It is Possible to Blog Wrong. Who Knew? Oh. You Did?

I signed up for the postaday2011 challenge.

I’ve received lots of informative, fun, and inspiring emails from WordPress, both general blogging tips, and specific topic prompts.  The suggested prompts don’t always work for TLH. But I’ve discovered a hidden talent for creative rearrangement of the prompts.

I don’t think the prompt “photograph a truth” was intended to generate a PSA to tell readers we have rocks in the sky at night.

I’m seriously stubborn.  There will be a post every day unless aliens arrive and demand we fork over all cake on the planet, I end up fighting to save the planet from a global cake crisis, crash my car, chase them with my dry cleaning, and come home to find out the fridge has been blown up.  (Not daunted: should above scenario occur, we’ll just have two posts the next day.)

In my attempt to write about something besides butter cream frosting, I have dutifully read all the blogging tips on how to create, keep up, and do…bloggy stuff.

I thought I liked learning things, until I learned this:

I am blogging wrong.

  • My posts are too long, you won’t read them.
  • My topics too variable. (Writing about frosting AND horses is non-sensical.)
  • My tags are too specific and goofy.  (Understanding the difference between tags and categories sent me to the funny farm for a weekend.  I’m still not sure I understand.  But I got a nice basket out of it.)
  • My categories would drive a librarian to tears.
  • Stream of consciousness blogging is…yawn…what was I saying?  Oh. Yeah. Bad.
  • My blog lacks a single focus (unless we count shared horse-snot, bonding experiences as the focus?)

I didn’t know it was possible to blog wrong.  Badly, yes.  Wrong, no. I thought a personal blog was like the diary I had in the 6th grade.  With the little key?  We’re not trying to be CNN or Something Terribly Important.  (We’re more about making copies of the little key and handing them out with a complimentary donut.)

I just had a panic attack.  Thought I wrote “dairy” above.  I agree that a blog is not like a dairy. Though there are a lot of cows here.

Which bring me to one more thing I’m not doing correctly:

  • A blog post should have a picture that relates to the content.

Picture, to meet the blogging Best Practice Standards:

This is related content, because she is not a dairy cow.

She was in the cattle drive where there were horses, so she’s a diary cow.

  • Content should be pithy, informative, strong, or funny.  But maybe not all at once.  I think you’re supposed to pick one.

The diary cow is very pithy, don’t you think?  Look at that face.  Definitely pithy.

I would not want to pith off that cow.

I’m already edging close to the dreaded 500 word mark, upon which you will all leave en mass.  If you came in the first place, which I’m told you haven’t, because my blog is broken, and I am a sad, pathetic wreck of a blogger.

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  At least 8 minutes.  Three of them angst-filled.  Then Shaun tapped on the locked bathroom door, behind which I was wailing, and said: “uh…I thought you just wanted to write, be yourself, and have fun?”

Oh.  Right.  That.

(And frosting.)

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26 thoughts on “It is Possible to Blog Wrong. Who Knew? Oh. You Did?

  1. funder

    The purported difference between tags and categories is why I went with Blogger over WordPress. Blogger just has tags. It’s hard enough for me to come up with tags, much less tags AND categories. I mean, really, my chicken tag is “bokbok.”

    Reply
  2. Aloha

    I’m doing Postaday2011 as well, and I’ve been sort of…. ignoring those rules.

    Sure, most of the time my posts are (relatively) short, but that’s mostly because I procrastinate and end up writing them half an hour before midnight, not because of the “scroll rule” (“if the reader has to scroll down to keep reading, it’s TOO LONG”, they say).

    I think that a blog is a blog. You can blog BADLY, but, like you said, there shouldn’t be any “wrong” way to blog. And I’m always writing my posts as I go. Isn’t that how you blog? Or are you supposed to have an outline for every post? I just have a vague idea of a topic, and go from there.

    Anyway. Great post and I love your blog (so just keep doing what you’re doing =D)

    Reply
  3. Liz Goldsmith

    Jane, didn’t you recently ask me to tell you that you were blogging “wrong” so that you could keep on writing such excellent posts? I had a talk with the folks at WordPress so that they would do it for me! I wanted to make sure that you kept on blogging just the way you always do. I, for one, am really enjoying your blog-a-day adventure. I also get really tired of horse blogs that detail how well they rode that 20 meter circle that afternoon. Your blog always makes me laugh out loud. And some days I really need that.

