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Veteran Member - Level 12
From the Oni outpost on the coast, I'm here to lay down some lines for your reading pleasure.
So recently, a lot of people have been messaging me and asking me about writing. They ask me how to write a blog, and many want to know the answer to the million dollar question: "How can you write high quality work on a regular basis?"
The answer is complicated.
First, you have to know a bit about me, but I promise, this won't be a huge tome or anything-I'll just try and condense my last 26 years of life into 3 paragraphs. >_>
Time to dust off the podium and stretch my "storytelling muscles".....
Like many of you, I grew up with computers, but unlike many of you, I did not grow up with the Internet. I spent a lot of time as a child writing stories and coming up with imagination games to pass the time. While my gray brick Game Boy provided me many hours of sweet level beating time, my mind was always coming up with new or interesting things that I wanted to play out-stories, poems and even the odd play or two (this was right around the time where I became obsessed with making felt finger puppets and putting on long-winded plays for my younger siblings). I was a writing machine as a kid (I still have short stories from when I was in grade school-such as "The Night of the Living Lasagna" (three guesses as to what that story was about, lol), and reading them as an adult still makes me chuckle.
This writing capacity exploded in scope when I hit junior high. In 8th grade, I fell off a bunk bed, snapping my arm in half and severing the Ulnar nerve in my right arm. For almost 6 months, I had almost no finger or hand control (you will not believe how freaking surreal it is when your brain is WILLING your hand to move and it just...won't...), but after 2 surgeries (thanks to world-class neurosurgeon Dr. Molten RIP-you are the reason that my hand still works today), a gazillion staples, some giant scars, and a lot of physical therapy, I'm more or less back to full feeling and range of movement in my right hand. Of course, the best part is through all of this, I could still write. You see, I am left-handed (I know, SURPRISE TWIST, amirite?)
So from then, I spent the next 6-7 years chronicling my whole life through hand-written journals. This was in the late 90's (ZOMG, has it been that long?) and early '00's, when most people's internet was through a phone line with a modem and one of those annoying AOL CDs. So I wrote and wrote, not expecting anyone to read it-but writing nonetheless. I started out writing from a place that was kind of self-centered. A place that revolved around myself, and what I wanted to re-read, were I to go back to a previous journal and wonder what sort of things I used to be up to. And even as I've become net-savvy and taken the odd creative writing class from time to time, I still have to say that there are certain guidelines that I've found very helpful when writing on a regular basis (which is different than writing rarely or simply commenting/discussing. So I figured that I would share these with you, dear reader. Remember, there is no ONE WAY to write quality blogs on a regular basis. Listen to your heart-and your inner peanut gallery (but not too much, lol, or you'll never get it done), and you will find your voice.
So without further ado, here are Oni's Daily Blog Guidelines:
Guideline 1: A Topic Idea That Engages Your Brains
(Warning: may attract zombies).
You may not necessarily think that writing requires much of anything, and you'd probably be correct. Other than writing utensils of some sort (paper, pen, computer), there is really only one thing you need. And that, as Poirot would say, is "the little grey cells"-AKA your brain.
One of the best ways that I have found to come up with topics is to start doing something kind of routine (like paperwork or filing at work, but cleaning or doing the dishes also helps too) and I go on a stream-of-consciousness journey. Instead of trying to think of a topic, I just think of general ideas, and then see where my mind leads me. When inspiration strikes, I write down a couple of points and a basic theme for my blog, and then leave it for later when I have some free time to flesh out the whole piece.
Guideline 2: Get into your "Writer's Zone."
("I've got a love-ly bunch of coconuts -deedle-de-dee-dee- There they are a-standing in a row -bom-bom-bom-")
Some people write well when they're relaxed and unwinding while others do their best work while they are stressed and under a deadline with sweat dripping down their faces and a giant throbbing vein sticking out of their forehead. Find out what kind of state of mind helps you write the best stuff.
Once you've decided what to write, you'll realize exactly what sort of mindset will complement your topic of choice. Sometimes, you can't write poetry when you're feeling happy. Other times, it's hard to write current events stuff when you are in a super creative random mood. I have found that even if you can't write what you WANT to write, sometimes what you end up writing is what you NEED to write. There are quite a few blogs that I have published on GIO that I had initially not even meant to write, but when inspiration strikes or a blog topic that initially sounded awesome starts becoming boring and tedious, it can be ok to scrap your original idea (or simply wait until later when you are in the mood to do your original topic justice).
Guideline 3: Remove Distractions
(Hint: This ^ is not the way).
We all have things that distract us. Either it's the TV, or that long-neglected homework assignment, or even your favorite game, beckoning you to try and beat your best score or frag bad guys on multiplayer. Whatever it is, you need to get it out of your system or at least out of eyesight until you are done.
For me, it's dishes. I hate seeing dirty dishes sitting there after dinner-it bothers me so much that I get into a funk and can't focus on writing until after they're all clean and air drying in the dish rack. Of course there are distractions that you can't exactly get rid of-case in point, my daughter often likes to swing on my arms like a little monkey while I am in the midst of typing. Her other very favorite thing to do is a very similar maneuver that any of you who own cats are probably familiar with. She'll climb in under my arms and place herself between me and the computer screen so that I cannot see what I am writing. In any case, distractions are bad, mmmmkay?
Guideline 3: Be Passionate!
(Remember: if you burst into flames, you've probably gone too far)
The best blogs that I have ever written (and read) are by people who have strong convictions in what they are saying. Regardless of whether or not your opinion is popular or empirically proven by science, being passionate is the difference between coming off as a condescending jerk and coming off as a pure-hearted fan who truly feels a certain way, regardless of how others may receive your thoughts on a subject.
Guideline 4: Funny Comparisons are your Friend
(Gaming + Ladies Comics + ??????= PROFIT)
It is well-documented that comically timed juxtaposition is one of the most compelling way to draw in your readers. Crossing cultural phenomenon shows that you know about various "in jokes" (which humans are genetically predisposed to be interested about) and making several references link seemingly unrelated things together can often be the difference between a flop and fantastic.
Guideline 5: Do Your Research
(Bonus points for doing it in a kitty costume)
No matter how much practice and fun you have while writing, you need to have a basic idea of what you're talking about, especially when it comes to release dates for games or pricing for a system (if these bits of information are relevant to your topic, of course). Remember, facts are kind of like seasoning to a blog post-sprinkle them in and make sure that they don't come on too strong or they will get in the way of making it fun to read!
(BONUS) Guideline 6: Add Boobies
(Yes, wayoverdue and God Of Irony, I added this one for you guys)
It's a common joke that T&A makes the world go 'round. And what better way to distract and amuse readers than to artistically and tactfully include BIG OL' KNOCKERS into your blog post? Honestly, though, there is a reason why sex sells-because it's interesting. If you can bring in a little flirty playfulness to your blog posts, it will loosen up and engage your readership as well as your writing in general.
In conclusion, I'm going to reiterate what I said at the beginning of my blog:
There is NO ONE WAY to blog, and EVERYONE will have their own special style.
The most important thing to do when starting a regular blogging routine is to keep writing, even when you might otherwise feel discouraged. The more you write, the more comfortable you're going to be with your own personal process, and THAT is the only real "secret" you need to know.
So, if you blog on a regular basis, do you have "guidelines" that you go by?
Keep giggling at those ghosties! :D
Great advice, maybe I'll finally start writing like I've been meaning to.
Greatly entertaining, informative, and interesting as usual. Thanks for the pointers.