How to Write a Blog

Lately several people asked me how I write such a popular blog. I was nervous about answering. My trade secrets are a proprietary blend of strategy, training and raw gut instinct… like a bear on a motorcycle.

But I love you guys, so I’m sharing those secrets with you today.

How You Write So Good?

There are five things you need to write a good blog. They are:

  1. A laptop that is the same color as your ear buds and your phone. Mine are kind of a zodiac blue. Like Mega Man meets Philip K. Dick. But you have to chose a different color, that one’s mine.
  2. You have to listen to moody, inspiring electronic music with ethereal female vocals. This’s what I always listen to while I write and my blog is taking off pretty good, so it must work. Try seeding your play list with Metric’s Gimme Sympathy, and the bands Kill Hannah, Jes, Goldfrapp, and ATB. Or just eat this playlist.
  3. Maintain unhealthy work habits. Everyone knows the greatest writers of the last two centuries were strung out on opium and acid respectively. But that shit’s expensive! I find that you can be almost as unhealthy just by pushing yourself to stay up writing till 3:30 am. My most popular posts were forged in those hellish fires.
  4. Cuss like an HBO special. It never hurts and it often helpsSee also: the paragraph above.
  5. Dance Breaks! When no one is around, or I think no one is around, I periodically get up and dance around my work area like I’m on some kind of early 2000’s music video. My dancing is not particularly good, but it is enthusiastic, and sometimes I sing about my blog post topic as I dance. Or I just cuss.

If you follow all these tips your blog will soar like a feathered serpent over Mexico.

You thought I was kidding.

The truth is I learned how to write a blog from Chris Guillebeau. I started with his free ebook 279 Days too Overnight Success. It isn’t the only influence on how I started this blog, but the basic ideas he puts forth were my stepping stones as a beginner. I recommended it, and you can get it for free here.


28 thoughts on “How to Write a Blog

  1. Great list. Dance breaks are very impportant!

    But who the heck are these people: Kill Hannah, Jes, Goldfrapp, and ATB? i do know who Metric is, my 13-year-old step daughter likes them:) I fear you are much cooler than me. I still listen to Dead Can Dance when I need to hear ethereal female vocals.

    • I’ll just have to let you google them up for yourself :)

      I do have a whole Dead Can Dance station on Pandora, though. Makes nice background music when hanging with friends.

  2. B says:

    I’d like to see your playlist, but Pandora is restricted outside the US, because your country is all about restricting the free flow of information.

    • Ironically, I can’t listen to my Pandora station either. I’m in Mexico at present. I had to find the URL in an email I had sent a friend back when I was stateside: I can’t even go into my account to grab the playlist’s address, let alone listen to it. Sigh.

      I make do with tubalr.com which works anywhere Youtube works.

      • You know, thinking about it for a little while, I find myself in the odd position of defending the US. Or rather, not defending it, since I agree we’re making terrible strides toward censorship. Just…. Pandora is not an example of that.

        US law does not prohibit Pandora from playing outside the US. Pandora as a company has chosen not to. They made this choice because the cost of licensing the music to play in multiple countries is very high. It does suck for non-US residents, but given their reasoning, I think it’s a reasonable choice.

        The bad guy in this particular case is not the US government, but (if anyone) the music companies who have such byzantine and pricey international licensing fees.

  3. Chris Patrick says:

    I think I can just about meet all of those requirements, but I don’t think mommy or daddy will like the cussing :O

  4. Hola. Para mi es escribir con mi Mac y los audífonos de mi iPhone. Pero, me ayuda, como un ritual chaman, tener café y tabaco al lado. Siempre. Y generalmente, escribo mejor cuando estoy triste o con algún estado de ansiedad, principalmente cuando escribo literatura.

    • Bienvenida Jack!

      Hola. Para mi es escribir con mi Mac y los audífonos de mi iPhone. Pero, me ayuda, como un ritual chaman, tener café y tabaco al lado. Siempre. Y generalmente, escribo mejor cuando estoy triste o con algún estado de ansiedad, principalmente cuando escribo literatura.

      Tan cierto….

  5. This had nothing at all to do with how to write a blog and didn’t have anything to do with how to write well! LOL But I get the sarcasm, really I do. Yet, once again, I sat here and thought for a moment, “is he serious?” I guess so!

    I learned how to write a blog before blogs were popular. Journal writing has NO rules.

    You just write. That’s it. Oh, and be yourself. :-)

    • Ha!

      To me, a blog is a lot different than a journal. If someone blogs, they are looking for something. At the very least they want the dopamine rush of attention & recognition. Some bloggers want something else: a discussion, a community… these are things you don’t get with a journal.

      And that means there are rules – not hard and fast ones, but things that tend to get the best results.

        Keep it under 500 words (1000 for more philosophic blogs or if you’re a punchy writer)
        Break it up with subheaders
        Use pictures
        Link to lots of other people
        Don’t write a conclusive ending if you can help it

      I could go on, but you get the idea.

      These sort of “marketing” rules always give way to personality, though. The best thing you can do is put your personality in your blog whether it pleases people or not.

      Do you have any other tips, Val?

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