Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Blog Advice

I got some good advice last night, even though it wasn't directed at me personally.

Rob had put up some thoughts on how to get blogrolled on his site. Now, Rob's an "A" list blogger, whether he wants to admit to it or not. He's one of the trio of blogs that I first started reading regularly, and getting on his blogroll would be high praise indeed. Honestly, I don't think I'm there yet. I look at his sidebar, and see a whole lot of great blogs. Not that the raw talent is better (well, maybe in a couple of cases) but there's a lot of polished prose there. Folks that have been playing the game for a while, and you can recognize their writing content and style even if you just saw the raw text.

Here's the suggestions I took a good long look at:
5) WRITE instead of posting a series of links. I wanna know who you ARE, not what you read.

6) Cuss every now and then. I agree with Redd Foxx on this issue. Anybody who slams a car door on the hand and doesn't cuss is someone NEVER to be trusted. If you can't find something to cuss about in the world today, you ain't paying much attention.

7) DO NOT post pictures of your adorable, widdle, fuzzy CATS!!! I fucking HATE cats. I've made a few exceptions to this rule because I really like the writers and I have no rules anyway, but don't push me on this issue unless you're really GOOD.

9) Be yourself. I've never met the person behind a blog I liked when I didn't like THE PERSON after I met them. Honesty counts, and it shows in a good blog.

10) Forget where you rate on some ecosystem or somebody's bullshit popularity contest. If you're out for a sales career, try insurance or used cars. I like the blogs I like because I am NOT dealing with salesmen there. I think I'm dealing with real people.

Regarding Hint #5 - I've got a LOT of fluff in my blog at the moment. Part of that is just getting into the swing of the blog habit, and part of it is deciding if I'm going to be a linker, a thinker, or a gimmick/schtick blogger.

On #6, he's got me dead-bang. Ask any of my friends, they'll tell you I'm a pretty foul-mouthed SOB when I'm away from a business environment. I just loooove to cuss. The best part of my day is spewing bile and invective on the idiot drivers that Houston is infested with. It lets me vent my anger, and keeps my blood pressure down. I cuss so much that my friend Little Bee-Boy, an individual who passes me in the Overall Perversion category, asked me to quit using "Goddammit!" so often.

I usually write almost exactly like I talk. The "y'alls" I toss in aren't just for local flavor. I really use that term, as well as "I reckon" and "I druther" and "Fixin' to" and Bee-Boy's favorite "Big Ol' (insert any word here)".

On this blog, though, I have tended to edit myself for content. I don't use profanity as often as it occurs in my real life. I don't know exactly why I edit it out. I'm not out to impress anybody, specifically, and I never gave it much thought. It's probably because most of my writing is either in the professional arena or in fictional genres other than modern-day settings, so the cleanup is probably just a carryover.

On #7, we're just gonna disagree, and Sweet Fuck-All to the consequences. (See, I'm cussing more already!) I'm a cat person, but hold no comparative animosity towards dogs. I've fought with my friend Rockhauler and my father for years over the comparative charms of the cat, and gotten nowhere. Some people just choose to be discriminatory towards felines. I'm not gonna make cat posting a regular part of my blog, but Betsy Cat and Pookie Cat are the nearest thing to kids that I have. They occupy a significant space in my life. They're gonna get their occasional day in the sun!

#9 is the hardest to address. When you don't even blog under your real name, it's difficult to sell the product as completely honest. Still, I do try to be as honest as I'm comfortable being, and that comfort level grows on a daily basis. I shocked myself by telling the dog tale earlier. That was a story I don't think I've ever aired in public before. It's hard to go from private to public with your life, though it is quite stimulating in a way.

I once read that the secret to good writing was simple, just sit down at the typewriter, and open a vein. The first time I read that, I was much, much younger. I didn't quite see the point just then. I could understand that it was a lot of effort to write, and maybe the idea behind opening the vein meant you had to literally bleed from the effort. Suffer for your craft, and all that. The older I got, and the more I confronted my own barriers to good writing gave me a better perspective. It's not the physical effort. It's the unveiling of your inner self, letting your most private voices come out into the open.

If you want to be a good writer, you've GOT to bare your soul. Even if you don't want to. Even if you're scared to. Shit, I don't even take off my shirt to go swimming. It's nearly impossible to unload most of what I'm really feeling.

Part of that is wondering how my friends will react. Not the regular (and depressingly few) blog readers, necessarily, but the folks I went to high school with, the crew from work, the college crowd. How are they going to react when they find out via my blog that I find women who wear men's clothing to be really sexy, or that I listen to ABBA's Greatest Hits on long car trips,(Look, it's bouncy, upbeat, and you can sing to it and stay awake... STFU, already!) or that I like watching Antiques Roadshow and Trading Spaces?

So, I'll be as honest as I can. Meaning, I'll never lie in what gets written on this blog, but it might take some time to get all of the real me out.

As far as Hint #10 goes, I'll admit to a lot of stats-gazing and link whoring in an attempt to drive up the numbers. Sure, I'd love regular readers, but watching the counter crawl higher is intoxicating. I don't think of myself as a salesman, though. I've never been good at selling myself to others.

I'm a real person, though, even with all the link-whoring. This real person is competitive, has a drive to succeed, and is really fuckin' impatient a lot of the time. It shows up in my actions. I am about 30 years late in starting a daily journal, and it's somewhat telling that I jump on the blog bandwagon just 2 months before the Leviathan makes its presence known in the blogosphere.

So, you're getting more and more of the real (albeit pseudonymous) me as the blog matures. I don't know where this will all end up, but I just can't be content to languish at the bottom of the TTLB ecosystem, waiting for a crowd to gather. I've got to be twice as good, twice as committed, and a whole shitpile of Lucky to get this blog where I think it ought to be. Acidman doesn't trust someone that won't cuss. I don't trust someone that won't work to improve their situation. So, no slow crawl upwards for me. I'll either make it big, or go spiraling down in flames. Either way ought to be fun to watch.