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Reading, The Writer's Life, Writings

How Not to Write a Blog

I admit it; I’m tapped out this week. The idea well is dry, and even fracking my brain won’t help. But this won’t be the Saturday Morning Post if I don’t post something on Saturday morning, so I better come up with a topic.

Okay, calm down. Remind yourself that some of your best blogs have been written under deadline pressure. One hour to go until post time. Post time? I’m starting to feel like Seabiscuit—pawing at the turf, working up a sweat.

Check the “Blogs in Work” idea file. I’ve got a dozen half-baked thoughts in there; maybe one of them will appeal. Open the file titled “The Unsenti-Mentalist.” There’s a picture of that guy from the show “The Mentalist,” and a line about how he’s better looking than me. That’s all. What the hell was I thinking? Here’s one called “The Wonder of the Subconscious.” Yeah, that sounds like a winner, if, that is, I were blogging for the American Psychiatric Association.

Delete those files.

Elections are Tuesday. I used to work in politics. But who wants to read an ex-hack’s plea for this or that cause, or a Pollyanna pitch about it’s your responsibility to get to the polls? Give your readers a break, man.

I’ve got it. Surf Twitter. See what other writers and editors are talking about. That’s sure to spark an idea. Here’s one from Book Riot: our reader poll of favorite novels. Sounds promising. First on the list is To Kill a Mockingbird. Next is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Uh oh.

Number 3 is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; then The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; then The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; then The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. Oh no! They posted someone’s high school reading list and are trying to pretend people actually voted for these books as their all-time favorites. But what if people really did? Too depressing. Look! Infinite Jest is number 20. Now I know the list is fake.

Desperation time. How about another blog on the screwed up writing business? Scam contests? The psychology of writing groups? The politics of book reviews? Those all seem so tired and way too intense to write in… OMG, only ten minutes left!

But wait. A quick check of the old word counter, and I see I’ve thrown down 400 words. I’ve done it. I’ve written a blog without actually writing anything. That’s it for me! You’ve been a great audience! See you next time!

Sorry. I’ll do better next week, I promise. I’ve got this great idea about how I look a lot like Seabiscuit, except he was smarter…

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About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.

Discussion

20 thoughts on “How Not to Write a Blog

  1. Love it, Seinfeld, a blog about nothing! :-]

    Posted by fpdorchak | November 3, 2012, 1:27 PM
    • Ah, you read my mind. If Seinfeld and Larry David can do it, why not me?

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 2:35 AM
      • And beautifully executed, my Good Man! :-]

        Posted by fpdorchak | November 4, 2012, 3:13 AM
      • on that note…Seinfeld just gave a live performance here in Gainesville and I was privileged to attend. He is such a genius. The audience was great and guffawed and howled through the performance. Joe, you are the straight man. A naturally funny guy. I love your dry sense of humor. kaye

        Posted by prasanga | November 4, 2012, 2:39 PM
  2. In the days when I was keeping a blog, I would sometimes begin the blog post by describing the view out my window. It seemed different every time. That would spark a thought, which would lead to exploration. But my blog was highly idiosyncratic and read by about two people. I think the “Wonder of the Subconscious” is actually a great blog subject: how the subconscious is at work in writing when it comes to themes, motifs, style. So much in writing comes from a deep place, unplumbed: we’re not sure why a character acts in a certain way, only that it is familiar. Your post was funny and enjoyable this morning, Joe.

    Posted by Meg | November 3, 2012, 1:32 PM
    • Thanks Meg. You’re absolutely right. Sometimes the best approach when faced with a writing impasse is to stop and let the subconscious have a shot at the problem. I’m not deleting that idea just yet.

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 2:37 AM
  3. I love this Joe. Such a natural, comedic piece. Kaye

    Posted by prasanga | November 3, 2012, 1:45 PM
    • To tell the truth, I’ve always done some of my best humor when faced with a deadline. But I hate facing that kind of pressure. Makes for some anxious moments.

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 2:40 AM
  4. Reblogged this on klwow and commented:
    Joe Ponepinto writes with natural comedic ease. Thanks Joe.

    Posted by prasanga | November 3, 2012, 1:47 PM
  5. Thank you for not proselytizing. I can’t even turn on the television this close to an election (but to watch reruns of sitcoms with my mother). I quite enjoyed your rambling blog post because we bloggers can relate to your deadline dilemma. I’d like to vote (oh, gawd, did I say vote) for the file titled “The Unsentimentalist.” Sounds like something I’d like to read.

    Posted by Darrelyn Saloom | November 3, 2012, 2:01 PM
    • We’ve actually had to unplug our land lines here because of all the robo-calls we’ve been getting prior to the election. Got a recorded Rick Santorum call this morning and that was the last straw. As for The Unsentimentalist, I actually wanted to do a post on avoiding sentimental writing. I’m still thinking about it.

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 2:47 AM
  6. Come on now, Joe. Tell us your good news, the news about the TWO stories you had accepted for publication this week. Two! Tell us that story. No, wait. Show, don’t tell. Show us that story. Show us how this whole damned writing thing really CAN work.

    Congratulations.

    Posted by Teri | November 3, 2012, 3:21 PM
    • Aw shucks, ’tweren’t nothin’. If anyone wants to know ’bout that, just go to my home page. I’ve got a little shameless self-promotion there. But I’m not ready to say it’s working yet. I need that book deal!

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 2:51 AM
  7. Believe me, I know the feeling, especially this weekend! I’m currently at my brother’s in Vermont helping with family chores all day during the day, and wondering how to sneak in a post before bedtime. Since I usually discuss literature, I need to come up with something of interest (i.e., it’s necessary for me to be interested too, so that I can be interesting), and just frankly, I’m thinking of leaving it all for another day. But kudos for going ahead and being so energetic as to get the word count you were trying for (and humor never comes amiss). Look forward to following you next week, and etc.

    Posted by shadowoperator | November 3, 2012, 9:49 PM
    • I’m like you in that I want my blog posts to be interesting to me, so they can be interesting to readers. Could be because I was having trouble with my novel that I had trouble with the blog. But the novel problems are solved (at least temporarily), and I already have a blog idea for next week. That’s the writer’s life–lots of ups and downs, but you can never let it stop you from writing.

      Posted by jpon | November 4, 2012, 3:03 AM
  8. Still worth waiting for, regardless of the topic.

    Posted by Paul Lamb | November 4, 2012, 12:05 AM
  9. I enjoyed the post, Joe. Congratulations on the publications!

    Posted by michellemorouse | November 4, 2012, 1:29 PM
  10. what a relief… these posts of yours are RIDICULOUSLY substantive. Really very annoying.

    JK — we are so blessed to have you sharing your wisdom about the writing biz and the process. I think you’re alot smarter than Sea Biscuit. But I DID enjoy the picture.

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | November 4, 2012, 4:54 PM

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