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.

Brooke Takhar
Author

Brooke Takhar is a Vancouver-based mama to one goon and busy body to all. She loves the Internet, glittery nail polish, over-sharing and teaching her kid outdated dance moves. If you really love her, you'll fight in public.

45 Comments

  1. Magnolia Ripkin

    I love this piece. I think many bloggers assume that words on a page are good enough because they have a story to tell. Sadly, even the poor quality writers have a following.

    When I find a blogger who watches for grammar, posts interesting content and uses beautiful words, they have me at Hello.

  2. I’m right there with you on #1 (well, all of it, but #1 makes my brain ache the most). Come on, with built in spell check (hell, AUTOCORRECT), typos are inexcusable. And if a blogger needs help with the rudiments of grammar (because we know we can’t trust any of the grammar check software), go buy a copy of Strunk & White and figure that shit out. Because it’s not hard, and poor grammar sucks and makes them look sloppy and uncaring. And if they don’t care, why should I?

    As for the “bored” I try to publish on a schedule, to be consistent and reliable, but I also have half a dozen ideas in development at any one time, so I do always have something to say (I hope!). Backlog is everything to me. Some ideas never take off. Some write themselves. Those are usually the best ones, of course.

  3. This. All of this. The occasional typo from time to time doesn’t bother me. I’m human and other bloggers are human. Shit happens and no matter how many times we proofread sometimes that one errant comma slips through the cracks (that bastard).

    Regarding storytelling, I’m finding I’m weak on that and my writing is boring and bland. I became a slave to the numbers and my writing suffered. No more. I’m giving myself some time off to read, plan and clean out the crap on my blog.

  4. Brooke Takhar

    Kim – thank you! And as I wrote this I thought back on typos that had escaped my eyes too. I know writers aren’t always perfect but we should at least try, right? I love that you are giving yourself permission to take some time off. So many of us are afraid to do that. xo

  5. Agreed (and feeling a bit guilty of some of that…checking my blog now), I’m typo obsessed. Don’t like the laziness of it either.
    I have been tossing around a similar post, but I’m holding that thought for now. I have a few of my own pet peeves that will cause me to immediately stop reading and never look back.
    Brave of you to speak up.

  6. I love this, and I love YOU! And not just because you love my Grandma. And not just because we both avoid small wet things that scurry over our feet. I’d list all of the reasons I love you, but I need to get back to the seedy underworld of the ‘net. 😉

  7. Yea, no. You say “it’s your blog, your rules”, yet the whole post is to tell people how to blog? Are you the pot … or the kettle?

  8. I appreciate your post and do agree. My blog has a professional twist because of my many years treating infants,kids,teens and parents as a psychoanalyst but I do hope the feeling of what I’m sending out comes through because I mean what I say so deeply. Being a mother and helping mothers has made me more invested in the subject than just about anything. I enjoy reading blogs about the everyday worlds of mothers, especially blunt, candid mothers and hope to respond to what we are all searching for.
    Brooke, I do take what you write seriously and wonder if you would take a glance at my blog, Parental Intelligence, and give me some feedback with a post comment or by email. My site can be found at http://lauriehollmanphd.com/blog-parental-intelligence. I’ll be grateful for your candor. Thanks.

  9. Just saw this in someone’s feed on Twitter. I was intrigued so I stopped over. I’m in the DIY niche (do-it-yourself). The market is overly saturated with everyone doing pallet furniture and painted pieces, and this, and that…Just throwing out garage, including “your” when it’s supposed to be “you’re.” Drives me nuts!

    I admit that I don’t read hardly any of these blogs because everyone is talking the same things. What makes a blogger stand out is that extra something special–an authenticity about their projects and articles….where you can see the passion and belief in what they’re doing. Those are the blogs I may read. And I try to write my own blog with as much passion so that my readers feel that passion in my words. Yes, my goal is to make enough money to give up the day-job, but the deep down drive to inspire and teach overrides any monetary goal.

    Great piece!

    Serena @ Thrift Diving

  10. Jill Robbins

    I love this! Mostly because you liberally use the word Fuck in your post – just kidding. Good info and I agree with everything except for white bread recipes. I think you just can’t have too many of those. I stopped following a blog because of the “whoo look at me, I fly first class, doesn’t everyone?” Biotch.

