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Posts Tagged ‘blogging advice’

Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

You’ll do what comes naturally – or not

Folks who blog are folks who want to blog. Fellow bloggers, quit wasting your breath (or blog posts) on telling people they should blog for a better career.

They won’t do it and they’ll give you dumb excuses. And, if they do blog – it’s not because you advised them to. The blog-curious only need validation of what they will (inevitably) decide to do. 

Just like a writer will try to use any outlet to showcase her creativity or a marketer that wants to highlight his insights– people with ideas will already have pursued blogging.

They’re doing it now.

Which brings me to my next point.

More blogosphere for me

The blogosphere can function in a vacuum. There are all these seperate blobs of communities that crop up around bloggers (read: personalities). There’s lot of opinions on how to engage non-bloggersor get more folks to blog or get respect for blogging blah blah blah.

I say: stop.

Granted, there are a ba-jillion crappy blogs, but there are just as many good ones as well. Your relevancy to the blogging community isn’t going to instantaneously diminish because you didn’t get more people to blog.

It only diminishes when you aren’t able to share, develop and reconstruct ideas and connections. People who don’t know how to connect with that possibility have no business blogging.

I’m not telling you to rob a liquor store

Blogging is like a dirty word to some people. If you suggest it, they start gasping like you’re trying to convince them that prostitution is merely speed dating. These notions are fine when you’ve at least tried blogging (or speed dating). 

Non-bloggers only seem to concentrate on the irrelevancies of blogging, how it has nothing to do with them (or the “real world”) and insist on questioning it’s usefulness. But value and relevancy are not always one in the same.

They intersect at different points. And, I’d be more interested in engaging people who are trying to figure that out.

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Photo Credit: Miserteacher @Flickr

Photo Credit: Miserteacher @Flickr

There are lots and lots of lists profiling bloggers that would be cool to read or the best of 2009 or are considered the most underrated

Those lists utterly annoy me because time and time again, it’s like rating the best foods or the places to raise kids.

They can be totally irrelevant…to the reader, that is.  Not to mention, taken out of context.

And – stop – I know that they’re only suggestions. Or, voter’s choices. Or…whatever. I think in the blogosphere, it may not always be a good idea to have such rankings – because rankings are just opinions.

And, I think the blogosphere is too big  to separate – and rank – out a few from the million.

I much rather have someone tell me why they like something, why it would be relevant to me and – that’s it. None of this best, top, worst of the year crap.

Furthermore, these compilations lack purpose. And some bloggers forget to clarify whatever that purpose is in their lists. How is that?  For example, they tell me what the blog is about and why they read it. As a reader, I could care less about that – how do you think it will benefit me?

It sounds contradictory.

In fact, it is.

Yet, that’s the point. And, perhaps the blogs I list below have made lists elsewhere and I’m not saying anything differently about them. I’d like you to keep in mind that this list is made for people who want to gather bits of information from everywhere for everything.

I hope I add something a little bit new to that gathering.

I know I sound like a total hypocrite because I am writing a blog post on blogs that I read. Yet, I’m thinking if you follow my blog – you have the same kinds of interests (and peeves) that I do. You may like children’s literature, but you’re not only (and always) going to read stuff by Kate DiCamillo.

I like to peruse stuff that appeals to certain moods I’m in. And just like you, when I want to gain a certain perspective on the world or inflate a certain mood – I can’t just got to one place, I go to several:

My Human Rights Muses/NPO work/Social Change

Nicholas Kristoff/On the Ground

I think a lot of people are seriously out of tune with what goes on outside of the United States – well, in the world, period. And NO, you can’t get all your news from the Daily Show – even though I’ll be the first to try. Generally, there is a very weak grasp of the political machinations in our own country, therefore, understanding stuff beyond that can be overwhelming. We’re also at a disadvantage because we are distanced (or better yet, create the distance).

Nick writes about those various (dis)connections and bridges the gaps, specifically on human rights issues.

Allison Jones/Entry Level Living

I have not come across too many (good) blogs that detail the work of twenty somethings in the NPO world. Nor, I haven’t run across as many that are as insightfully opinionted and as well-informed as Ms. Jones. If you are a twenty something looking to understand social change (as a profession), please visit her blog.

It’s well worth the time.

Karyn/The Fabulous Giver

What can’t be more great than finding chic ways to do charity?  Karyn’s writing is sweetly engaging. The site fosters a lot of opportunities to learn new things about wonderful philanthropic social events and causes. If you are interested in seeing how advocacy turns into action, The Fab Giver should be one of your places to start.

