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. Clever and multi-faceted post Diana, and yet you leave me hungry for what are those websites and basics that we need to lay the foundation for our blogs; to then practice, master and become an artist. Are those coming in a future post? Inquiring minds and all that jazz. XD
    And yes, I enjoy your personality/ spice that becomes your art. Hugs anyway my friend.

    • I would love to learn those basics with you, B. =) I firmly believe science and art must join hands to lead us to success in most things but (and I’ve thought a lot about this) blogging is one enterprise in which art can trump technique. I don’t believe she is active anymore but here is the site I had recommended for the ABCs in my first big post on blogging:

      http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/

      There’s a lot there.

      You are Cheerleader Extraordinaire here on WPress. I’m so glad you’ve grown your community and that you’re still my friend after my confession on this post.

  2. Always a tasty meal here. I am getting pretty well-versed in some of those rules and could probably do more, but I am a bit rebellious. I use the ones that suit me. 🙂 Thanks for another hearty plate!

    • “I am a bit rebellious. I use the ones that suit me.” Yes, I didn’t want to make this one too long. I have gone on to disregard some of the most common Dos from Blogging 101, which I may write about sometime. But every bit was helpful at the start when I had absolutely no knowledge as a newbie. =) Appreciate the encouragement.

      Xx
      Diana

  3. Your order makes me want to watch When Harry Met Sally. And I enjoy these words you choose. Thanks for a post that got me thinking about treating things like life or death.

  4. So much more here than meets the eye. I think the blogging world is full of introverts, but then, it’s so much easier to communicate when we are hiding behind our computers. I didn’t know Fresh of the Boat was a book. I’ll have to add that one to my library list.

    • What have you thought of the series? I didn’t watch – I don’t do TV. But I read an article about him and Hubby put the book in my hand. I wasn’t dying to read it even though I knew so much of it was my own immigrant story. He’s too crass for me – some of it over the top – but I was glad I got to it. Very thoughtful guy. Literally, I mean.

      I appreciate the word on the post, M.

      Xxx
      Mrs. Introvert (though you wouldn’t know it)

      • I liked the series, as sitcoms go. I guess what was over the top crassness in the book probably helped it relate as a sitcom…the appeal to mass culture and all that. I always somehow feel like I’m lacking when there is a book and a movie (or TV show) and I’ve never read the book or, worse still, didn’t even know there was one!!

    • Marissa, it’s also easy to communicate when you hide behind a telephone and don’t share your last name or real name for that matter. Our words are very powerful and those who use them in ‘an art form’ are transforming the way we communicate with one another.

  5. Interesting question at the end. I’ve yet to figure out why people actually read my blog, but they do – so I’ll just keep doing whatever it is I’ve been doing. And I have fun with it, which is very important to me. When it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.

    • Yes, I didn’t know how serious fun is until I started blogging (technically when I learned to swing dance way back, but even such joyful experiences lose their luster in the tired busyness).

      Have fun – if it kills you. =)

  6. This is not a comment.
    Jose Vilson, Bertrand Russell, and finally Professor C. E. M. Joad of Oxford University, a philosopher, in the distant past. he was on his way to London, and had to change trains at Didcot. A train pulled in and he started to get on. A porter shouted “excuse me, sir, that train doesn’t stop ‘ere”. That’s alright, Joad answered as he shut the door behind him, “I’m not getting on”.

  7. There are those that read about mountains and others that correlate data and study mountains providing excellent reports. There is also that person that dedicated their life to climbing the mountain and mastering the art as well as the technical aspects of standing on a summit and drawing a breath of cold pure air while surveying the ruptured upheaval of land across the borders of states or nations. If I must be alone, let me be alone on the summit. I’d expect to see you there first.

  8. Well yes as a matter of fact I do want to hang with you, I just don’t think we could ever share a meal out together as you are one of “those” people that drive the wait staff crazy as I slink down my seat. in embarrassment. 😉

    Seriously, nice post and it’s true we all have to find our special sauce that makes things click and go with it.

  9. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who orders like that! Lol Yes we have issues but that’s what makes us us. Love the fresh off the boat reference he is awesome. Great post

    • LOL. I suppose we do have issues. For me, I do think it’s largely that I know things I may be better off not knowing in regard to food combinations and nutrition. Eddie is certainly in a class of his own. Thx for reading. =)

      Diana

  10. One of the things I’ve learned about blogging is there are a lot of blogs. Over time you realize there are communities like neighborhoods. They have a flavor. You shouldn’t be liking just anyone’s post. It’s like trying to speak the street language in a neighborhood you don’t live. You come off as bogus and disingenuous. You need to take the time to read and participate in blogs you feel you can connect to and be a part of. In one sense, I know nothing about you, but in another, it is evident with reading we frequent the same corner dime store. In a world of little time and too many obligations it’s nice to have cultivated cool people like you to hang with. I like your work and your curiously fierce humbleness. So yes, I wan’t more than Luby’s cafeteria buffet. Thanks for serving the good stuff.

