You know the feeling. You’ve started your blog with a bang, built up a network of loyal readers, then boom! you run out of steam. You stop visiting other blogs. You stop writing your own. You spend you free time surfing for you-know-what or worse, watching television.
No blog for you!
Ha, ha, just a little blog humor there. Seriously, it’s when reality—family, friends, or anal retentive, dingleberry-chomping fellow employees who spy over your shoulder and report to your boss that you’ve been “spending too much time on the Internet,” forcing me to write this out in a word processing document—intrudes.
Suddenly, you don’t have a blog entry for days! Weeks! Months!
Really, I have no idea
So how do you get “back on track” and make sure your blog gets the attention it deserves? Here’s six surefire ways that you will put your blog back in business:
1) Lots of bulleted, numbed list. The Internet is a scannable medium, so you should make your blog as scannable as possible. Even though for a writer such as myself, making a written document “scannable” is akin to saying, “Nobody gives a fuck how well-crafted your sentences are or well-formed your ideas may be — I AM ON LEVEL 129 OF ANGRY BIRDS JUST GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING INFO DAMNIT
2) Links ahoy! Make sure there are a lot of links in your blog to other sites to related content. This generates credibility with readers, and ensures that you get lots of hits from people wanting know if Joshua Bell is gay or not.
3) Short sentences. Short paragraphs. Short entries. Short short short.
4) Lots of entries, few words! Which is good for someone like me who has nothing to actually say.
5) Keywords in bold. BOLD IS GOLD!
6) Great headlines. In headlines, always put a number, proper noun or a benefit to attract readers, such as “The 6 Ways I Will Reenergize My Blog.” Or “12 Ways the Tea Party, Koch Brothers and the Republican Party Suck Donkey Balls” or “How to Make Millions and Have the Greatest Time Ever Through Reading This Blog*.”
6A) (TOTALLY AWESOME, SUPER-SECRET BONUS WAY THAT I WILL REENERGIZE MY BLOG): PØ?N! And lots of it!!!
Also, I could actually think something through, commit the idea to virtual paper, and post it here. But that would take work. And who has time for that?
Blogito, ergo sum
*Rob banks, pay for prostitutes.
Numbers, which are a human invention, exist in their own dimension independent of human understanding. . . . → Read More: Obsessed With Obsessions
If “smart” bloggers need to be told that there’s a difference between “their” and “there,” it’s just a matter of time before the video gamers, illiterates, brain-dead jocks and the Jens of this earth simply swoop in and take over. . . . → Read More: “10 Writing Mistakes Smart Bloggers Make,” or Why Writing As We Know It Is Dead
Now Bookiefraud still writes, he says, and I never met a sportswriter who was worth more than tossin’ a loaf after eating a fried prune po’boy. Fiction writers, sportswriters, court reporters, they are all about the same to me. A buncha nimrods, not Rich Rods, if you ask me. . . . → Read More: Special Guest Blog! Rich Rodriguez Tells Us How Not to Write (or Coach)
My message to myself is simple: “Think positive, Bookfraud, think positive. Be superpowerful. Stop making fun of Wayne Newton.” . . . → Read More: Resolved: A Better 2010…or 2011…or Whatever the Hell Year It Is
In the spirit of the free flow of ideas, my high school occasionally would convene assemblies to hear speakers debate the issues of the day. That was the occasion for an event that still rankles me to this day, and, in part, explains the appeal of Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and all of our friends in the T-Par-T. It also explains why, to a trifling but measurable degree, many of us write. . . . → Read More: The Silence and the Fury
I have deleted thousands of unnecessary words in my day, but what’s much harder for me is getting rid of ideas. I collect them like a compulsive hoarder, never trashing a single thought, no matter if the bulk of them are threatening to keel over and smother me like Homer and Langley Collier. . . . → Read More: The Island of Misfit Blog Ideas
As Mr. James takes his act from the cold warrens of Cleveland to South Beach, and Cavaliers fans are burning his jersey in effigy, the literary world takes little notice. Perhaps we should, as this episode reminded me of nothing save for Saul Bellow. You must obviously see the connection. . . . → Read More: LeBron James, Saul Bellow, and the Siren Call
Before we start, let’s get a few things straight. First of all, I’m not going to be your buddy, I’m not going to hang out with you, and most of all, I’m not going to help your whale-turd of a novel get published. . . . → Read More: Let’s Get a Few Things Straight
Bookfraud gets transported inside “Oliver Twist.” Kind of. Sort of. . . . → Read More: Gimme More
Thus ends my winding, wordy, 13-part series.
Now, back to more current topics.
And finding a job.