Beth Kanter/Beth’s Blog

This is kind of the “grown up” version of a blog about NPO work and social media usage. Ms. Kanter is pretty straightforward and her advice is practical. I may not always know what she’s talking about – but her blog is like the individual contrast (perspective?) to K Street Cafe.

Career: Good, Bad & Funny

Marci Alboher/Hey Marci

I had just begun following Ms. Alboher’s blog, Shifting Careers, before she got booted from the NYT. Her blog focuses on the multiplicity of careers and jobs. You’ll enjoy it too if like to read about workplace trends and the redefinition of career life.

And, she’s a nice contrast from Ms. Trunk – I can only handle one career blog that details the sex life of the author.

FFN/Fired for Now

This is a fairly new blog. I hope it sticks around. FFN writes about the realities of getting canned from a rigidly honest and insightful view point. The definition of unemployment is changing and this blog seeks to challenge the assumptions of its “social meaning.”

In other words, this blog doesn’t make me feel so bad about getting fired – ever. I suggest this become a must-read for all people still griping about being canned, worried about getting a job or otherwise happy with their career (read: EVERYONE).

Lillit & Ashley/Save the Assistants

This blog appreciates admins from across the world. The Bossary should be the first stop for anyone visiting. Administrative work can be tough – and mind crushing (if you let it). This site can be your saving grace. If you feel you are wasting away your soul in a crappy administrative job, read this blog and become inspired.

Go ahead and be saved (no worshipping of another g-d required).

John Henion & Tania Khadder/Unemploymentality

Weird. Slightly offensive. Scathingly sarcastic. Those are the first three descriptions that come to mind about this site. And, it’s hilarious. It’s an extremely fun read – and the best thing?

You can actually laugh in the face  of joblessness (er…maybe).

Jodith Allen/Administrative Arts

Kind of cheating on this one because I already mention a blog that profiles admin work. Yet, I think this is a good blog to read for anyone no matter what stage of their career they’re in. Admin work is part of any job you do –  from being  the president of a company to the mail clerk. Paperwork is paperwork  – don’t fight it.

Ms. Allen’s blog talks about time management, technology and various facets of (admin) career development. You can try that or the Crabby Office Lady (bonus!).

Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down – Inspiration Blogs!

Alexander Kjerulf/The Chief Happiness Officer

Being happy is important (especially at work) – ’nuff said.

Stephanie/Stephmodo

Besides having the same name as my little sister  – this blogger and I have another thing in common: an appreciation for all things beautiful and appetizingly sensual. Stephanie’s blog is absolutely gorgeous.

And, it’s not nearly as terrifying as GOOP.

Erinn/The Happy Living Design Blog

I’m a big fan of having peaceful spaces. I admit, I just go here to check out whatever photos might be up, but the writing is very interesting, as well. Go here to get ideas on (inexpensive) interior design for all types of abode living.

Not to mention, her blog’s layout has a “soothing” quality.

Cheryl Porro/ The Cupcake Blog

Ok, this blog has been “closed.”  But you can still view recipes, photos, etc. Furthermore, anything featuring a cupcake is bound to make you feel better.

No matter what.

Ev-Yan/Apricot Tea

Besides being ridiculously cute, Ev-Yan is a sensibly chic fashionista. If you like reading about fashion, Ev-Yan can be your muse. She also writes about married life, vegetarian and vegan eating habits and ripped shorts.

She posts photos quite a bit of the various outfits she wears, she pulls off the androgynous look quite well – better than most.

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Kristina B@Flickr

Photo Credit: Kristina B@Flickr

Lately, when I talk to other professional colleagues, I mention that I have a blog.

Eyebrows raise.

When I encourage others to begin blogging – mouths twitch.

Of course, not everyone blogs. And, certainly they don’t have to if they don’t feel the need. I’m addressing those who are interested in adding a context of relevance to their current (or changing) careers.

I’m speaking to the frustrated few with loads of ideas and want ways to implement them.

Everyone blabs about how college students and professionals alike should start a blog. Start a blog to gain online presence. Start a blog to establish credibility. 

Nonetheless, that still doesn’t give much credence to would-be bloggers and the blog-curious.  They want to. They think they should. Yet, a few reasons keep them from taking that first step toward their computer: 

 It’s an online diary…

That’s fair. It can be an online diary. Yet, that’s like saying when you go outside, you can only run. When entering the blogosphere, your blog can do anything you want (and be anything you want).

