Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Write a Crappy Blog by Colby Marshall

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic. In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress. She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.

Her debut thriller, Chain of Command, is about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency. Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press in June 2013.

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How to Write a Crappy Blog by Colby Marshall


As writers, it’s a trend that we all feel the need to keep up a blog. Especially when you’re headed towards publication, it’s a good way to interact with readers and give them a little extra insight into your world. And yet, after a while, blogging can become not only a chore, but it can become downright difficult to continue if you can’t think of a topic, are sick, tired…life gets in the way. This leads to—gasp—the crappy blog.

You all know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. It starts with that blog post you read where the person posting first begins to go downhill. Usually, once begun, the trend doesn’t stop. I’m here today to warn you of this terrifying slippery slope, and since I'm as tired as an eighteen wheeler (cue the groans), I'm well-equipped to present to you today a lesson on How to Write a Crappy Blog.

Step one: Begin with vague reference to how your day was long and how exhausted you are (CHECK!). If you are so obliged, fill in certain details about how you didn't sleep well the night before/have developed gout/had a fight with your little brother's ill-tempered therapist about how you are positive your constant insults to him as a child did not cause him to become the unpleasant pessimistic weasel that he is today.

Step two: Apologize for not feeling like writing a good blog, because we all know the best thing to do to keep your audience's attention is to tell them that you are, for some reason, writing even though you have nothing to write/don't feel like writing. I think readers really respond to a post about nothing. It's more popular than Wilford Brimley's thighs.

Step three: Promise to write something profound tomorrow, then step back and wait with baited breath for your readers to refresh their screens every five seconds the following day as they anxiously await your triumphant return.

Oh...wait...

For writers who keep blogs, this trap is all too common, but fortunately, with a little care and a promise to yourself that you will never fall into this habit, you can make sure that you keep truckin’ even when the going gets tough, your head hurts, and you don’t have a thing to say except how if your cat wakes you up one more time, you’re going to soon have a brand new fur coat. How, you ask? The best way I know is that on days you do have a lot to say, go ahead and push a few extra blog posts out of your brain to save for a rainy day. That way, on those tough days, you can open your ready to go folder, copy, and paste instead of typing those dreaded words, “I’m too tired.”

And if all else fails and you ARE too tired, just stay off the blog all together. They say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” and while I’m sure they meant not to say anything mean, I’m sure it goes for uninteresting blog posts, too.

So, 'fess up, bloggers...are you guilty of this blogging sin? What do you think if you read this type of “too tired” post from bloggers you follow? Do you have any tricks to keep you going when it feels like you can’t go anymore?

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Colby, I think you've called me out.  Yes, I've been guilty of writing a crappy, I-feel-awful, blog post when I should have stayed off the computer and planted myself in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a good book (like Chain of Command).

When we hope to attract our readers to our blogs, however, it's wise to resist the temptation to vent and rant and whine. Take out a notebook and journal it instead...for your eyes only.

Chain of Command is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, iBooks, Kobo, other major e-readers, directly from the publisher at StairwayPress.com (free shipping), or in select independent bookstores. 

Watch the official book trailer for Chain of Command here.

To learn about Colby and her books, visit her website and blog. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have never posted a post like that before. (Really!) I do see it all the time though.
I plan my down days in advance. They aren't many, but I'd rather skip than throw up something lame on my blog.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I write what I feel and how I feel.
Sometimes I think I'm wasting my time. I have some very good followers and some I haven't seen a comment at all. I think it's good to let readers see when you're having a bad day or equally a good day. To be honest I do feel like giving up but the few people I can call friends mean the world to me and although the Big Pond divides us I still feel close to them all.
I enjoyed the post very much.
Thanks.

Yvonne.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Alex, I'm beginning to envy anyone who can plan anything ahead, especially a down day. :D

Hi Yvonne. Your blog's purpose is very different from Colby's and mine and Alex's too. When you write poetry, you're dealing with feelings and emotions, and especially when you set yours to music, we expect those emotions. I come back to your blog specifically to see what's going on in your life whether it's joyous or sad.

Carol Kilgore said...

I've been blogging about five years, and I may have written a post or two along those lines. But I do try to turn those posts into something vaguely humorous. I write my blog posts in advance, so when I have down days, I try not to write anything at all.

Pat Tillett said...

Great post! It was good and very funny. Chain of Command sounds very interesting to me.

When I have the time and inclination to write, I do so. The same goes for blogging.
Rather than present "filler" blog posts to take the pressure off, I just don't post at all. I thought that when I retired, I'd have much more time to write. Much to my surprise, I have less. I have much more fun, but less time.

Emily R. King said...

Ha! I'm pretty sure I've done one of these...

Great post!

Julie Luek said...

My pet peeves with blogging are billboards and hops. The repetitive entries of hops grows unoriginal and wearisome for me and the "announcement" styles don't interest me. But I also realize we each have a different purpose and sometimes audience goal with our writing. I like to read (and write) something that edifies the reader.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure if I'm guilty of any of these crappy blogging offenses, but I'll try to avoid them in the future.

Your books sounds intriguing. Good luck with it.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Many thanks to Colby for this fun post. I know I'll slip and write crappy posts once in a while, specially when I know the little rants or wails and moans (with humor) get lots more comments than sticking to business. :D

Trisha F said...

I don't really plan what I'm going to put on my blog, unless it's a blogfest or hop that I am participating in. Then, at least, I will have some sort of set theme. But then, I have given myself weekly/monthly goals in the last few years that mean I do have particular types of posts I want to put up at particular times. But, yeah, I've probably done this before. ;)

Murees Dupé said...

Yep, I am guilty of one or two of these. Guess that explains why my blog is not very popular. Great post.

colbymarshall said...

Hello, hello! I checked in yesterday a couple of times prior to leaving to go out of town, and since then, things have been hopping over here!

Congrats, Alex! You are one of the few, the proud, the GREAT Bloggers!

Yvonne, great job keepin' on keeping on.

Carol- I'm definitely guilty of them, too. It's when I caught myself at it one time that I vowed not to do it again. That said, we're all entitled to this every now and then. I think when it becomes a more often than not habit is when we get in trouble.

Pat, I think you're right to stay away from filler and write when you have something to say. Those are the best. I hope you enjoy Chain of Command if you have a chance to pick it up! It'll be on sale this weekend on Kindle for $3.99!

Trisha- no worries- we all have at some point. It's just something to be aware of and use, like any good thing, in moderation. ;-)

Murees, it's one of those things that, once I became aware I was doing it, I flipped around and changed my content. Maybe on those days you can blog about what exactly you did that day that made you so tired, or what book you'd like to curl up and prop those tired feet up while you read to rest.

colbymarshall said...

A huge thank you to Pat for having me over. It's been a pleasure!

James Curcio said...

That's really only something I did back when I kept a livejournal. I think part of it is that I think of blog posts more as an article rough draft, and since you wouldn't ever send an editor an article that talks about how tired you are and that you kind of like chocolate but maybe you like caramel more... Of course, I also gave up on keeping a posting schedule quite some time ago- I think it's when I stopped being paid to blog.

As a side note, I've always hated that word. Blog. Blog. Blog. Shudder.