    I often wish that I could write funny posts. Unfortunately, that’s just not what comes out.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Phew, that’s right! I did ask you to tell me I sucked. Good idea, to delegate it to WP, makes it much more official.
      You do the real stuff so the rest of us don’t have to (thank God!): we need serious horse bloggers who research stuff for us and keep us informed.
      Bloggers with talking silverware and cows that are really diaries?
      I am heartened! I understand categories! (I think?) I understand tags! I shall go forth and suck!

      Reply
  4. Kristina

    “…crash my car, chase them with my dry cleaning…”

    This is why I keep coming back!

    (also, more frosting!)

    Reply
  5. Breathe

    One unresolved question.

    Where does the key go in the diary cow?

    Hmm. Maybe I don’t want to know.

    Following the blogger rules is like only eating vanilla ice cream. Nothing wrong with it, ‘cept its boring as heck.

    You’re the only post-a-day blog I read. So there!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Brilliant question. Where DOES one use the key on a diary cow? And what exactly might be written there? Uh-oh. I think my brain just drove itself off a cliff.
      (which of course y’all will be privy too as soon as I bandage it thoroughly)

      Reply
  6. Halt Near X

    I can explain tags and categories.

    Categories say “I am organized and focused. I talk about these things lots often. I am practically an expert on them.” It doesn’t have to be true; it’s just what’s implied.

    Tags were invented when one too many bloggers realized they had a category called “Inane and Mundane” or “The Junk Drawer” or “Passing Thoughts That Didn’t Pass Fast Enough,” and all their posts were going in that category.

    Someone waved a magic wand and said “I blog about everything! I am a Renaissance Blogger! I cannot be defined by categories! This post is about frosting and diary cows! Take that, taxonomy freaks!”

    If you really want to feel like you’re doing it wrong, take a day or two to research taxonomy and blogging. Or maybe not. The last time I did that, I decided I was so useless at organization that I might as well not try, and I deleted all categories/tags/etc. from the blog entirely. It took a year+ before I started adding them back in.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Ohhhhhhhh.
      I think I understood that. I think.
      Thank you O Blogging Sensei! I may reorganize. For instance, I don’t need a category for photos, and a tag for photos that go into the photo category? ( Yes, that phrase brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.)
      This comment (yours) could be an entire blog post. Laughed myself silly!
      (After I looked up what Taxonomy meant: I thought you wanted me to take the Diary cow to the taxidermist.)

      Reply
      1. Halt Near X

        We-eell…

        Say your category “Photos” is for posts that are all or are primarily photo blogs, like your recent Secrets of the Universe posts. Those would go in the category “Photos.”

        But say you have other posts that have lots of photos in them, and you want people to be able to find them easily… they just aren’t “about” the photos. These might not go in the category “Photos” but you might tag them “Photos.”

        So… all posts that go in the category “Photos” might get tagged “Photos,” but not all posts that get tagged “Photos” have to go in the category “Photos.”

        At least, that’s how I approach it. Or would, if I could be bothered to install a tagging feature on my blog.

        If you look around online long enough, though, you’ll find someone who vehemently disagrees with that distinction.

        So do whatever makes you happy. It’s the only way you’ll stay sane.

        (Isn’t taxonomy an awesome word? I suspect the same bloggers who adopted tagging also appropriated taxonomy from the science world, so they could snub the word “category” while talking about their awesome new approach to organization.)

        Reply
  7. AareneX

    Jane, dear. The rules are really more like *guidelines*, okay? Take a bottle of rum (or maybe a nice rumcake? is it correct to put frosting on a rumcake?) and call me in the morning.

    Also: “drive a librarian to tears.”
    Yes.
    Frequently.
    Tears being the result of trying to contain hysterical laughter while masquerading as a mild-mannered librarian who is NOT reading TLH on the reference desk.