There’s no over riding commandment that stipulates you must bare intimate secrets for the world to read.

Seriously. It’s your playground. Talk about something that interests you. And, if you don’t know where to start, read something that will give you food for thought.

I won’t have anything to say…

All those ideas buzzing in your 3 pound mass and yet nothing to say? If you are interested in the following:

  • Grooming your writing abilities
  • Learning
  • Conceptualizing ideas
  • Rounding out opinions

There should be plenty to say. Placing your thoughts into plain view for mass consumption is the real fear. The blog-curious worry that their ideas might not be interesting or great enough. Yet, if you want to create space and opportunity to reciprocate a flowing current of creativity– blogging will be a great tool for you.

And, just like any other tool, you can use blogging to shape your voice, hone your ideas and tune your (own) words.

It’s for geeks…

Oh, goodness. Are you kidding?! Do I have to address this one? Were you the type to beat up on the kids who got A’s on their spelling tests?

There’s no point…

If you don’t understand the meaning behind discussion or circulating your ideas – then, you are right. There is no point. Also, oddly enough, some people don’t see the validity in unfamiliar ventures if the reward isn’t inherently obvious. 

And, the risks of blogging are a little more than ambiguous on the surface (and the rewards are distinctively abstract).

You risk nothing if you melt into the background.

Truthfully, if you aren’t interested in risk , you probably have very little invested in your career (maybe, even in your life).  

Therefore, don’t blog at your own risk.

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MacUK @ Flickr

Photo Credit: MacUK @ Flickr

My boyfriend and I get up pretty early. Practically, every day – even on weekends. But, I think early rising is overrated. What are you going to be doing at 4 am on a Tuesday or 5 am on a Saturday? Of course, there’s plenty of things you could be doing. Some of these things even involve healthy ventures. You could be working out or finishing some nameless outstanding project. Anything.

Even cooking breakfast – only to find yourself hungry again at 10 am.

But, even if you do have ideas for the day, getting up earlier won’t guarantee that work will get done any better. And probably not any faster or earlier. So, what are you going to do with all that “extra” time? You’ve finished all your work before the Saturday morning cartoons – now what?

You find more work to do. Busying yourself with projects so you can catch up on all that elusive free time you don’t think you’re getting. Or, wasting  time doing something else you’re not reallyinterested in doing but feel you should because, now, you have the free time to do it.

It’s confusing. We always have things we should be doing. But, those things tend to factor themselves out of the equation of our to-do lists. Early risers have to figure out what will keep them (pre)occupied for the next 10 hours. I guess that makes us highly productive. Maybe. But, I am not entirely sold. I think early risers just like getting stuff done sooner than they have to. 

After all, we’re already awake at 4 am. So, I think it’s better to get your work done when you can. Don’t rush to rising early just so it can get done sooner.  You’ll only create more projects to complete. And in the long run, you might just turn into a workaholic. If you haven’t already planned your day out, there’s no point in getting up early.

Early rising is for people who’ve already made plans and expect to make more. And if you haven’t made plans, what are you doing out of bed?

 

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rubber-band1There’s loads of talk about having a personal brand, specializing and niches. But, why just have a brand? What’s the point of a niche when the blogosphere is teeming with others talking about the exact same thing you are talking about?

Stretching yourself means reshaping your topic. I means connecting the unexpected and making something unheard of out it. It’s not as intriguing to talk about marketing to Gen Y when all you’re doing is talking about what that marketing means to other marketers. Reshape your topic to the point that it’s unrecognizable. Marketing doesn’t look like marketing anymore because you managed to link sex in movies to Gen Y women buying more clothes. It’s a stretch, but the real creativity is finding the points that link such a concept.

You don’t need to know what links you’ll create when you’re stretching because that’s the whole idea. The stretching creates the points. The point is the new ideas you come up with.

So, be a stretch. Why be an engineer who only talks about engineering when you can talk about the comedy of engineering mistakes? That’s a stretch because most engineers aren’t funny (with the exception of my boyfriend). Make something not normally humorous funny. Provide information to your readers that requires you to be engaging.

Why have a blog about career advice when you can advise people on how not to work instead? That’s a stretch because career advice doesn’t advocate that you don’t try to work. Being a stretch forces you to think about your topic in new ways that are not readily apparent to the average eye.

