The Importance of Blogging Earnest

holding an audience is a great responsibility“The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!”

– Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

First and foremost – thanks for stopping by for what’s either a repeat or introductory dose of my redheaded ruminations. If you’re a regular here, my style and means for delivering messages shouldn’t shock you. If you’re new – well, then I might not be for you. Regardless of your ultimate affinity for me, I never forget that I have a responsibility to my audience. As Oscar Wilde so eloquently stated above, truth is rarely pure or simple. As a writer across a broad range of mediums, I find that there’s quite the amount of joy in the “grey area” that lies between pure and simple and that it sparks some of the most lively discussions I’ve witnessed or joined.

As the truth is rarely absolute, I thought this week would be an excellent time to discuss the importance of blogging earnest.

Well aware that there are as many opinions as the world has assholes (and more, given that in-laws generally have multiple opinions to share), I acknowledge that my public presence in the blogosphere and interwebz leaves me an open and easy target for those opinions that differ from mine. Cool – completely cool. There are some rules that I follow, however, when crafting these weekly opinions of mine for all to judge. If you’re a fellow blogger, journalist, writer or just someone who stops by for my snarky two cents on social media and the like, perhaps you’ll find something here of value to take into your own online or printed prose.

The Redhead’s Rules for Blogging Earnest

Form an opinion – a clear one.

Each post should have a clearly defined title and purpose so your readers know what to expect. It’s OK to have opinions and it’s the diversity of thought that makes the blogosphere such a freakin’ cool place. Stop apologizing and start writing. Yet, there are a few more steps…

Make your case.

Of the utmost importance. Don’t be an asshole and feed your audience pedestrian pablum like “some people say” or “I read this thing” or “I’m not going to mention any names.” That’s total crap and you know it. Respect the fact that your audience is intelligent and capable of forming their own opinions. Present your case, substantiate your argument and acknowledge you’re going to have those who take issue with your stance. That’s outrageous news for you – if you incite your audience to applaud or throw stones, you’ve moved them and done your job. Indifference — now THAT’S deadly. Here’s a perfect time to mention…

Cite your sources.

There’s not a single post I’ve written that’s originated because the Angel Gabriel flew down, landed on my shoulder and handed me a magic banana milkshake that spawned an original thought. All thoughts originate from somewhere…something…some other blogger’s post…an article you read…a conversation with a friend. Whether you’re giving props or taking issue, cite your sources so your audience, if so compelled, can see the basis for your argument. There are few instances in the blogosphere where citing sources as “anonymous” is anything other than (in my redheaded opinion) complete bullshit. See point (1) above about forming an opinion. If you’re not capable of stating an opinion that’s substantiated by anything beyond “I’m not going to mention any names,” maybe it’s time to move on to a different blog topic.

Join the conversation.

When the comments start rolling in on your post, address them. Whether they laud you as the second coming of Christ or damn you as the antithesis, you’re indebted to your readers for their feedback. A blogger without a comment-generating following is pretty much just talking to him or herself. Don’t delete comments that state a differing opinion. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to have a Comments Policy – PR Squared has an excellent one. Just go to leave a comment and you’ll view its sane yet explicit glory.

Stick to your guns or eat the crow.

Your post was important enough a subject to you that you wrote a blog while you could have been doing something else. As a writer in any medium, your posts/musings should be viewed as your lover: you may not end up liking everything it is that they do, but you’ll support them. And on occasion, you’re going to have to admit that you’re wrong.

Don’t delete a post out of controversy – admit that you fucked-up. Eat the crow. You accepted the consequences once you chose to post your blog in the first place. Don’t squelch your lover and walk away. Lovers talk – to girlfriends, boyfriends, Facebook friends, Tweeps, Diggers, Stumblers and more. Better they talk about how you were able to not only hold your own in a heated discussion, but also admit error or a change of heart in light of new facts.

*****

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for this week. I’ll end by saying that the above is the process *I* go through when writing a blog.

Say it. Support it. Send it out. Watch it burn.

Would love to hear what my readers have to say about this – are there practices you use that you consider to be “blogging in earnest?” As bloggers, our readers come back because they enjoy our style, approach and the fact that we’re not out to hoodwink them with our words. We owe them solid arguments, not just kumbayah fluff posts filled with heresay. I believe in blogging earnest because I own my words, my feelings and my style. If you don’t like it, don’t read my blog. But don’t throw fruit at me on the web and think I won’t catch its splatter.

