Category Archives: Blogging

9 Reasons Why Writers Should Blog

1. Every writer needs a home on the internet.

If you don’t then you practically don’t exist. Traditionally, success in the publishing industry hasn’t been determined by what you know but by who knows you. In the age of digital publishing, this is truer than ever. Popularity is success. And you don’t have to woo crusty old publishing executives to be a success anymore. All you have to do is find a way to make your work go viral, a task made easier by the fact that humanity’s artistic standards hit rock bottom decades ago. So you don’t even have to be that good. You just have to provide what people want. But no matter how good you are, nobody can throw you a bone if they can’t find you. Even if you could succeed without an official presence on the Internet, you’d just be making your job harder than it has to be.

 

2. It allows the general public to give you negative feedback.

This might sound like a bad thing, but writers who get their feelings hurt over negative feedback from the public are like motorcyclists who whine about riding in the rain. You knew this was going to happen. Deal with it. Embrace it if you can, and move on… or get off the ride.

Negative feedback from the public can be used as constructive criticism if you look at it stoically. You can’t always trust the public’s opinions, but it can tell you if you’re moving in the right direction.

 

3. It allows professionals and semi-professionals to give you constructive criticism.

It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes people will stop by and tell you in the most tactful way possible that you suck and point out what you can do better. If you don’t want to wait for that to happen by chance, you can link your blog in writers’ forums and beg for feedback.

Nobody wants you to E-mail them your amateur work or open text documents posted by strangers on public forums. However, if they see you post a link to a blog. they don’t have anything but their time to lose by clicking it. If they were lurking on forums they were probably looking for amusing links to click anyway. A lot of people will click on your link just to see if you’re a hot chick. And if your “About Me” page does have a picture of a hot chick on it they’ll pay even more attention to you.

 

4. A blog is a portfolio.

Blogging allows you to compile a professional portfolio of work that you can always search, access and edit quickly and easily. Granted, your first couple hundred blogs you write are going to be crap that you should be ashamed of, but over the years you’ll add better posts. You’ll have time to go back and preen your old ones. After you’ve trashed half your posts and rewritten the other half 35 times you might end up with a site full of refined work that any professional would respect at a glance. Or you might end up with a site that shows you still have room to grow, but you’re obviously committed and have potential if someone would just give you chance. There’s no guarantee that will happen, but it’s like the Texas lottery commercials say, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

 

5. You get to obsess over stats.

This will be depressing at first when nobody looks at your work. But that should also tell you something and motivate you. If that is enough to discourage you from writing, then it’s just as well you quit early because you were going to quit eventually anyway. If you stick with it and your work is worth reading, and you’ve promoted it at all even just in the forums you lurk on, you’ll start to see regular traffic. It’s exhilarating to watch the numbers grow, and sometimes someone will link to your site, and you’ll see a big spike in traffic. You’ll also be able to see what sites have linked to you and what people on that site are saying about your work. If you see certain types of sites tend to pick up your links, then you’ll be able to identify your audience, and if you’re smart, cater to them.

Once your stats start moving up and down, your blog becomes like a “Farmville” game. Whether you’re writing a blog or playing a game on Facebook, you’re still just staring at the computer screen for hours clicking buttons. The Facebook gamer gets to watch their virtual farm grow as a reward. The writer gets to watch their stats go up. Every once in a while you get a bonus reward when someone clicks the “like” button on one of your posts. Sometimes you get penalized when someone leaves a comment telling you how stupid you are. The reward and risks make the game more exciting. As a reward for enduring all that negative criticism, eventually, you get to watch your E-book sale stats, where each number represents real-world cash piling up in your online bank account.

 

6. Having a blog will allow you to communicate with your fans.

You never know what can be gained through networking. You might meet another writer who wants to collaborate. A fan might tell you exactly what your audience wants so you can give it to them. An agent might contact you with a deal. You might flatter a fan with a reply, which might motivate them to direct new readers to you. You might just have some interesting conversations and learn something new and random about the world. So even if your blog doesn’t open the doors to heaven, it’ll still open doors to opportunities that are enjoyable, if not lucrative.

 

7. You make books out of your blogs.

Once you’ve got 1-300 pages of quality of work, regardless of whether that’s baking recipes, short stories, character descriptions, advice, opinions or bullshit you can slap that in an E-book and sell it on Amazon. If Tucker Max can make a fortune publishing stuff he had laying around, then so can you.

