GoogleImages From the inbox of "Uh, Artie?"

Uh, Artie?

I'm
wondering if you could help me. I know you are a professional so I
don't ask lightly.

I always enjoy reading your blog. I find your writings to be interesting, meaningful,
and relevant.

I've recently been elected as PTO President for
the NA High School. I'm trying to change the culture, one baby step at
a time. I'd like to find ways to connect parents to each other and our
common goal of parenting great kids (well, at least I think that's our
goal!).

I started a blog β€” one post, many months ago πŸ™‚ β€” and really
want to make something of it. I'm having a hard time figuring out how
to write in a way that will get people to think about what I write. I'm
humble enough to know that I don't have great thoughts, but I do
believe that the journey that parents take can be lonely. We need each
other and each other's wisdom, if only to say "Well, I'm not going to
do that!" πŸ™‚

If you have some time or can do it in pixels, I'd love
some advice from you about how to write each day (or several times a
week) about a topic, how to make it meaningful and most importantly for
me – how to include questions or "deep thoughts" to get my audience to
stop and reflect.

I value your intellect and wisdom and your writing skill. I hope you will agree to offer me some advice.

Thanks in advance,

Beth

P.S. Feel free to use my comments. You can use my name, too!

How To Start Blogging

Dear Beth,

Congratulations. Way to go. You are a good person doing so much good. Your whole family is deep in community service. How wonderful.

Thanks
for your kind words.

As for writing for a blogsite, here is how I do it:

  1. Stop thinking. Start writing. Now. Write one before breakfast every day.
  2. Don't write to make others think. I just write to make myself think.
    Some readers will come along. Many will ignore me. There's no accounting for
    taste. If a blogger has 3-10 loyal readers, that's victory.
  3. Secretly publish the first three posts. I did this and then announced I was blogging, so, as friends realized I was writing, they didn't come to a site to see only
    one post. 
  4. Grab a photo from Google Images that fuels curiosity.
  5. Keep each post short (200-250 words).
  6. Write each as if writing a casual, tongue-in-cheek letter to one
    specific person in the target audience. (I change that person
    from post to post.) Sometimes I send the person a link to the post, in an
    email that says, "I secretly wrote this with you in mind. I hope you
    like it."
  7. Break paragraphs (contrary to what your grammar teacher
    taught) in the middle so they are rarely more than three sentences long.
  8. Put subheads in bold between every two or three paragraphs.
  9. Make your design readable. If you use white type without serifs on a dark or, worse, a photographic background, then your design is not focused on the text. That makes it hard for any reader more than 40 years old. I won't read it.

How long does it take?
That's the most frequent question I'm asked. (Almost no one asks, "Why do you do it?")

It takes about 30-45 minutes per day. To many, that seems like too much time to spend writing. I think it's time well spent.

Peace and love from all of us (me) here at Uh, Artie?

— Artie