I can’t read anything lately. Fiction sucks, blog posts* suck, self-help sucks, self-help blog posts suck most of all. Poetry is still okay, and maybe essays, haven’t read any of the latter lately. Soon, maybe, I’ll look for an essay on “How to get a Christmas tree out of your house without getting needles on everything or the kittens escaping.”
I have been stumbling across the occasional self-help blog post, and it is this scourge I’d like to address here. I missed the Web 2.0 make money with your blog memo, but there seem to be tons of people who didn’t, and there are all these new blogs out about how to do things.
This is caused, I guess, by the “find your niche” thing. Be an expert on something, and they will come.
Do those guys who do this really make money?
This, too, will pass, I guess. The nabobs will be all nattered out eventually. Because, eventually, it all boils down to getting into your car, and chasing Buddha down the road.
It’s not called self-help for nothing.
I read this article on How to be Independent yesterday. I read it by accident, I wasn’t googling “please tell me how to be independent” or anything.
It boiled down to popping a cap in Buddha’s ass. Pack your own lunch, stuff like that.
That’s my New Year’s resolution right there. Be less of a jerk. Pack my own lunch. This Car Does Not Break For Buddhas bumper sticker.
You should see the bumper stickers on Beta’s car. I drove it to work once when my car was in the shop and my co-workers now think I’m a maniac.
Here is my advice to all of you new bloggers who want to write killer blog posts: learn to play backgammon, and do that instead. Fuck. No one cares what you have to say. Some of us have been doing this for ten years now, or more, and we are much better at it, and no one cares what we have to say either.
Do some push-ups and sit-ups instead, and cut down on the refined carbohydrates.
Learn to play a musical instrument.
Fuck, I don’t know.
Why do you want to write a killer blog post, anyway? Who cares about blog posts? Blog posts are stupid.
Also: write something every day, to something-something with all those people who subscribe to your DNA feed or whatever it’s called.
Be independent, basically.
By “independent,” I mean “you”.
There are days you will be cranky and of the view that blogging is stupid: write a post about that! Maybe it will make you famous or something, and Amanda Palmer will play you a Radiohead song on her ukulele in her underwear.
Remember that less is more. Write, then cut everything out again. After ten years at this, it is easier. So keep it up, too.
Also, get a muse. I have several. Gamma was giving me good advice the other night. I was telling her a bedtime story about the Mayan prediction that the world will come to an end in 2012, and she said, “see, that’s the difference between the stories you write down and the stories you tell me,” (she finds the latter superior to the former). (In the story I was telling her, a little girl had heard a strange noise and was searching her darkened house.) “You would just write, ‘she looked everywhere,’ but when you tell me the story, you say, ‘she looked in that room, and then she looked in the other room, and then she went around the corner and looked in the next room, behind the cabinets…’ and so on. And I like that better.” So, remember to include lots of details and don’t cut out too much.
Also, give away free e-books for some reason.
And have contests!**
** that reminds me, Valentine’s Day looms, doesn’t it.
fuck Valentine’s day.
I care very much about what you write here but I do recognize that I am not a representative sample. I don’t think that makes a representative sample a desirable audience, obviously.
Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room. All as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Lumber-room as usual. Old fire-guards, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a poker. Dickens was paid by the word sometimes. I don’t think it hurt him too much.
ehn, just being cranky. and trying to figure out this independence thing.
First off, Amen to Bran. :) (I have a rather long rant about Valentine’s Day that I won’t post here.)
Secondly Mig, if it makes you feel better, your blog is one of only two that I read at all, and the other belongs actually to a friend of mine who is living in Mexico teaching English to several other friends of mine, so I read her blog mostly to stay updated on the goings-on in Toluca. Yours is the only blog I read that I stumbled across totally on accident belonging to a random stranger (I do believe I was searching Apocalyptica at the time) that I have returned to ever… much less as often as I return here. That’s gotta be worth something, right? :)
Oh, and also I am terribly jealous of you for having been that close to Perttu Kivilaakso. Just thought I’d let you know.
seriously, i was *this close* to perttu.
I read and care about your internet log because it is just that, with (yes) helpful (somehow, don’t ask me for specifics) bits about things Germanic, declining parents on other continents, little girls, personal details regarding marine life. I can’t read fiction unless it’s written by someone I know, which technically makes it an artifact.
Sure, rub it in, Mig… *Sticks tongue out in your general direction*
I was in like the third row at the Apocalyptica concert (because I’m good at shoving people who are much taller than I am) and since they travel around the stage a lot I think at one point I was probably a bit less than 10 feet from Perttu but I think that’s as close as I managed to get.
He’s been rocking a top hat lately, but given that hair-whipping thing they do the top hat only lasted about 5 minutes.
meagan: in fact, as you can see from the picture, i in fact touched him, and he me. we touched each other, perttu and i.
Yes, I saw. And I was very jealous too. I have imagined myself in your shoes, and in my imaginings your shoes were much too big for me because you are likely a good deal taller than I am, so I took your shoes off.
Most people, in fact, are taller than me.
Some of you seem to have forgotten that Valentine’s Day is not about love, chocolate, hearts & flowers or endearing cards.
It’s about limericks!
(Sometimes it also involves kitchen utensils…)
How to write a killer blog post about writing killer blog posts:
1. Quantify, even if this means repeating yourself: “17 Ways to Write a Killer Blog Post.”
2. Reference tangentially-related current events. “31 Ways to Write a Killer Blog Post in a Recession.”
3. Assure readers of their own innate ability to write killer blog posts. “23 Ways You (Yes You!) Can Make Money With Killer Blog Posts”
4. Lists are your friends: “How to Write 97 Killer Blog Posts.”
5. 7 Signs of a Weakening Mind: Number 1. Reading self-help blogs.
6. 51 Ways to Fail to Recognize That Writing Self-Help Blogs Probably Means You Need More Help Than Your Readers.
7. Should you really accept money, even from faceless corporate advertisers hawking things no one in their right mind would buy, for basically working out your own problems, day after day, ad nauseum, in a public forum? Shouldn’t you yourself be paying someone for this?
8. Free advice is worth the price. You don’t really have any qualifications for this kind of thing. It’s pretty much the blind leading the blind. More accurately, since this the internet, the ironically depressed leading the silently desperate.
9. Are you even going to get dressed today?
10. People used to get paid per word for getting this kind of mulch printed in magazines, and I bet they were never up all night trying to code their columns to display properly.
11. You have to post something, don’t you? Traffic is up 3% this month, people in boring jobs are depending on you. People who have lost their boring jobs are depending on you. You really don’t have anything? Can you just run a “One Year Ago on ‘How to Write A Killer Blog Post'” again? Any sites you need to plug? Mailbag post? Have any more of those a-holes from your high school friended you on Facebook?
12. Who do you think you’ve helped? You’ve just really created this solipsistic little world just to boost your ego, haven’t you? If you want to help somebody, get off your ass and volunteer at a soup kitchen or give blood. Donate a kidney.
13. Or worse, college friends. Do you know anybody who isn’t a PhD, MD, or travelling the world? No, no, and no. Anybody not married, with kids? Okay, sure, but anybody not incarcerated?
14. You and Mad Men: Bringing back the two-martini lunch! You should really start keeping olives in the house.
15. “25 prime numbers between 1 and 100.”
16. “One Year Ago Today on “How to Write A Killer Blog Post.” …maybe a shower would help.
17. How to Write a Killer Blog Post is popularly served in a stew with lemongrass, thai basil, and tripe.