 

8. You can justify crowd-sourcing.

If you have fans following your blog, then you already have an audience who might support you. You can open a fundraising page on Patreon or Kickstarter. Then you can market that to the general public. If you build it they may come. If you don’t. Then they never had any reason to.

This isn’t the new standard way to become a professional writer, but if you’re going to be writing anyway, you may as well set yourself up for success and build the tools you’re going to need eventually anyway.

 

9. Your blog is your data backup

Blogging allows you to keep an up to date backup of your work, and after you’ve written a few hundred posts your blog also serves as a historical vault.

You might not want to post your earliest work because you don’t want to establish a reputation as a bad writer, but nobody is going to remember your bad work. If they do, they’ll be that much more impressed by your latest and greatest work. Even if one or two people get the wrong impression, you’re going to win more fans than you lose in the long run.

If you’re worried about people stealing your work, don’t be. Nobody is going to steal your early work because it sucks too bad. If someone does steal your later work, it’ll be free publicity, and the loss will be offset by a number of legitimate sales you’ve gained through your web presence. If you simply can’t stand the idea of anyone seeing any of your work without paying top dollar for it then I hope your manuscript stays is your desk drawer for the rest of your life. The world will manage fine with one less greedy, tight ass in the publishing business.

 

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TV plot break downs
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Why Do I Write The Wise Sloth Blog?

Note: This explanation goes into the major life events that led to the creation of The Wise Sloth. If you want the short answer, scroll down and read the last four paragraphs.

The motivation for me to write The Wise Sloth probably started in the first year of my life. I was born prematurely because I have an identical twin brother. He was healthy, but my heart wasn’t done developing. So I had to spend the first few months of my life in an incubator until I was strong enough to survive heart surgery. Over the course of the ordeal, I flat-lined seven times. After the surgery, I was still in and out of the hospital for the next year with pneumonia.

San Marcos, Texas 1984

By the age of six, I had been told a million times how lucky I was to be alive, and since I was raised in the deeply religious state of Texas, I was also told God must have a very special plan for me. Being 6 years old, I believed what I adults told me and often wondered what important mission God must have gone through so much trouble to keep me alive to accomplish. Eventually, I stopped believing God had a plan for me, but I still always carried a sense of responsibility to do something valuable with my life.

My parents divorced when I was six-years-old, and my two brothers and I spent the rest of our childhoods bouncing back and forth between houses, which were on opposite sides of Texas. Our parents were always working and always stressed. So I had very little supervision, and what discipline I got consisted mostly of screaming and spankings. By the age of eight, I started becoming aware nobody was going to teach me how to become a mature, responsible, self-actualized adult. The only way it was ever going to happen was if I taught myself.

I did well in school, but I wasn’t top of my class. I made my first “C” on my report card in middle school when I stopped hanging out with nerds and started hanging out with the bad kids who smoked cigarettes and shoplifted. I made my first “F” my freshman year in high school when I started hanging out with kids who smoked marijuana and stole whatever wasn’t bolted down. I took a lot of drugs in those days and lost my mind a little bit. I couldn’t remember what normal was supposed to feel like, and I would constantly ask myself what reality is.

I started carrying a notebook with me to draw and collect quotes in. Pretty quickly, I started writing my own quips and then essays. The more notebooks I filled up, the less they included pictures and quotes, and the more they included questions and essays. I still carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and write down ideas and sketch out blogs in them. I call them my “ideation notebooks.”

Trippy drawing of myself that I did on the margin of my class notes in high school.

Paris, Texas 2015

At the age of seventeen, I took a larger dose of hallucinogens than I was used to and spent the night talking to God. The next day I threw away my cigarettes and started reading the Bible. Later that year I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church, and my notebooks began to fill up with religious questions and observations. I was particularly obsessed with the question of the meaning of life. I felt paranoid that I would die without being able to say for sure that I made the most out of life, and I wanted to know for sure that I gave my future children the best life advice possible.

So I made a conscious decision to actively and systematically try to figure out life, meaning, maturity, responsibility, and self-actualization to the best of my ability. To streamline the process I created a systematic method of problem-solving based on basic math principles and the scientific method.

