So you want to be a blogger

Sometimes I receive emails from newbie bloggers asking me stuff like:

“Hey, Darla! How in the hell did your blog get to be sort-of-but-not-really popular? Why on earth do you have as many followers as Danny Bonaduce’s Twitter account*? You ain’t no big thang! Please explain.”

As I’m sure Danny “The Dooch Man” Bonaduce would tell you — it takes pure luck plus the perfect amount of narcissism mixed with self-loathing to become this mediocre.

True dat.
True dat.

If I had to pick one thing that helped skyrocket this blog into “eh-dom”, it would be the day my post about getting my hair cut was picked by a WordPress editor for Freshly Pressed back in the days of bloggy yore, circa 2010. Soon people all over this great land of ours were leaving me comments like, “Nice post” and “Please visit my blog at buttmunch.com!” It was a magical time. My stats climbed (then plummeted) and my ego exploded (then imploded). Messy.

Still I was convinced my little post was picked at random and that’s because it was. Random. It had to be because what good writer ends their sentences with the word ‘was’? Or even worse, I’m thinking a WordPress editor was in the middle of cleaning her keyboard of doughnut dust and accidently typed in the words “bad hair Darla” to find me.

Then for some odd reason WordPress put me under “recommended family”. This led many family-oriented people to my blog. Yet I had this burning desire to occasionally swear and write about broken asses. Write what you know and all that bull. I followed my bloggy dreams and never looked back. Over the years I’ve dropped hints for WP to switch me to humor but they insist I’m never funny. Fine, I’ll be a friggin “mommy blogger”. But I’ll be damned if I blog in torn yoga pants and a shirt covered in mac-n-cheese with my hair all a mess and oh yeah, right … I guess I am a mommy blogger. Damn it all to hell.

So it was a bit of luck that got this blog going. But then I took that luck and ran with it. And ran and ran and ran. Then I sat down again because I was winded and by golly, I blogged and blogged and churned out endless heaps of ridiculous posts, up to and including this one. To be honest, it does take a fair amount of blood, sweat and wine for me to crank out this shit. I don’t just sit down and spew words onto my laptop. (current post excluded)

So, you also want to be a “famous-in-your-own-mind” blogger?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my five years at WordPress:

  • Less is more. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m talking to you)
  • Wrong is right. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m not talking to you)
  • Just write. Who cares what a reader might think?
  • Always care what a reader might think.
  • If it makes you laugh or cry, it’s good enough to post.
  • People will get offended. They’ll think you’re being serious. Holding up a sign might help.

570ccadc6f792041a972d425703bffb8

  • Bullet point lists are the key to any good post.
  • Self-deprecating humor usually works because it sounds like “self-defecating” and who doesn’t want to see someone else shit all over themselves? Fun.
  • Find your voice.
  • Keep your voice even if you have to break all the rules. We’re not writing for The New York Times. Yet.
  • When your voice is hoarse, rest. Don’t force it. It’ll come back again.
  • Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Sleep, sleep, sleep.**
  • Have fun. Play nice. Be good.
  • (Wait — that’s what I told my kids yesterday on their first day of school, sorry.)

Fellow bloggers — any other advice you’d give a newbie? Besides “you’ll never make a dime blogging so you might as well give up now?”

_________________________________________________

*Danny actually has 25,000 followers. This means you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a blogger with half the followers of someone who calls himself The Dooch Man.

**I really like sleeping.

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94 thoughts on “So you want to be a blogger

  1. As a huge fan of yours and a new blogger myself on comicallyquirky.com, thanks for the advice. I love your zany sense of humor, and I can only hope to achieve the same level of awesomeness one day.

    I’m personally a fan of self-depreciating humor. It serves me well. Self-defecting humor is probably not bad either… as long as it involves somebody else shitting on themselves. Now that’s some funny shit!

