I’ve been writing for too damn long. I’ve reached the point where, every time I think about doing a storytime because I’m reminded of something, I can’t remember… did I tell that one already?
I can’t just refer to my “Storytime” category. For a long time, I would intentionally segue… well, shit, I want to type “Segway” now because of that damn scooter, I can’t remember how it’s properly spelled. Yay. I could look it up, but I feel stupid enough about forgetting how to spell it in the first place, so screw it, I’ll just leave it for you to feel smugly superior over.
What was I saying, jeez… oh yeah. For a long time, I’d write these humongous bearwalls, and I’d start with one topic, drift into a completely unrelated mini-storytime, and then drift back.
I have now published 1,356 posts as of this writing. I can’t keep track of what I’ve said anymore.
My only saving grace here, is that if I do repeat a story… well, they’re all true, and I don’t lie (although I certainly will change the names of people to protect the guilty… and because I don’t know what statutes of limitations across country and state lines really are for what I may have pulled in the past) so if I tell one over again… I’m just emulating every other jarhead at the local Legion hall, right? It’s a tradition I’d be proud to carry on.
This rambling brings me directly to the point of this post; being yourself.
I don’t know if you read the Pink Pigtail Inn… I assume you do, because Larísa is more awesome than I am.
Anyway, if you’ve read the writings of the Inn’s hostess for any length of time, you know that she’s intelligent, funny, articulate, sweet and above all else, COURTEOUS.
She’s quite the hostess. Someone can be a massive douche in her comments, and yet she’s always remained on the polite side of the border when it comes to dealing with it. An innate ability to turn the other cheek, perhaps? Or is she really just that nice? I’m not saying she takes any shit, she certainly doesn’t, it’s just that she doesn’t descend to the level of mud-slinging or incendiary dropping to boot the little dillwad that I would.
Let me put it this way; I would vote Larísa the blogger most likely to violate the upper limits of Dunbar’s number than Godwin’s Law.
This being the case, you can imagine the moment of shock I felt when I read the PPI post that went up earlier this week, called “Publish and be damned“.
I started reading, and right away, I had to stop. What the heck was this? Where the hell did all this profanity come from?
I went back to the top of the post… ah! That’s not Larísa’s name as the author, it’s Tamarind! Tamarind of Righteous Orbs, of course.
That explains it.
I read Tamarind’s guest post, thinking all the while, “So, here is finally the best blog post of 2010. How like Tam to post it in 2011 just so it can’t win any Piggies.”
‘Piggies’, of course, being what I call the awards Larísa was giving out recently for great blogging.
There’s a lot o’ fun stuff in the post about big versus little bloggers, and courtesy and behavior and all that jazz. Great post, definitely a must read.
Just… be careful. Appropriately enough for someone with righteous orbs, Tam’s kinda got a thing for dicks. There’re dicks all OVER that post. Dick dick dick dick dick. After a while, you just start feeling violated by that many dicks, you know? I don’t know about you, but I’d never write a post with the word dick in it that many times, I’d be thinking the reader would start feeling a little uncomfortable, especially with having dicks coming at your eyes over and over like that. It’d be fine if there was some tits or ass mixed in there, but no, it was just a lot of dicks. Now, Tam’s undoubtedly got no issues with all the dicks you could imagine being shoved in your face, but you, my readers… you’re more cultured. More sensitive. More civilized.
I write something like that, and I always wonder how many readers I just lost. But then I remember the movie “Star Trek: Save the Whales“, and I feel better. If Spock can drop a ‘hell’ or a ‘double dumbass’, so can I. And I do take to heart the single most important fact that Star Trek IV taught me; “Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word.”
Hey, go watch the movie and check if you don’t believe me. That movie prepared me for life in the Marine Corps very well. Damnit.
Let me, after only 750 words into a post, finally get to a point (besides quoting Star Trek or pointing you to Tams post, both laudable reasons to post in and of themselves).
