The first rule of blogging is immediacy. Or is it frequent posting? Then there’s good content.
Lately, I haven’t done much of anything with my blog. So I’m going to invoke the Erma Bombeck Rule.
To be fair, this is my personal Erma Bombeck Rule. One that resulted from something I heard she said.
Later in her writing career when asked if she made notes of possible column ideas while on an extended trip with her husband, she replied no. Whatever was interesting enough to write about would be there — without notes — when she got home.
That idea intrigues me. Does it work with blogging? So many posts never get posted if I’m not able to write immediately.
It seems old news.
Who am I kidding? Old news?
That applies to CNN not my blog.
So I’m invoking Jamie Miles’ Erma Bombeck Rule on future blog posts for a while. Especially, since my WIP takes the majority of my writing time these days.
Things that happened yesterday, last month or last year — events that I wanted to write about and should have blogged about — I’m going to post about in an untimely manner.
It will be interesting to see the stuff that stuck with me without referring to notes to jar my memory.
First up . . . my 35th High School Reunion last August, which I should have written about last August.
First off, Happy Memorial Day. My start of summer comes after the hundreds of motorcycles ride past our house on the way to the town square.
A week or so ago, I was asked by the smart, funny, passionate about what-we-are-doing-to-ourselves-and-the-environment blogger Anne Brock to join a blog tour on revealing our writing process as bloggers.
With her impressive broadcast journalism and production pedigree, Anne blogs at FlourSackMama (and also tweets @floursackmama). Though FlowerSackMama fits the “green” blog category, the blog’s name and genesis is a tribute to her grandmother and the simple, beautiful existence that was life in the Ozarks in the 30s.
Webinars, great writing, trips to march on Washington with the Safer Chemicals Stroller Brigade — what can’t she do?
Then there is me.
1) What are you working on?
I write a lot for local magazines and I just finished up something for local paper. I want to write for larger pubs — like those in the big ATL. I made a great contact recently at an industry lunch with an Atlanta magazine. Have I followed up?
Heck no. In fact, I forgot about it till just now. Pooh bear.
I’ve also started writing blog posts — like mini features — for clients. I’m having a ball doing that. It takes what I’ve learned with magazine work and lets me add a big dose of my personality.
2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
Though I do write about my children (like a Mommy blogger) every now-and-then, I find myself writing more and more about issues at midlife. There are some great midlife bloggers out there. Like Anne and Sharon and the whole crew at Midlife Boulevard.
There’s Judy at A Boomers Life After 50. Sadly, Judy was widowed before age 50. I loved meeting her at Type-A as well. She’s sharp, adorable and energetic. Her blog is full of great practical tips for aging gracefully and well as fun posts about such things as her recent first spin class.
Then there’s Shannon Colleary, who writes at the hysterical The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful. She writes about midlife sex, body image and midlife body image (while naked) and how it affects sex. Among other midlife trials.
I also adore Leisa Hammett, whose blog showcases her immense writing talent. Much of her world looks at the spiritual side of midlife. Why are we here? What does it feel like at midlife — or why do we feel as we do? She is also passionate about her daughter Grace and her amazing art. “The Journey with Grace: Art, Autism and All the Rest of Life.” Check her out.
So many I could name.
What makes me different?
I’m basically a goof-ball writing about life after turning 50 — from the perspective of a porch on South Main Street. Which is actually where I am writing this now . . .
It looks like we just had a nuclear explosion behind me. I assure you we didn’t. I think.
I write about my midlife crisis’s and triumphs with hair color, athletic pursuits — road races, triathlons, cycling, swimming and the like — gardening, sex and so on. No, I don’t really write about sex all that much. (It was be so depressing if I started writing about my sex life and my Google Analytics nosedived.)
3) Why do you write what you do?
I could say that it is cheaper than therapy but that would imply that I don’t need therapy.
Honestly, my blog is where I take my creativity out to unabashedly romp and play in the mud.
I love the quote by Sol Stein. I’m paraphrasing but it’s close to this . . .
“If there is boredom in the writer, there will be boredom in the reader.”
Writing for me, especially on my blog, is theater. The telling of the boring trip to the grocery that everyone takes but making it a fun frolic with a heaping dose of self-deprecating humor.
For the most part things on my blog are true — but it’s entertainment. That’s what makes it fun for me and hopefully anyone who cares to read.
4) How does your writing process work?
When I have a paying story or post to write that takes priority. So if I go a week without posting, it’s because life and work have me pulled away from my bloggy playpen. 🙁
Successful bloggers focused on a genre. They post many times a week, if not daily. (Daily posting is always my goal.) They also are great marketers and social media savvy.
I need to be more structured with my writing time. My best time is definitely in the morning.
But then something will happen and I have to sit down immediately and write it out. Like a possessed thing — no laundry, straightening the house – even exercising be damned.
When I’m writing a paid feature or blog post that requires interviews, I’m very old school. I tape the interview and transcribe it. Then I work from that as I write.
And like most writer’s, getting my rear in the chair and pecking out the first draft is ALWAYS the hardest.
But once that is done, I like a few days to come back and embellish it. Edit. I LOVE that part.
To revise and revise.
Two awesome midlife writers have agreed to this task next week.