After graduating high school I attended a Baptist university where I studied the Bible and social sciences. I hoped to apply my systematic method of problem-solving to the Bible and create the perfect argument for Christianity. However, I barely had to scratch the surface of Genesis before it became undeniably obvious that the Bible is a simple and blatant work of primitive mythology.

By the end of my first year in university, I lost my faith, left school and started drinking and using drugs again. After taking a year out of life to do backbreaking manual labor with felons and immigrants, I joined the Air Force as a computer technician. Working with computers helped me hone my problem-solving skills, and being in the military allowed me to see the world and find new questions and answers that I would never have been exposed to living in small-town Texas. It also gave me time to consolidate my philosophies into a treatise on the meaning of life.

I had only been at my first duty station for a few months before September 11th happened. I watched the planes hit the Twin Towers on the television in my First Sergeant’s office while he handed me disciplinary paperwork for failing my room inspection. I wrote a rebuttal, but it fell on deaf ears. Over the next six years, I watched the American military tear the Middle East apart. I asked everyone in any position of authority I could why we invaded Iraq, and I never got a straight answer. So I started looking for one on my own. The more I analyzed the situation the more I lost faith in our mission. The only explanation that made any sense was that destabilizing the Middle East wasn’t an accident. It was the point.

Photo of me in my Air Force uniform taken at Ali Al Salem Air Base in 2004. I'm pale as a ghost.

Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait 2004

The last few years I was in the military I took night classes studying psychology, which led me to the conclusion that the military is a cult. I left the military full of guilt and shame at a time when it was viciously taboo in American culture to criticize the military or the preeminence of America.

Around the time I left the military one of my brothers was building a huge following blogging on MySpace under the screen name, “The Mad Goat.” He looked like he was having fun, and people were listening to the things he had to say, even it was just belligerent, drunken stories with dubious moral lessons at the end. So I started vomiting my drunken, belligerent viewpoints on MySpace as well. I copied the formula for my brother’s screen name, “The” + “adjective” + “animal”  and chose “The Wise Sloth” because I aspire to be wise, and I make an art form out of laziness.

The quality of my writing was awful. I had no business writing or expecting anyone to pay attention to my drivel, but a few people did, and that fueled my desire to keep going. Around 2008, MySpace basically died as everyone migrated to Facebook. At that point, my brother stopped blogging and got on with his real life. I started a WordPress blog and copied over the few decent posts I’d written. Unfortunately, I lost 99% of my readership and had to build a new audience without the advantage of having a social networking platform built right into my blogging platform.

I decided to keep blogging for several reasons. First, my blog is an extension of my journals, where I catalog my own observations about life as I struggle to get it all figured out for myself. The fact that The Wise Sloth is public is an added bonus. I know there are a lot of people asking the same questions as me. If I can help them find answers quicker, I may be able to help make the world a better place for both of us.

Sometimes I choose my blog topics based on what I think my readers would benefit from or what would increase traffic to my site. My essays on sexual positions and techniques accomplish both of those goals.  Blogging also gives me a pulpit to speak about subjects that don’t get enough attention, like the fact that the U.S. Military is a cult, Christianity is mythology, capitalism is the root of most of the world’s problems, and locally sustainable communities are the solution to most of those problems.

As I write enough posts on a subject, I’m compiling them into books. I’ve made a few hundred dollars off The Wise Sloth from book sales and donations, which is a horrible return on investment considering that I’ve put thousands of hours of work into it, but that doesn’t bother me. I would still do it if I won the lottery and never had to worry about money again, and I’d still be writing if I knew for a fact that I’d never make any money off of it.

Having said that, I do want to make money from blogging, but I’m consciously playing the long game here. As long as I never stop blogging, it’s only a matter of time before I write enough books or create enough viral content to raise serious money. When that happens I’ll be able to fulfill my ultimate goal of building a secular, intellectual monastery. In the meantime, I’ll be playing my little humble part in raising awareness of important issues. Whenever I die, I’ll leave something behind that will hopefully in some way justify my existence. Then all the work my doctors (and possibly God) put into keeping me alive when I was a baby won’t have been in vain. Or maybe all of my irreverent, vulgar words will be nothing but a huge disappointment, but at least I’ll have had fun writing them.

