Image by jack_spellingbacon via Flickr
Here I am taking a breather from my grim pursuit of rockstar status in blogging to bring you some findings. This blog turned two months old last February 4 and I took stock of traits that kept me from dying of hypothermia in the perilous sea of blogging:
1. Be not afraid to be wrong. When faced with difficult choices, go ahead and write your convictions with gusto. Don’t be wishy washy. Stand your ground. Don’t create little loopholes wherein you can scurry when what you say backfires on you. The blogosphere is full of blog authors who sally forth from point A to point B as if they’re walking on eggs. One kind of originality is the courage to be wrong. This sets you apart from the garden variety type of authors out there.
Says Jonathan Morrow in How To Be Interesting, “The world is full of people trying to do the right things. It’s become so common that many of us are bored by it. We long for someone that is willing to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, be the wrong thing. If you have the courage to be that person, you’ll find lots of people paying attention to you.”
I went out on a limb to write this . Because I am not afraid to be wrong. A couple of blog friends candidly put me to task. Bingkee because she’s taking up the cudgels for the average readers, while Mye made light of the fact my post caused her to “nosebleed.” The end result is that I almost conceded my mistake. Almost wrote my concession speech, but what do you know, another friend goaded me to be myself. And I did. So it’s Yatot’s “fault” I’m this hardheaded.
2. Be humble. Own up to your mistakes. This is a remarkable human trait we find in real life. And it applies to online interactions as well.
Dee called me out in the comment section about a mistake in attribution in this post . But she made it sound okay that I became fascinated about her. Turns out Dee’s encyclopedic knowledge does not only encompass the vast fields of learning especially about the law but anything and everything about Angelina Jolie as well. Another moral lesson: be careful around lawyers.
I was so uppity with awards and so full of myself . I am sorry if I have offended some well-meaning readers and friends. After some thought, I can’t simply be the blogging community’s version of Marlon Brando anymore – he declined his Oscar trophy for the The Godfather. Okay, I will accept them. Provided I’d be free to sprinkle my posts about them with healthy helpings of skepticism and some fun. Just to stress we’re not firm believers of our own hype. Done deal then.
3. Be accessible. Interact with your readers through the comments section of your blog. Shoot them an email thanking them for their perceptive comments. Chat them up in social chat platforms.
Jaypee is one good example of this wonderful trait a blogger should have. If you leave a comment on his site, he’d email you to say his thanks. And the remarkable part is that you’re conversing here with Jaypee and not an autoresponder. How about that for personal appreciation? He gives away gifts for top commentators on his blog as well. What more can you ask?
4. Keep your day job. This is mainly for people like me whose blog has yet to gain traction in terms of traffic and readership. If truth be told, the best stuff you can buy with your first and second monthly earnings combined is a packet of instant coffee, and a kilo or two of brown sugar. What creamer are you talking about – are you nuts?
Besides, it’s great to be out there in the work place. If you look hard enough, you’d find lots of blog post ideas not only around the office cooler but practically anywhere. In your friend’s dangerous liaisons. In your nemesis’ talent for ass-kissing to climb up in the corporate ladder. It’s not backstabbing. It’s called creative blogging. Whip out your notebooks, these are fodder for your posts.
5. It’s not all about the money. Of course, it will be wonderful to finally buy a laptop so I can be a peripatetic blogger. I’d take it to the wet market and if a particular conversation among the fish vendors strikes me as irresistible, I’d live blog it. So I did the next alternative: Cut out a glossy picture of this fancy laptop and taped it to my aging desktop instead. That’s one goal to keep the blogging fires burning. In psychology they call this sublimation – channeling one’s energy or lust for something into a more productive pursuit.
The reality is that money doesn’t figure at all in the equation. I blog because I have to. For Pete’s sake, I gave up American Idol for it. And Jack Bauer. Before I discovered blogging, I keep a disorderly room. With blogging, it has become even more chaotic. God knows what frightful germs have spawned there. The upshot is that I have an updated blog. Hehehe. I can live with minor setbacks.
