The Wait Until Next Year Conditional Manifesto for Blogging Success and Satisfaction

by Steve

Large sign saying "howdy!"

I do like a good manifesto. There is something pretty powerful about a clear declaration of intent. There is something almost grandiose about a manifesto that you don’t get from a simple resolution, or pledge or plan of action. They seem innately ambitious, and equally doomed to fail, as nobody ever really can achieve the ideal, whatever that ideal might be.

There is also something absurd and juvenile about a manifesto, imposing limitations, believing you can really change yourself and the world, making the mundane act of planning ahead seem epic and heroic when it really isn’t going to work out how you think. Perhaps these are other reasons why I like a good manifesto.

So, here is my attempt to make outlandish promises, didactic statements and wild generalisations in the name of this here blog, to explain in broad strokes how I’ll be taking the place forward in future and how I think, in an ideal world, people should be blogging generally. However, being a considerate, careful man at heart, I have inserted the word ‘Conditional’ as no doubt I’ll end up tweaking the manifesto, either online or just in my head, will probably ignore half of it, and will almost certainly be embarrassed by the whole thing about five minutes after I hit the ‘publish’ button.

Anyway, without any further ado…

The Wait Until Next Year Conditional Manifesto for Blogging Success and Satisfaction

1. Write what you know

A somewhat clichéd phrase, and I kind of mean more than just blog about what you know about. Rather than use it as a point of limitation and focus, use it as an excuse to write about anything and everything you are interested in. You don’t need every post to be about the same thing. It is fun to read about one person’s perspective on many subjects, or at least the many elements of one subject. Also, don’t think it means you have to be an expert on said subject, you don’t need to display an exhaustive knowledge on anything. Write what you know about what you don’t know. Explore and discover through writing. Even what you don’t know is interesting to read about. Showcase your ignorance! Don’t write about something you don’t really care about!

2. Don’t overthink, don’t overwrite

Blogging isn’t journalism, or essay writing, or anything too arty and fancy. The fun and strength of blogging comes through a writer working out their thoughts as they go. Pieces don’t need to be complete. Your position doesn’t need to be settled. By just writing the writer might find out something they hadn’t realised before. Without worrying about standard structure the writer might find a fun new way of articulating themselves. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter. You can always try again, or just delete it all. I love reading the incomplete thought, the thought in progress.

3. Don’t be too smart for your own good

Probably related to the point above, but I guess I mean there is no need to be too clever or conceptual at blog or post level. It doesn’t have to be a perfect project. I’d rather the rough, ready and true over the polished artifact.

4. Don’t play to the crowd

We all look over our stats, that will always be a compulsion for 99% of bloggers. But don’t start getting all SEO-y (unless you write really linkbait-y titles like How Justin Beiber Can Win You A Free iPad and then write a really obscure post on wrestling bears or something underneath it), or second-guessing what people want. This isn’t a business or a career. You get to put you first. And when you do, it is more fun to read.

5. Post at least once a week

While I’m all for quality over quantity in principle, I’d rather read four short posts a month from one of my favourite bloggers than one really long post. I like regular engagement. I’m also sticking this in to actually motivate me to keep this place vaguely up-to-date. This may mean I end up posting YouTube videos and the like in lieu of actual content in order to meet my targets, but there you go.

6. Post a comment on someone else’s blog at least once a week

This is not some horrible blogger-outreach plan to encourage more visitors to your own blog. That is a bit crappy and creepy. Instead, my thinking is bloggers like comments, it makes them feel warm and fuzzy, so why not do something nice once a week? There is also nothing wrong with acknowledging there is a world beyond your own blog.

7. More Creative Commons pictures

Because I like pictures, and I like free pictures.

8. Change your mind

The clause the ‘Conditional’ part of the title refers to. This manifesto and blog is perpetually subject to change and/or the whims of the author. Just so you know.

9. Don’t let blogging be a chore

Because nothing is making you do it, apart from you pledging to fulfil this manifesto’s aims, of course. If it isn’t working, try something different, take a break (while posting crappy YouTube videos), read, get inspired, don’t worry about it.

10. Pay no attention to blogging advice/guidance/manifestos

Especially this one. I imagine I shall follow this point more closely than any of the others.

ENDS.

And there you go. A work in progress, a bit of a daft enterprise, but hopefully the start of me being a little bit more of an active blogger, for a few weeks anyway. Thoughts/additions/amendments very welcome. And watch out for some hot blogging action over the next few weeks.

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