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.
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.
- 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.