Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bloggers, What Do We Do If Our Art Sucks?

Are You as Rankled As I Am?

It seems like a good idea doesn’t it, #blogging I mean?

It is your expression.

You want to make a difference.

Writing has you by the throat.

You want to become a better writer, and those little sound bites (aka #blogs) seem like a good way to do it. You want to connect, to share, to have a human exchange albeit through your keyboard, and those fabulous airways.

It isn’t that you want to be “I” all the time. That is spew out a stream of self-talk. You would like to hear what others think. You would like to ask the big questions, like what are you doing here? “Here?” I mean on this planet, here stretching paychecks, paying bills, driving car pools, shopping for groceries, dental visits dentists, pets to vets, and trying to keep some semblance of order in your house. You are even willing to get up at 4 A.M. to have some peace and quiet to write. You love that time. It is where you can be in the “Zone.”

Painters must feel this way, carpenters, others who work with their hands and minds, anything that excites them. That is art.

What do we do if our art sucks?

So, you look into the high rollers who have fabulous successful blogs. Wow, to make $100,000 a year, to quit your job, to write full time, you know, be your own boss .

“Work for yourself or make someone else rich by working for them.” We know the mantra.

A few people like you so they honor you by reading your material. Yet know all web searchers have their own issues, their mouse hovers over material waiting to find a kernel of truth, information, entertainment, something to grab their attention. On the other hand people Web surf looking for  a fix, something to solve their current problem.

You can’t blame them for not wanting to spend time with you.

So what are we to do?

Readers want information on how to make their lives work, or how to make their work work.  (Besides fixing that computer, car, oven refrigerator, etc.) Well, there’s entertainment too—think of all the gossip columns, they work. Think of all the sports events, they work. People want love advice, child rearing advice, blogging advice, depression-lifting advice, diet advice.  Advice, hum, maybe we’re onto something.

Should you give advice? What is your expertise?

So, back to your blog.

“Should I pay for advertising?”

“Am I into numbers when I should be into readers?”

“Is it content that moves a blog along or something else?”

It’s a mystery isn’t it?

I like personal experience blogs, like and going there, I find that her grandmother recently passed away at 95 and had been writing a blog of her early life—such as one in 1943 or 44 when her husband went to war and said, “Send Cigarettes,” but there were none to be bought. So her grandmother, Svensto, acquired tickets to a game show trying to win Chesterfield Cigarettes. (Sounds like an #I Love Lucy episode.)

Let’s be honest, this is troubling, frustrating, and downright irritating to know which way to go.

This isn’t about a silver lining. This is getting down to the nitty gritty of what works and what doesn’t. Maybe we don’t live as Shreve Stockton (Daily Coyote) does in the wilds of Wyoming and raise an orphaned coyote pup into a beautiful companion, plus take fabulous photographs to boot, but we have other adventures and skills, and a lifetime behind us. And remember, no academic paper as ever gone viral as a blog.

I am going to investigate this blogging phenomenon further. Want to come along?

Just check in or if you want a notice of a new post, sign up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Content Does No Good If Nobody Reads It

I don’t know how to tell you to write. Lordy, I don’t know how to do it myself. I can encourage you to stick with it though. Keep your butt on the chair.

Or stand.

There are devices to hold your computer so you can write standing up. My chiropractor’s office has a device that can be lowered to desk level or raised up to standing level.  He’s looking out for himself and his help—their backs their bellies, all are hindered by too much sitting. An inventor friend created an inexpensive lap top holding device so you can type while standing up. (Want one? Ask me.)

One author I read about wrote his screenplay while standing in his swimming pool.  In your dreams, right?

They say that content does not attract readers—you can write the best content in the world and it does no good if people don’t read it.

Remember Ethyl Merman? Her voice was not the most melodious, but boy could that woman belt it out. They loved her because she could be heard in the third balcony. She had a presence. She was an individual.

Do it.

Be that.

Go for it.

P.S. To you #bloggers out there. I just read that long posts make people believe that there is more value? Is that true? Do you have time to read long posts?!

Look at that face. How can you resist it?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I took a speech class once—you wouldn’t know it by the way I talk or don’t talk, but my topic was a smart one—Academic Freedom.

The subject sent the professor into a rant, the class became involved, discussion ensued and soon my dumb speech was lost in the fervor.

This morning I read Steven King On Writing which spurred the memory of that ancient speech class. I wondered about the writing equivalent of my speech topic.

King said: “There are lots or would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see…or to at least shut up about what you do see that’s different. They are agents of the status quo. Not necessarily bad guys, but dangerous guys if you happen to believe in intellectual freedom.

The other day a girl friend said she wanted to know how I thought, felt, and how I saw the world. I was stymied by the question—I had my hand on the door handle, about to leave, and so was saved for the day, but I will think on it, and we will meet again, and I am thrilled to have a friend with such an inquiring mind.

Have we been taught to think for ourselves—given data of course, or have we been taught to sit down, shut up and memorize what it says here in the course curriculum?
Some people want to know, others don’t. Most people defend their belief systems as though the spinning of the earth depends on it. 

Steven was encouraging writers to use an authentic voice. He said that not a week goes by that he doesn’t get a pissed-off letter from a reader accusing him of being a bigot, foul-mouthed, homophobic, murderous, frivolous or downright psychopathic. What are they responding to? His dialogue. These are the voices of his fictional characters. He is trying to show who THEY are.

Steven quotes his mother as saying, “Yes,  profanity is the language of the ignorant,” but even the most staid—Christian or heathen alike--says an occasional ”Fuck,” when they hit their thumb with a hammer or the dog barfs on their shag carpet.

I wonder why those critics are reading Steven King.

“Talk, whether ugly or beautiful, is an index of character; it can also be a breath of cool, refreshing air in a room some people would prefer to keep shut up. In the end, the important question has nothing to do with whether the talk of you story is sacred or profane; the only question is how it rings on the page and in the ear.”