The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban

Writing for Bloggers: Introductory Course

People like this guy who tried to get paid for blogging give me the ennui. Blogging is writing done by postliterate geeks. These people are used to being paid for their hobbies, because an obsession with computer programming or its equivalent often accidentally results in a nice paycheck. This will not happen with your blog. Since none of you have met a writer before or read an entire book, some review is going to be necessary here. Writing is not like computer programming. Here are some things about writing:
  • People write because they have to and get paid if and when they can. Writers do not expect to make a living by writing and very few of them get paid more than lunch money. This is true for bad, mediocre, and even very good writers.

  • Writing is done for an audience. If you write entirely for yourself, and do not stop to consider your readers and what they may find interesting or pleasant, do not be surprised if you are not read.

  • "Content" is not generic. If you do not have anything to say, do not write. If you have something to say that is said frequently by others, you will not be read. A new person writing "My occasional rants on the world of PC Gaming with particular emphasis on multiplayer online games" or "A daily set of links to Slashdot and three or four well-known political websites with my unique and irreverent perspective" will not be noticed, much less read.

  • Writing is harder than talking. It is, in fact, a craft. (See Podcasting, below). The only people who are read by many others are people who take care to put words together properly, and these people usually have to go over their writing several times and edit it for repetition, clichés, dumb catchphrases, and ugly turns of phrase. If you are not willing to do this you will not be read.

  • Podcasting is not writing. Podcasting is talking into a microphone and then having people listen. If you are not a speaker of professional quality you will sound like a complete fucking tool on your podcast. The number of people willing to listen to a mouth-breathing, sniffling amateur drone about technology or politics is small. For example, it's smaller than the number of people who are willing to listen to the BBC or National Public Radio. Much smaller. Do not podcast.

  • Even if you have exciting things to say, even if you write with careful attention to your audience, even if you spend years improving your skills, you will not get paid. If you build a better mousetrap, it's said the world will beat a path to your door. If you write a better paragraph, you then have to beat a path to your job.
If you stripped out all the personal yawps, pictures, and linksmanship from my own blog and then pulled out the bits that could have theoretically been sold to a newspaper or magazine as reviews or op ed, and then assumed that I sold them all and got paid for them all, I'd make maybe $250-$300 a month unless I'd really hit the bigtime. And you would have made an ass out of U and me in the process, because not even very good writers sell all their stuff.

I hope this is helpful. If you still want to write things on the internet despite never being paid and rarely being read, you are a writer. If you work very hard at it, someday you may get $15,000 for two or three years' work and be distributed in tiny quantities to libraries and bookstores. It will be the happiest day of your life.

I mean it about podcasting, though. Don't do it.
Tags: annoying, asswipe, blog, blogging, commerce, no, supercilious, tag, writing
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