First, there is Julia Munroe Martin from the great state of Maine. Talk about an interesting woman. She grew up all over the world and now she is about to finish her third novel. Her third novel, people. I can’t even get 2,500 words strung together for a short story. She’s bi-monthly contributor to another great, great site Writer Unboxed.
Not only is she a talented writer, she’s just a fabulous person. She tweets @wordxo.
And one day I will knock on her door and have coffee with her at her local coffee house/writing den.
Also, there is May at Achieving Clarity. I love reading her thoughts on life as it happens to her and her amazing photography. Her first post was in 2011 — the year she turned 50. I don’t think she has any idea what a talented writer she is — or maybe she does? I hope so.
Also think she has the cutest Twitter profile pic ever @MayAchieve.
There you have it. My Writing Process post. #SoThere.
Ideas for a post flow forth freely at times. Then at others, my brain’s neurons constrict into bitty balls choking the life of any creative spurt before my fingers kiss the keyboard.
Our assignment for Day 7 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog might just be the remedy.
Free associate 10 ideas for future blog posts.
10. Post story with photos of my private tour of the Governor’s Mansion with first lady Sandra Deal.
Yes, I learned in writing that story profiling local artists whose work hangs on loan in the family quarters of the mansion that APstylebook states first lady is not a formal title therefore not to be capitalized. Who knew?
I was struck Mrs. Deal’s warmth and sincerity. Her love of all things Georgia, especially all the school children. As a former teacher, literacy and reading to youngsters is a passion of hers. And I picked up on the knowing respect she had for all women who have had held her position regardless of their spouses’ party affiliation. From Mrs. Carter to Mrs. Perdue, I got the feeling it was some sort of secret sorority. Or maybe that’s just the writer in me coming out.
9. Post more of tween drama.
From reading my daughter’s texts to battles over the bottle — of hair color — I could blog tri-weekly about the latest drama. Parenting a 12-year-old today is not for sissies. Don’t know if I will do this a lot. I haven’t been because it’s hard enough going some days with us. Not made any easier when she hears from five different people that she went bra shopping last weekend.
8. Tri Diaries
Training for my first triathlon in five years. If I stop long enough I could ponder why. Trying to lose those pesky five pounds? Freak out over 50 birthday? Trying to keep up my level of physical activity as my knee continues to get worse and make running not an option for primary exercise?
Georgia. Which is where I live. An awesome Southern town with awesome local color. Could spotlight tons of things.
The complex, amazing women (oh yeah, who happens to have a place in literary history) was born just down the road in Eatonton. I’d love to take a day and snoop around and see what I could find, if anything on her early life here.
5. As the Gray Hair Turns
Blonde or Brown — all with a heavy dose of highlights. Is a salon color better than the box? What about permanent color? Paying for that every six weeks or so? Getting my first professional permanent color this week and we’ll see what I think.
4. Reasons why it’s fabulous to grow older.
Because the sex is amazing. Heck. I know there are tons of reasons to be smack dab in the middle of my life’s century. I’ve been focusing on the negative. Got turn that around and post about it.
3. Bathing suits midlife hot-to-tepid mamas wear.
This would be a fun survey and post. If bikini — how bikini. Colors? Sheer cover-up or burqa? Any men out there wearing Speedos?
One piece or two?
2. What are the best ways to keep middle-aged body in shape.
Could talk with a trainer, consult diet and nutrition data. What the heck is going on with hormones? This would spin off lots of posts. Especially ones about any success of my follow-through.
1. How to get rid of flies that are in love with you……
I need this one stat. They chased me off the porch and now I’m writing inside with a can of Raid at my hip. They are making me CRAZY.
What do you think? Which posts would you like to read.
Finally settling down at the blog to take on the first day of ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog with the Yeah Write community. Never mind I’m sitting on a couch in a nice living room, not my own, as my daughter’s trumpet and her teacher’s horn serenade me.
This is too important to miss.
Day 1 assignment: Write an elevator pitch for your blog.
What the heck is this blog about? What is my message? My mission?
Good grief. I went to my first blogging conference in May. Lots of fun. Lots of handing out of business cards and lots of questions, “So what is your blog?”
“My blog is called South Main Muse.”
This is when I started to realize that it makes no sense. Well, no sense to anyone who doesn’t live in my small town. And to narrow that massive pool to an even smaller subset, it probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone not living in Morgan County, Georgia reading the local paper.
You see for five years, I had a column South Main Muse. I live on South Main Street and I wrote humorous observations of small town life from the vantage point of my porch on South Main Street.
Makes perfect sense if you lived in Morgan County and got the local paper.
Guess the internet is a lot bigger than that. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing.
Makes the elevator pitch pretty important.
Descriptive words that spring to my mind.
Midlife, small town, family, chaos, inspire, succinct, finding humor in the every day.
So my productive day turned into an afternoon trying to change a tire.
This time like last time, I called on my neighbor, Rob Jones, for help.
This time I was determined to do it solo.
So I asked Rob what tools to buy.
Low and behold, I got that back tire off.
Then I changed the inner tube and we had our ride.
Though I really hate it when I have to change a tire, with practice and the right tools — I can do it now without panicking.
Which is good. Because if you are going to ride a lot. Changing a tire is pretty basic stuff. You don’t want to be having to ride 30 minutes down the road to a bike shop watch somebody do something you should darn well be able to do yourself.