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What makes a good blog post?

In the six months since I made the first entry in my journal, I’ve made a lot of friends and learned more than I ever expected to about writing and writers in general. For example: last week, my friend[info]marshallpayne1 wrote an excellent post about the need for writers who want to develop a readership for their journal to strike a good balance between self-promotion, community spirit and entertainment (if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, here’s the link). 

It got me wondering.  When it comes to my own posts (and of course, the ones I read), how do I define entertainment?  


It took me a while to figure it out, but in the end I realized, if it’s about me or my work, then it’s self-promotion, if it’s personal, or about a specific someone else, it’s community spirit, therefore pretty much everything else counts as entertainment.


Most of my posts are about writing, whether it’s sharing what little experience I have, airing my own, naïve, ideas about the craft, or simply pointing people in the direction of better offerings by wiser, more experienced, folk.  No surprise then, when I tell you that when it comes to my friends’ blogs, the posts I enjoy reading the most, tend to be writing-related.  


How about you? From an entertainment point of view, what tends to catch your eye when you surf through your friends’ page? 


What do you think makes a good blog post?   

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( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
Yep, writing related posts are my favourites too! :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh good. I was worried in case it was just me :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
I don't know if they're good posts or not, but I try to do interviews and talk about research, because it gives me a chance to get outside of my own meta and writing philosophy and focus on others. I think that can be entertaining.

Jul. 8th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your post about deadlines last week too :)
(no subject) - cathschaffstump - Jul. 8th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
Anything that gets me thinking. It could be about writing. It could be about politics or society or--anything.

I like your posts! They're always entertaining. :-P
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I steer clear of politics. Thanks for the compliment :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
The best blog posts combine thoughts about writing, or reading, and entertainment. Wit, humor, unexpected juxtapositions, those will get my attention. That's why I'm happy to follow your blog!

Edited at 2009-07-08 12:44 pm (UTC)
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you kindly :) I'm still jealous that you finished editing SPIDER FINGERS while I have to re-write the end of Waking Up Jack Thunder ;)
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
I like to read about anything, politics, envronmental, spiritual, writing, personal, it's all good to me.
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
Wow, more politics. You guys are way braver them me :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
In that way, I'm like you. I tend to read the posts aboout writing very carefully and skim through the rest.
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing, Gustavo. In addition to being one of my earliest LJ friends, your regular success posts continue to inspire me to work harder.
(no subject) - bondo_ba - Jul. 8th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 8th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
The thing about self promotion is, if you don't have a book for sale (or coming out soon), then you don't really have a lot to promote except the blog itself. In that case, you need to come up with topics of interest to someone besides yourself. I have steered away from posting anything about my writing projects except for an occasional friends-locked post, partly because I have no product until my agent sells the book, and partly because there are a ton of blogs where folks do that. Also, I have a face-to-face critique group that can provide both advice and emotional support.

In reading other blogs, I look for info— how publishing works, how agents work, what's happening in the market these days, what kind of self-promotion works, etc.

And BTW, providing links to sources of info is just as good as info.

Jul. 8th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
It's like Marshall says, a blog shouldn't be about me, me, me.

In real life, if the only time our friends said anything was to promote themselves, we'd soon ditch them. That's not to say that we shouldn't share good news, or even the occasional sample ;)

Jul. 8th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
"No anchovies!" makes a good blog post. You know me, I like a fair amount of humor. Life is so crappy for some right now, that while we shouldn't ignore the bad things happening, we shouldn't always dwell on the grim either. Or even when we do focus on it, looking at something from an ironic slant can often offer unique insights and suggest helpful ways of dealing with it. But I think people need entertainment right now more than ever.

Another thing that makes a good blog post is seeing my name mentioned a lot. Just teasing, of course. Thanks to the link to my piece. But this goes back to the #2 item I talked about: Promote other people. You do a great job of this, Jon, and you have an uncanny knack for making people feel comfortable here! This is probably why your flist is bigger than my flist. ;-)
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall, my flist is only bigger because you charge a $100 joining fee ;)
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jul. 8th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 8th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 8th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
I initially came on LJ to read what other writers had to say, and most of my friends are writers. But as it went on, I found I like a bit of the personal in there too, a sense of wholeness to someone's life. I like posters to begin to feel like people, though that's not required of all people I read, just some :)

Which leads me to one other stipulation on whom I read: I need to like the personality that comes through. If a good writer who has interesting tidbits to pass on comes off as a know-it-all snob, I won't read them long. If someone who barely dabbles in writing comes across as warm and generous, or goofy, or witty, and all around likable, I'll probably read whatever they post about. So, maybe small friendships are part of it for me as well.
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Isn't it interesting how we want our LJ friends to be like the regular life ones?

Thanks for sharing :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
I'm with you, the writing-related posts of other folks on my list are the ones I most enjoy reading, particularly if it's specifically about the projects they are working on, or their personal experiences with something writing-related.

I also find that my eye is drawn to posts with shorter paragraphs. If I see a giant block of text several screens long, i tend to skim over it.
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Lol. Now I'm scanning through my blog-posts, checking on paragraph lengths :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
I think you're right, a good balance between all three, even when you're just doing a single post, makes for an interesting and well-rounded journal. Those are the ones I enjoy reading.
Jul. 8th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
That Marshall Payne is a wise, wise man :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
something that makes me think...
Jul. 8th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, that narrows it down :)
(no subject) - peadarog - Jul. 8th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 8th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Jul. 8th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 8th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
I agree, the writing-related blogs catch my eye first and I tend to skim the rest. Though the ones that stop to make you think about writing are gems that are good to share.
Jul. 8th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how many great posts are out there. :)
Jul. 8th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
Truth is, I'm much more interested in hearing about my online friends' writing endeavors, discoveries, and successes.

I have very limited interest in public wailing and moaning about personal issues.
Jul. 8th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
I like success stories, like yours from last Friday, they give me hope. :)
Jul. 9th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Wrtie what's in your heart and people will be entertained.
Jul. 9th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
Oh I don't know. How much entertainment can you get from a stone? ;)
(no subject) - serge_lj - Jul. 9th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 10th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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