Write what you know

Never gonna be a Spice Girl ... might just as well sit down & write something!

Asked about blogging, it hit me what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. Write as often as you want to but resist the pressure to publish every day.  Remember that you do this because you enjoy writingExample:   At first, I obediently followed the mandate set by my instructor –  to write and publish daily.  I know she meant well because her point was to keep it fresh and avoid too many days between posts.  But now, looking back, I can tell the difference between my “going through the motions-posts” and those that were really me –  at my most authentic.  And if I could tell, I’m pretty sure others could, too.

2. To that end, let your posts breathe.  Not all of your readers are “online” at the same time and when you post something new, older posts get pushed to the bottom.  Give each one its due.

3. Read (and be inspired) by the work of others:  Be moved by the posts, dreams and the designs of the many talented writers here in the blogosphere.  When I feel “stuck,” all I have to do is click & read.   In no time at all, I’m laughing, smiling, crying, nodding my head in agreement and commenting.  In no time at all, I’ve forgotten about my little blog and have subscribed to several more.

4. Commenting on blogs is a wonderful way to connect but there’s a tiny line between being interested and supportive and just being there to promote your stuff.  People will find you if they’re interested and they don’t … then they don’t.     The self-promoting commenter makes me think of that snot-nosed kid who dumps his milk at the dinner table on purpose: Look at me, notice me, see me, I’m here.   Geez I get it already now knock it off!

5.  Mind your manners: respond to comments and acknowledge those who took the time to weigh in.  However, if someone chooses to swear at me, their comments will not see the light of day.  Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no.  My blog – my rules.

6.  Take a challenge:   The topics I care most about are the hardest for me to writeSo when I find myself feeling that pinch, I dig a little deeper and keep at it because I know I’ve hit the good stuff.

7.  Slog through:  Often, what I feel most passionate about can leave me feeling vulnerable and it’s tempting to self-censor…. but then I can easily lose the point of my post.  However, what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites. Maybe not the most read, but.. My. Personal. Favorites.  And that counts for something, too.

8.  Be open to ideas Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and often at random times. Keep a list.  You can email ideas to yourself, record messages on your cell phone or, like me, scribble notes down on the backs of envelopes, post-its and grocery lists.

9. Have fun: If writing starts feeling like a chore, step away and do something else.  Chances are something else in your day will inspire you.   We’re not curing Cancer here, people!  Step away, mix it up, come back & let ‘er buck!

10. Write what you know:  Lastly, lots of blogging “authorities” will tell you to “become the expert,” or to find out what you’re an expert on.  Well, the only thing I am an expert on is me, my life and my experiences … and all of it is a work in progress anyways.

  Your turn: What has blogging taught you?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Write what you know

  1. Absolutely perfect advice.

  2. Very nice and full of information. I hope to try this out, thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the permission to not have to post EVERY day!

  4. This is a great list, MJ…I agree with everything you’ve said.

    I would like to add the wonderful friends I’ve made while blogging…it’s truly amazing to be in daily contact with people who “get me” as a writer…I don’t have that in my “real life.” It’s an extremely supportive community, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it for the last 14 months…


    P.S. I added you to my Blogroll today…hope that’s okay!

    • Thanks, Wendy, for liking my stuff enough to add me to your blogroll – I feel honored. And I agree; I’ve “met” some wonderful people via my little blog … cheers! MJ

  5. Great advice — I especially agree with the no-need to post everyday. Sometimes I feel like I have more posts rattling around in my head than I know what to do with and other times it seems like I can go a week without anything to say.

    I have met — and continue to meet — great people that care enough to share through this “experiment” I began almost five years ago.

    • Yep – that Draft folder in my head is full and sometimes spills over, too.

      Cheers – and cheers on nearly 5 years of blogging 🙂


  6. #8 really gets to how, when and where our ideas can be captured. At first I simply filled my Drafts with tentative titles, but now the lists have spilled out to different places. It’s amazing how our stories intertwine and how easily I can find folks who think thoughts I have had. I do love my “bloggie friends”. This is a great list to return to. Thank you for posting.

