Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Blogging Workshop

Did Shakespeare Drabble?

I’ve been asked by Yinseriv of KPN‘s Creative Non-Fiction group, pedagogue par excellence Jim Vires, to write an outline for a Blogging Workshop this week. As if, in the newness of ‘weblogging’, there is a magical formula which can be tapped. But, in pondering the dos and don’ts of what I’ve learned of blog-iquette in my short blogging career (18 months), I discovered there are one or two guidelines one can access to channel the flow.

Bloggers are, by nature, communicators. There are several varieties. Professional, Documentary and Commercial blogs don’t count for this exercise. This workshop’s about Personal Blogging: keeping a weblog diary. It’s worth checking out blogs on Hubpages and Squidoo (where contributors sometimes actually get paid), to get an idea of how you may want to appear in print — or, rather, electrons.

For personal blogs, lots of bloggers use WordPress (like me, KPN), LiveJournal, Blogger or its offspring Blogspot. They are free to set up, with choice of themes and templates. [And if, after you’ve had a taste, you want to create your own website, they have a paid-up subscription option with professional help for setting up format and personalization].

If you haven’t blogged before, you may feel daunted: if you’re going to blog, it rather commits you to doing it regularly, because the essence of blogging is continuity. On the other hand, if you’re already a writer, the idea of committing yourself to writing is almost a non-sequitur.


Problogger
gives ten little tips for blogging which sum up the current trend: i.e. you don’t have to write a tome every time. One of my blogs is tome-tolerant; the other, writerly, uses shorter format, is more bulletin-like.

Depending on how prolific you are, it’s your choice on how regularly you want to post: a convention has emerged that longer, more philosophical/feature/informative blogs appear once or twice a month, 1000+ words; those more often — say, twice or three times a week, 250-500 words; and then there’s the daily blogger who is so committed that s/he manages to write something every day (for a week, a month or a year). One clever way around the daily blog format is to use a ‘drabble‘, a concise bullet of precisely one hundred words, no more, no fewer.

Ten Tips to making your blog work

1. Make your opinion known
2. Link like crazy
3. Write less – 250 words is enough
4. Make headlines snappy
5. Write with passion
6. Include bullet point lists
7. Edit your post
8. Make your posts easy to scan
9. Be consistent with your style
10. Litter the post with keywords

I would add my personal preference: “use graphics”.

As a result of that punchy style — and regularity — you’ll find your audience. It’s another convention to reply to each and every comment you receive (except spam), to interact mutually on others’ blogs, thus building your ‘community’.

In this workshop, you’re asked to write a blog in one of the following formats: either

1. one single, theme-based ‘feature’ blog: 1000-1500 words; or
2. three ‘weekly’ blogs, subject matter not necessarily interrelated, but displaying a thread in your social/personal/writing life: minimum 250-500 words each; or
3. six ‘drabbles’ on a personal, family, lifestyle or work-related theme: each EXACTLY 100 words long.

You may choose to post them as you write them or post together at the end of the workshop period.

Enjoy. Siderealview

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