Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Content: You Blog What You Are

I have heard this from a number of people who start blogging and after the introduction they ask


My response to this is the same thing I say when I'm editing:

What do you want to say here?

Because blogs are freeform, we can say, do and be anything on them. You don't have to be nice, or even particularly honest, or remotely like yourself in a blog. I do find, however, that the best blogs reflect their author - not just their interests but how they express those interests in real life. For instance, I have a graphic designer friend who posts little more than paragraphs from whatever book he's reading that have something to do with color. This seems like a rather esoteric restriction, but in it, his personality is perfectly reflected, and the posts work - they make me want to go read the books he's reading.

Another is a poet who has a chattier blog (or roman-fleuve as she calls it) about her life and family, but all the characters are obscurred by nicknames. The prose with which the examines her life is carefully wrought, occasionally breathless, but always highly contoured and this also reflects her personality.

My own blog centers on three subjects with the appropriate weights

Because, this is what I find interesting, the lenses through which I like to look at life. I have toyed with the idea of separate blogs for each interest, thinking the mix blurs teh narrative, but I came to realize that this mix is my narrative.

Once you find what you want to talk about, then its important to start talking, and the format for your conversations will evolve. In my case, when I want to just talk about soem random thing that happened, I will make a post that is 5 things about ____________ followed by bullet points. If I feel like honing in on something, I will do 100 Words on __________. Sometimes I just want to write, so I'll do an abecedary, or alphabetic list, with a word of idea for each letter of the alphabet.

Lately, my favorite thing to write about is the music I listen to, so I post the album covers in a row and then just talk about them, as if I had some interested party begging me to tell them "Why Alex, are you listening to Wishbone Ash today?"

The thing about a blog, especially your own blog, is that it should not be forced, but allowed to form its own discipline through doing, and it should be flexible enough to change as you change.

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