Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remedial Blog School: How to Write an Excellent Blog Post

Photo courtesy of my wonderful friend Suzmanella. That's me, writing a blog post. At the lake. I don't know if it'll make it to the blog. Many blog posts are called, but few are chosen.

Welcome to Part 3 of Remedial Blog School--How to Write an Excellent Blog Post. Make sure to review Part 1--Welcome to Remedial Blog School and Part 2--So, You Started a Blog before proceeding. I cannot guarantee your safety unless you do.

Top Ten Ways To Make Sure That Your Blog Post is Excellent

Disclaimer: Most of these rules can be and should be, on occassion, broken. Just not a lot.

1. The hell if I know.

2. Do not start a post with "this is going to be long and boring and annoying." Because people heed those warnings.

3.Write about something that you are passionate and excited about, keeping in mind that "passionate and excited" does not mean "insane".

4. Short paragraphs.

5. Shortish post. If the CIA contacts you to see if they can borrow your post since waterboarding is now frowned upon, it's time to edit.

5 (a) Read your post out loud. Cut out at least two sentences and five words. Do it. Proofread, spellcheck.

6. Don't tell your best story. I'm holding my best stories in reserve for blog sweeps. And it helps me feel that I never get writer's block.

6 (a) For the love of everything that is holy, do not blog about your writer's block. Unless there's a celebrity cameo in there somewhere.

7. If you realize in the middle of a post that it's not working, do something to change direction.

7 (a) I have no idea how to change directions, but some people like to do memes.
7 (b) I don't like to do memes.
7 (c) Although I have nothing against people who do them.
7 (d) Except the boring ones.

8. Don't oversell a post. If a post starts with "The funniest, most hilarious thing ever happened!" chances are it will fall short. And yes, just about now I am sort of wishing that I took the "excellent" out of this blog post title now. But I won't. For teaching purposes.

9. Make sure people know who you're talking about. I had this problem recently when I assumed that everyone knew that John was beloved gay friend John and then someone in the comments assumed that he was my husband. Awkward.

10. Don't lie. Really. It's not worth it. It's like a sin or something. And also it's hard to keep your shit straight and not contradict yourself.

Next week in Remedial Blog School: I'll answer an email full of interesting and important questions. If you have any burning questions, see your gynecologist! (But if they're about blogging, let me know!)



Anonymous peajaye said...

i have nothing interesting to say, but i see that i can be the first to comment, so i'm writing something. hey, maybe you could do a blog series about writing an excellent comment that's not all boring and pointless! just a thought.

July 14, 2009 at 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Agent Black, CIA said...

Can you call me? I think we could work something out....

July 14, 2009 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I'm with peajaye. I'd love to hear your thoughts on thoughtful comments.

I need to take your proof reading advice. I am just so happy when I finally write something I have to fight the urge to hit publish before I dot all the i's and cross all the t's. At the same time, I am highly annoyed by writers who don't proofread, or even worse, misuse "to" and "too."

July 14, 2009 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger Mwa said...

I especially agree with the short paragraphs. Big blocks of text are so hard to read!

July 14, 2009 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger Me, Amplified said...

i completely love remedial blog school, i'm learning so much.

*backspaces "this is a boring and pointless post" from first line of next post*


*backspaces "the most amazing post ever"*

*starts to write about now evident writers block*

darn it!

see, i'm learning already (note paragraphs) :)

and yes, i would like advice on comments so that i can stop leaving comments like this ^. :)

July 14, 2009 at 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

What if you don't have writers block but more of a no longer give a shit and you don't want to write thing?

I mean, is that a form of writers block or the beginning of a blog death?

That's my non-gynecological burning question.

July 14, 2009 at 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Dingo said...

I HATE it when people start a post with "this is the funniest thing evah!" Just tell us the story and let us decide if it's funny. If you've written it well, we'll write a comment along the lines of "This is the funniest thing evah!" Unless it's not. Then we'll just chuckle and move on.

July 14, 2009 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger lizspin said...

Holy crap! I didn't know there were blog sweeps! Now I'm going to REALLY have to spill the beans!

July 14, 2009 at 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Is that a Jordi Labanda notebook? (http://www.thedailyplanner.com/miquelrius-notebooks-jordi-labanda-notebooks-c-116_25_546.html) If so, is Jordi Labanda the secret to writing killer posts? Because you haven't covered that yet.

July 14, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

If there really was such a thing a blog sweeps, you'd totally get the highest ratings! Great post - makes me want to really proofread from now on...

July 14, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger TeacherMommy said...