    Reply
  8. Nicole Wylde

    The diary cow insists you stick to your rebel ways & blog on as always. You are my absolute fave, and I always want MORE!!!

    I love frosting…will there be frosting?

    Reply
  9. Marissa

    Lilly (my cat) has a request, to add to the list of rules. She’d like you to dial down your humor level from “absolutely hilarious” to “mildly amusing.” She can sleep peacefully on my lap whilst I smirk, barely flicks an ear when I chuckle a little, and enjoys when I don’t feel the need to comment because I can keep petting her.

    However, when your blog posts are this funny, and I read something like “pith off that cow” I burst out into a cackle, which sends her running from my lap to the other side of the room, only to cast a backward glance of disgust and horror in my direction before settling back down to sleep.

    So, although I whole-heartedly disagree with her because I do enjoy a good laugh, Lilly would like you to just turn the funny down a notch or two.

    Reply
  10. theliteraryhorse Post author

    I may have been a tad over-tired when I wrote this post.
    (Diary cow? Really?)
    I’m having a good experience with WordPress. WP isn’t telling me I’m doing it wrong, they’re providing links to successful bloggers writing about why they are successful.
    I think we have different ideas of success, and that’s where I tripped.
    Success:
    Big Successful Bloggers: A kazillion people read my blog! I’m influential and pithy.
    Jane: I got out of bed! I think I’ll write about diary cows.

    I had a scary moment in which I wondered exactly how many imaginary friends were visiting! (Thank you for the reassurance, Eventer.)
    Barbara: love a cake with a file, thank you!
    Shannon: you definitely should have received your Pulizter by now.
    Anna: Whew. Good analogy. The blog is a lot like my riding: some days it’s a mosey along, full of navel-contemplating potholes, some days it’s strict and defined.
    Shadowlake: Oh yeah. It’s me. Breaking Rules R Us. 😉 I think I accidentally break some rule when I breathe.
    Sue and Kimberly: You are the best imaginary readers ever!

    Reply
  11. Rachel

    I’ve lurked on your blog for a while now but have not commented until now. I really enjoy reading the literary horse and part of the reason I enjoy it is because of the longer posts. Everything is becoming more and more dumbed down these days. Our attention span is shrinking until it is the size of a fruit fly. Even watching or reading the news is frustrating. How much can you say about the crisis in Egypt in 30 seconds or 500 words? I believe that it is important to challenge ourselves to read more and pay attention to details. Don’t ever change. Challenge your readers to follow along with your thoughts on horses and cake. Don’t sacrifice quality for a few more page views!

    Reply
  12. Cyndi

    Oh, you sad, pathetic blogger! You had me laughing…hard.. over the diary cow.
    Don’t you hate it when some ‘authority’ decrees how things should be done the ‘right’ (their) way?!
    I much prefer your way – oh, but please, keep adding a ‘related’ photo. A good laugh is important for the health of your readers!

    Reply
  13. shadowlake2005

    Jane, I wouldn’t spare another neuron on it. Rules are made to be broken, and I’m sure you can find something much more worthwhile tp stress over **grin** If not, I’ll have a word with Hudson, I’m sure he5 be Delighted to help!

    Reply
  14. annablakeblog

    I had this conversation, it poked me too. On one hand, I get the point: poems are different than novels, we give different writing forms different names. I hear it as a definition more than a directive. Writing is like riding. Sometimes we do a trail ride, sometimes a dressage test. Not wrong just different. Write/ride on, Jane. And Thanks. Whatever it is, I like the read.

    Reply
  15. Shannon

    Egads! I’ve been blogging wrong, too. I wonder if that’s why I haven’t won a Pulitzer in blogging?

    Rules are for the weak minded and unimaginative, anyway. Keep on keepin’ on, you rebel, you!

    Reply
  16. Barbara

    I have several blogs on blogger. I kept hearing how much better wordpress was so a couple of years ago I opened a wordpress blog, well, started to. As I was setting it up I was getting tips on how to attract readers en masse and how to write. I left.
    I love your blog, keep it up until wordpress hauls you off in handcuffs for breaking the blogging laws. I will send a file in a cake.

    Reply
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