiousness is just not part of me. I'm never less than dead-fucking-serious. Facetious? I don't think so! If you could see my face as I write this, you would realize there is absolutely not a large grin on it, and my eyes are definitely not rolling back in my head. (Which would make it difficult to type.) No, ma'am, you'll have to get your facetious quotient elsewhere. And don't make me have to tell you this again, OK?

Michele. FWIW, you have nothing to defend. Your blog is the first ones I read and the last one I check before logging off. It is brutal in its honesty and insightful as hell. Oh and I spell checked it. Looks good! ;) With that said....

I really think the article made some valid points and I don't see why everyone is getting their panties in a bunch. Who couldn't use some guidelines to better blogging. I'm not so arrogant to think I know everything about writing in the public arena. Yes. Public. We bloggers DO have an audience whether we like it or not. For us to think we are exempt from criticism because we are not professional writers, is bullshit. Our content is out there and people will see it so prepare to deal with it. Do you want lots of faithful readers? Write well and they will come. Do you want something just for friends and family? Fine. Don't bitch about not getting hits because nobody else but them visits.

I could have folded the tent a long time ago but thanks to some of the more creative writers and constructive criticism, I tried to make it more readable and entertaining. So sue me.

Feel free to flame me.

I would never flame you, Kevin. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and at least you state yours with clarity and decorum.

I don't think I'm exempt from criticism at all. I don't think I ever said that. Criticize all you want. Criticize me right here, I don't care. But it doesn't mean I'll change. If someone says "you write run on sentences, I hate you," or "you're not funny enough," I'll just say thanks for the tip, you're welcome to change the channel at any time.

And for the record, I have never bitched about not getting hits. If 800 people a day or 8 people a day read this page, I'm still going to write.

I started journalling last year as part of a health dare. I found I was putting a lot of what I did into this, because what I was doing often had an effect on what (and why) I was eating. But I enjoyed the almost-daily writing. I realized that I had done this for years and years, except then it was in the form of letters to various friends and family members. Bascially, what I talk about is what I am doing, just as I would if were still writing letters to distant family members and friends.

i really liked your comments. i have a pretty new weblog, and i read the other story and got all worried - "maybe i'm not doing it right. christ, i don't even have any links on the page yet, it's just my entries!" but there was also this nagging feeling that my weblog is for me, so why should i apologize for my lack of capitalization and frequent grammar mistakes?

i'm really glad you said what you did. thank you!

Point well taken Michele. I understand where you are coming from. I guess I was responding more to what I've read everywhere else rather than what you said specifically. Recently I have run across a spate of blogs where the authors seem obsessed with hits but where the content was...well...not worth hanging out for. A strange paradox.

Thanks for speaking out about the state of blogging. I wish other people would as well.

The more and more commentaries I read... the more i want to read the article.

Oh, and Michelle? Don't be cruel, 'cause I would never be that cruel to you... ;0)

The best thing you can do if someone writes and asks for a link is just not write them back. That's what I do. That way you avoid having to say "no." I have a rather small list at the moment - and it's probably withing the 50/50 ratio you have (if even that many, I'm not too sure.) I link to sites I like to read, and honestly. there aren't a whole lot I read all the time. For one - I don't have time. The finest solution I've found is to shoot through several of my "random links" when I have time. I do have a full list, it's just not that visible. But I check them out.
I can't laught at you for the Bobby Brown deal - because right now I'm listening to a cover of Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" by Duran Duran.
I'm sorry - do I make you nervous?

I should say my "full list" are those other pages that aren't linked on my main page . . .so it's not actually the "full" list :)

Mmm, delicious, Michele.

I'd totally agree with the "better weblog" article if I was running a magazine site (which is what he suggests one treats one's blog as, which is where I really disagree with him). And overall I think his advice is a pretty good recipe for becoming moderately popular.

But where's the fun in doing it that way? Where's the pleasure? As much as I know most of us struggle with what's okay to put on the web and what isn't, it's still worth the torture to do it our way. Anyway, if my weblog becomes a job, I'm going to quit.

Unless it pays a lot, I mean.

Anyway, well said, as always, you ridiculously well-worded thing.

And that's the main point I failed to mention, Choire. I don't want my weblog to be like work. When it stops being fun and starts being like a job, it's over.

I don't know; I kind of agreed with it. Not in a "Rules for All Weblogs" kind of way, but more in a "Think about your writing" kind of way. Regardless of the reasons we all blog, we obviously want people to read this stuff. I think the point is just that most people enjoy reading stuff that's well-written. I mean, look at the "A-listers". Whadda they got that we ain't got? Well, as far as I can tell, they all write really well. And that doesn't mean your blog has to be Shakespeare, it just means that people prefer reading stuff that makes sense. I don't know; I'm not trying to be pedantic or anything. I just read the article as a kind of reminder to think about this stuff and ignored the "what to write about" bits.

Yeah. Title that article "What I prefer to see in a weblog," and I'm OK with it, but it seems like it proclaims one person's taste as the way to do things. Feh.

I love the variety of styles on personal pages. I love the voices I'd never hear on a well-written, "how things should be" web. I can abide some wonky spelling and grammar.

I hope it never changes. It's the heart of the web.

Hello, have fun with easy blogging!