Sorry if you looked for me at the end of last week. I got slammed with a summer cold and decided to take Thursday and Friday off. But I didn’t waste that time away, in fact I thought a lot about my blog and what I want it to become. For those of you that enjoy reading, don’t worry, this is not a “I’m done with it all, goodbye!” post. Not even close.
Taking my blog seriously again has opened up a number of opportunities and helped me better focus on my goals, both short and long-term. I’ve learned a number of things, mostly through trial-and-error, about writing, editing, social media and the mystical realm that is the blogosphere. I’ve discovered some wonderful blogs, really helpful people and, sad to say, a fair number trolls. But even trolls can sometimes be useful in the learning process, if you can pick the 1% (rounded up) of legitimate criticism out of their inane hooting and bellowing.
I won’t bore you with every little discovery I’ve made right now. Not only would that be prohibitively long, but would also deprive me of blog fodder for later. But I’ll let you in on three things I learned for myself about blogging:
1) Pick your subjects as if you write for yourself; write the subject for other people. I write about geeky things because I love geeky things. Left to my own devices I would spend every waking moment thinking about this stuff (luckily, my devices are often packed away in a box). And if I were just writing for me, the blog could be as haphazard and chaotic as the things teeming about in my brain, because only I would get to see it. But I don’t just want to write about geek culture, I want to communicate my love of geek culture to other people. That requires me to hold my writing to a higher standard. For me, that has come to mean that I do not just finish writing and hit post. I go back through and edit, I make sure that the post is saying what I want it to say in a way that will be understood, and hopefully enjoyed. Because the blog isn’t just about me; ultimately I want it to be a conversation I have with my readers. If I want a good conversation, I have to hold up my end.
2) Write like it’s a job, but in a good way. Early in my blogging “career” I struggled with my writing. Not the technical aspects, I have a decent grasp of those. No, I suffered from Not Planting My Ass in Front of the Computer to Write Syndrome, which is a disease that afflicts many new bloggers, some so severely that their blogs just waste away. For Renaissance Dork, I didn’t want that to happen. So I treated it like a job, like there were people depending on me to put out a blog five days a week. Are there such people? Chances are good, no, no one’s day is ruined if they don’t hear from me. But that little lie to myself carried me from “have to write everyday” to “want to write everyday”. And wanting to write everyday has made a huge difference in my writing plans outside of the blog.
3) If the worst thing that happens in my Comments is someone says something mean, then I’m still having a great day. Look, no one can tell you what your troll thresh-hold should be. Mine is pretty high, I’ve learned, because the relatively few trolling comments left on my blog left me feeling…meh. Almost every troll has remained anonymous, and the few that didn’t used false IDs. So how seriously am I going to take what they say? The answer is, not seriously at all. And I should stipulate that I don’t consider disagreement to be trolling. You can disagree with me; heck, you can even disagree angrily. I even encourage you to play devil’s advocate and oppose my viewpoint just for discussion’s sake. But there is no need to be a douche-canoe about it.
So one way or another, trolls don’t bother me. What comments do bother me? The ones that don’t get left; no comments means my post was just okay. But that just pushes me to write better. After I’m done crying, of course.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. Until next time, good geeking!