Saturday, December 05, 2009

Write Your Own Blog!

Once upon a time, I mentioned that I was thinking about not posting to this blog anymore. It's now almost a year later to the day and I'm still writing, which probably means I'm some sort of procrastinator, since I still haven't acted on my urge to stop writing.

That doesn't mean I'm going to keep posting -- my urge to quit is sometimes very strong -- so I'm not promising anything. I'm just saying that there may come a time when I abandon this blog forever.

If I ever decide to quit writing and you're one of the few people who actually reads and enjoys this blog, you're probably very concerned that you'll miss it when it's gone. But if that's what's troubling you, then don't worry, because I have a solution.

Ever since I began this blog, people have suggested that I write something about one topic or another. My response to them was usually, "Write your own blog!" Or if I skipped a week or two and someone pointed it out to me, I would usually reply with "Write your own blog!" And when I first started this blog and had comments disabled, whenever people complained about that, I often told them "Write your own blog!"

As far as I know, no one ever took my advice, but that never stopped me from giving it. So if you're agonizing that you'll miss my blog when it's gone, in today's post I will show you how you to write a blog of your own.

First of all, choose a subject. This is a lot easier than you might expect. Just reflect on the events of the past week and choose something that happened to you, or something that you did. If nothing happened or if you didn't do anything, just recall something you thought about when you should have been thinking about something else. It doesn't really matter what your subject is, because your stream of consciousness will undoubtedly lead you to several other subjects before you're done writing.

Next, write a long, meandering introduction. It's not always such a good idea to just jump head-first into your topic. You want to let the reader get acclimated. You can do this by writing about whatever is on your mind, and gradually leading the discussion to your chosen topic. Or you can shift to the topic more abruptly. In either case, the introduction will allow the user to relax and enter your frame of mind, thus becoming more receptive to whatever it is you have to say.

Third, find your focal point. When I was in college, I took a drawing class. During one of the first classes, the teacher had an arrangement of objects placed out on a table and told us to draw what we saw. Most people drew all the objects on the table. Some even drew the table. But I focused all my attention on one particular object. I drew it in great detail and I ignored everything else. This is sometimes a useful way to write as well. For example, if you went to a movie and you want to write about it, it isn't necessary to write about the entire experience -- maybe you just want to write about how difficult it was to find a parking space, or about the idiot sitting behind you who wouldn't stop talking.

Those are the basics, but here are some other helpful hints.

It's always a good idea to pepper your writing with references to things most people have never heard of, or to salt it with obscure quotations, theories, or philosophies. This way, your post will not only be entertaining -- it will also be informative. But don't make the mistake of thinking you know more than your readers. Even if you do, it's still a mistake to assume it. So don't try to teach your readers anything -- it will only make you seem pompous and arrogant. If your readers understand a reference you make, that's fine, but if they don't, they can always look it up.

Don't be afraid to play with words a little. Think of language as a toy that also happens to allow you to communicate with others.

When you're done with your post, it's time to think of a title. I've listed this last, but you can actually think of a title any time you want. You have a lot of latitude here. You can use a descriptive title, or you can quote a few words from your post out of context, or you can use some famous quote. You can also use the title of some book or movie. It helps if the title you choose is somehow related to the topic you write about, but it's not absolutely necessary.

If you've followed all my instructions and your post still falls short of your expectations, don't be discouraged. It takes practice. Your first few attempts at blogging may not be all that successful, but don't worry. If your blog is anything like mine, chances are not many people will actually read it anyway.

And now, in strict adherence to my policy of expressing myself in verse, here is today's bad poem.

Don't wash your car, don't mow your lawn, and don't play with your dog.
Just turn on your computer and then write your own blog.
Don't ride that bike, don't lift those weights, don't even try to jog.
Just tap on all your keyboard keys and write your own blog.
Don't drink until you can't stand up, don't fill your head with fog.
Just stare into your monitor and write your own blog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Agríla Baglóda Tahíb

I just flew back from the Washington DC area, and even though a lot of times in the past, I've complained about the flight on this blog, I'm not going to do that this time. It's not necessarily that there isn't anything to complain about -- it's because I don't think you want to read about it. I know you'd much rather read this week's bad poem, for example.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a very small percentage of the English-speaking population reads this blog. So it dawned on me that the poems I post to this blog need not all be written in English.

However, since I don't really know any other languages, my only choices are to write in English or write in some language that I just made up.

For this week's poem, I decided to use a made-up language. But since I didn't invent a writing system, I decided to use the Roman alphabet. And since I didn't invent any pronunciation rules, you can pretty much pronounce this poem anyway way you want, as long as you're consistent. (If you aren't, some of the rhymes may be lost.) If you recognize that this poem is in the form of a limerick, you should have no problem determining which syllables should be stressed, but for your convenience, I've added accent marks anyway.

And now, without any further introduction or delay, I present you with today's bad poem.

Agríla baglóda tahíb
Kora fénaba králimo tíb.
Nepáti océya,
Orámi nadréya.
Ko págli haráta paríb.