  2. I would recommend staying true to your goal (and having a goal in the first place). For example, I write things I believe will help parents of special needs children. Sometimes they’re popular, sometimes they’re not, but I always do my best when I write my posts to reach out and touch the parents in a way that makes their lives a little better. Some other blogs I’ve seen are geared towards making people laugh/smile (like Darla, who is the highlight of my month) and sharing the world through photographs taken while traveling.

    I agree luck is a large part. I’m still waiting for my big break, but when I get it I’ll be ready! 🙂

    1. Great advice. Figuring out what’s your basic goal of blogging is a huge part of attracting the readers you want. I really though blogging was just a public diary when I first started. I suppose that hasn’t changed much in a way.

  3. Ha! I never understood why you stayed in the Family category either. You are waaaay too funny. I don’t think the editors update the categories very often except to add new bloggers. Charles has been shut down for a long time and his site is still on Humor RB. You could take over his spot!
    I think writing about various topics has probably hurt me over the years, but I couldn’t stick to one. Just like the thoughts in my head, always flitting around. Ha!

    1. Thanks, Susie. I think WP put me in family because sometimes I do write sappy/sad posts about my family. I don’t think they really knew where to put me. I’m certainly very grateful they stuck me somewhere at all. Charles is gone and it still makes me sad. He was one of the best.

  4. I’d also suggest purchasing your own domain name. Not because it makes you easier to find on the Internets, but because telling people I have a “domain” makes it sound like I have my own land where I live like an animal. It seems to impress people.

    1. Oh yeah! Great point. I really do believe having my own domain makes it almost seem like I’m legit. Too legit to quit … too legit … too legit to quit [dancing around in my hammertime gold lame pants]

  5. OK, I’m taking full credit for this hysterical 5 year look back post because it’s obvious you were inspired by mine. Except yours is funny. Because you worked in Danny Bonaduce and, hello, can we say blogging genius?

    This has FP written all over it, Doochla.

  6. Darla, you are not merely famous in your own mind, but famous in at least two or three other minds as well. So you’ve got that goin’ for you.

    Perhaps if you start dropping more “F” bombs, the WP Gods will move you to your rightful place in Humor blogs. Or maybe, or dirty word blogs.

  7. And then you won the Lotto and gave up blogging until you discovered you missed churning out brilliant bon mots and wee amuse bouches on a daily basis and gave away all your winnings to get back to what really matters in life.

    Beer, blogging, and bashing the Bonaduce. *grin*

  8. You’re just funny as hell, Darla, and I love you! I love your advice. It’s all true. I will add to the torn yoga pants, and shirt smeared with mac n’ cheese and messy hair and say that you’re smart and intelligent. That’s why you are where you are. And so funny. How are you not a humor blog? You always make me laugh. xo

    1. Thanks, Amy! This made my day. My ego is coming back now, I can feel it. I’m going to write this comment down and tape it to my medicine cabinet so every morning when I see my face staring back I can remember funny is more important than looks.

  9. Well, look who’s come down from the mountain holding clay tablets with a blog post etched into them. Lucky us! And I thought it was going to be just another dull Wednesday.

    My posts are a Herculean task as well (although they might not always show it). I write it one day, then go back the next day and hack away at the fat. Hack, hack, hack. Then, when I’m good and sick of it, I hit publish. Look how far all that effort has gotten me! Superb. The envy of my peers.

    If you see my voice lying around anywhere, can you pick it up, rinse it off and ship it to me? Thanks.

    You’re first comment is a reblog! Jeeze! I’m not saying it ain’t deserved–it certainly is. And I’m not jealous. (If I were, I’d have no problem saying so.) But…Jeeze! A reblog right out of the gate. You’re pixie dust. Aside from the FP post that you were directly responsible for, I don’t reckon I’ve ever had a reblog. Maybe I can do a post about THAT.

    1. Hmmm….I’m sensing some sarcasm here, am I right? Hold up a sign for me.

      And your writing is always a pleasure to read. I’m being serious. It takes a lot for me to focus on a post all the way through and once I start reading about your NYC antics I’m in for the duration. You write good. Or well. You write well. Ah, whatever.

