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How Am I Doing?

Man, I've left writing this blog until awfully late, and feel like I'm falling asleep. This may not be a very long entry. Then again, I could hit a Muse and wax poetic for pages. I know, you're hoping for the heavy eyelids.

That's really what I thought I'd write about tonight. What is good, and what sucks about my blog? Let me start off by giving a little history of my love affair with blogging.

Years ago, when I was just beginning to try to get a children's picture book published by a major New York publishing house, (which never happened, so please don't rub it in), I consumed every bit of information and advice I could get. In those days, agents and editors advised authors to blog incessantly. More than any other advice, they were pushing writers to blog as often as possible.

The idea was that, unlike other forms of publicity, every single word in a blog becomes searchable on the internet. Think about that for a moment. If you are writing a page a day about you, your business, your art, your characters, etc... That's 365 pages of searchable keywords attached to your name every year. That sort of exposure can only bring more people to your content, and therefore increase your notoriety and your fan base.

Authors need to approach a publisher with a platform. They need to be able to demonstrate that they have the fans, followers, and potential buyers for the concept they're pitching to a publisher. That's the reason that Madonna's children's book got picked up and mine did not. She had a platform. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason they chose her over me, so that's the story I'm going with.

The inherent problem with the advice I was getting in those early days was that no one was suggesting that you needed to write a blog that was either interesting, or actually read by anyone. The whole idea of famous bloggers, and subsequently social media influencers had not occurred to anyone at the time. Blogging was simply a strategy to help authors flood search engines with potential key words that would inadvertently push unsuspecting readers into the spiderweb.

That may sound silly now, but I have direct experience that it worked, and it's working still. I started blogging years ago as a sort of diary of what I was doing, whom I met with, and what was coming up on my calendar. The common wisdom at the time suggested that the content didn't have to be long, but it should be packed with strategic SEO terms that would build followers and associations. I blogged regularly, and no one ever subscribed to my blog, or ever read any of my posts. That didn't bother me that much, since I was only trying to impress editors.

When I moved to Moscow, I continued to blog about my daily experiences there. We were working for the Anglo-American School of Moscow, and I was having the time of my life in a city, and in a job, that I loved.

The school was not doing much advertising online, and that meant that whenever anyone did a search on an activity or celebration at the school, they were ending up on my blog. So when a parent wanted to know about the annual fun-run, their google search let them to me, and not to the school.

The administration approached me with the problem. I suggested that they should start providing their own content that promoted the school in the best light, and to their own noble objectives. They did so, and the problem went away.

Over the years, I have continued a patchwork approach to blogging. I thought at first that vlogging would replace blogging, then perhaps the resurgence of podcasting might render it obscelete... but blogging is still a really good way to get content out into the world.

Where I have changed my philosophy is that, even though I don't have much of a readership, I don't want to just post a pile of words that are of little interest to readers. I want to blog about something interesting, something entertaining, something worthwhile.

I was lucky enough to meet John Vorhaus, a Hollywood screenwriter, speaker, teacher, writer, trainer, poker player and visual artist. We were both on an artist panel together for the International Institute of Humanology. I bought two of his books, "The Comedy Toolbox" and "The Little Book of Sitcom". I thought that, if I could start to make my blog posts more entertaining, and not just a stream of consciousness rant or a diary of what I did today, perhaps I could grow my audience, and offer them more value.

So here's my ask. Drop me a note, and tell me what is working, and not working, in these posts. I'm not asking for a huge critique here, just a sentence about what you liked, what you'd like to see more of, or what you find painful in trying to get through my blog. I'm assuming there has to be some seed of hope in that you've read the posting this far (I guess we've ruled out the "too sleepy for a long posting" scenario for tonight). Take one minute more and let me know how I'm doing.

Ok, now I really am going to go to bed. Thanks...

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