One of the most comlimentary things about having readers who like what you write is that they get your back. They’ll let you know who’s saying what about you quite often – good and bad. Nothing sucks more than a blind attack, false quote, inaccurate facts, or…missing out on the voice of your audience because you’re just not listening.

A HUGE thank you to my readers – and thanks for consistently letting me know what you think. And if I ever forget the importance of blogging earnest – call me out on my bullshit.

25 comments
redheadwriting
redheadwriting

@kittyhotpants Glad you found value in the post. Every blogger, I think, goes through different struggles and finding your voice is one of them - and while it's not about appeasing your readers when you're lucky enough to earn them - it IS about saying what you want to say in a manner that people find engaging. Otherwise we're just all crazy ladies with keyboards and WordPress accounts ;-) Enjoy blogging - your readers will thank you.

The Redhead
The Redhead

@kittyhotpants Glad you found value in the post. Every blogger, I think, goes through different struggles and finding your voice is one of them - and while it's not about appeasing your readers when you're lucky enough to earn them - it IS about saying what you want to say in a manner that people find engaging. Otherwise we're just all crazy ladies with keyboards and WordPress accounts ;-) Enjoy blogging - your readers will thank you.

kittyhotpants
kittyhotpants

i have been wanting to get really consistent with my blogging for a long time, and that isn't happening. i feel as if i DO have things to say - i'm just not all that organized most of the time. maybe i have total ADD. maybe i don't always have a strong opinion. maybe i am just too scared to voice it. maybe i drink too many beers while writing. whatever the reason - i lose focus. i love this post - it helps remind me why i like to write in the first place, and that (although it seems this way sometimes) *I* am not my only audience member, and the posts aren't just for me. if they were, i suppose i could just buy a journal... from one redhead (well, more like strawberry-blonde-head) to another - thanks.

kittyhotpants
kittyhotpants

i have been wanting to get really consistent with my blogging for a long time, and that isn't happening. i feel as if i DO have things to say - i'm just not all that organized most of the time. maybe i have total ADD. maybe i don't always have a strong opinion. maybe i am just too scared to voice it. maybe i drink too many beers while writing. whatever the reason - i lose focus. i love this post - it helps remind me why i like to write in the first place, and that (although it seems this way sometimes) *I* am not my only audience member, and the posts aren't just for me. if they were, i suppose i could just buy a journal... from one redhead (well, more like strawberry-blonde-head) to another - thanks.

Erica Friedman
Erica Friedman

Great article and exactly right on all counts. I've made a reputation for saying what i think - sometimes what no one else will say. People agree strongly, disagree strongly or send amusingly incoherent hate mail. I know I've hit the nail on the crumpet in any case. Cheers, Erica

Erica Friedman
Erica Friedman

Great article and exactly right on all counts. I've made a reputation for saying what i think - sometimes what no one else will say. People agree strongly, disagree strongly or send amusingly incoherent hate mail. I know I've hit the nail on the crumpet in any case. Cheers, Erica

lisR
lisR

I've been tuning into your site since you left Ouray and am luving it! Your my blogging/writing hero! We are in Panama now so we're all doing more writing, including Zane. Thanks for the hook up with Xavier. He was great.

lisR
lisR

I've been tuning into your site since you left Ouray and am luving it! Your my blogging/writing hero! We are in Panama now so we're all doing more writing, including Zane. Thanks for the hook up with Xavier. He was great.

redheadwriting
redheadwriting

Thanks for continuing to stop by and commenting on my blog as well as my @redheadwriting Twitter feed! It's a huge compliment to have subscribers and repeat readers...and yeah, I'm in deep shit if my mother starts reading my blogs ;)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks for continuing to stop by and commenting on my blog as well as my @redheadwriting Twitter feed! It's a huge compliment to have subscribers and repeat readers...and yeah, I'm in deep shit if my mother starts reading my blogs ;)

Bake My Fish
Bake My Fish

I discovered your Blog right after I joined Twitter. The fellow who encouraged me to join had you on his follow list. I'm glad I copied it. Your style is as if we are sitting in the room having a conversation. You talk directly to me. You make your point and keep my interest. My Blog is more of an attempt to be humorous, yet informative, with a targeted audience, from whom I sometimes stray. I avoid profanity (although I use it profusely off the air) in my posts because my mother reads my Blog (and her friends). I only publish something about every two to three weeks, but I do spend quite a bit of time researching the subject that catches my interest for the newest post, and I like to add a lot of pictures. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here other than I really enjoy your style and will be visiting quite often. You have a "catchy" way.

