STFU Fridays: Stop Blogging and Start Writing, People
Blogher13 is on. For those of you not into the whole blogging community thing, Blogher is an annual conference for … duh … bloggers. I’ve never been, so I won’t go on lambasting it for all the reasons I hate conferences in general. For the record, I do. Hate conferences. It isn’t anything against Blogher, just gatherings of the sort on the whole. Conventions and such just aren’t my thing. I’m not into the booths and the sales pitches; nor the big badges. Especially not the inflated fees. And the sitting there laughing and clapping right on cue when the guest speaker says something that is just supposed to WOW us all – in the words of my 90s self: gag me with a spoon. I will, however, discuss something I think everyone at that conference should be talking about.
Writers: stop blogging and start writing, already.
I think there is a huge difference between blogging and writing. One so huge that it contends with the gaping hole that is my big, loud mouth. For this STFU Fridays, I’d like to discuss this – this cavern so hidden, so elusive, and so unrecognized that many of us fail to recognize it is even there.
Blogs Are Not Articles
Your blog is not the Huffington Post. It is not the New York Times. It will never be the Chicago Tribune. Sure, you may one day be featured on one of those sites, or be asked to contribute. But your personal website containing a blog ain’t it.
You know what that means? You shouldn’t be writing your blogs as though they are professional articles. Sure, act professionally, but can it with the unproven “facts,” the absolutely insane claims, and the vague analogies and hackneyed lists that you think are totally relevant content, yet everyone and their mother has blogged about.
If I read one more 5 Ways To Survive Summer, or 10 Things You Should Blog About blog posts, I’m going to shoot myself in the face.
And enough with the product endorsements already? I get it: bloggers (especially mom bloggers) get a lot of free shit in exchange for writing reviews. But man is it the most annoying thing ever to visit a blog and see that all its posts for the last six months were reviews of Chobani yogurt.
Stick it with all that shit. Just stick it. Shut the fuck up. A blog is a web-log. A log of your life, your experiences, your opinions. Make it look nice, sure. Sound fancy when you do so. But don’t pretend that it is something it is not.
Blogs Can Have Good Writing, But You Are Only A Writer If…
… you follow basic rules of grammar and syntax.
…. you be respectful of literary devices and the unspoken rules of the literary world (ex: a journey into the forest is always a metaphor for self-discovery, and rain means shit’s about to go down).
…..you learn to use your motherfucking spell check.
Really. What is so difficult about proof-reading or even just hitting the ABC-checkmark button that all blog interfaces have? Are we living in another arena of time and space where it is actually hard to spell “definitely?” If I see DEFINITELY spelled DEFIANTELEY one more time, I believe that my head will DEFINITELY explode, resulting in a DEFINITELY messy situation.
Bloggers: if you want to be writers, for the love of God just shut the fuck up long enough to do a quick proof-read. If you really don’t want to be a writer, that’s cool. But I’ll be the first to draw the line in the sand, here, and if that makes me a bad person – so be it. The profession of writing has been devalued far more than I am willing to just continue to sit by and keep shut-ted the fuck up about.
Stop Blogging And Start Writing, People
Blogging is so much more than just writing words on a blog-style formatted website. It’s going to conferences. It’s networking. It’s posting on Facebook and Twitter and Hootsuite and Klout and LinkedIN and YouTube and Squidoo and Networked Blogs and Google + and blah blah blah blah blah. It’s posting three to five supposedly-quality posts a week. It’s posting what everyone is posting about, using terms everyone uses, and giving shout outs to your favorite blogs ad nauseum, even if you have never actually read them and only call them “favorite” because you think they’ll mention you back, publicly. It’s doing link ups and hosting link ups and commenting and guest blogging (UPDATE: not to be a hypocrite on the whole favorites shout out thing, but one of mine ironically just talked about this today on her own blog, 25toFLy).
Some of the most popular blogs I know of are the shittiest things I have ever read in my entire life, though. It’s true, and it’s because blogging is not necessarily writing.
I’m not by any means touting my own blog as unicorns and rainbows and butterflies and horses that don’t poop when it comes to writing. And I myself have – on more occasions than I would like to admit – fallen into the trap of blogging instead of writing. Finally a few weeks ago, though, I sat myself down and said: Me, it’s about time you shut the fuck up and get back to being a writer.
Which is why I have a big announcement to make today, on this most glorious of shut the fuck up Fridays. It’s about time that I take my own advice and step back as a blogger, and forward as a writer. This doesn’t mean that I’m quitting the blog altogether. That would mean that I would have to stop bitching and complaining and carping and griping – and I think my most faithful of blog followers know that is just not going to happen. It does, however, mean that I’m going to finally get cracking on finishing my novel. It’s almost done and through the final stage of editing, so to motivate me to really stop blogging and start writing, I’m happy to announce it’s official release date of December 10, 2013. It’s called The Storytellers and promises to make you cry. Scratch that: it promises to make you weep.
In other words, it will be nothing like a blog. I know you will all love it anyway.
When push comes to shove we all have to tell our own selves to shut the fuck up once in a while. That’s what I’ve done and I think you should do too. If you are a blogger, I ask that you consider for yourself what makes you proud of the things you put out there. Is it that they are popular and catchy reviews of Chobani yogurt? Or is it your writing? Stop blogging and start writing, people. Because when written word goes away, what will we really have left? That may be too philosophical for you faithful blog followers to think about, but then again – for many of us – it is perhaps the most frightening thought there could be.