Hi there. Welcome. I'm so glad you could make it.
I haven't written a blog for a very long time, you see, and I'm a little nervous. But it's been itching at me for a good six months. I've been walking around writing essays in my head (perhaps even while standing on my head, in yoga), essays that you might enjoy reading, but I was, shall we say (in lieu of describing a complex emotional and psychological state), blocked.
In my pulling-the-blogging-trigger insecurity, I decided to check out the rules, refresh myself from this two-year hiatus, and find out what are people saying about blogging. Let's just say I didn't agree with much of it, and lo, I found the subject of Post #1, otherwise known as
LeeAnn's Blogging Manifesto.
Define your audience. Can you tell me who you are? Who you really are? The essence of you? What makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what makes you stand in front of the refrigerator and eat ice cream straight out of the container? Can I put you into an age bracket, an income bracket, an education bracket, an attitudinal bracket? Better yet, a psychographic bracket pulling in multidimensional cluster analysis with geoprofiling and discrete choice modeling? Someone's probably already done this, but I promise I won't. I can't even bring myself to put you into some nonsense profile like "for people who want transformational self exploration that enables higher learning." You're interested in things, and you like to laugh. You also eat, sleep, fart (even if you don't admit it), and you like hugs. Oh, and you can read. That's good enough for me.
Create a catchy name. The best names, according to one "How to Name Your Blog" post, combine the audience and benefit into one "targeted and attractive name." The name "A Place for Words" came to me while lying in bed a few months ago. Or maybe it was in a dream—all I know I was lying in bed and "A Place for Words" appeared in front of me, in orange letters. It was, and still is, as specific and targeted as I can get in writing for people who can read—people just like you. The great thing about it is that it doesn't imply that the words even have to make sense; I could have robots do the writing, or that monkey who's supposedly going to churn out Shakespeare one day.
Include an image in every post. Preferably a cheesy visual metaphor from clip art or the first page of Google image search. If you're going high class, buy pictures nice looking people pretending
to do things from a stock photo website. Seriously? If I see another stock photo visual metaphor, I'm going to puke. It would look something like this:
(Note: this is not a visual metaphor. It is a line drawing representing a person puking, or perhaps spouting nonsense, which I've tried hard most of my life not to do. Same with puking, now that I think about it.)
Since I do realize it gets boring looking at all that text, and it helps to have some color to break it up, I came up with a simple solution: sticky notes. For me, it's a snap: colored squares with pithy vebiage are stuck every where in my apartment- the computer, covers of books, my bathroom mirror, the kitchen cupboards. As an added bonus, they come in lots of colors and cost about 2 cents each plus the price of pen ink. Usually I write profund things on them, gleaned from podcasts or books, but I also write reminders, like "start blog" (as shown above), "cancel free trial by May 5," and "Actualize." I'm word person, not a picture person, and you just saw the extent of my artistic abilities. So I'll color up the blog with some sticky notes. If I do include photos, they will be ones that I take, or directly relateed to the post. If you really want to look at pictures, check the fancy Instagram feed on the sidebar, or go somewhere that specializes in visuals, like an art museum. This, after all, is A Place for Words.
Write useful content. As in, provide constructive advice that your audience will benefit from. Headlines beginning with "How To" or "10 Easy Steps" will attract attention while allowing you to fit your knowledge of useful things into numerical buckets that people will read once and forget even faster than they forgot high school calculus. Since you're probably not interested in "7 Ways To Shave Your Dog's Ass" (even though it might increase my traffic from organic search) or "15 Ways to Be Completely Out of Touch with Your Surroundings Without a Device in Front of You" (because you already know at least 16), I scratched that idea. I have no intention of making anything I write here useful in any way, but if it does happen to be, feel free to write yourself a sticky note containing the salient points.
Write short sentences and paragraphs. This is the preferred Copyblogger style, and no self-respecting student of literature would ever adhere to it. In my first job, I was told to write in bullet points, a near sacrilege to a girl who devoured Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence novels as a teen and pored over history books in college. Bullet points and short sentences are fine for PowerPoint and third graders, but I have to say, I think in paragraphs and as far as I can tell, people who read The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker are doing just fine with complex sentences and long paragraphs like the ones I sometimes write (David Foster Wallace style), and just might write on this very blog in order to challenge your advanced reading comprehension capabilities even though I don't have an editor to really, really make sure it makes at least a little bit more sense than the monkey at the typewriter.
Guest post on other blogs. This is widely touted among bloggers as a way of getting "link love." What it really means is to write for free so other people can sell ads or ebooks or teleseminars or t-shirts next to your content. I could also try writing on HuffPo so people like Ariana Huffington can buy more houses. Unless you're going to pay me, I'll keep writing right here. If I don't, I might have to follow one of the rules above, which would make my head explode in at least nine ways and a profusion of colored sticky notes. If you feel like contributing money though, and since I'm pretty sure you're one of those people who never clicks on ads, I'd love it if you dropped something in that handy-dandy module on the sidebar called "Tip Jar." It does after all, cost money to host this thing and buy sticky notes. Not to mention the band-aids for all the paper cuts.
Know your niche. If you've gotten this far in this more-than-1200-word post, you must be in my niche. I'm not going to write about knitting, stock cars, healthy snacking, brocade fabric patterns, or the travails of owning a blue car in a beige car world. What I will do though, is get these essays out of my head, and if I think they are worthy, onto this blog. I hope you'll come back to visit—and let me know if you like it.