Bake My Fish
Bake My Fish

I discovered your Blog right after I joined Twitter. The fellow who encouraged me to join had you on his follow list. I'm glad I copied it. Your style is as if we are sitting in the room having a conversation. You talk directly to me. You make your point and keep my interest. My Blog is more of an attempt to be humorous, yet informative, with a targeted audience, from whom I sometimes stray. I avoid profanity (although I use it profusely off the air) in my posts because my mother reads my Blog (and her friends). I only publish something about every two to three weeks, but I do spend quite a bit of time researching the subject that catches my interest for the newest post, and I like to add a lot of pictures. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here other than I really enjoy your style and will be visiting quite often. You have a "catchy" way.

Brian
Brian

I do not know what a blog is but I saw Jonas Brothers 3-D and it was like they were jumping out with their music guitars and everyone should go see it. Also I will go look up blog now. thx

Brian
Brian

I do not know what a blog is but I saw Jonas Brothers 3-D and it was like they were jumping out with their music guitars and everyone should go see it. Also I will go look up blog now. thx

Sarah Allen Benton
Sarah Allen Benton

Thank you for these tips....I have had a blog on Psychology Today.com for a few months and am open to being educated on blogging. I completely agree about feedback to those who post comments. I have made an effort to respond to everyone. I also like your rule of keeping all posts up even if they are negative...important to be open to all views (not necessarily to agree with them though!).

Sarah Allen Benton
Sarah Allen Benton

Thank you for these tips....I have had a blog on Psychology Today.com for a few months and am open to being educated on blogging. I completely agree about feedback to those who post comments. I have made an effort to respond to everyone. I also like your rule of keeping all posts up even if they are negative...important to be open to all views (not necessarily to agree with them though!).

Dayna
Dayna

Gee, I wonder what inspired this topic. ;) Keep up the great blogs!

Dayna
Dayna

Gee, I wonder what inspired this topic. ;) Keep up the great blogs!

jodiontheweb
jodiontheweb

Good stuff- you are one smart blogging redhead. I don't blog often, because I don't usually have an opinion or a case to make. Except when it comes to Peeps. :) good post!

jodiontheweb
jodiontheweb

Good stuff- you are one smart blogging redhead. I don't blog often, because I don't usually have an opinion or a case to make. Except when it comes to Peeps. :) good post!

Todd Michael Greene
Todd Michael Greene

Great post on blogging earnest. I follow you on Twitter (onejan84). RT'd this post. BTW I like Mozilla Thunderbird for email.

Rick Ramos
Rick Ramos

I am very, very new to the public blogosphere, however I've spewed my drivel in smaller, more private venues for over a decade. After i decided to put together the pieces of my freelance design work, I had trouble figuring out how to write for an audience containing more socially conservative people and adult innocence (ignorance). I felt it was probably best to let it all out there, as it would be easier to write if I write from experience. Plus if you don't want a one-eyed, heavily tattooed Mexican, with a desperate need for dental surgery working for you... We're probably not a good match. "The truth is always an insult or a joke ... Truth has no concern for anyone's comfort." -Katherine Dunn

Rick Ramos
Rick Ramos

I am very, very new to the public blogosphere, however I've spewed my drivel in smaller, more private venues for over a decade. After i decided to put together the pieces of my freelance design work, I had trouble figuring out how to write for an audience containing more socially conservative people and adult innocence (ignorance). I felt it was probably best to let it all out there, as it would be easier to write if I write from experience. Plus if you don't want a one-eyed, heavily tattooed Mexican, with a desperate need for dental surgery working for you... We're probably not a good match. "The truth is always an insult or a joke ... Truth has no concern for anyone's comfort." -Katherine Dunn

organicsyes
organicsyes

Thank you for renewing my interest in "blogging in earnest". I had lost my focus a bit. The simple statements: Say it. Support it. Send it out. Watch it burn. Hell...that is my next blog post...citing you as the inspiration:) Susan

organicsyes
organicsyes

Thank you for renewing my interest in "blogging in earnest". I had lost my focus a bit. The simple statements: Say it. Support it. Send it out. Watch it burn. Hell...that is my next blog post...citing you as the inspiration:) Susan

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