What I've been filling my time with recently has been blogs. Not going outside to inhale the green-scented, semi-clean, pre-spring air, but blogs: How to do one, what to say, when to do it and where to stick it. Blog after blog, blogs about blogging, blogging about blogs, blogs on dogs, blogs on logs, the bonafide, the bogus, belting back the boring bilge of blogology, slowly sinking into a blurry, black boggish blog, being buried below.... my blogged-out brain beaten and battered by ten thousand terrible tagwords.
Of course I exaggerate, there are an unbelievably large number of gifted writers out there, but reading about blogging, I must say, is the dryest stuff on the planet. There are hundreds of dozens of tips and lots of scientificky-type data to be had, but all that just makes me feel bloggish, as if I've just been blogged over the head with a blunt blog.
But, here are some of the do's and don'ts that impressed me the most:
(Please don't consider me any sort of expert. I really don't know what I'm doing, so get out there and do your own damn research.)
1. Starting off your blog or heading with the word "what" gets more attention than most other words. Except maybe "tapeworm".
2. Tuesday is the best day of the week to post your blog. It's also a popular day for Enchilada Night at many Mexican restaurants.
3. People love lists.
4. People love quizzes.
5. Do you find 3 and 4 to be true or false? If so, list your reasons why.
6. 71% of people surveyed who read blogs were more likely to read ones with numbers in the headings, while 100% of people who don't read blogs were not. "Statistics" are often fabricated and not fact-checked, so be creative!
7. Being vague and mysterious might be desirable characteristics of your online-dating persona or super hero identity, but it is a bad idea when crafting headings. Or titles. But if you ask me, I would be 6-37 times more likely to read a blog titled: "Vague and Mysterious".
9. You can't omit #8 on your list! Nor can you be a lazy blogger! Don't leave good, well-written content (that's blog lingo for 'words arranged to form sentences and make paragraphs') up to:
A. the fickle finger of fate,
B. the finger of god, or
3. any other finger,
unless it's a leprechaun's finger. Or Oprah's. Both have fingers (and some toes) which possess magical powers.
10. If you're going to have a list, put 10 items on it, or in it. Here again, you can use your imagination to stretch a lame topic into 10 steps before the big let-down. Your readers will be disappointed at first, but they'll just go and watch a cat video and forget all about it.
10 1/2. Make friends with Oprah. Leprechauns don't exist.
Between 3:00 and 5:40 a.m. a couple of weeks ago, I thought about all the tips I was able to remember at that time of day, while I dehydrated from the potato chips and wine I had at 2:00 a.m., and wondered if the dull, intermittent twinge in my left chest quadrant was a cardiac arrest. Or just a verbal warning.
That clock--its big, square, evil red numbers glowing like the eyes of Satan's best friend from across the room, a volcano in the distance, erupting digital fire, burying time like it was a little grass shack in Hawaii.
And then, I thought about cats.
We play host to 1 1/2 of them: one large bobtailed blob named Bob...
and a young man-about-town, whom we co-feed with our neighbor.
Blob (Bob) is hulking in girth, but docile of personality--every square inch, of which there are many, a pussycat.
The young one, Marshmallow (the neighbor's grandson named him), is mostly soft, sugary-white sweetness, but lacks discipline and respect for authority.
I have co-named him Hell N. Keller.
But enough about cats.
A blog isn't supposed to be a personal diary, pointed out one blogspert, but for god's sake, make it personal. Huh?
What I'll try to do with this here blog is share works in progress and when there are none, random ramblings (e.g., cat stories), and add some pictures that I make with my own two hands. Like a journal. But not a diary.
"Less Miserables". Huh? Well, it's a play on words, you see. Oui!
But, no! I am not French nor do I speak French. I have never been to France, nor have I been able to watch all of the musical version of "Les Miserables", although it is one of my favorite stories. I am simply and particularly partial to and influenced by what I see in my head (although it's very dark in there), as the French style,... a stereotype, oui--artsy--but of course!--a yummy confection of intricate, turn-of-the-century--how-you-say--embellishments: scrolly, curvy, romantic, Parisienne-esque, gaudy, lots of black and white... oh, just go look at some Toulouse-Lautrecs.
I cooked up this title and think it suits me (and perhaps you), perfectly: I am neither happy nor sad... just a little less miserable.