Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog Overload and an Attitude to Boot

Guess it took me being on deadline to reach this point. I have a fanatical habit of clearing my email each day. Doesn't have to be zero in the box (like THAT's ever going to happen), but I like to work it down to single digits so that I start afresh the next day (note I didn't say morning).

Anyway, I race, race, read, answer, file, log - doesn't help that the FundsforWriters Annual Essay Contest is ongoing and entries are coming in, or that I asked for feedback from readers in the last FundsforWriters newsletter on whether they listen to music when they write. So . . . read, answer, delete, rinse and repeat. I'm skimming along working hard, fingers flying like ants on speed, never stopping.

However, emails that tell me there's a new blog post, stop my rhythm. I cringe, deliberating as my finger hovers over delete. What if I miss something newsy? What if it's something that prompts a blog post, or a great Twitter comment? So I open them . . . all of them. As a writer in a serious hurry, I scan the headline. If it's cool, I read the bullets. If the post is a chunk of font without bullets, I read the first paragraph. So there - headline, bullets, first paragraph, in that order. (Guess that tells you how to compose your next blog post, huh?)

So when I receive a blog post that tells me what I already know, I delete with a pounding finger, and I've been known to unsubscribe from the email feed because the author wasted my time.

Call me arrogant, maybe . . . I tend to get testy on deadline . . . but when a blog post instructs me nothing more than a great blog has a good headline, good bullets and good content, I want to throw my monitor against the wall. Who wasted a morning typing that? Or what about the person who told me that she's afraid of marketing for the umpteenth time? Or those still singing the worn out chorus that self-publishing is better than traditional with nothing new in terms of statistics or logic, and nothing more than their experience with one self-pubbed book and nothing traditional?

Delete, delete, delete.

I know how hard it is to come up with new material each and every day. If I'm not creating a new blog post five days a week, I'm writing editorials for the newsletters the other two. That doesn't count the occasional freelance assignment. But like a woman attending a wedding with a brand new dress, I don't want to see myself in the form of someone else wearing my outfit. How will you be remembered if you are copycatted or copycatting all over the web?

So now you're probably calling me smarty-pants (or worse) . . . since there are new writers out there who need this information. They just opened up their pretty new computer, decided last week to be a writer, and want to start building a platform with a brand new blog. There are all levels of writers, plus we all start somewhere.

I understand. Seriously, I get that. But if you are going to write about the mundane and elementary, at least do it with flare, with dazzle, with a friggin' voice that makes me glad I took those precious seconds away from my deadline to read your post. Make me admire you, not want to shut you off.


Krissy Brady, Writer said...

I love you Hope! You seriously just took the words right out of my mouth. I also am not the biggest fan of any post to do with writer's block--I need new things to learn, not recycled!

MaDonna Maurer said...

This is so funny, well, because I was seriously thinking this same thing this morning. I haven't checked my reader in a week or so and cringed this morning when I dared to open it up. I didn't read half, in fact, I didn't read a fourth. I "marked as read" to almost all of them. My criteria: 1. Intriguing headline (*wink* yours). 2. bullet points 3. how long ago was it posted. Thanks for a fun and freeing post!

Kristen Stieffel said...

No one can read every post--even every worthy post, let alone the ... others. Hope, it sounds to me like you might benefit from subscribing to blog feeds vie Google Reader (or something like it ) instead of e-mail. That makes it easier, as MaDonna implied, to restrict yourself to reading at a set time instead of having your news interspersed with your mail. I use a feed reader on an iPad to keep up with blogs by reading on my lunch hour or while waiting in line.

Michelle Fayard said...

When you have a chance to come up for some air, Hope, I'd love to hear you talk about about the types of posts that would catch your eye at this stage of your writing career. Wishing you a great day!