3 Blog Posts You Need to Stop Writing Immediately

Image via Flickr by Tanmayee Deshprabhu

Image via Flickr by Tanmayee Deshprabhu

After three years of blogging I feel I need to make a public service announcement. Because these three blog post forms are ubiquitous and pointless.

1. Apologizing After an Absence

When I first started blogging, almost every post began with “I’m sorry this is so late.” Or, I would write a separate post explaining why I wasn’t sticking with my schedule before getting down to the business of the day.

This practice was tedious, embarrassing, and unnecessary.

Unless you’re writing a serial piece with an actual reader base, no one cares if you take a week, or three, off from blogging. The only effect it will have is making your site less visible to Google because the content isn’t “fresh,” so you will get substantially fewer visitors during that time. You’re hurting yourself, not something for which you need to apologize.

The only reason to write an explanation for why you haven’t been posting is if your absence was caused by something significant or interesting. Your pet died. You got married. You were on a life-changing retreat in India. If it helps your readers connect to you, fine, but no one cares if you were just lazy.

2. Writing Without Passion

“Write about something that feels urgent to you.”

So said my personal essay professor in college and it’s still the best advice I can give.

Again, when I first started blogging, I thought that every post needed to be writing related because the site is called “The Ink Slinger Diaries.” This premise led to some pretty uninspired pieces like Young Writer’s Tools: Dialogue Tag Word Bank. The article advises young writers to replace their adverbs with more specific dialogue tags. For example, “he said menacingly” might become “he growled.”

Though the article was sincerely written, this is not actually very good advice and the only reason I haven’t taken the article down is because one of the writers I mentioned in the piece took the time to comment. His short, clear explanation of how and when to use dialogue tags is valuable enough to justify the article’s continuance.

Bottom line: write about things you care about and the quality of your work will be much higher. The diversity of your subject matter may even broaden your reader base.

3. Really Long Articles

Although I still believe this is true, I’m not going to be as strident about this one. I’ve read plenty of engaging blog articles that also happen to be long. However, keep in mind that a long article requires a lot of investment from your reader. Unless you grab them immediately, it’s likely they’ll wander off. That’s just how internet reading works.

I think this goes double for genre writers. Putting up full short stories on your blog is awesome. You’re providing high quality content, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do to attract readership. However, asking someone who just stumbled upon your writing to tackle a 2,000-3,000 word post strikes me as rather ambitious. Not only that, but many authors feel unappreciated when they spend hours working on a short story only to get one or two likes on social media.

I’ve had the most success writing 700-1,200 word essays about things that feel important to me and 250-300 word flash fiction for people to get a taste of my fiction writing voice. Not  only are these articles manageable for my readership, but I can write one or two per week without taking too much time away from my other writing endeavors or feeling slighted if no one reads them.

Like all other “writing rules” these are not absolute. If you can write a long blog post about something you don’t care about while apologizing for an absence and still appeal to a broad readership, more power to you. Sometimes breaking the rules yields amazing results. However, if you’re working hard and struggling to gain traction, examine your article writing strategy to see if you’re vanishing into these common pitfalls.

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Comments

  1. A.c. Huayra says:

    Awesome! I like this writing, is there a a link to buy it from kindle?

    • A.c. Huayra says:

      * specifically “The Grey Heir,” Kindle or paper version?

    • The Ink Slinger says:

      Unfortunately not. I’m currently not self publishing, but rather am trying to get my work picked up by a publishing house. Thank you for your interest though!

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