    • Laughing. I’ve caught you entering the store from my window. 😉 So very sweet, N. Now I’m gonna annoy the freak out of HW and make sure she does even better when I know you’re coming.

  11. You should like the “like”. I might like your post but have nothing to add, but I still want you to know I appreciated your post. I’m not always chatty.
    Also, the one part of this post I loved was what you were saying about your son’s drum solos. With my drumming, and branching out into other instruments and musical forms, I totally understood what you were talking about with the translation that only he can do, and not just memorizing but learning the part. Great description of how it is when your talent and practice come together. I know it from drums, but it likely applies anywhere. Great post. I liked it.

  12. The welding of art and science will always produce something far more beauty than either of them could produce alone.
    Josh Groban! My forever crush! You’re so right about listening for the beauty and wonder.
    This is one pretty blog post.

  13. You know, if you have a plate of colourful food in front of you, a lot of the time your meal appears very appetising…and sometimes you just know that that’s a sign of a good meal to come. I love your blog mainly for the way you write – great storytelling, and you have a knack for showing your sense of humour during the right times. And versatile too, from the poems to the short exchanges with Mr WF… As for me, I have yet to figure out why people actually read it.

    By the way, love how you mentioned Josh Groban in this post 😀

    • You have quite the generous heart, Mabel, brimming with affirmation. (Striking, actually, given that you grew up under Asian parents who weren’t so freewheeling with praise.) I know you encourage so many of us out here. You dig out the issues we tend to keep under the back corner of the bed. Other times you bring up the food that’s stuck in our teeth which everyone had politely remained quiet about. LOL. And I caught a clip of Josh the first time he subbed for a singer who was set to sing with Celine Dion. J was 17, I think, a last-minute replacement. He was visibly shaking…LOL. Go, Josh!

      • Ah, D, you’re making me blush *blush* I should pay you big money to promote my book when it comes out. Still, I do think your ace up your sleeve is storytelling….storytelling with emotion ❤

        Next time Josh comes round to Australia for a tour, I am going to see him. I missed out on a couple of years go. Won't let it happen the next time.

  14. Diana, I admire your blogging style with no minced words. And yes, practice makes perfect or nearly so. I think you son will one day be a world class drummer if that, is the path he chooses.

    I’m particular about what I eat also but I don’t eat out because I have to be very careful. I have many food sensitivities and it is virtually impossible to eat a meal that is compatible with my body.

    • Actually, I was ragging on myself a little because it isn’t so much that I’m particular in taste as that I should watch what I eat, too, Yvonne. But no one who’s known me for any length of time would say I’m not particular, so there… =) You’re actually embarrassing me for all the praise.

      You’ve built a really wonderful community of authentic people who enjoy what you have to share and teach. Glad to be walking alongside.

      Xx
      D.

      • Diana, there is no need for you to be modest but I’ll allow you to put yourself down- but just a tad.

        Thank you for the compliment but my little ole blog is tiny compared to yours. I suppose if I were able to work harder I could achieve more followers but I don’t have the ambition nor the energy. 🙂 XX Yvonne

  15. Hi Diana,
    Your son is very blessed to have the guidance in regards to learning the skills and rudiments that are so important in the art of drumming. I have taught quite a few drum students and there are two things that are difficult to teach:

    1) The love and almost crazy desire to want to play. This requires drive, vision, or a sense of what one wants the instrument to sound like and then being willing to submit to all the practice it takes to develop the skills necessary to achieve the ability to incorporate oneself into the playing of the instrument.
    2) The tenacity to practice very basic techniques that may be boring by focusing on the minutia of each movement of your fingers, hands and body. This includes the understanding that if you can’t play it slow, you can’t play it at all.

    My practice of good musical technique has been passed on to me from excellent musicians that I have been blessed to learn from. The learning process itself can’t help but to spill over into other areas of my life. I am grateful.

