RSS Feed

Your Blog is Your Playground

February 21, 2016 by Diane

hand opening red curtain on white.

There are rules when it comes to blogging. Rules like…

Start With a Killer Title


Make it catchy. Add a power word. Include the phrase “ Top Ten…” or “Five Tips…,” otherwise no one, according to the experts, will want to read it.

Write a sentence or two, describing your topic.

Followed by a…



So the reader can graze, decide where they want to pause for nourishment.

Now drill down into your topic. Two or three sentences, tops.

Add another subheading


Explain stuff. Insert a quote from an expert, because goodness knows bloggers have no expertise. Then, to capture Google’s attention, add some links for readers to click on, like this: peekaboo.

Time for another subheading


Wrap the whole thing up by paraphrasing what you just said, because evidently the reader is too daft to remember a single word by the end of the post, which should be no longer than 2000 words, preferably nearer to 500.

End with a call to action: Comment, you lazy so-and-so.

And there you have it; a template for a successful blog.



I’ve lead you astray.

This isn’t the way to blog


It’s how to blindly follow the rules so you’ll sound like 75 percent of the other blogs on the internet and lose your voice in the process, which is exactly what happened to me.

I was doing the ten-best, fifteen-ways-to whatever, and a funny thing happened. The cold I had caught, and recovered from, came back to finish the job by taking up residence in my lungs. And I literally lost my voice.

Like Sinatra in his later years.

Except Sinatra still had his rhythm, his swing. He was still ‘ol Blue Eyes, just…raspy.

I’m thinking of Sinatra now, because he would have been 100 years old if he was alive today. I’m thinking of how Sinatra made a comeback after Ave Gardner fled, after the studios wouldn’t touch him, after his singing career went skidding down dead man’s alley.

Sinatra reinvented himself. He begged to get cast in the film From Here to Eternity, and won an Oscar. He hooked up with Nelson Riddle and developed that swingin’ sound, that cool persona, that man-in-a-fedora-under-a-streetlight that young men tried to emulate.

I’m thinking of Sinatra now, because I’m wrestling with my identity as an artist. I want to do it my waynot the ten-best-ways touted on the internet.

My way.

Whatever that way is.

And if a reader wants to follow, I’ll count myself blessed. If not, I’ll shout onto the blank page until I grow hoarse or bored, or discover something amazing about myself as a writer. This blog is my playground. I’d forgotten that.

Rules? Pish posh.

Life is short. Own your creativity. Own your voice. Do it your way.

The world will be richer for it.


  1. Jackie says:

    That was fun! I was busy writing down the “rules” thinking, okay, maybe this will work, when you blew my scratch pad away and set me free.
    I write on 3 blogs – two of my own (one eclectic, one Christian, and the last one shared with 7 other writers). Sometimes it’s hard to come up with new stuff. But… a play ground. Now what equipment do I like best? Swings? The slide? Monkey bars? The hanging rings? Or just playin’ in the sand.
    Hey… those might just lead to some interesting blog posts. Thanks.

  2. Bun Karyudo says:

    I think you’re doing the right thing. Following a set pattern every time will just stifle our individual voices. I also going to try to follow the Sinatra approach and do it my way. Of course, I’ll have to change my nickname to Ol’ Brown Eyes.

    • Diane says:

      Ah, the secret is out! You have brown eyes under that paper bag.

      I think you’re doing a fine job already, following your voice. And what a delightful voice it is!

      Okay, it’s time to spill the beans about Sinatra. I saw him in concert, singing “My Way.” At one point he went his way (into the verse) and the orchestra went another (into the chorus). ‘Ol Blue Eyes wandered around the stage for a moment as the orchestra played on and and his bodyguards flexed their muscles.

  3. Shannon says:

    Love this one! Thank you for being so honest and I just adore the way you write! You are appreciated out there!!!
    Have a fantastic day!

  4. Nancy Clark says:

    Hooray for freedom to do as we please! I’ve been trying out a few of the rules; they aren’t hard to follow, but I haven’t seen any difference in the number of readers either. So maybe I’ll insert a power word or two in my title and maybe I’ll ask at the end for comments (if I remember). As for the other “requirements,” they’re just too restrictive for my taste. As long as we have fun with our own posts, as long as we share something that might be interesting to someone else, then we’ve achieved our purpose, right?

    • Diane says:


      I had the same experience: the rules didn’t make much difference in readership. I’ve found that I get the most reads and responses from the posts that come from an honest, unedited, childlike place inside me.

  5. Marie Rogers says:

    Why bother to blog if it’s no fun? I enjoy your posts for the humor and energy. Yay, sandbox!

  6. Jason says:

    Good post and wise words indeed. It’s so easy to follow the herd or slip into a formulaic approach.

    I myself intend to write my next post entirely in Klingon. Which should be interesting, as I don’t know any Klingon.

  7. Joan says:

    Yay!!!!!!!!! Good for you! Great post, indeed!!

  8. Jas says:

    I feel this so hard. My blog is a combo of stories and essays and cat stuff. I look at it like a collection of samples that I can use as not only an outlet, but a digital calling card of creativity that I can whip out and say, “Here’s my style, right here, swag, right here!”

    Almost 80% of any opportunities or awesome reactions turned friendships that have resulted from online content have come from my blog and not some formulaic jumbo that I’ve written for article farm sites.

    Feelings this. So. Hard.

    • Diane says:

      Digital calling card. I love that!

      It’s nice to have that creative outlet. I write copy for nonprofits, and when I try to liven it up with a little “swag,” I get: “Keep it staight-up.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *