Blogging Insights — Extreme Writing

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from author, editor, and blogger Andrew Sullivan.

Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.

I don’t know that I’d go so far as to equate blogging with extreme sports. But I agree that blogging is free-form, can be accident-prone, and is, relatively speaking, informal.

It is said that writing a book can be a lonely occupation, whereas many of us bloggers persist because of the interactions we have with other bloggers. So I also agree that blogging, in that sense, is more alive than traditional writing. And since I have a tendency to read my posts aloud before hitting “publish,” I suppose “writing out loud” fits, in my case, anyway.

But when it comes to claiming that blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics, I have to ask this: how many extreme sports athletes can perform their remarkable feats while lying in bed and tapping away with their index finger on their smartphone’s virtual keypad, as I am doing right now while composing this post?

Blogging Insights — Words

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from Emily Dickinson.

I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and look at it, until it begins to shine.

I am one of a number of bloggers who posts a daily word challenge, the purpose of which is to inspire other bloggers to be creative and to use my daily word to forge a story or a poem of their own. To that extend, each of my chosen daily words has the power to be a spark to light up a writer’s imagination.

Blah, blah, blah.

Sure, choosing the right word to use each day is important to me and I’ve been doing it every day for almost four years. But I can’t go as far as Emily has in claiming that nothing has more power than a word. And unless I just finished consuming a cannabis-infused marshmallow, the words I select don’t shine.

What gives a word power, what makes it shine, is the context in which it is used. And it’s how my fellow bloggers incorporate my daily words into their posts that brings me joy and keeps me searching for just the right word to use each day.

Blogging Insights — Interaction

Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompts. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from none other than Ernest Hemingway.

In order to write about life first you must live it.

Well, Ernest Hemingway was definitely a man’s man, a rugged individualist and an adventurer. He certainly lived a full life. But I don’t think being a good writer necessitates having experienced in real life what you write about. That necessity would eliminate science fiction and horror writers whose work comes mostly from their vivid imaginations.

I do think that life’s experiences help writers. As they say, write what you know about. But I believe that having a great imagination and ability to articulate what you imagine in words is at least as important, if not more important, than life experience.

In my blog, for example, in most of my flash fiction posts, I write about things I’ve never actually experienced in my life. And in some cases, I am very thankful that I haven’t experienced them.

So, sorry, Mr. Hemingway, but as much as I admire your novels and short stories, I think you’re being a bit narrow minded if you think that one must have lived whatever it is that they write about.

Blogging Insights — Interaction

After a month long hiatus, Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompts. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from Michael Arrington at TechCrunch.

“I believe the term ‘blog’ means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.”

I agree with what Mr. Arrington said. A blog is much more than journaling, be it online or on paper. What makes blogging unique is the interaction with other bloggers and the sense of community such interactions generate. It’s like that old saying about a tree falling in the forest and whether or not it makes a sound if no one is around to hear it.

To me, the whole idea of blogging is to figuratively make a sound and to have people “hear” it. Otherwise, why blog at all?

I’ve had this blog for almost five years, and in total, I’ve been blogging for around 17 years. Were it not for the interactions with other bloggers, I would probably not still be blogging.

Blogging Insights — Window Dressing

For her weekly Blogging Insights prompts, Dr. Tanya provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from Gary Vaynerchuk, a Belarusian-American entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality.

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.”

I agree with Tanya when she says that the relevance of this quote depends on the kind of blog you have and what your blogging goals are.

For me, personally, I love writing and I love publishing what I write on my blog. That said, I don’t actively or aggressively promote my blog, and that, I believe, is what Gary Vaynerchuk is referring to when he talks about what you do after you create your content.

My blog has become relatively popular among a small group of people and I’m extraordinarily thankful for that. But it happened organically, not out of any definitive efforts on my part to promote it. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, so I don’t share my WordPress posts to either of those social media platforms. I don’t try to incorporate Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, by posting in such a way that would make Google like my posts. I’m not sure I would know how to do that even if I wanted to.

On the other hand, maybe what the quote is referring to is reading other bloggers’ posts, liking and commenting on them, and reading and responding to comments other bloggers make on your own posts. If that is what he meant, then yes, that is important.

But is that truly more important than the content you create? I don’t think so. You can promote your blog on other social media platforms all you want. You can use SEO tricks until the cows come home. You can read, like, and comment on other blog posts morning moon and night. But if your content sucks, by any measure, your blog won’t succeed.

My bottom line is that content is what truly counts. All the rest is window dressing.