    As for blogging, it is, I am guessing, a wonderful thing to have a large audience and engage as richly as you do. It’s also a wonderful thing for the greater blogging community. Your writing is excellent and also you have the gift of so many wonderful followers adding to the beauty of your blog atmosphere by sharing their thoughts.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Loved the feedback and knowing that you drum, Deb! How old were you when you started? I shared your comment with Mr. Wayfarer, a Brazilian Samba drummer by night. We keep reminding T about the art of slow. And yes, the carryover of the patience, discipline, approach to challenges, insight, hearing (really hearing) into the other areas of our life is stupendous.

      I don’t embarrass easily but you guys really are making me hang my head and skip away. Thank you for the kind word on my blogging. I am just pleased you’ve been with me so long and add to the community your gold threads whether in the commenting or thoughtful reading.

      Xxx
      Diana

      • Hi Diana,
        Thanks! Glad you’re skipping 🙂
        Here’s my story:
        I desperately wanted to drum from the age of around four, when I saw my first parade. I loved the sound of the drums and just wanted to know how to make the sounds I was hearing.

        It was a long road until I actually acquired even my first drum sticks. My parents were not very keen on the idea of me drumming, so I took any and every instrument in school band just to be around the drummers. I watched them with a keen eye and ear because that was the only way I could learn. I bought drumsticks when I was nine with the allowance money my parents starting giving me. I then proceeded to make a drum kit out of cardboard boxes and used my dad’s table saw blades for cymbals. At 13, again using money I earned around the house, I took lessons for about six months. I learned about rudiments, bought books and was off and running, or so I thought.

        Amazingly, at the age of 14, my older sister’s boyfriend took pity on me and financially supported a family fund drive to buy me a drum kit! Wow, I was in heaven.

        In my twenties I played in some very local rock bands in my hometown. Nothing much ever came of that, but it was very fun. More recently I discovered Scottish pipe band drumming, studied with a few very good professional level players and eventually became the drum Sergeant for a local pipe band that had military connections.

        You can see a video of the pipe band and one competition that I placed second in on my blog: http://ptero9.com/2013/07/20/muir-of-ord/

        I haven’t been writing or spending much time on WP lately, but when I do make the rounds, I always read your stuff Diana. It’s delightful.
        xxx,
        Debra

    • Deb, I was bowled over by your story. Read the story of your die-hard attempts to learn drumming to T (“See?? Her parents didn’t support her. She got her first sticks at NINE.”) Your parents had their own situation and perspective but it really is sad when kids don’t enjoy the support and resources to develop interests and passions. My gratitude to my mother for having scrimped and saved to buy me my Yamaha with the $ from waitressing and afford me lessons runs more deeply every year as I see how I was not only able to earn $ teaching but came to understand music that I can groom T in his gifts. So glad you shared. Hope you’re drumming these days. =)

  16. You terrify me sometimes I wonder what it’ll be like having you as a Summer tutor. Still I’d like to sit with you and hear EVERYTHING you have to say.
    It’s odd– somewhat like watching a thriller movie. You’re scared out of your mind, probably have your toes curled under on the couch, lights off, and yet your eyes remain glued to the tv screen.
    It’s the date that has you cringing, and yet you come out feeling rejuvenated when it’s over.
    Or the cool big sister you worship whose height you can never attain. (sorry, I feel this way about you and Timi… The big sis ish).

    I think the cool kids call that a love-hate relationship (only hate is a big word for this).

    Love you, D. And thanks for the tip.

    • Having a hard time chewing my morning oatmeal for the laughing, U. Oh dear…LOL!! You must know that, thinking of you while writing, I almost called out my former guests seeing you guys shudder at what you put yourself through here. (Wa) ha ha ha.
      (And you evidently do have a fetish for horror stories.) For real, it’s scary to think of all those kids I’ve tutored – some for 6 yrs! For T, it’ll be all his life…until he flees to college.

  17. Wow sharp like a sword and honest in your core. I appreciate that you are a pain in the rear, because you make me move forward. I thank you for that. All the best to you and your family.

  18. Would love to learn the basics of blogging too, but to me blogging is more of closing my eyes, and shutting down everything around me, going deep, really deep and stay there as long as i need and that’s how my posts are made! I really enjoy your posts! Xx

  19. Lol so funny 🙂 I like things the way that I like them as well, so I can identify…it isn’t perfection I am interested in, just that my senses are pleased. I like people who take care with their work, whatever it is. I dislike rashness, too many opinions and too much emotion. I think if we lived next door to each other we would often argue, but respectfully, with lots of laughs 🙂
    As for what I contribute, well, I like to inspire and connect through every day experiences. I like to engage and be a part of something bigger than myself. I probably am like this as both writer and reader.