6. Be yourself. You’re a remarkable fellow, trust me. They don’t make the likes of you anymore, anywhere. You can call yourself an endangered species if you want. Because you truly are. There’s no need to parrot anybody who you thought to be witty. Maybe they are. But you have other qualities to outshine the whole lot of them. Find it in yourself. It’s not something you have to acquire like a set of skills. Your style is who you are as a person. Let him/her out.
I have a friend in BlogCatalog. He’s from Southeast Asia. Everytime a fellow blogger broadcasts a post, he’s first to comment. All he says is “Thank You.” No matter if you’re ranting about the shenanigans in local politics he’d say thank you. You had almost busted a vein thinking up original post on how to wrangle a date with a hot prospect this Valentine and he’d write his thanks. Very polite and always accessible. Maybe he’s an extreme case but I think you get the point.
By the way, he’s active in Twitter, too. One time he’s done tweeting in his native tongue. Then he started tweeting about a sequence of numbers. 0-1. Minutes later, 1-1. Intrigued, I asked him what’s with him. And he said, “Soccer score.” With all the vocabulary at my disposable, all I can say in reply was a wimpish “thank you.”
7. Reinvent yourself. I started as plain Gani. Then I changed it to Jan. Now, that sounds properly Eastern European and I like it. The possibilities are endless. Seriously, you can learn on the side many wonderful things on the net. Be a photographer. Be a topnotch video maker or vide
o blogger. The good thing is that the blogosphere is peopled by helpful folks who are generous with their knowledge. Through their intercession, you meet mentors who can give you a good head start.
8. Keep the faith. The lack of interaction in a new web author’s blog is a right of passage. Live with it because it’s your baptism of fire. In my experience, I consoled myself that I have lurkers who just might have given me the thumbs up in silence and moved on. Or they may have given me the dirty finger and moved on. I don’t know, perhaps even that counts for something. It’s the indifference or cold reception that that deals the killer blow.
Or so I thought. But then they come eventually, these wonderful people who take the time to give thoughtful comments. Some blew me away with their forthrightness. Some keep me in stitches. A lot of their inputs are blog posts unto themselves. Am I getting clueless? Are days of spammy “I like your your post. Please visit me at_____” over? Thank you. *hugs and kisses*
In a nut shell: things unfold at their natural pace. Stay the course. If you view things in perspective, you’d notice you have made progress.
9. Play the fool. It’s not hard for me not to play the fool. Because I honestly feel I have some bragging rights to it. You can’t keep up with the pace you set as the perfect blogger thereabouts. You simply can’t. You’re liable to slip up and land on your ass. It will be a remarkable sight for us all when you do. What will save the day for you is your willingness to be candid about it. Or your sense of humor.
The blogosphere is filled with authors in gray suits with stuffy demeanor. Be the dunce. And you will stand out from the crowd.
One of the loveliest comments I got was a note from Kathleen Maher in response to my post about taking some breather from blogging. Says Kathleen, “I hope you’re back tomorrow, eager to ’signify nothing.’ Lack of meaning has a beauty of its own. And, playing the fool is imperative if we’re going to continue living.”
10. Be generous. With your time. With the little resources you have. Karma will take care of you. Or a new found blog friend – an angel of sorts – will.
Don’t hesitate to drop your comments when you visit your neighbors as if your thoughts were top secret recipes. Out with it. You have visited and read up on their creations. Take one more step and strike a conversation. God knows how many hours of sleep they had given up to come up with that post, or how much flak they got heaped on courtesy of their significant others (“honey, just one paragraph more and I’m done, promise.”). So you had better take the time, too. To let him know you appreciate his contribution.
If you’re lucky, you make a connection to another human being, not just a reader for your blog.
If you’re lucky like me you’d have an online friend dress up your blog. Thanks Yatot . Yes, a makeover is coming up, folks. Watch out for it. If you need Yatot’s services, contact me first. I’m his boy friday and business manager all rolled into one. The magic words to make him agree to help you is to compliment him on his firm, killer ass. It works like a spell. Now, memorize that, you hear?
Of course, you can make a deal with him directly.If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!