I haven’t blogged about blogging for a long while now. I suspect it has something to do with the fact I now spend more time living life out there than I do blogging. In retrospect, that is a good thing. After all, what’s a personal blog worth if you don’t have a personal life to go with it? Of course I bring this up now because Lorelle pointed me to Copyblogger’s post on the Zen of Blogging.
Being a practitioner of Buddhist philosophy, I can relate to that post. I do however have my own way of crossing all my “t’s” and dotting all my “i’s” and after all these years of blogging I think it’s time to revisit the foundations of what makes a blog stand tall above the rest.
It’s Your Content:
Yes, the phrase “content is king” has been repeated before so many times, I think the sentence has lost all meaning. Yet of all things, content is what defines how good (or bad) a blog can be. In the light the mushrooming ad-driven blogs, content-centric posts have been taken aside for the sole purpose of generating revenue, making original unbiased opinions a rare commodity. Even so, bloggers like ChickyBabe, Lorelle or even Liz Strauss have managed to prove that content is truly king.
It doesn’t matter if you blog about your personal thoughts, blog about an application or blog about blogs. It matters that whatever you have to say, you’re passionate about. It matters what whatever you have to say it’s your own words. Whatever you have to say, its your own content. It starts there and I daresay it’ll end with it.
It’s Never A Popularity Contest:
Or I should say, it’s never quite the popularity contest. Yes, there was this whole deal on A-list bloggers and the rest of us a while back, and while their words do outweigh the rest of us in the blogosphere, it makes no difference in what they say and what we would say. Being well read by thousands of people doesn’t mean you write something worth reading. Neither does a handful of people reading your blog mean that you’re a lousy blogger. It just means that they probably know how to market their blog better than you do.
Look at it this way, uniqueness doesn’t guarantee popularity. More likely than not, the horde mentality for the common might drive that uniqueness to the brink of obscurity. It might also mean that you spend more time being passionate on what you do to bother with showing off your content, which needless to say is better than droning on about what other people have already done their life.
The point is, if you spend more time worrying about how many people read your blog as opposed to actually expressing your self on your blog. You’re threading on something far worse than being unique and not well read. You’re going to be normal and not well read.
It’s About Passion:
Have you ever loved something so much that you put your entire heart into it and despite the ups and downs, you loved every moment until you got your just desserts? Blogging is no different. Blogging about what you want to blog about is no different. It’s about loving what you blog about. It’s about expressing your thoughts and opinions and making the people feel whatever you’re feeling the moment you wrote it.
When you blog about something, take a moment to read what you wrote. Do you still feel the emotions that drove you to write what you wrote? Do you still believe in what you wrote? Because mind you, if you don’t feel the emotions bleed from your posts. If even you don’t believe in what you put down. How is anyone else going to relate to it? How is anyone else going to believe in what you say?
You don’t have to be a damn good writer to bring your thoughts and feelings out. But at least start by having them when you write. The rest comes naturally and we all learn. We always do.
Pride and Criticism:
There is a saying. “Feel proud that you did great. Feel horrible that you screwed up” I’m not one for false humility and modesty because it doesn’t get you anywhere. Uncertainty and insecurity when you blog certainly contradicts your passion for it, unless you actually are blogging about how uncertain or insecure you are in life. Contrary to what Copyblogger said, I think that ego is what makes every blogger successful. Despite what we might say, every blogger is a narcissist and because of that, we appeal to being good at what we say. We strive to do even better and that isn’t such a bad thing.
The only downside which makes sense is that because we are full of pride in one’s self. We make ourselves miserable when we fail to reach our own expectations. But looking at it from another perspective, that’s also a good thing. It reminds us that we are not perfect and we will never be. Striving to be better at what you do isn’t without realizing that you can screw up. Make no mistake, when you’re right, you have all the reason to flaunt your pride, but you should also remember that we make mistakes and while most can be avoided due to common sense (assuming you have one), sometimes we need a good kick from people who point out that we’re wrong.
There is no harm in knowing that you still need to know more. All the better when you come out the other end knowing way more than you used to because of it. How’s that for narcissistic pride then?
At the end of it, the foundations here would make little difference to those that are unique on their own. In a way, all of them have been rehashed and retold by so many people so many times. It’s just that, for some people including myself, I would want this to serve as a reminder that blogging, despite it’s various incarnations whether as a personal journal or a information distributing nexus, still depends on one thing. You. You define your content. You decide your readership. You drive your passion. You choose whether or not you want to accept criticism. You.
All the foundations do is to hold up the blog around what matters the most. Because despite whatever reasons, we’re still the ones putting everything down. The only difference is, will our blogs stay up and grow taller? Or will it crumble down into obscurity, apathy and otherwise pointless subterfuge? That’s something worth re-examining don’t you think?