The Art of Blogging

We have some great blogs that teach us about SEO, tags, back-links, Google encryption. I will never outgrow them because I believe in the science of all things. You have to learn, at least be introduced to, the Rules. Know the proper form of a Lindy or a lay-up. Unlock the mechanics, drill, know what accuracy means in your field. The thing is, machines are built for precision. In fact, we can program synthesizers to make music on their own.

But art is more than accuracy.

When my son and I run our eyes over the drum solo for the week, it reads a little like a foreign language. It is hard at first because each one he masters earns him pieces that are incrementally more challenging. My goal isn’t for him just to play the notes right for his instructor in seven days. Once he’s figured them out, I want him to get the piece under his skin, hear and then answer what the composer is asking of him. Translate it as he (not his classmates, mom, or dad) can with his hands. His whole body moves differently when he gets there. If he were graduated to the next solo just for having learned to mimic the notes, he wouldn’t be participating in the art. And that is the point of the music. We don’t watch Josh Groban for his technique. He’s got that. We want to hear what he does with it. We want to be touched by beauty. It is not for the intelligence of the chords that we close our eyes to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with reverence. It is for the pathos and longing they resound.

So is art something you can learn? How about the art of blogging?

In his book Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie Huang remembers 7th grade football when he was a social runt desperate to fit in. Listen to what he says about the kid he was pitted against:

For the next three weeks, literally every day, Coach Rock named me player of the practice. I was an animal. Other people couldn’t compete. They were playing a game but I treated it like life and death. The zenith was about six weeks into the season. We always played simulated games on Wednesdays, Offense vs. Defense, and that day I was lined up against this new kid, Jason…He was at least five inches taller than me, with long arms, but he didn’t know how to use them.

Know what you’ve got and know how to use it.

What does this mean for me as a blogger?

Waitress: So what can I get for you today?
Yours Truly: I’ll take Combo Number 6. But hold the sugar and MSG. Very easy on the sauce, please. Can I have some more greens? No, not broccoli. Not bell pepper. More collard, if you have. And no ice in the water. Is your water filtered? Never mind, then.

Yes! You thought you liked me. Duped you. Just be glad you don’t own the shops I frequent. Or homeschool in my house. But wait. You read this blog. You (actually…and really?) want to hang out with me. See, the flip side of my particular palate is the particular palate I blog with. This – my superhero ability to be a pain in the rear – is what I use in my favor as a blogger. I don’t want cafeteria food and I figure that though you may be easy enough, you wouldn’t mind something better either. I order it for you just so before you sit down with me. It’s my exacting nature behind the topics and every word I choose, and the goals I set, that have built this blog. Some of you have a profound gift of encouragement that shines brilliantly in the comments. Now that will get you far in the blogging. Are you a social butterfly? Or is it your insight, storytelling, wit, sarcasm, passion, empathy, knowledge, creativity, or personality that you have going for you? Whatever it is, you make me so happy when you finish your plate.

161 thoughts on “The Art of Blogging

  1. HW – – – A rich post, in that the potent themes garbed in gentleness and elegance are numerous, but not crowded. Metaphorical pieces, priceless (exaggeration? I hope not); another theme that surprises me, one that I do not find often in blogging, a theme of “other-centeredness”. Your relationship with your son, vigorous and caring focus on helping him discover and experience greatness, breaking through the inevitable barriers common to our life journeys. One last thought about the other-centeredness: you have done this before: written in a way that encourages other bloggers, and equips them as well. Again, other-centered. After reading your post, I am reminded of the importance of pushing through my own resistance, to be better by doing my homework, tapping my passion and my specific creativity. Sorry about the long response, HW. But I do thank you for what you have gifted me with through your blog. Peace.

    • “I am reminded of the importance of pushing through my own resistance, to be better by doing my homework, tapping my passion and my specific creativity.” Love this (as I do the rest of the thoughtful feedback, D). I want to serve as a stepping stone for bloggers. Thanks so much for taking the time.
      Enjoy the blogging. =)

  2. You have beautifully dressed your Widgets here and the Menus are working wonderful.
    I admire all this.
    Would I be lost in your such a big Follow, if I Follow?
    I am a new blogger and need to know more about it.
    I think I would be getting lot of stuff from here.
    I just Follow right now!
    I think you have visited my blog once, as I see your image in my ‘Small Growing World’.
    Shiva

    • Hi Shiva,
      Faithful commenters and likers don’t get lost. They obviously keep themselves on my radar and I do my best to support back. I appreciate the follow and commendation. I have other posts on successful blogging, if they interest. Tap any title to open up the sidebar and you’ll see BLOGGING under the Topics.

      HW

  3. As a creator of art and music, I thouroughly relate to these words. Right now, I am constantly striving to improve my technique when I draw. I feel I must know the rules of realism, in order to break them. Cezanne knew the “rules” before rearranging how we all see. In music, yes knowing notes etc is really important, but for me the greatest thing is the communication that occurs between two people making sound, how they spare and play against each other. It is called PLAYING music for a reason. Playing like tossing a football back and forth. Playing with sound, and it does not matter to me if it is someone blowing on a glass bottle top while someone makes sounds via computer or plays a violin, all three are sound waves. Anyway, I may not know code, or even the rules of blogging. I just try to be genuine as I can, and am so happy to have an audience, no matter how small for what I do…Those are my two (slug) cents, hope you can get them out of the machine, other folks want soda too…

    • You got it, Ted. As a pianist and music teacher, yes I have to say we must know the rules to be able to do whatever the hec we want with or without them. You sound grounded in both your art and your blogging. We all want to do better – hopefully in everything. I’m 2 cents richer, thank you, though the drinks today were on the house.

  4. Thanks for these words. As a musician, I like the drum illustration. How true it is. Anyone can learn music, but musicians have music in their hearts (there ought to be a devotional there.). Thanks for stoppping by jobower writes and letting me know you liked Sleepless Nights. I will continue reading. Blessings.

  5. How you take diametrically opposed thoughts and make them whole is brilliant. And you do it so effortlessly within your writing I am impresses, as with guys like me who need help understanding more complex ideas ~ your words & analogies ring perfectly clear 🙂 {unfortunately, the opposite may ring true with my comment & writing :-)}

    Rules are needed to set the scene and make life bearable, but it is the freedom to flow that makes life beautiful. Your story of Tennyson learning a piece and then becoming the piece when he makes it his own I loved as it is this very outline that makes anything we do ART. Blogging, sports, music, drawing writing and photography ~ wonderful post!

  6. Is art something you learn? Not by rote, no, but you can learn the technique that–sorry, this only works in metaphor–lets you make a bowl strong enough to hold your content. And you can learn yourself well enough to tap into your content. Relying only on inspiration, not on work, is for the lazy or (and I’m not sure about this next one) the genius.

  7. I love it that you take the time to teach both lessons to your son: achieve the task at hand, but then find the soul in it as well. One is what we need to live, the other is actually living. You are a good parent.

  8. Aww man! I really like this piece of writing! Your descriptions are very unique and appealing to the reader – such as myself – to want to keep reading more and enjoy every bit of it. Thank you. I know I have a long way before I’m a master blogger, writer, artist, etc. This definitely helps, inspires me to keep going!

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