MUST you keep harping on the whole "short" aspect?!?! I get it, I get it...

July 14, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger blognut said...

Great, now I'll just sit over there on my blog and post blank pages.

Can I still whine and rant? Is that permissable?

July 14, 2009 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

#2. heh.
#3. The Blogess didn't get the memo. heh.
#4. So true.
#5. So true. Me = 50% fail rate.
#6. I don't understand. I mean, really?
#10. YES and AMEN and STUFF.

July 14, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

Blogsweeps, say what??

When is that? Do I have a chance at winning something? Who is sweeping? Can I take them to lunch? In Vegas? Caribbean? Not the Hamptons, no way!

July 14, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Dam, now I have to rethink my entire blog. I've never been doing this right. Shit.

July 14, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous P.K. said...

I've read all three installments of RBS, but now I'm in a panic because of #7 on this list: I DON'T KNOW WHAT A MEME IS! It sounds like a cutie name for a grandma who doesn't want to admit that she is, in fact, old, but judging from the context that can't be right. Right?

It's possible that I'm destined to become a Remedial Blog School dropout and never actually start a blog.

July 14, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

Can I add an 11? Edit your mothertrucking writing! Look for misspellings and typos and bad punctuation, fercryinoutloud. I am amazed at how many blog posts I read where there are HUGE grammatical errors. No one is perfect, I will probably make a typo in this very comment, but make an effort at least. Sheesh. Rant over.

July 14, 2009 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Tooj said...

Good Lord, now I can't even lie. What fucking excitement will I convey, then?

July 14, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Since I like to fight the flow, I am now going to START LYING on my blog.

I'll just keep all my lies written down in a fancy-dancy notebook, like yours.

July 14, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...

I can't follow instructions, nor write a (really) good blog post for the life of me!!

It's why I have the few readers I have - they feel sorry for me. Sympathy comments! Woohoo!!

(What do ya' know, I'm off to the gyno in 30 minutes.)

July 14, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Maureen at IslandRoar said...

Wow, holding back the best stories...can't imagine how funny those babies are!
Give us a peek.

July 14, 2009 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Amanda Gibson said...

I have the funniest, most exciting comment ever!!!

Oh, wait. Is that what you meant in #8? Should we not oversell our comments either? Geez, all these rules!

But, seriously, I think I've already broken every one of these rules. Except for the thing about the MEMES because I have no clue as to what a MEME is. Also, I don't think I've posted about my writers block because I don't consider myself a writer. I do make an effort not to lie on my blog.....but I AM the queen of exaggerating. But if people can't figure that out then I guess they've got problems. I mean, really, is it even possible that 'm a Roller Derby girl? Yea, probably not.

Can I add a rule number 11? No drunken blogging. Usually the things that you think are SO funny when you're drunk make absolutely NO sense on your blog. Take it from someone who knows.

July 14, 2009 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I learned so much here. Thank you. You fufilled my need to learn something new today. ;)

July 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Excellent rules! I think you lived up to the title ;-)

I especially like the last one, since everyone and their sister seems to eventually end up being a fucking liar these days. I hate that.

July 14, 2009 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Julie B. said...

Didn't you say don't lie? I'm pretty sure that's a picture of MY freckled hand and legs....oh, nope...yours are much skinnier...sorry. And slightly off topic...my daughter is starting to get her freckles this summer. Is it bad that I almost cried? (Not in happiness)

July 14, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Imogen Lamport said...

Whenever I have bloggers block I pick up a book (usually related to my blog, rather than any random tome) and open it at any page and pick something from it and write a post about it.

July 14, 2009 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Andrea (ace1028) said...

I like short paragraphs. They make me happy, this way I don't have to read like 900 lines to get to the point. Thanks for the tips and hope we can all follow them together!

July 14, 2009 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Jaywalker said...


Is it helpful to write your blog posts bondage mistress style, resting your note book on your slave's naked back? Or am I misinterpreting that photo?

Thank you, blog mistress.

July 15, 2009 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

i hate meme's but i don't hate the people who write them.

July 15, 2009 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Jaywalker -- LOL.

I like the flourish-y scribbles at the top of your notebook. Now I'm going to see if I can enlarge that photo and read your note book....

July 16, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't. Your writing is chicken scratch.

July 16, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger p.huong said...

Had me laughing from the start. Love Rule #1.

July 16, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Stimey said...

I do number 2 on a regular basis. It's a problem.

Okay, I just reread that (proofread!), and it sounds really bad. But I'm leaving it there for comic effect.

July 16, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

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