Truth: I like to indulge in the seedy underworld of the ‘net, where there are back alleys lit up by neon signs and small wet things scurry over your feet before the scream can erupt out of your throat.
I cruise blogs.
So, trust me when I say I have a few beefs with the blogging world.
As soon as blogging became a monetary pursuit instead of just a creative outlet, the game changed. The internet exploded with fresh websites, laden with tabs for clicking, pictures for pinning, sights, sounds, tips, tricks and recipes to steal.
Secrets were shared. Truths were told. Bacon was everywhere. The world felt a little smaller as we held hands and told our stories to each other. But as I poke my head down dark corridors, there are a myriad of problems that jump out and attack my vulnerable sensibilities. Here, right now, is why I’m not reading your blog.
Poor Grammar and Typos
Fuck you. When you aren’t willing to take the time and do a rudimentary sweep through Word or the spell check in the back end of your site, that’s fucking rude. You are straight up disrespecting your reader. Out of all the blogs in the world, your reader has taken the time to pause and read yours, and you are basically saying: I don’t care about you. I don’t think I’m picky just because I’m an editor. I’m down with a run-on sentence and weird fanciful wordplay that might not make it past the Chicago Manual of Style. I’m talking basic bullshit that yanks you out of your mid-sentence reverie because it’s SO GROSS. My tipping point is when a blog starts with “because I was in such a rush, there might be typos here…” Unacceptable. Would you tell your Boss as you walk in the door, “Ugh, dude, I could go take a dump in the washroom where you can’t see or smell it, but I’m in a hurry sooooo, I’mma shit on your necktie. While you wear it. Eating lunch. With your wife. On your wedding anniversary.”
Can I stop now?
It’s bullshittery to the finest degree, and if I see repeat offenders, I stop reading altogether. Unfollow, Unlike, Unbookmark etc. There are millions of bloggers who pride themselves on their delicious words and typo-free lines, and I am going to go lap those up instead.
I’m SO bored
Your blog is supposed to make someone feel something. If you have nothing to share today, don’t write. Don’t feel bad about skipping a day and just logging off – it’s your blog, your rules, your schedule. Go do something stupid or sweet for somebody. Try something new with your kid or husband. Live. Because life is friendly and cruel, shit will happen that you can then write about.
Your White Bread Recipes
(And not just because I can’t eat white bread.) I don’t need another banana bread recipe; UNLESS you have added something cool, like a caramelized shaving cream brulee to it. With all the incredible food sites out there, you need to be reinventing the (wagon) wheel to keep me interested. I want to see flavours I didn’t know matched; I want to see new techniques that will make my cooking easier, more fun or more flavourful. I want to feel inspired, delighted, and most of all, hungry.
Your Shitty Photos
If your photos are out of focus, time stamped, take forever to load, or so dark I’m squinting to see what’s going on, stop putting them into the post. Figure some shit out. A window perch, your phone and a free App can give you a beautiful photo. Google “basics of photography” for tips. I used to be a terrible photographer. I picked the brains of friends with a keen interest in documenting the world, and then I just took picture after picture, discarding most, until I found a style and angles that I loved. It’s work, for sure, but like anything else in life, if you work at it, you will get better.
Your Travel Brag
I’m SO down with a recap of a trip you took that has some lessons, tips, beautiful images and funny moments. What I’m NOT down with is a tab on your page that screams I TRAVEL AND YOU DON’T. That’s just mean. Remember the eternal joke from our childhood about neighbours dragging your folks over to sit with watery rum in front of a slideshow of their recent vacation to Buttfalk, Nowhere? This is the equivalent. I want to take my kid to Disneyland one day but a recap of your 17th trip to the Magic Kingdom is an affront to my eyeballs. Yes to the secret entrances, hidden gems and the time you saw Daffy Duck dry hump Daisy. Otherwise, save those stories for unsuspecting strata members.
What am I reading, and in turn supporting, with my click? Bloggers who make me laugh. Bloggers who make me think in a new way about an old problem. Bloggers who mix A plus B and create C and I pin the shit out of it. Bloggers who are truthful and raw. Bloggers with a story to tell, no matter how mundane, with their patented twist on it. Stories about the worst and best parts of life, the greatest meal you’ll ever make, a road trip that went into a ditch, or a birth story that will neatly rip your heart from your chest and then gently place it back, intact, fuller and taut with new beats.
In the hands of a talented and respectful blogger, a trip to drop off your kid at summer camp can make me cry. Getting lost in a McDonald’s parking lot can make me laugh out loud. A twist on a potato salad can make me hungry and I don’t even like potatoes. And a grocery trip with your Grandma to manhandle asparagus can make me simultaneously appreciate the wisdom and blunt energy that comes with age, and realize how much I would give for one last afternoon with my Grandma. I’d even eat asparagus, as pungent as my ensuing pee would be.
If you blog, consider yourself a writer. Or strive to be one. Find a mentor, or editor, to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with. Work on your storytelling craft even if it’s just sharing a quick anecdote, buttery spread or a craft with your kids that I will likely never tackle.
If you make your corner of the Internet wildly wonderful, I promise to come visit you often.