  10. P.S. In response to your request for tips. Tip #1 that you provide is the most useful. If you post every day, I’m going to have a tough time keeping up. I love Raymond Carver but I don’t read one of his short stories every day. Also, keep your posts a reasonable length. To me, that means 800-1,000 words. 2,000+ words is an overindulgence. Get yourself to the editing shed. What say you, Darla? Some of those FP posts run thousands of words. I’m not a deep enough thinker for that.

  11. Put the words “Trump” and “Buttmunch” in your tags, regardless of your topic, and keep it under 1000 words. If that doesn’t work, try putting the word “Kardashian ” in your tags and keeping it under 500 words. Finally, make witty comments on more popular blogs than your own, and hope like hell that you fool a couple of people into coming over to check out your latest rambling discourse on mediocre TV.

    1. Hey Barb! Good to see you around these here parts. This one is for you:

      TOAST

      1 piece of bread

      Put bread in toaster. Fiddle with heat settings. Make a wild guess. Push lever down. Walk away and forget about it. Smell smoke. Run into kitchen. Pop up toast. Stick hand into toaster like an idiot. Swear. Scream. Throw blackened toast onto counter. Get out another piece of bread. Repeat.

  12. So delightful, scrolling through the comments, bobbing to “I Think I Love You,” and swabbing the nose-snort “self-defecating” made me splat on my screen. Another Tip: Be sure to engage all the senses!

  13. Great post. I especially think it is hilarious when someone with no sense of humor mistakes a humor blog for a serious post. Oh, maybe that happens to me because my blog isn’t funny. Oops! Jokes on me. Hahaha! Love your blog and you deserve all the attention you have randomly received.

  14. Yes, I have advice. Write naked. Just kidding. Don’t do that, it will get you no where, or rather, to my level of not-even-close-to-mediocre blogger… But a boy can dream. Oh can a boy ever dream!

    For the record, I do find you funny and I don’t know that I think of you as a mommy blogger, but it’s also Saturday morning and still drunk. Yay.

  15. I’ve often wondered how some blogs get so many followers, but I guess I do know some answers to that. Talk about abuse, be humorous, put hooks in your writing that will want bloggers to read more. I do believe that I’m following only one of the (un-bulleted) suggestions that I just came up with. I guess maybe I need to more…

  16. Well, I don’t know if that’s actually Danny Bonaduce’s school photo or not, but my god! I can’t handle. Can’t handle it. It’s like, I’m afraid if I stare at it too long, my own face will start morph into that image, just like when you stare in a mirror too long and things go all wavy.

  17. Once I started my blog (yesterday) I started looking into other mommies out there and was instantly drawn to your humor and to the point attitude. I look forward to following you. Please come check my out crazywomanrantings.wordpress.com.

  18. I had the random idea of starting a blog at something like 1am when struggling with insomnia and this… this was the perfect thing to read. In fact, I giggled so hard I sprayed Red Bull out my nose – I don’t recommend that. But thank you for saying what I pretty much needed to hear a few hours later 🙂

  19. You’re my favourite blogger, I had considered asking for tips to help my lowly unpopular blog but you just about covered everything, it’s like you read my mind (but not my blog). Now I know exactly what to do and not do which it seems is the same thing. 😀

  20. You forgot one piece of advice:
    Procrastinate a lot in between posts. Let lots of content simmer and brew and fester inside of you until it all comes bursting out in a flurry of typing and photo editing that completely consumes you for a day or three and then subsides for the next few months.
    Works for me. Incidentally, I’m posting this comment instead of posting a long-overdue update. Am I rocking this thing or what? 😛

  21. I am a mommy but not a not-mommy blogger now too- I think my blog is about chronic illness and family life , and Im funny to me so at least theres that. I just got started with only one post and three followers so far, but already the writing is so theraputicly intoxicating. Thank you so much for the mixed bag of advice. I have no idea where my new venture will take me, but Im along for the ride. really enjoyed this post, so thanks.

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