A Blogging “How To”

I’m branching away from Momdom for a moment, to touch on the How To side of blogging. Many people ask me about blogging: where to start, what it entails, and how keep the ideas flowing. I take blogging, as well as my fiction writing, as a given–it’s something I have to do, in order to survive. My brain works in writer’s overdrive some days, and the only way to keep my loved ones safe–and keep myself from repeating the same thoughts ad nauseam–is to blog.

But, as usual, I am giving the queries consideration, in order to come up with a few tips to help those who want to begin in the vast World of Blog.

Tip #1:

Take what interests you, and start from there. For me, I love thinking from an educator’s standpoint. I love being able to look at my kid, and analyze why he thinks certain ways, or does certain things. I love understanding how he internalizes, inflects, and makes connections. Not to mention, I think about how my parenting–the good and the bad–teaches me about what it means to be a mom. So, my choice is mom blogging.

There are other blogging forums to choose from; the community is huge. Will you write about your personal life? Will you write politics? Will you choose a topic such as botany, animals, or food? Will it be dating tips, writing strategies, or lawyer Q&As? Will you write about sports? Events? Wedding schemes?

Choose the topic that suits your needs, that speaks to you, and that you have a knowledge base in, then write!

Tip #2:

Pick a title. Come up with something crazy, and use your topic to guide you. Make it interesting, and story-worthy. In your introductory blog, explain your story, your focus, your intent, and what the title means.

Ever wonder how this blog came about? Check out, “An Inspiration.”

Tip #3:

Remember, when you blog, that every piece has a beginning, middle, and end. Introduce your subject, explain its relevance, remark on whatever your angle is, and state a conclusion. I don’t care if you say, “This is my introduction. To support my claims, I think this, this, and this. In conclusion, this was my blog.”

Honestly, it doesn’t matter how you format the work, make sure to introduce, explain, and conclude. Because, if you don’t, someone out there–and it’s usually me–is bashing their head into a keyboard.

Tip #4:

Find your angle. Whenever inspiration strikes, approach the piece in a few ways. Knowing that everyone on the planet has written about the atrocities of yoga pants, and their sluttiness to the female form, when I chose to respond to that article, I knew I needed a strong approach. I knew I couldn’t go into my blog talking about the banality of subjects such as yoga pants.

My first approach, the anger phase, I quickly tossed it aside. Yes, I could rant about how stupid it is to think a pair of pants holds power over a man, but I didn’t. Then I thought over the justification phase, but it seemed too typical. Everyone wears yoga pants, get over it. Man, short and sweet–but boring. It was then that I settled on personal reasons, with a twist of humor. I wear yoga pants because I’m an Amazon woman whose butt hangs out of shorts; you’re welcome.

Pick an angle, think it over. Be ready to scrap your idea if you think it’s horrible. Because, I guarantee you, if you hate reading it, so will thousands of others.

Tip #5:

Find your voice. This is a blog, not a technical manual. Blogs have life spilling forth, bursting from the computer monitor, surging into the soul, and filling every brain with mere words. Play around with vibrance, toss in a dash of color, and type.

Are you humorous? Are you sarcastic? Are you pulling the reader in, asking them to keep your secrets? Are you sitting down with your readers, telling them a story over coffee and scones?

Figure out who you are, and reach the reader on that level.

Tip #6:

What, exactly, are you trying to tell the reader? Are you persuading them to buy a can of bug spray? Are you explaining strategies for using the newest baby carrier? Are you feeling a justified rant over the latest political hype? Are you telling a story about your day?

I’m about to make thousands of people breathe one, huge yawn, but, … I have to. So, sorry.

There are four types of writing, and all writing falls into those categories. Narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. Tell a story, describe an event, give factual evidence, persuade a reader. Make sure you’re choosing one of those categories for clarity and comprehension.

Tip #7:

Determine your point of view. Are you writing as yourself, or as a character? Are you writing a story to someone in particular?

Crash course in POV: First person: I, me, my. Second person: you, your, yours. Third person: he, she, him, her, they, their, them.

Yes, people. I typically cross points of view, because I’m an inherently egocentric, and I love making everything about me.

Tip #8:

Try to remain within the chosen verb tense. This is, understandably, the hardest aspect of writing. Is your event happening now? Use present. Has it happened in the past? Use past tense. Will it move into the future? Use present to future, or past to future tense.

Yes, it is hard to write in present tense. I know; I’m doing it right now. It’s easiest to slip into past tense, so keep that in mind while you write.

Tip #9:

Edit. For the love of all that is holy, edit. And then, edit again. Read over your piece, look for anything that seems wrong. If you don’t know how to spell a word, look it up. If you use the word “super” four hundred, thirty-five times, find a thesaurus. Readers don’t want to be the grammar police; they are there for entertainment purposes.

Even if it means keeping the “Top 10 Grammar Rules” posted to your computer monitor, do it. Learn the rules; study your craft. If writing is in your soul, learning to write well should hold its place there, as well.

Tip #10:

So, where do you start? Wait, … didn’t I cover that? Ah, I covered the blog basics, not the platform.

If you want a free blog, www.wordpress.com, and www.blogspot.com are viable options. The only hindrance is that you will have a “yourbloghere.wordpress.com” as your domain name. You can purchase a domain name through WordPress, but, if you do so, make it memorable, and easy. No one wants to remember “yourblogsite623728403.com,” especially since no one ever uses that bookmark feature.

I use a hosting company, HostGator, who connects with the WordPress platform. They’re pretty cheap, and so far I haven’t had any problems. Well, I lie. I wade through problems occasionally, but it helps that I know a bit of coding, and have geek geniuses in my corner.

Will you look at that? That’s ten tips! Can’t get any better than that, eh?

If you want to blog, and it’s truly your desire, get in there, start thinking, and write. The more you write, and share your work, the more notability you’ll gain. Readers will come, trust me. Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a wildly opinionated woman, with a tiny toddler, looked at the millionth Pinterest Fail, and decided to write about the World of Crazy.

Instead, she created a parenting strategy: Winging It, Mom Style.

Happy blogging!

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