expressyourselfnwa

Express Yourself (Do It To It)

Jose 14 Comments

I recently read an article about blogging that made me want to kick someone in the shins.

I’d love to link it to you, but then I’d be violating one of his “seven sins” of blogging. :: gasp:: G_d forbid! Here’s the gist: basically he wrote a blog post using the seven deadly sins and correlating them to things people shouldn’t do in their own blogs. At first, it’s easy to look at it and say, “Oh, that’s cute.” But does it really help a new blogger blog or even one that’s already doing alright, but doesn’t want to feel like he’s just wasted 20 minutes of his or her precious life on hot trash? I can’t say the blogger escaped either clause.

With all the gimmicky blogs out there, it’s hard to distinguish the ones that weren’t complete wastes of time and ones that actually may matter not just now but also in the near and distant future. Fortunately, I have a few tips for people who’ve been asking me how I do it, much of it inspired by Louis Gray.

- Write what you like: It doesn’t matter what your field is, who you know, what you do, or what your interests are, blog what you want to blog about. Write about education. Write about sex. Write about politics and entertainment (though those are certainly a little more saturated). Whatever you write, write on. Write about you, even if you’re not that interesting, make us interested, which leads me to …

- No Hoodwinking: You can use your blog to entertain, fabricate, exacerbate, and pontificate, but for the love of G_d, don’t use any gimmicks to try and make your blog look interesting or make it look like you’re trying to set some obscure standard.

- Blogging Without Writing: Writing’s great, and I love it to no end. I love taking my time with what I’m saying, and expressing myself as I please, taking my time with what I write. Others won’t. There’s a difference. However, just because you don’t write well doesn’t mean you can’t be a good blogger. (There’s a good discussion on it here.)

- Read First, Write Second: If you’re going to actually write about a specific topic, do what the great writers do: read first. Read around, talk to people, see what you like, and what you can get away with. Once you think you understand the style you’re going to go with, run with it.

- Give Props Where It’s Due: If you find a style you like, and you’re going to ask the originator about said style, then give them props. Never ever forget to give props. You can consider yourself self-made all you want, but if you’re starting to blog at this point, that’s a farce. Found a story you like? Give props. Found a blog you like a lot? Give props. Got a helpful tip from a reader? Give props. Get the theme?

- Comment Like You Post: If you want to “get the word out,” then feel free to comment on like-minded (and not so like minded) blogs. When you comment, comment like it’s a sample of your postings. Granted, some posts only warrant a few lines, but if it’s a good post, reply in kind. People will read back.

OK, I’m done giving away gems. I’m still learning some of this blog mess myself. And whatever you do, don’t be the one to write that article … ugh.

jose, who had a fun time at the Tweetup last night …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonExpress Yourself (Do It To It)

Comments 14

  1. Tracy Rosen

    Especially like the first one – why bother blogging unless you’re writing about something that turns you on?

    Not sure I see what you’re getting at with the hoodwinking, though…can you clarify?

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    Jose

    OK, here’s my thing: the most gripping blogs can be creative without being fake about it. For example, some of the blogs in my blogroll are absolutely ridiculous in their satirizing and exaggerating, but they’re nonetheless informative without coming off as pretentious. Some blogs however make you feel like they’re making themselves figures of authenticity and authority, but aren’t really. Just me, though …

  3. NYC Educator

    My favorite blogger is probably Andrew Sullivan. While I probably agree with him less than half of the time, I love how he sizes up situations in just one line. I can’t even keep my comments that short.

  4. Pre_k

    well you have been doing this for a while and in my book that qualifies you to give some tips for the masses. maybe one day i shal return to the scene but at this point i doubt it… i got some other coals burning right now about to nice and grey so that i can get my cook on.. i hope all is well in your world.. piece and blessings.

  5. Roxanne

    Helpful tips.

    I also need to work on commenting. Sometimes I know a post was written well or really inspired me and made me think but sometimes I don’t really know how to express that in a good enough way.

  6. Alisha

    I’m working on posting, too. I read blogs, but do not necessarily post. . . sometimes I think stuff and say I’m coming back to say it, but, then, life. . . .

    Have a great school year!

  7. chanel

    It’s true that there aren’t any worthy blog sites out there anymore, however, making a blog complaining about such, really doesn’t help like you said.

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    Jose

    NYC: I caught Andrew’s blog, and you’re right: his one-liners are very informative, which makes him a good blogger.

    Kel, take your time. It’s worth it.

    e and roxanne, I will say this: just because you don’t use big words doesn’t mean you can’t be informative. From what I’ve read from your samples, both of you write well. Just do what you gotta do, ladies.

    Alisha, thanks for dropping by. Posting doesn’t have to be frequent, just consistent. Then again, if it’s about you, then post as you please.

    chanel, there are some good blog sites out there, but not I guess to each their own …

  9. talda

    nice post and great tips. how about writing for your audience…even if your audience is yourself? that’d count as writing in a natural voice…so would that fall under “no hoodwinking?”

    i always admired your writing because i can honestly hear you saying it as i read, which is a great skill and talent. props to you on that.

    i know i’m not going to garner tons of page views and and double digit comments but i enjoy blogging, even if it’s just about a mundane thing. i figure if i made you crack a smile then i did a pretty good job that day.

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    Jose

    talda, in a word, awwwwwwww. hahaha, I love “I figure if I made you crack a smile then i did a pretty good job that day.” And thanks for the compliments. That’s the point of my blogs: in case I can’t talk to you, I can talk to you. Holla :-).

  11. mzvirgo

    At this point, 7 months into my blog, I write for me. I love amusing myself and for those who get it, they get it. But I love the “stans” who come by and don’t agree with what I have to say. Sure it’s entertainment. But I do what is best for me, no matter how long the blog is, or how overly critical I sound or if I come off as a “hater” while I defecate on some of these celebrities. I love what I am doing and it makes me happy.

    P.S. you should add “proofread your blogs before posting”. I have come across a few blogs and sometimes I want to grab a pencil and correct them. Some of the bloggers get offended when they are told by other readers that there are too many errors, but I digress.

    mzvirgos last blog post..They’re just giving anyone a reality show, huh?

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    Jose

    Internet trolls are prevalent in this hemisphere, but when you read their blogs, they usually bore you because they’re only good at being contradictory. That’s real. I’m glad you’re able to take a stand with your blog, though.

    and as for proofreading my blogs, I do it when I need to. I rarely get a complaint if ever since it’s easier to just do it myself.

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