    • Thanks, Georgette — sometimes, for grins, I just like to try and follow the “thought trail” to see how I ended up pontificating on a particular post 🙂 Cheers, MJ

      • I’m thinking about #7 today for several reasons. PS RE: #5, as much as I enjoy (no love) reading your replies, pls. know as a reader, I think you are very polite…and generous. If you don’t comment (on occasion…^o’), that’s OK…or am I breaking your rules?

      • Georgette you are so kind. Sometimes I comment, and sometimes I don’t (time .. or a post is too profound that there are no words) .. but always, I don’t comment unless I have something decent to say. There’s enough gnarly nastiness in the world and I’m trying to not contribute to it. Thanks for commenting .. again 🙂 MJ

  7. Thank you. I needed to read this. I’m new to blogging and I’m struggling with how to balance it all. Great tips.

    • My experience is to go back to where I started: that I love to write, I have a need to express myself, I love to connect with others and I want to enjoy doing so… That’s it. Cheers! MJ

  8. Deb

    HEY!!!! I can’t believe you posted that picture!!!! TURKEY!!!!! Ya I printed it again, and it hangs proudly on my fridge – but you’re still a turkey.


  9. The Divine Miss “D” … I cut you out and, of the 2 of us, I’m the only turkey in it still 🙂
    I knew you’d recognize that right away but thought I’d better leave “Babycakes” out .. .Gobble Gobble! MJ

  10. Deb

    You didn’t have to remove it – it’s a total riot!!!

  11. “Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no.”

    Hahaha! Oh MJ, I just love your blog. Right on 🙂

  12. I needed this ‘justification’ today, MJ. Thank you. I’ve been busy with life, and I have not posted anything in – what feels like – forever. Having read your post today, I feel at ease knowing my published posts are ‘breathing’. Prior to getting a steady stream of readers, I wrote for over a year. I have many posts in my archives. Perhaps my absence will allow folks to go deeper into the drawers of my blog. Then again, maybe not. 🙂
    Good advice. Thanks again! ~ Lenore

    • You’re most welcome. Life gets in the way sometimes … and letting your posts breathe is kind of like letting our children go forward without their training wheels. We know they can do it; sometimes we just have to see it to believe it.

      Cheers! MJ

  13. I think I could begin all my comments to you “couldn’t agree more!” No, seriously, this is a great list.

    I know what you mean about the posts that mean most. Sometimes I feel like maybe I’ve been too personal…but then, it’s mine to write, and no one has to read if they choose not to, right?

    Thanks, as always!


  14. I agree on stepping away for awhile. Sometimes you have to and sometimes you need to keep plugging away. I never did sign up for the post-a-day because I knew I was not going to live up to it.

    • Well .. good on you Rumbley (Karyn) .. why sign up for something that you know, going in, isn’t do-able for you and, in the end, just might make you feel badly? Why? Excellent point 🙂 MJ

  15. cooper

    what blogging has taught me –
    1) I would have been happier not seeing naked pictures of Orson Welles.
    2) everybody is entitled to their opinion. don’t try to debate me on mine.
    3) if your comment tells me what I can and cannot write, you’re toast.
    4) just like any microcosm of humanity, there are some wonderful people getting connected that otherwise would not.
    5) it’s relatively easy to sculpt a bust of George Bush out of Spam.

    • Coop – as always, you never fail to make me smile. I agreed on all points and I would sculpt with Spam except for that jelly-stuff .. ick phooey. Cheers & thanks, MJ

  16. I always agree with everything you write. You write the truth 🙂

    • Caroline, I cannot think of a finer compliment than what you just wrote. Thank you so much. It means the world to me .. and I do.

      Cheers! MJ

  17. I love this post. There is enormous pressure to post everyday – and my committment to do so. As you suggest, I also keep a list of blog ideas and haven’t had a day go by when I have struggled to come up with something. I’ve actually had more posts than days – but I am intrigued with your comment about letting each one breathe. This struck a cord and I’m giving it much thought. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your wisdom.

  18. Great post, MJ! I can see this one being FP down the road, too. I think every blogger can relate to your points. #7 resonated most with me, especially “what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites.” So true! I look back at some of my more personal posts with much fondness.

  19. I’ve learned much of what you describe here through my own blogging experiences. But I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned from writing is that it is one of my needs. When life and stuff become overwhelming, I’m going to feel like I can’t breathe… just until I let it all out through writing.

  20. Pingback: Go with what you know « Emjayandthem's Blog

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