Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Blog

The greatest gift I've given myself over the past 3 1/2 years is writing this blog. I'm amazed how many click on to read my take on a myriad of things (bed jackets! Beatrix Obst! Zara has closed!). I've become just a little smug: "Forgive me if I was late in meeting you because I was blogging." "Thanks for understanding (husband) when I didn't get everything done I said I would— because I was blogging".

Even though you didn't ask, I'm going to give you tips on how to enjoy writing a blog and how to write one people will like. The latter advice is because I read a lot of blogs too.

> Have something to say. It almost doesn't matter what your subject, if you write with passion, you will find an audience. You'll also enjoy the writing a whole lot more.

> Make it short. As a reader I tend to "save for later" blogs that look to be the length of New Yorker essays. Then, of course, later never happens. Hook your reader; make it short and you'll keep her.

> Engage the reader. Ask opinions. Ask questions. Make her think. Don't just "I" her to tears.

> Keep it simple. Don't over-design your blog. I'm a designer, and my blog is really simple. It's because I'm here as a writer as much as because I'm old-school and not really comfortable with technology.

> Add visuals. Until something changes, there is a treasure chest of images to download for free. Of course there are stock agencies who let you know it, but so much is there for the taking. I do give credit when I can, especially to an artist or specific photographer. As I said, who knows how long this "free-dom" will last. You can always take your own pix, of course. It's so easy with an iPhone, iPad or digital camera. If you're on a computer you're probably using one. I've even photographed photographs with tolerable results.

> Be consistent. Try not to blog and disappear. Realize it's a commitment. If I love reading your blog, I'm going to be annoyed when you're gone for months without a reason or a teacher's excuse.

> Fill in your profile. You don't have to compromise your security or even reveal your full identity, but who the heck are you and why are you doing this? I will look.

> Re-read what you wrote. "In the heat of battle" is a phrase that applies to bloggers too. Sometimes I get so excited to have made my point, I will press "Publish" to a blog full of typos. Thank goodness for the "edit" button.

Will the blog phenomenon last? I think we may become weary of endless blogs of "this is what I wore today". Sure, we all like a peek at who our writer is, but pix after pix of your showing off your outfits is not going to interest me long. Unless, of course, you are Iris Apfel.

So happy birthday to me, and this gift is for you.

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