Orwell may not have been an intellectual, but he was a brilliant writer, and was so brutally honest as to be painful. If it didn’t inspire me to pursue writing, Orwell’s essay changed how I view language and how I use it. I think about “Politics and the English Language” every time I write, even if I’m not aware of it. . . . → Read More: Why I Really Write, Part 10: George Orwell
In the deepest grottoes of my troubled soul, I realize that I would do anything to relive that heady, three-day buzz of 22 years ago. . . . → Read More: Why I Really Write, Part 8: The New York Mets
The country re-elected Bush, and there’s enough moronic, unemployed white fucks in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania looking for any excuse not to vote for a black person to put McCain into office. . . . → Read More: Why I Really Write, Part 7: I Am Seriously Pissed Off
There were Nazis who were well-read, who were musicians, artists, and philosophers. How could people partake of great art and debate the nature of humanity while committing one of the most barbarous acts in the history of humanity? . . . → Read More: Why I Really Write, Part 5: The Library
Ralph Ellison did not help or encourage other writers, especially Black writers, who he disdained more than praised. Not as if that makes Ellison different than most, but I’d always hoped that Ellison just wasn’t any other writer. He was special. . . . → Read More: Visible Man
Are these people — who are so in touch with their dramatic sides that they need to create conflict to feel at ease — better writers than those of us who are preternaturally calm and collected? . . . → Read More: Drama Queens
“Best Online Sites for Word Nerds” claims the old-fashioned, paper dictionary is a Luddite artifact, as antiquated as rotary-dial phones and three-piece plaid leisure suits. . . . → Read More: The Death of the Dictionary
[The reader] is motivated to throw the volume across the living room, where it inevitably will strike an expensive piece of porcelain passed down 10 generations of your wife’s family. . . . → Read More: Book Review: The Brief History of the Dead, or I Want a Recount
Wife and I are considering a move to the suburbs, as we have decided that our carbon footprint is not large enough. . . . → Read More: You Schnook Me All Night Long
Wife, who doesn’t read this space, claims that my posts are too long. And I don’t post enough.
"Why, my readers are sophisticated, literate thinkers who appreciate a long, reasoned sober argument," I replied. "In addition, whenever I try speaking at length at home, you cut me off."
But, as many things Wife has said, this got under my skin. So I’m going to try something completely different. For the next three days, I’m going to post three times, with each entry clocking in at about 300. The "333" plan will commence today (see below). They’re less "posts" than a buncha brain farts, but if I don’t write about them here, Wife will be forced to listen to me expostulate on these ideas for the next 40 years.
Bookfraud cubed. QED.
INTELLIGENT DESIGNED DISPROVED IN 300 WORDS
The great debate over so-called "intelligent design" as a competing theory to the theory of evolution by natural selection ends right here, right now.
Intelligent design posits that life is so complicated that only a higher power could have "designed" our natural world. (If you’re not laughing, it’s because unlike me, you don’t have two bum knees that seem to have been designed by a gas-station attendant high on OxyContin.)
Here’s the proof, or disproof of this so-called "theory." Humans — all mammals, in fact — have two eyes. In fact, we have two hands, arms, legs, ears, breasts, and nostrils. We have but one mouth, but it is graced by two lips, and we all know from which one’s excess food is excreted, making the anus having at least some duality with the orifice from which food entered the body.
But we only have one sexual organ. And it’s used for two things.
If this doesn’t disprove intelligent design, I don’t know what does.
If there were truly intelligent design, Our Maker in all of His/Her wisdom would have given men at least three schlongs: one for peein’, one for sinnin’, and one from which to hang ornaments.
If we have ten digits on our hands and feet, you’d think we’d at least have five penises. You could count with them, wear your wedding band on one, use one as a pointer, or give new meaning to "giving someone the finger." It could be "giving someone a boner."
(As for women having mutiple vaginas, I’m not going there. Thought it would be totally cool, if done tastefully).
So all of you vigilantes stalking out school board meetings, your argument is toast. Nobody "designed" us, but we evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. And you actually listened to biologists or read "The Origin of Species," you might learn something.
But you don’t have the balls.
7. Top 41,338,270 Chick Lit Books That Will Sell Better Than My Book, If It Were Ever Published . . . → Read More: The List of Lists
As a writer, when your strength is your weakness, it’s a curse no amount of voodoo or exorcism can lift. . . . → Read More: Taking the Second. And Third, and Fourth
This is the fourth attempt at writing this blog entry, which is ostensibly about race relations in the United States, and how it afffects writers.
The first time I sat down to write was after Barack Obama’s transcendent speech on his controversial minister, Jeremiah Wright and more generally race relations; the second, after fellow blogger Fringes wrote a great post on the matter; the third, the 40th anniversary of the asassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday.
The problem is writing about the State of Race Relations in the United States makes one sound either sanctimonious or bigoted, pretentious or banal. Either your message is pointlessly anodyne or gratuitously provacative. Trying to say something new about this topic is like trying to describe a sunny day or a pair of beautiful eyes: no matter what you write, it’s been done before.