Photo of me taken in Colorado in 2015 holding a 40 ounce coffee mug

Denver, Colorado 2014

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11 Things I Learned From Blogging On Myspace

Myspace logo

 

1. Be as clear and articulate as possible with what you say.

Don’t make any statements half cocked. Don’t overgeneralize. Don’t assume people know the difference between what you mean and what you say. People will rip you a new asshole with extreme prejudice if there are any holes in your argument or any basis uncovered.

 

2. Having said that, no matter how clear you make your statement there will be people who don’t “get it.”

Maybe they just skimmed over your blog and didn’t take the time to understand it. Maybe they believe something different and are only interested in expressing their point of view and refuse to hear what you have to say. Maybe they’re just a dick looking for someone to belittle to justify their shallow sense of self-worth. Maybe they’re just stupid. All of these people are out there, and they’re going to read your blog and attack you. Don’t let it get to you. Accept that there are people who disagree with you. Don’t delete their comments unless they attack you personally.

 

3. If they do make it personal then delete their comments and block their profile.

If you want to hurt a conceited attention whore then the worst thing you can do to them is ignore them and delete their comments so nobody else will know they exist. Arguing with them isn’t going to accomplish anything except to give them exactly what they want.

 

4. On the same token, don’t attack commenters personally, yourself.

If you think a group of people are doing something stupid and/or immoral then blog about it without holding back. Otherwise you’re not standing up for what you believe in. However, when an individual disagrees with you in the form of a comment (as long as they don’t attack you personally) then leave their comment. If you choose to argue with them then stick to analyzing the topic of conversation professionally. Once you attack your commenters personally then the search for truth ends and a childish/pointless war begins that only results in proving that you, yourself are a dick.

5. Who you are is more important than what you have to say.

The top blog spots are always taken up by hot chicks or douche bag celebrities talking about lame shit like getting a cup of coffee. I’ve actually considered changing my profile pick to a hot chick because I know it’ll sky rocket my popularity into the stratosphere. But on second thought…fuck that. My integrity is more important than popularity.

 

6. Appealing to the lowest common denominator will get you farther than appealing to the highest common denominator.

Hey, I love a sexy body as much as the next person. I even enjoy dick and fart jokes. But I love philosophy too. But if you want to achieve popularity then posting sexy photos and dick and fart jokes will get you farther in the social standings than talking about things that matter.

 

7. If you want to be popular, then you need to know that “tip for tap” is the name of the game.

If you post comments on all the most popular blogs and keep posting comments then the other popularity whores will comment on yours. All the top non-celebrity and non-hot chick bloggers know this. That’s just the name of the game. P.S. That’s a tip, not a criticism. But if I don’t comment on your blogs tip for tap then understand that I’m not interested in popularity. So if you’re commenting on my blogs expecting tip for tap then stop. If I want to comment on your blog because I feel I have something relevant to add then I will.

 

8. Don’t argue about creationism. Ever. …unless you’re only interested in blog-view numbers.

There’s no topic of conversation that’ll bring more views and more anger to your blog than arguing about creationism. But know that you’re not going to actually bring any type of closure to the argument.

 

9. Blogging on MySpace won’t make you a wealthy celebrity…

unless you’re a hot chick or you cater to the lowest common denominator.

 

10. MySpace is a great place to get feedback about whatever ideas you have to express.

Ironically, the most productive feedback you’re going to get will be from the assholes you hate you and want to point out any minute flaw in your ideas they can, which they’ll do with extreme prejudice. Sometimes you’ll need to block these assholes because they’re just too belligerent and unhealthy to keep in your “life.” However, their tirades usually have some worth in showing you how you can improve your thought process.

 

11. Keep blogging.

Despite the dangers, it’s still worth it. If nothing else it helps you articulate yourself. Sometimes it gives you a self-esteem boost. Sometimes it helps sharpen your edge. Sometimes it lets you know when you’re being a douche. It certainly teaches you a lot about human nature. And fuck it. Between the ups and downs, it’s fun… and cheaper than World of Warcraft.

 

If you liked this post you may like these:

 

Blogging
Free story prompts
Writing tips
Screenwriting for Movies
Screenwriting for TV
Short Stories
Erotica
Choose Your Own Adventure
Movie plot break downs
TV plot break downs
Art

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