June 19, 2011

WRITING ADVICE: Mike Duran #10 – 10 Blogging Mistakes

I have never seen Mike Duran. We “met” online a couple years ago because of a little…altercation I caused by saying something less-than-nice about Christian speculative fiction on his blog. Mike, being both a specfic writer and editor, won me closer to his side with gentle and wise words. Since then I’ve found that Mike has lots of gentle and wise words. I’m looking at how some of them have had an impact on my own writing in these WRITING ADVICE posts. (Quotes are used with his permission.) He also participates in “ONE OF WRITER'S DIGEST 101 MOST VALUABLE WEBSITES FOR WRITERS, 2008 & 2010”, NOVEL JOURNEY at http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/. The original article for THIS entry is here: http://mikeduran.com/?p=5202 (and Mike used THIS article as a springboard: http://michaelhyatt.com/do-you-make-these-10-mistakes-when-you-blog.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+michaelhyatt+%28Michael+Hyatt%29&utm_content=Bloglines.html)

While Mike uses the blog entry of Thomas Nelson Publisher’s Chairman, Michael Hyatt as his starting point, he questions the points the Chairman makes.

I suppose then, that turn about is fair play! I’ve got a couple of questions about Mike’s questions. Before I ask them though, let me condense his essay into ten bullet points:

Mistake #1: You don’t write well and while writing well won’t guarantee visitors, bad writing will chase them away.

Mistake #2: You believe that there are hard and fast blogging rules.

Mistake #3: You post oodles of mediocre writing rather than a few good pieces.

Mistake #4: Your posts are the wrong length, inaccessible and pedantic.

Mistake #5: You don’t write posts that are deep enough or long enough.

Mistake #6: You aren’t consistent.

Mistake #7: You do not write quality blog entries.

Mistake #8: You are not writing with Uzi-level rapidity to guarantee a share of readership (while writing well, of course).

Mistake #9: You are not a popular celebrity.

Mistake #10: Your post doesn’t talk about you enough in a tasteful way.

These are, I hope you understand somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there remains a bit of truth in all of them, just as there is a bit of truth in TNP Chairman, Michael Hyatt’s post (which, FYI, garnered 117 Shares, 194 Tweets and 362 Comments; Mike Duran’s post garnered 0 Shares, 0 Tweets and 4 Comments – but more about that in my next WRITING ADVICE post and the last about how Mike Duran’s advice has had an impact on my own writing).

I have been writing for 41 years and I hope that because I am practicing and learning constantly, I think I write well enough. I have generated 387 comments on 323 posts since I started my blog in June of 2007. As Mike says, that’s not bad for an amateur.

I can’t have made mistake #2 because I never thought about rules. #3 has never been a problem, though as the years have passed, I’ve created a routine: Sunday is a Possibly Irritating Essay, a Slice of PIE or WRITING ADVICE; Monday, once a month, a guest blog at The Friday Challenge (http://thefridaychallenge.blogspot.com/); on Tuesdays, I’ve recently started posting Ideas for writers to steal or borrow; Wednesdays are post-free; Thursdays I post between 500-1000 words of a rotating series of books I’m working on – the purpose being to test ideas, build characters and work through plot points. When I finish, I pull down the posts, consolidate them into one document and then set it aside until I’m ready to begin the First Rewrite; Fridays are free days; Saturdays I post on my husband of my wife as a breast cancer patient site, BREAST CANCER REAPER (http://breastcancerreaper.blogspot.com/). I recently calculated that I post somewhere around 7200 words a month on the sites.

I fluctuate on #4, aiming at no more than 1000 words for my fiction and between 500-700 in my essays; #5, 6 and 7 are related and I think that I am consistently good at my blogs. My fiction, not so much so – but that’s just because the fiction is a work in progress. I confess I have very, very few comments on them. However, I think that number will increase dramatically once I get a “real” book published and I become a #9, a celebrity and people will WANT to comment so they will be part of my next book – I’m going to explore this quite a bit more in my last entry in the Mike Duran WRITING ADVICE series (and I’ll let you know who has agreed to be the next round of WRITING ADVICE.)

I’ll probably never do # 8. Uzi-like entries are I believe, what TWITTER is all about. I don’t Tweet, so I don’t know.

Last of all, Mike points out, “…For me, details and references to one’s personal life is not necessarily a turn-off, provided the blog is not ONLY about that. In fact, it seems like many popular blogs are intrinsically ABOUT their authors.”

This is what I have been working on ever since I started my blog – I want it to be personal, but in a way that is applicable to OTHERS. I mean, a blog can’t prattle on endlessly about how wonderful or awful I am. It needs to provide a reader with a “take-away”; something they can nod thoughtfully at and then jot down somewhere before they log off my blog. That’s my goal – relevance to my readers. That’s what I’ve learned through reading Mike’s blog and that’s what I try and emulate in my own blog.

Image: http://rlv.zcache.com/mens_miskates_shirt-p235694508661819380q6wh_400.jpg

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