The only way I can write about this, then, is from my own experience.
So it took a University of Memphis basketball game to get my off my fat white ass, so to speak.
You see, I spent the first dozen years of my life in Memphis, where King was killed, where poverty is endemic and overwhelming, and the state of relations between African-Americans and whites has been, to be charitable, awful. Historically, Blacks and whites in Memphis can agree on exactly two things: 1) they don’t like each other very much; and 2) they have an unbiding love of the University of Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team.
Growing up, the Tigers (then, the Memphis State Tigers) was about the only thing that could bridge the chasm between Blacks and whites. There was no major professional sports teams in Memphis, and Memphis State basketball — whose roster was largely African-American — was the only thing in the city that everyone embraced with something resembling color-blindedness.
When Memphis State reached the finals of the NCAA tournament in 1973, it was one of the only times of that era I can remember white people actually expressing admiration for Black people in public.
Where the hell is Memphis?
Now, having won their showdown with UCLA on Saturday night, Memphis is playing in tonight’s final versus something called "Jayhawks." I’m pulling for Memphis not just because I’m a fan, but for some much-needed (however temporary) reconcilliation and love in a town that — despite being home of the National Civil Rights Museum — still pretty much has its head up its ass in terms of how people treat each other based on the color of their skin.
But that’s the whole problem, the whole reason I wanted to write. It’s not as if I can sit here and point fingers. Both as a person and a writer, I’ve got my own demons that need to be called into account.
Growing up, I knew people who used the word "nigger," and not infrequently. My parents are two of the most open-minded, tolerant people I have ever known, and taught me to be the same. Talk of denigrating black people — and where I lived, you could drop into any white neighborhood and hear it — always made me uncomfortable.
But not uncomfortable enough to protest when I heard the n-word; . . . → Read More: Race to the Top
Jascha Heifetz, the greatest violinist of the 20th Century, once granted an audience with an admirer, himself a famous entertainer. The entertainer mentioned he had worked in vaudeville at a young age, prompting Heifetz, who was not known to lack modesty, to say that he’d played violin professionally since age eight.
"And I suppose before that," Groucho Marx replied, "you were just a bum."
This came to mind following a story in the New York Times magazine about Charles Bock, a novelist whose first book, "Beautiful Children," has generated a good amount of publicity. The author of the article, Charles McGrath, noted that Bock is 38, which is "a little old for a first novelist."
Us yet-to-be-published novelists (and some already published) grumbled mightily about this slight, which McGrath probably intended to be a throwaway line. It’s true that most "novelists," meaning those fortunate enough to earn real coin for their literary endeavors, usually publish their first book when they’re 25, or, at most, age 30. The current career path of your typical American novelist seems to follow one of three paths:
They graduate college, publish a novel to great acclaim, make buttloads of money, get their book optioned, make buttloads of more money, then publish a disappointing second book. They rebound with their third ("a return to form" the critics will opine), and establish themselves as Literary Voices of a Generation. See Foer, Jonathan Safran; Smith, Zadie; Shteyngart, Gary; Mitchell, David. They publish one totally awesome, totally amazing, totally righteous book, often before the age of 30, then disappear from public view, either publishing in hiding, semi-seclusion, or insanity. Almost always an intellectual 10 times smarter than their readers. See Pynchon, Thomas; Salinger, J.D.; Powers, RIchard; Wallace, David Foster. They graduate college, get an M.F.A. at the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop or such, then publish a collection of well-received short stories. Because everybody knows short story writers make about as much as a flutist busker in the subway, they eventually write a novel that sells fairly well, gets a good amount of critical acclaim, and end up living the next several years in writer’s colonies and retreats (MacDowell, Yaddo, etc.). They land a job teaching creative writing at a college, and write six to eight books over the next 30 years. See, like, a million of them.
Insert witty caption here
Yours truly is 43 and staring 44 dead in the face with the same cold hatred visited upon such villains as Halliburton, bad beer, and the Ohio State Chunkeyes. The last rejection letter for my novel arrived sometime before Eliot Spitzer’s boner went out of control but after Bush was reelected, which is another way of saying that it was long enough ago that I’ve lost track. The last time I spoke to my agent, he cut me off from our conversation from a more urgent matter, which involved deciding if his martini should be shaken or stirred.
This is another way of saying that I don’t expect my novel to get published in the near future, the medium future, far future, or in the dreams of my future. Of this writing, I’m 5 years older than Mr. Bock, and eight older than Mr. Shteyngart and double-digits behind Ms. Smith. I wonder if my age does indeed disqualify me from publication, at least in . . . → Read More: The Write Stuff, The Wrong Age