So, despite having done this for over five years now, I apparently break all the fundamental rules of successful blogging. I don’t market my blog, make money off it through advertising, stick to a single niche or dedicated theme, and, perhaps worst of all, do not limit myself to the recommended weekly entry. Instead, my daily ramblings cover everything from Tokyo maid cafes to my hatred of ceviche and kiwis (not to be confused with Newsies, the people of New Zealand). Sure, I could make it easier on myself by not being so prolific, but I’m on a roll here – five years’ worth of continuous daily blogging! – and just can’t bring myself to stop now.
Daily blogging is not without its challenges. Yes, I’m a writer, but you’re sorely mistaken if you believe (like my ex sister-in-law) that I “just sit around all day, making stuff up”. I can’t just turn it on and off like my friend, Martin Gero, does comedy (P.S. If you ever run into him on the street, ask him to say or do something funny. You won’t be disappointed.). I need to be inspired. Or, if not inspired, then at least have a somewhat interesting topic to discuss. Every day I wake up wondering “What am I going to blog about today?” and, eventually, it hits me – sometimes right that moment, sometimes late in the evening when I’m in a half lucid state from eating too much chocolate and ice cream. Sooner or later, something comes.
Like today, for instance, when I received the following question from KevininNS: “Was wondering if you could comment sometime on your blog preparation/planning process? Do you have a set schedule/routine for it? Since you’ve written every single day, with a wide variety of content, i’m thinking you probably do. Although since you’re also a writer by occupation, maybe you don’t.”
And that’s when it hit me, today’s blog topic: I would write about having nothing to write about.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Although it seems like a lead a glamorous and exciting life filled with eroticism and high-adventure, the fact is my life is not all that different from yours (minus your funny hats but plus my awesome collection of supervillain statues). I do have an edge however. Being a writer, I can make the most mundane experiences sound interesting and inviting, like traveling to Tokyo and visiting 29 restaurants (totaling 34 Michelin stars) in two weeks or, say, working in television. It aint easy, but it can be done.
So to answer your questions, Kevin, little if any preparation goes into this blog. I blog at all hours of the day, covering a variety of topics, with no schedule or routine because I am in a perenially panicked state. When will I have time to update my blog? Is this topic interesting enough? Will my failure to comment on her comment for two successive mailbags offend blog regular Das?
The reality is that coming up with a constant source of material for daily blogging can be tough. Fortunately, I have some tips to make the daunting and drudgerous task of writing for others a simple and relatively pleasant experience:
1. Try to do at least one interesting thing a day (ie. making your own oatmeal or watching old episodes of Vampire Diaries out of order) and write about it. In the event what you do isn’t interesting, then take a picture of it and post that.
2. Upload embarrassing and potentially incriminating photos and videos of yourself. Don’t worry. The internet is a place where nameless individuals come together in love, respect, and mutual support. That’s why it was invented, after all.
3. When blogging, always try to write something you know nothing about. Take the reader along with you on your journey of discovery.
4. Drink while blogging. Booze makes you more charming. Not most people, but you.
5. Schedule one epic rant every 7-8 months to bring in new readers. Choose an easy target most people can line up against (ie. Polygamous Walruses or Buddhists Who Don’t Tip).
6. Set your blog apart from all the others by adopting a unique writing style. Old English would be ideal but, if you’re not fluent, then try peppering your articles with random words in Welsh or Tagalog. Alternately, you might want to consider writing in another accent. British for instance: “I say, that was a positively smashing entry, wot?”.
7. Come up with catchy titles for your entries (ie. “White-faced Saki Monkey Wins Parcheesi Championship!” or “Five Easy Steps to Wealth, Weight Loss, and Marriage to that Celebrity You’re Obsessed With!”). Don’t forget the exclamation marks!!!
8. Leave comments on other high-traffic sites and don’t forget to include backlinks to your blog. Make sure your comment is succinct and engaging (“I think we may hooked up the last time I was in town!).
9. Readers today have the attention spans of caffeinated meerkats so make sure your blog stands out. Grab their attention and keep it by festooning your home page with hyper-kinetic multi-colored visual elements: emoticons, funny gifs, flashing borders and multiple frames and sub-frames. Take a page out of MySpace’s success story.
10. This goes without saying, but there’s nothing more frustrating than reading a sloppy article. Before you hit publish, make sure you’ve prfread your work!