    Seriously, you are awesome sauce and I’m now following you on FB on Twitter. Great info and great voice.
    Jill @ Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

  11. Yes! This is so true. Let’s stop with the “you’re doing it wrong”

  12. WAIT, I CARE. I just make mistakes sometimes. And for the record, YUP, its part of my shtick… I like saying.. I am so busy I have no time for this.

  13. Brooke Takhar

    Passion is SO key, Serena! Having goals of monetizing is absolutely wonderful, but your priority of inspirational content coming first – that’s how I think it should be done too. xo

  14. Brooke Takhar

    Both? I’m not Queen Overlord of the Bloggerverse, but when you see as much nonsense as I do, it makes you sit down and write it down. Your blog, your rules YES. BUT, respect your readers and their time. In my opinion, that seems like a good rule to follow.

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  16. Carrie Groves

    I fell in love with you when you wrote about poop on a tie. And that is exactly what a typo is; poop on a tie. I will now go and re-read every post of mine and clean up my errors.

  17. Right now I am standing on my chair and applauding you as loudly as I possibly can. I might even throw in a wahoo and whistle. That’s how much I love this!!

  18. Oooooh! Pick me! Pick me! I use spell-check AND I can take a non-blurry picture! I am like the GODDESS of blogging Do’s! 😉 <3

  19. This might sound crazy, but the main reason I don’t read a blog religiously is if it is like a family reunion. I’m glad you have a family. I have one too. And post after post about family this and that…does nothing for me. Got to mix it up!

  20. Apparently, only 25% of the population have the gene that allows them to smell asparagus pee. Just wanted to let you know that you’re special, Brooke. 🙂

  21. Shannon Day

    I love this Brooke, especially the visuals that you’ve created for us. Shitting on a tie!? Hahaha

  22. READ MINE! No really, you’ll love it! It’s funny, and I’m a copy editor so there’s no mistakes, and we only write when we have something to say… The only problem with it is that not enough people read it! 🙂
    http://twofunmoms.com/

  23. I just realized I said “there’s no mistakes” instead of “there are no mistakes.” Now, that’s a bit of an embarrassing sentence to screw up. Sigh…

  24. I tried a blogging experiment once where I visited hundreds of blogs in a two week period. There were things I saw that made my eyeballs bleed and my brain drip out of my ears.

    The typos, the text that runs on forever with no white space, the boring repetitive subjects – argh. I found a handful of blogs I’d willingly expose my braincells to again.

    As you say, these definitely tell me as a reader that my needs are by the by.

    Loved this post!

  25. Ha,loved this post! I don’t really mind any of that but have my own few pet peeves that make me stop reading a blog- in my case it’s more about the content that bothers me, not necessarily the form. I agree especially with ” if you don’t have anything interesting to tell, just don’t”. I write some travel posts but am not sure where the line is between, “I went to X and it was fantastic, I wish you would too!” and “Look, I went to X and you didn’t!” I just hope I’m not crossing it.

  26. I am sure I am guilty of a few of these things, but I try. I agree though, I was just bitching about this yesterday. Some blogs make me want to stick knitting needles in my eyes.

  27. I think you’re right in so doing. I didn’t read yours past the title. It prolly didn’t suck.

  28. Had I known I could see Daffy Duck dry humping Daisy, I would have made it a point to get to Disney Land. Damn, talk about a missed opportunity. I’m off to sulk about this now.

    P.S. Great post.

  29. I’ve stop reading vagina chronicles. Yes, it used to be edgy to not censor yourself, to be ever so real and tell all of your darkest secrets, but then the blogosphere became flooded with vagina stories. I guess you could file that under “I’m bored.”

  30. You bitches are hard core over here!!! I’ll spell schit hor I want two and your gowing too read it and appreshyate the opportwonitty two half had the chans at enjoyink my righting!!!

    But you do make some good points and are Canadian, so I can respect that. I’ve not had anything funny to say in about 8 months, so I’ve not said anything. That’s good advice. Don’t write just to write. Go live and shit to write will come to you. If it doesn’t, then you’re not paying attention.

  31. Lol. Biotch is my favorite. Also, where is Buttfalk, Nowhere? It seems like it would be near Missouri, and I’m intrigued.

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