The Thoughtful Blogger
One of the biggest benefits of blogging for me has been in meeting people with different backgrounds and perspectives. More than once lately I’ve been forced by another blogger to recognize some of my own prejudices, preconceptions and unexamined value judgments. And that’s a good thing.
When I wrote my Blogging About Books About Blogging piece last month, I had on hand No One Cares What You Had for Lunch but chose not to include it in that roundup. I am really passionate about books and most of the bloggers I’ve come to know well also write about things that they care deeply about. For those of us in this group of bloggers, What to write about or What to Say is not a problem we struggle with much. At this moment I have about thirty books piled up next to me and my thinking about post topics tends to be on ‘so which ones will I write about next’ rather than ‘oh what can I write about’.
The technical, as opposed to editorial, challenges of blogging can be much tougher for me. Despite testing many possible solutions I have yet to find a tag cloud generator that works and that I like. And I have just about decided to switch to a three column template to reduce the extraordinary length of my sidebar and better optimize my advertising. But the thought of the tinkering with the template HTML that will be required is enough to send me to bed with the covers pulled over my head to hide from the world.
So the other day, I responded to a request for a blog review on Blog Catalog and found myself on beautifully laid out page, which someone had clearly put a lot of skill and effort into. But as great as the design was, the posts were weak. And in reading the posts and interacting with the blogger on BC, it became clear to me that this was someone who is genuinely interested in joining the blogosphere conversation, has many of the essential skills needed to make a successful blog, but lacks the experience and skill with writing needed to create good posts.
It occurred to me that the blogger in question would benefit greatly from Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch and in that instant the book changed for me from one I couldn’t be bothered to pan to one I can earnestly recommend. If used with care and imagination, Mason’s one hundred suggestions for blog post topics could enable a blogger to gain experience in the writing craft, establish a body of posts and work towards finding his niche and voice. Recommended.
A final note, a tip of the hat to Bev, my good friend whose journal Funny The World was showing the Internet what a great personal blog looks like, many years before the term came into use , who has tagged me with the Thoughtful Blogger Award. I am told it is for
"those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping others bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others."