  20. Pingback: My Article Read (6-12-2015) | My Daily Musing

  21. Yes, Diana, we all want to hang with you xoxo and so appreciate the quality offered by you here where you serve us up your written yummies. U teach your son how to drum, too? In addition to the regular school subjects? Impressive per usual.

    • Daddy’s the drummer by avocation but…he doesn’t read music. I learned to do so (drum notation’s different from piano) alongside T last yr and we’ve been going at it since.
      You’re certainly not canned, either, Diahann. You’re going to do great as you show us what else you’ve got on your blog. *Grin*

      And enough praise. Enough. Thk u. *Hides behind shades, slips out door*

  22. Diana… The food is just an excuse to hang out together and talk! I love conversations that convince me to dig deeper, learn more about myself and then go apply it to my life!

  23. The truth is, D, I blog for the fun of it, mainly. (And occasionally to slip in a message on something I believe is important.) But I agree with you— and the old adage, anything worth doing, is worth doing well. –Curt

  24. I’ve been listening to Simon Sinek on Why versus What.
    When I read your posts I can sense the ‘why’. Perhaps that’s what has made me buy in …
    “It’s my exacting nature behind the topics and every word I choose, and the goals I set, that has built this blog.”
    Kudos Diana!

  25. It comes down to personal expression — in blogging, art, even in how we dress. Sure there are rules or guidelines out there, but what will we do with that information? How can we make it our own? That’s how we speak (or show) our truths, our best expressions.

    Happy to have found you in my feed today!

  26. Wow, I’m going to LOVE following you. Even though I don’t have many followers, this post has encouraged me NOT to try to be like the great successful bloggers, but just be myself, grow my own creativity, and when I get followers, good and well! I love the analogy of your son’s drumming growth, to blogging. Worked for me! Thanks.

  27. Well given the depth of your blog posts and your loyal bigger audience, it’s always good learn bits from your experiences.

    I too like to feed interested readers something with abit of strange spice that they grow to like and linger briefly. I’m not quite expecting readers gain turnaround enlightment. Actually I think my blog is abit narrow….it is hopelessly Canadian when one cruises through it.

  28. Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my poem, The Heart of a Hero.

    Science and art! Traditionally they had been strangers to each other. Nowadays, you meet more and more scientists/poets. Yours truly is one of them ☺

  29. The best technique for SEO is content of blog and the delivery of it. The same like in any kind of Art. If artist has something to say and found the right way to deliver it to the audience he or she is successful and the creation appear as a Piece of Art.

  30. I really should write my blog as a “Life or Death” situation because many people are just one disaster away from homelessness. Living paycheck to paycheck is just like gambling.

  31. Yes, both topics and words need to be chosen carefully, and presented to the end that you provide us with a sometimes necessary pain in the rear, as well as an always appreciated refrain in the ear.

  32. My favourite part of your post is the last paragraph with the whole ‘I don’t give a f#&! attitude – nice style. Got me reading all the way to the end so it worked for you. Thanks for stopping by…

  33. We do use the term art rather loosely. People may paint but not be an artist, may play music but not be an artist, and that applies to blogging too. But perhaps blogging should just be fun and not be technically artistic.

  34. One of the best learning experiences I had was working with you on my guest post. You made me dig deeper and say more with less. It’s a habit I’ve tried to carry through with each post since. I also purchased Elements of Style and am becoming a student of writing. I haven’t been publishing as much, but I write every day. Thank you for all that you do.
    BTW: I still like you just fine – even if you make the waitress tired 😉 xo

    • Ha ha ha. Hey, that is just wonderful to know, Mickey. Aw…I am sharing the feedback (timely encouragement) w/ husband. I think you’ll really like the Sin and Syntax I’d mentioned, too (though I didn’t get to finish it) – it reads totally differently than Strunk.

      And I must say I’m relieved I didn’t lose too many followers from my confession.
      (I was thinking about you when you popped in. HOW do you DO that?!)

  35. I always enjoy coming here to listen to your razor sharp wit. And I had to LOL at your restaurant preferences because they are similar to mine! I don’t eat out often but if I’m with friends or family for a bit to eat (not my husband because he wouldn’t dare), they have been known to roll their eyes as if to say, “here we go again.” 🙂

    • “here we go again.” Yep. It’s what it is, Deb. Every body is unique with its own needs (but we – most of us – strangely all eat the same.) Gotta do what is good for us. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will.

  36. Pingback: Posts That Inspired Me Today | The Oddity Writer

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