Do as I say, not as I do

splatroundcornerBy Guest Author, Susan who blogs at blogs at http://piedtype.com

I’m not the best person to advise you about blogging. I’ve broken most of the basic rules: Have a purpose, have a specific topic/theme, publish on a regular basis, etc. I confess I haven’t and don’t do any of these things. I started a blog to please myself. Period.

For me, writing is a way to get my thoughts in order. It forces me to do that. It slows me down, makes me organize my thoughts and extract some order from the chaos, like arranging cards on a table. In addition, I’m a retired editor/publisher and just plain enjoy writing, editing, designing, publishing. It’s fun, a habit I can’t break.

I didn’t give much thought to having a specific theme.  At least, not with my current blog. Originally I had several blogs — one each for politics, religion, the environment, etc. But that meant when I wrote something I had to decide which blog to put it in. It meant my efforts to design and maintain an attractive blog got diluted and spread across several different blogs. I found it so time-consuming that one day I threw up my hands and combined all the blogs into one. There! Now I could write without having to decide where to post it. I could design and tweak and improve just one blog, not three or four. Trust me, if you can focus on one topic, one theme, one reason for being, you’ll be ahead of the game. You’ll have a great blog about blogging, like timethief has here. Or maybe you’ll become known for having a great cooking blog, or a helpful blog about crafts or music or movies. Do you, and do it as well as you can

It’s a good idea to publish on a fairly regular basis. Some bloggers maintain a strict schedule, publishing at whatever specific intervals they think they can maintain. Twice a week, once a week, whatever. It helps build readership when fans know the schedule and when to expect the next post. Excellent advice. But I don’t follow it. I write when I feel the urge to write, when I have something to say that simply must be said. Luckily that happens several times a week and sometimes several times a day. I’d fail with a schedule because I often write about current events — and they don’t stay current very long.

Perhaps if I’d followed all the rules and good advice, I’d have a much larger readership by now. But there were no rules or advice in the beginning (2002), so I was just winging it. My readership has grown very slowly, but I can look at the stats and see that I have indeed made progress.

My writing is less self-indulgent now; I’m usually thinking in terms of what might interest my readers. And I also make a point of replying to all comments. I want visitors to know I’ve seen and appreciate their visit and the time they took to comment. Besides, that’s the best way to encourage more comments. With luck, a discussion might ensue. For me that’s as good as it gets — publishing something interesting enough or provocative enough to attract readers and get them thinking and talking about it.

charcoal150Of course, if they didn’t come, I’d keep writing and publishing anyway. Because that’s just what I do.

Pied Type is a news magazine blog where you will find well written articles under a wide range of interesting subjects.

Related post: Another Update

30 thoughts on “Do as I say, not as I do

    1. Susan loves The Morning After theme. I don’t. I find the way it’s structured to be off-putting but I do like reading the site content, so I guess you and I are in agreement on that.

    2. I know the home page is very busy, but I liked everything else. I’m sorry you found it off-putting. It’s hard to know how best to organize and present so much varied content.

      1. I’ve been looking for a new theme for ages that will do what I want better than 2011 does. I don’t like magazine format, it’s probably something to do with my eyesight, but I find it glares at me to the extent of sending me dizzy. But that’s my problem not yours. I want an extremely simple, even stark, theme, with featured and changeable headers. I would like comments that don’t decrease to the size of a gnat’s whatever when they are nested, and that is my main gripe with 2011. I’d like a deeper header photo as I used to have on blogger, and I’d like to be able to fiddle with the template, as I used to do on blogger, and yes I want it all for free. But with WP I have also found a great community of people, and some excellent advice and help from the likes of TT and Raincoaster on the forums. So, while I moan, I live with 2011 until someone designs me perfect theme. Simple is never easy. I’ll have another go at braving your busy home page on a calm and serene day (which is NOT today).

        1. Based on your comment (thank you!), I did some tinkering and simplifying last night. I think I reduced some of the clutter without sacrificing any functionality. Simple is hard with magazine-style content.

          I’m sure you can find a WordPress theme that suits your needs. There are so many free themes available, and all allow various amounts of tweaking to suit your preferences. Believe me, I’m as picky about the details as you are and have a long list of specifics that a theme must have and not have. I’m like a spoiled rock star whose contract specifies her dressing room be stocked with certain exotic items or she won’t make an appearance.

          Trust me, you won’t find a better, more flexible, free blogging platform anywhere. I’ve looked at them all and tried most.

  1. Hey Girl,
    I totally hear you on your approach and ‘lack of theme’ My blog has gone much the same way. Yes, it might be easier to stick to a specific theme, etc but then it probably wouldn’t be as much fun, right? I think that a true slice of life (or in your case, one woman railing against the machine) blog is a rare thing. And maybe it’s own niche. Could happen.

    I know I’ll always read you. Even though we disagree on ever so much. Good writing always trumps everything else.
    Annie

  2. Great insights to share. Solid advice. Good writing – interesting brings readers.
    I love the eclectic blogs – each day you wonder what you’ll discover there.
    And of course all the mountain news and heads-ups about webcams – just icing on the cake.
    Keep writing, PiedType. You’re a star

  3. As a young naval officer I was given advice in a handbook on proper social behavior. In polite company, particularly of the distaff nature, one was to refrain from public discussions of politics, religion and sex. Good advice at the time, but since becoming long in the tooth and discovering blogging, those subjects have, ironically, become prime targets for me. There’s satisfaction to be found in simple expression I suppose, but the real fascination for me is the fairly rare experience of having another mind actually interact with my own in a thoughtful way.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever actually changed someone’s opinion on anything important, but it’s a possibility. I know this because blogging, and having the time to reflect deeply on important matters, has changed me. It changed my politics. I feel I also have a better understanding of how other people think and react to not only current events and life itself. Learning is pleasurable.

    I’ve been reading and commenting on Pied Type’s blog for some time now. It’s one of only a few that fits my needs – Susan attracts thoughtful people and encourages civil discourse.

  4. Pity you couldn’t use your usual distinguished font, this one’s pretty ordinary I’ll bet you’ll agree but as usual you still make a lot of sense which I suppose is the main thing PT.

    Still it is nice for the good stuff to look nice. ;)

  5. At one low point in my blogging life, I wondered if I should continue writing because response was nearly non-existent. Like you, I decided to continue because I love to write. I think people lose out when they write for what they perceive readers want rather than for what they (the writer) is most passionate about,

  6. I want to express how much I support your idea of blogging without obligation. That’s exactly what I do in my personal blog. There I’m blogging for myself and it doesn’t really matter if I have an audience or not, though I’m very happy that I do have one.

  7. When you do anything in life for the sole purpose of pleasing yourself, (like your blog) I find it’s inevitable that you will please many others too. Ironic how that works since most people say the opposite — doing things for others is the most effective means of self-gratification. A circular philosophy. Truly got a lot out of this post!
    Stephanie

    1. Me too and I love the topical variety as well as her take on things. I just tweeted this link to one of here latest posts. The nerve of some people http://wp.me/pax1-aDz Insensitivity towards the environment and the wildlife in makes me grind my teeth. No, of course, parks aren’t playgrounds for drones – duh!

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