Meh

Not much going on today. Working on some freelance writing to pay the bills, and trying to think of titles for my amazon series idea. Worked on novel a bit. Writing a blog post. Sometimes it feels like there are too many projects going.

How the hell do you come up with a good title, anyway? The idea is pretty much fleshed out, now I just need a good title. It’s always the damn title that gets me.

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All of a sudden, his life changed…

Apparently, you can use the like button too frequently. Strange. I wasn’t aware there was a cap. I understand that cuts down on spam, but as another blogger said, I go through spurts of both reading and interacting…which I guess some might deem as “spamming.”

Anyway, maybe “objectively” I clicked the button too quickly and repeatedly, but I’m still a person. Worthy of respect and having his “like” button back. Admittedly, I might have gotten a little crazy with it, but unless you set a clear limit on something, I’m probably going to exceed it. It’s what it means to be human. Does that make me a “spammer”? If so, I don’t want to be NOT a spammer!

Just thinkin’ about life

Just sitting here having a pint of Haagen Dazs’s white chocolate raspberry truffle and thinking about life, specifically getting older. Why do  we choose to cross the mighty Aegean daily? Are the mysteries on the other side fulfilling enough to justify the journey back to mundane shores? Did the elderly Hercules think about the…

…I just finished the entire pint of ice cream. If I see it, I eat it. It’s a sad, simple, recurring truth.

Anyway, will I be thinking about this expired pint when I am 60? Maybe. Probably not. What will I be thinking about when I am 60? Probably all of the unnecessary energy expended. Should life be about expending energy or doing all you can to preserve it? Sounds like a contradiction, no? But it’s worth considering in my view. What if it were possible to be robust and 60?

And, even if you are robust, will you be living during an era when that kind of thing isn’t frowned upon? In other words, how much of old age is reinforced by society? Is energy within humans a renewable resource? Can a polite smile lift the spirits of a man whose days were once thought to be behind him?

“I am not old. I am simply invisible.”

You are seen as a product of an era gone by. Yes, a “product.” Reduced to so many working or malfunctioning parts. A two-dimensional person long-dead, living in a 3d world.

I’m only 32, but sometimes I worry about these things. They seem irrelevant now, but they are rapidly approaching relevancy. The years are mercilessly ripped off the walls and thrown into the garbage. What do you do with that knowledge? Bury your head in the sand? If only others played along, that would be the safe bet. But they are playing to the beat of a drummer that passes you by.

There has to be a solution out there somewhere.

24 hrs w/o fiction

I was supposed to write another chapter in my political satire story A Wasteland President today, but wasn’t feeling up to the monumental task. I think it’s shaping up pretty well, but am having trouble making the overall plot “cohere.” Is that really it, though? I’ve developed this nasty habit of starting an ambitious yarn only to let it unravel at my feet. Typical hubris of the writer? Possibly. But I have so many ideas at any given time that it is truly difficult to focus on just one of them. Hubris would take too much sustained attention.

I have to finish this post-apocalyptic tale. I just have too. If not for the benefit of readers everywhere, then for personal character development.

Broken Dreams and Pork Chop sandwiches

Another day. Another get-rich-quick-scheme. Been putzing around the internet for hours now. It’s raining, or at least pretending to. The world is crashing down, and I couldn’t figure out how to not end that sentence in a preposition.

I’m thinking about making Pork Chop sandwiches with lettuce, mayo, and broken dreams. I wonder what’s out there for me, beyond the immediate gratification of Pork Chop sandwiches. I know I’m an entrepreneur at heart, preferring immediate fantasies to the excruciating execution of long-term planning.

I’m very much hungry, and would like those sandwiches now. But something tells me that I should stay the course and finish what I started. I’ve been hungry for hours, but this isn’t the time to placate petty hunger. No. This is the time for action. To stand up for what’s right and what’s grueling. To sit on a mildly comfortable couch and type about the blisteringly torturous denial of impulses.

Alright. That’s good enough. I’m done.

Blogs That Focus on a Single Topic

Does your blog lack focus? Does it matter? 

I guess it makes sense that a blog should center on one topic or theme. That way, you at least can count on that blog to kick out the kind of content that you’re looking for. Writers find their niche, and those interested in the topic will find their content. This seems fairly simple. But what if you are interested in a variety of topics and wish to write about all of them while garnering a respectable audience?

Why just the other day I was talking about being indecisive about writing about writing, or delving into writing about medicine or politics. This is just a drop in the bucket for me. I could be writing about psychology one minute, then rip into the nuances of Italian cuisine the next. Hey, maybe I’d like to travel and see the world. What places should be first on my list? Things like that.

Can blogs be successful doing this? Hard to say. Much of the information out there seems to suggest that focusing on a niche and cultivating your own take on that niche is the best way to go. People can count on a specific thing. Blogging seems episodic. “Until next time.”

But it’s also possible to cover a variety of topics by looking at them through a specific lens, ie applying the same theme or viewpoint to all of them. I guess the question is: would you watch a television show that was structured this way? It’s the closest analogy that comes to mind.

As BlogTyrant said, multi-topic blogs can be successful if they employ a team of writers to churn out quality content on different topics. For “the lone writer” to tackle this kind of structure would be highly difficult. Not just in the sense of generating content, but also in sustaining a profitable amount of traffic.

Cracked.com is a good example. With their listicles and whatnot. They have a regular staff that offers up a quivering platter of content while allowing anyone to submit pieces to them. It’s obviously a format that has worked out well for them, but they have the staff and structure to handle that kind of thing.

While it seems very practical for a lone writer to pursue one topic on a blog, I just can’t shake the temptation to write about anything and everything. Maybe there’s a compromise out there somewhere.

Engaging the Reader and Authenticity

Seems fairly simple. To engage the reader you must be authentic. But the challenge to gain a robust following extends beyond this. You also have to be original.

However, my theory is that originality is a positive side-effect of authenticity.

How Authenticity Fosters Originality

“Sometimes you just gotta be you”

Everyone is familiar with the old saying. What actually happens when one strives for authenticity? If you spend a significant amount of time cultivating a public image to the exclusion of personality traits that are unique, then “being you” is that image. So, the quest for authenticity is an organic one. You have to develop traits over time that are specific to your preferences. Considering this, originality is a natural extension of authenticity in my view.

Developing Authenticity

How does one develop authenticity though? The first obvious step is to reflect on the image you’ve cultivated. Taking away the lens of society, what would you change if you could?

“So now that I’ve relinquished all of these things, what’s next?” Good question. There’s also a conundrum. The quest for authenticity is also a cultural value, and so it’s difficult to view it authentically. This might be a hard thing to get past, but no benefit is gained dwelling on it. Even though it’s a social script, it can initially serve you well. Maybe it’s all those experiences taken together that help create a solid bedrock for authenticity. And that might be more to the point. Engaging the reader relies on writing from experience since you are more likely to create quality in-depth content that way.

Hmm, re-reading that, it’s not clear to me if I said anything insightful. To be honest, I’m not very used to writing in this format.