And if you are careful, you’ll learn something. You’ll bring your readers to more than just the edge of an topic. You’ll have stretched it into something new altogether.

What an enlightening idea, indeed.

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Q. Hey Writerbabe, what’s up with the banner and the weird key thingies in it? And, how come you don’t have a real photo? What kind of blog is this?

Update: Obviously, if you are reading this post – you’ll notice I no longer have a typewriter key banner or silhouette avatar. Yet, just because those things have changed – the meaning behind my blogging hasn’t. In essence, I’ve only added a few more details that better visualize how I want my readers to see me. A girl with a laptop – waiting to have conversation… with you.

Hmm, interesting question, my friend. And, I’m so glad you asked. I like to think of myself as a somewhat creative person. And usually, we creative folk like to make little abstract pieces of je ne sais quoi to girltyping7illustrate certain points.

But, for the sake of not sounding like some hoity toity weirdo, I will explain a) the reason behind my typewriter key banner and b) why I use my funky little icon.

First things first, I like typewriters. I know, I know – in an uber cool world full of changing technologies, Mac books and iPhones, a typewriter just sounds…old. Clunky, noisy and ugly in more ways than one, a typewriter is not on the list of techno-must haves.

Also, at the risk of dating myself, I first learned to type on a typewriter. For me, typewriters are about origins and beginnings. You can see a message come “alive” when you use a typewriter.

Typewriters are imperfect. They are relics and predecessors at the same time. They are a lot more fallible because they are more dependant on the writer (you) to be right the first time. However, being right the first time is not always possible. The mistakes you make require that you go backwards, but you only realize the errors until you are done.

Typewriters are little metaphorical (to me) about life.

But, that’s why I like them. Each bang, clank and click of a typewriter is hearing written work transform into productive sound. You cannot get that on your ultra-quiet keyboard.

Oh, and the keys.

On my banner, they appear as a disassembled array. But, you know they belong to something much larger. Each key has a purpose, a letter or some function when fused together create a message.

That’s what my banner means for me and my blog. It represents how the tiny parts work together to spell out a story – my message. On their own, they may appear to be a jumbly mess with no other purpose than to just be, but it’s all so much bigger than that.

My icon. You think I should have my mug shot on my blog don’t you? Go on, say it. All the teasing blogophiles will say,”Blogs are about conversation, Writerbabe – why do you have a silly little icon of a girl typing on a computer in silhouette?”

Easy. I think it’s perfectly fine to have a picture of yourself on your blog – after all, it’s your space to do whatever you want.

Nevertheless, I take bad pictures and I don’t want to subject my poor readers to blurry, self-taken photos. Besides, the silhouette girl shows me just as I am. And, although the blogosphere can feel like a totally devoid space full of voices chattering, talking and blabbing points across all boards – it can also feel like no one is really listening, absorbing and tuning in to what’s being spoken (…written, actually).

Well, maybe with the exception of the silent lurkers.

But, all that aside, I’m tuned in to you because I’m sitting at my computer. I’m sharing my thoughts (while getting yours) on life’s infinite conundrums. You are connected to me because you are reading this post.  Right now. I am connected to you because I’m writing for you, to you and about you. This very minute.

We are communicating via the mysterious vastness of cyberspace. We’re all girls and boys typing at a computer initiating dialogue with the world. We send our messages wanting to be heard and (hoping to) learn in the process, too.

That’s what we are doing. Period. When bloggers create real, live communities outside of the blogosphere – it’s an amazing experience. The realness of what happens inside the blogosphere is the same realness that happens outside of it.

I am a person who has issues to worry about, bills to pay and a life to figure out – but I am also a writer looking to connect with others about the same things as well.

My girl icon is mysterious. Blogging is a little mysterious. If it were totally transparent, I don’t think many people would do it. If the answers about everything were so readily available, then no one would need to blog.

If there was no desire to ask anything – nothing would be questionable. The mysteriousness comes from the need to scrape at the surface – to get to the transparency.

That’s me, my icon – my girl in silhouette – someone looking to scratch the mysterious surface.

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Hi Readers,
You can also catch new segments of TWS on Alltop under the Work/Career Section.  If you are a blogger looking for fresh content (or want to find new, interesting blogs) and want to be featured – click here. It takes a bit of time to get your blog listed. So, don’t be like me and apply twice in a row (and have your blog listed twice! I’m sure they have that fixed now, of course).

If you need a reason to join Alltop – Chris Brogan can tell you better than I can.

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