I've been blogging for a few years now, and I have a horrible confession to make: I have never understood what makes a good blog. Other than great content, that is. There are differing opinions on the metrics of blog success--comments, followers, link backs--but what makes a blog good to read? (Note that when I speak of blogging, I mean writers who blog, published or unpublished.) Humor? Excellent writing advice? When I thought about it, I came up with the following traits of blogs I love reading:
1. I always learn something. Be it plot, characters, or finding ways not to use the word "because," I love writing craft blog posts. Blogs that consistently offer fresh takes on craft are always popular. Note that craft posts coming from unpublished writers are usually not taken as well--not by me--but in general. There are some notable exceptions to this.
2. Humor. I love a bit of silly, and bloggers who consistently offer humor are always visited in my list.
3. Honesty. Showing me a piece of who you are is actually really important when I thought about it. Everyone is human but no one likes to admit it--when you do it for us, we all feel better about our own struggles.
I'm sure there are more traits of interesting blogs, but these were the strongest for me. And also, I haven't slept in a long time--my 7 month old baby, Rainbow Puppy, is such a horrible sleeper at night that we usually only get about 4 hours of sleep tops a night now, so I kind of move through life listing to the right like a boat with a leak. So that was all the deep thinking I could do on that.
And like all shallow thinkers, I then turned the three good blogging traits onto myself. Did I do all three? Let's take a look. Because honestly, in the four years I've been blogging, I kind of thought I was doing a good job but actually I think I've been a little full of myself. Like, I've been righteous about what I post. What an ass I've been, actually! Check it:
- Do I teach something in my posts? Ha ha ha ha! Who cares what I have to say? Who am I? Well, sometimes my instructional posts are good (I was the only one surveyed though), but it's kind of hard to get over the fact that apart from having 15 years of experience as a professional technical writer, I'm not a professional fiction writer (yet). So me giving writing advice is not wonderful. Especially when I do like I'm an authority. Sheesh. Gross.
-Am I humorous? We all know the dangers of believing yourself funny. I crack myself up a lot, but as Mr. Sierra is constantly pointing out, I'm the only one laughing. Hey, at least I'm having a good time, right?
- Am I honest? At first I said yes to this. But actually, I realized I hide behind quasi-instructional posts that nobody comments on because I'm too...I don't know. Shy, embarrassed, afraid to be honest? I realized I rarely tell the truth about myself through posts. Here is the truth: I am a high strung mother of two young boys, just launched into a wonderful new career I never thought possible before of a freelance graphic designer (and it's working!), and I started writing fiction seriously four years ago. That's nice but it's not honesty. Here's the honesty: I don't sleep at night (4 hours tops) thanks to baby, and I'm exhausted and annoyed and I worry a lot. I swear a lot. I am frustrated that my mind is 85% oatmeal from it and that my current WIP is at least 6 months behind where I thought it would be because of the non-sleeping, and also, I'm sassy and sarcastic and caustic and no one likes that. I'm tired and I make a lot of mistakes. A lot. Sometimes I care, sometimes I don't. I hate it when people think badly of me. I can't stand it. I'm introverted. When talking with people, I almost always assign them a higher status in the conversation whether it's warranted or not. I don't know why that is. My rear end is wide but I sure as hell am not going to the gym. I'll walk but that's it.
I think when I can reveal my total failings as a human in my posts, then there will be some honesty (and since I touched on them above, I figure I'm good for a few months, right?). I don't tend to reveal my failings, but those are what really make blog posts good. Like writing failings. I never say what I've done wrong, only what I've done right. And that makes for boooooooorrring reading.
I don't know. I'm burned out on blogging. I'm tired of writing posts that I feel like I have to write. I want to write posts that *I* want to write. I'm just not sure what those are yet.
What do you think? What makes a blog worth reading?