Here’s another guest post for you guys to enjoy! Koda is a personal friend of mine who is preparing to launch his own blog (stay tuned) and I asked him to share some of the troubles that he has as a blogger and let you in on his hints and tricks for overcoming them! At the very least, I hope you walk away from this blog thinking, “Oh! I’m NOT alone in this!”. Enjoy!
OH MY BLOG!!!
I’m Koda Boo. I’m a blogger, media whore, and most of all, I’m pretty bad ass (humble, aren’t I?)! I decided to write this article to help all of you other bloggers and creative professionals. I’m letting you get a little peek of what It’s like for me, venturing out into the word of blogging.
Let’s begin with some of the challenges I face as a writer, some of you can relate and I hope that this can help: 1) I am bat-shit crazy. I’m sure your thinking, “We gathered that much Koda, we’re not idiots.” Well I never! How dare all of you! There are millions of little voices and thoughts shooting through my brain at any given moment with virtually no organizational system! Focusing is clearly my main challenge. It’s probably from all the drugs. You know the ones, coffee and cigarettes.
More often than not, when I’m writing, my computer screen looks like Google exploded all over it! I’m pulling reference material, checking information, and really, just plowing my way through web pages just looking for something that inspires me. Keeping my head focused requires me to take a lot of breaks. Some you must be thinking, “BREAKS???? It must be nice to have the luxury of taking breaks!”! Well let me tell you kids… It’s not all roller coasters and rainbows, okay? I must take breaks to prevent me from literally throwing my computer across the room. At which point I would undoubtedly scuttle after it, picking up keys and body parts and screaming “Why!!!!! What have I done?!”. This is an important thing to remember: Unless you are up against a deadline, finding that you have procrastinated the week away and now find yourself rushing to the ﬁnish, BREAKS ARE OKAY! Keeping them to five minutes (no more) will allow you to keep your focus. I myself have ADHD (“We can see that.”) …rude. I must constantly refocus. I usually have two blank pages open. On one I have ramblings and nothingness; dialogues, snippets, facts, basically just whatever bull-shit I can spill out onto paper. I have these things because if I get stuck I can read that page and pull from it things that actually might work in the article I’m working on, or purge things that are ﬂapping around in my brain that have nothing to do with it. On the other page I, of course, have the article. I try not to deconstruct from the ﬁrst draft too much, usually if you keep tinkering with something you end up breaking it. IF IT’S NOT BROKEN, DON’T FIX IT!
2) Coming up with a concept isn’t really that difficult in theory. To me, it is akin to climbing Everest in a bikini. (“Why would you do that?!” you ask yourself.)
One thing I have learned from a dear friend is: Just throw it against the wall and go with whatever sticks.
Start off by typing out a list of random thoughts or titles for an article or story, just keep typing. Once you’ve managed a pretty lengthy list, re-read it and highlight the ones that stick out. Once you have a few highlighted items, you should deﬁne YOUR voice. What is it about you that makes you stand out above all the other bloggers out there? Personally, I have TERRIBLE grammar skills, and my punctuation (or lack thereof) has had me sent to the kilns on more than one occasion (sorry dears). BUT, comedy is something that I have a bit of a knack for, so naturally, I type the way that I would speak to a friend. Doesn’t work for everyone, but hey, that’s why you need to ﬁnd out what your best foot is and step on it!
You know, many of my millions of adoring fans (hey, a girl can dream) often ask me how to really punch up their content. My answer is always the same and comes without pause: Visual content. Remember, there are those of us who can simply understand a concept from written word, and there are those of us that need shiny things that attract us to actually READ it. Which is why, of course, I’ve provided you with the stunning photo at the top (of who? Well me of course!)! Media is an important tool, and with all the free websites that allow you to make a collage, or customize an image, there really is no excuse other than laziness to take advantage and spruce things up a bit! Pages that are visually interesting and have a clear image of what it is you’re exploring in your piece tend to do much better than those that aren’t. It also helps to ﬁll in those gaping, clinical white spaces ﬁlled with little black letters with a little pizzazz (Call me tacky…..I dare you! I’m only kidding of course!)!
My last three tips, I feel, are my most important little gems.
We’ll begin with: Constant content updates! Consistently updating your blog will keep readers engaged. I cannot even begin to tell you how irritating it is, to be captivated by a blogger and then three weeks go by and, nothing! Eventually, though it saddens me to do so, I must damn them to the trash can on my Google reader (tears). It’s not that I don’t love their content, it’s the laziness! Much like kids on leashes (let’s be honest: Children in general) bother me.
Next we must check in with our audience! Have them write in, keep them updated, provide them with a cute lil calendar of your posts (and for the love of god stick to your deadlines) anything that says “Hey there! I’m here for ya! Let me braid your hair!”
LASTLY: If you can engage your audience, get them involved and let them help to shape your content, you will be that much more successful. You can do this in many ways: Use social media outlets like Twitter, you can have them email in, you can create a poll, basically just get creative and get involved with who is driving your blog.
Well kids, that’s all I can give you for now! I’m just exhausted. I hope you found this informative!
Tah-tah for now.