If you’re going to write a blog, the very first thing you need to do is be honest. With yourself, with anyone who might come reading, with everyone.
Be yourself. I’m not a Shakespeare fanatic, but “To thine own self be true” is awesome advice, and I even know where that one comes from.
More of that quote, Paul Harvey’s ‘The rest of the story”, would be:
To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
A lot of Tam’s post concerned drama. I don’t really care too much about drama, myself. If you say what you really think on your own blog, then you’ve done what I expect from a good writer. You can use tact or not, whatever your personality is about, but first and foremost be honest and true to your own thoughts and beliefs.
What I care about is knowing that when I read the writings of someone, that they are being true to themselves, and telling me what they really think. I don’t have to agree with them, I don’t even have to like them. What I’m going to do is try and see things from your point of view, and take that with everything else I know about you from your writings, and see if there is much to be learned from you. To see, in fact, if I should toss out some preconception I had and replace it with your keener insight and understanding on that subject.
If you’re not being honest, it’s going to be difficult to get to know the real you, and learn from your point of view.
I may not be Shakespeare, but I too can play the part of an overblown windbag giving advice to a short-attention-span youngster out to conquer the world;
It is said that for everyone in the world, there is that special someone waiting to be found. Well, for every blogger personality, there are like minded people reading blogs. Be yourself, whatever that may be, and you will attract readers who are of like mind. Wouldn’t you love to meet people who are of like mind, who appreciate what you say and how you say it? How better to find friends whose company you will enjoy?
Do not try to be what you are not, for the readers you attract won’t be coming to spend time with you, they’ll be coming to spend time with some fictional stranger you are pretending to be.
I’m very serious. Don’t let concerns of politeness or courtesy or skill in writing or any of that bog you down. Be yourself, whatever that may be, and trust in the fact that there ARE people who will be attracted to your writing. It may take exposure to alert them you’re out there… but if WoW Insider links to you, there is a good reason that 1500 people will read your post that day, but only 15 will stay on as regular readers. Those 15 people were the ones that enjoyed the way you think, and decided to stick around. They felt comfortable.
Those are the ONLY folks you want to stick around. And get to know them!
Do you really want all the rest of those people to stay? Is it sheer force of numbers you’re seeking? Or is it a place to have a conversation with friends or like-minded spirits?
I’m truly being serious, this is the most important lesson in my opinion to give anyone writing publicly. Be yourself. Don’t try and get everyone to read you, write for yourself and attract YOUR kind of people to come read you.
Whether you’re goofy and exuberant or quiet and thoughtful, smart and analytical or profane and aggressively asshattish, there are readers for every writer.
Gevlon’s a great example that you don’t have to be a kissass to be read and enjoyed by people. So don’t try to be one!
You don’t have to be bare assed naked up on stage with your real name and all that hanging out, trying to dig into the deeper meaning of being you, either. If you want to write from an ‘in character’ RP point of view, that’s fine. Or use an alter ego or persona to provide yourself a filter to protect your true identity, you super hero you.
It’s fun to be the Big Bear Butt… but BBB sounds an awful lot like John Patricelli because, oh wow, it’s the same dude. Talk through the persona of Tamarind or whoever you’d like, but let the thoughts and feelings behind the words be your own, and not what you think someone else wants to hear to make you more popular.
If you say what you think and people don’t like it… as long as it is exactly what you really think, then so what? There will also be people that DO like it.
Don’t worry about the people that hate on you, did you really get along with everyone in High School? Really? I don’t know about you, but I took it as a point of pride that I didn’t get along with some of those idiots… they were freaking morons. I don’t want morons nodding their heads and loving everything I say, I want morons confused, or, in a perfect world, whipped into a white hot incandescant rage, spittle flying from their lips.
There are so many distinctive voices out there, and I would love to see yours out there too. If you start your own blog… please. Be yourself. The friends you make will be drawn to you, and not to some mistaken idea of what they think you are.
You’ll be a LOT happier in the long run.