Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Habits? What Habits?

Darren over at ProBlogger asked his readers to write a post about their blogging habits. In fact, his goal is to compile a list of habits of highly effective bloggers.

Well, at first I thought I'll participate since this relates to my blog's subject matter, in the same manner as habits of highly effective writers would. Then I thought that I shouldn't participate since I hardly qualify as an effective blogger, at least not under the ProBlogger category - I hardly make any money from my blog and my traffic is abysmal compared to the pros.

However, I do enjoy my blog, I enjoy writing it, the readers who come and comment, those who come and don't comment, I enjoy other writers' blogs and so on. On that note I'd say that I consider this blog to be a positive thing in my life.

A compromise then - I should write a post to see what my habits are (I didn't even know I had any until today) and then see which ones are conducive to effective blogging (maybe I can keep those) and which ones aren't. It could, if anything, teach me a thing or two about myself.

So here's the list of habits and at the end I'll list them under good and bad:

1. Consistency - I tend to post at least once a day and I tend to stay on topic.

2. Shy - I'm shy about divulging even basic private information, shy about writing in an authoritative, confident, 'know-it-all' tone and shy about tooting my own horns.

3. Lazy/lack of backbone - I will allow myself not to post if I really don't feel like it. I will also not follow through with a plan to make my blog more visible if I'm too shy about it or if it's too much work.

4. Drafts - I write and save drafts of posts for later use. I write ideas as they come, save interesting links and articles and remember to save issues if I come across them during my work day.

5. Aesthetics and artistic tendencies - I have no artistic tendencies and my aesthetic taste is questionable. Meaning? Meaning I hardly have any pictures and my graphics, well, what graphics?

6. Written language - what do you think? (Remember that I said I'm shy? I do think I write well - phew, I did it!)

7. Fresh ideas - not often, but when the occasional one comes along, it can be a very good one.

8. Vision - half the time I'm not even sure what I'm going to do next, let alone figure out what my blog should do next.

9. Absence - I travel often and for long periods of time during which I post very little.

10. Diverse interest - I regularly read newspapers and blogs on a variety of subjects and often it is in these places that I find the most interesting post ideas.

It turns out that I listed not only habits but some traits as well. Habits might be easy to change, but character traits will be much harder.

My Good habits: Consistency, drafts, written language, ideas, interests.
My Bad habits: Shy, lazy, poor aesthetics and artistic tendencies, shoddy vision, absence.
Read the rest

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24 comments:

John Blodgett said...

Though the jury may still be out on deciding this, I have found that the consistency and focus of writing a blog has improved my writing far above what it would have been had I written the same entries in a print journal. Writing for an immediate audience helps, too.

Melly said...

John, absolutely!
I too found that blogging helped my writing and my flow immensely.
And you gave me an excellent idea - maybe tomorrow I can relate these points to being (or not) a successful writer. Thanks :)

Deborah said...

You may not have the same traffic as Darren, but you succeed in provoking good discussions.

Melly said...

Why thank you Deborah :)

Sharon J said...

Errm.... the link to ProBlogger doesn't work :(

Melly said...

Thanks Sharon.

Benjamin Solah said...

I agree that blogging really does do wonders for your writing. Even if I'm not spilling out words in my fiction, I find blogging regularly keeps my muscles firm and my blog has probably been my most successful writing project yet.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Melly! I appreciate your humor, and for jumping in on the ProBlogger project. You may have been hesitant about the value of your contribution (when you shouldn't have been!!), I really enjoyed your post and found some great advice and reassurance, too, as a Mom/Author/Writer/Blogger with little time and some slacker, or maybe we should say, fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants tendencies. Keep on! Live, Love & Laugh, Sherri - The Rebel Housewife at www.RebelHousewife.com

Melly said...

Benjamin, that's a good way of describing blogging - keeping the writing muscles firm. I agree.

Sherri, thank you very much. It means a lot since I was hesitant and thanks for recognizing that.

Easton Ellsworth said...

Fresh ideas are certainly important. The more original you are, the more people will want to listen to you - especially as the "blogosphere" gets more crowded. I've posted my own thoughts on highly effective blogging if you'd like to take a look.

Melly said...

Thanks Easton.
I looked at your list. Very good and comprehensive.

Josh Max's blawg said...

Hi!

I like your post about avoiding taking a "know it all" approach...also blogging every day, aside from my paid writing duties, keeps the first-person muscle firm. And I've installed a counter on my blog so I know who's reading and how often and for how long, which is a blast---Malaysia, Hamburg, New Jersey, etc.

Melly said...

Thanks Josh.
I guess some sort of middle ground needs to be found. Not to write in a cocky tone but still show you do know what you're talking about. Otherwise why would people read what you have to say???
I do admit that my balance may be sometimes off because of my shyness and that I need a tad more confidence.

Good luck with your blogs and isn't stats is something addictive? :)

ME Strauss said...

Let's see . . .
My bad habit, showing up after the conversation is over.

My good one, still learning from what was said.

Gosh this was a fabulous post and discussion, Melly!

Melly said...

Was? No, no, no, still very much is, and therefore you're not late, and therefore you really do know how to work on those habits... :)
Thanks, Liz, you put a smile on my face.

Susan Kirkland said...

Oooh, these pros and cons make you a human being. I only blog when I have a solid idea that will assist newbies in my field--design. I try to always deal with issues they face on a day to day basis but may not have a trusted confidant to rely on and I always use my past experiences as examples. I think this is what makes blogging more interesting than reading a book; the personal aspect. Good topic, Melly.

Melly said...

Thanks Susan.
I've always wondered about those super-humans who seem to have all the answers and always do the right thing :)
And that's good advice - dealing with day-to-day issues and using past experince as example.
Well, if anything else, blogging sure is interesting!

David Amulet said...

Sorry I haven't been by in a while. I like most of your list, though I must admit there is a tension between your "consistency" and "lazy" tenets. I think the two meet well if you don't force yourself to post every day ... but still give your readers something every few days. I've tried ... to what success it's hard to say.

Keep up the good work!
-- david

Melly said...

Thanks David and you're right, it might seem contradictory but the thing is that I usually don't have a problem blogging every day, only rarely and it is on these occasions that I don't force myself. And the pros would probably argue that I should.
Great to see you back :)

ming said...

consistancy is an irresistable force!

Melly said...

You're probably right, Ming.

michaelm said...

Melly-
I've never been shy on my blog.
I think it's the biggest reason people continue to visit.
I remember the first time I posted a piece of my heart online. Horrifying.
I found that these types of posts elicit more response than anything else.
I think it's getting into the habit of doing it that's the toughest part.
I'll be back to look around when I have more time.
Nice work here...

~m

ps. as far as Blogger, I moved to Wordpress and have been quite happy.
They have Akismet, which is a Spam filter. It rocks.
There's also a function that lets you import your entire blog from Blogspot. Cool.

Melly said...

Michael, that's awesome. I would really have to overcome a serious obstacle if I ever want to get anywhere because shyness also affects my ability to self-promote.
Thanks for the kind words :)

Karen said...

Hi Melly

I share a number of your good habits, but tragically a number of your bad ones too.
Good post. I found it really useful.