A couple of weeks ago I read in The New Yorker about the phenomenon of the "Pioneer Woman," a 40-something woman with a zillion home-schooled kids and a husband she calls "Marlboro Man" who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma or someplace and blogs about her life there. AND HAS MADE OVER A MILLION DOLLARS IN AD REVENUE FROM HER BLOG over the past 5 years! WHAT?!
What does Pioneer Woman have that I don't have?!
I didn't get around to visiting her blog until just today, so consumed with envy was I after reading the article. Once there, scouted out her subject tabs: Confessions, Cooking, Photography, Home & Garden, Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen.
OK, #1, I have plenty o' CONFESSIONS here! And better/juicier ones, if I must say so myself, than "Look at my dog's funny tongue"! (Though I did really think her pictures of her son's Cary Grant impressions were very cute! Whenever, though, I post pictures of my cute nephews here, Norway Julie copies and sends to kid porno sites. Why doesn't Pioneer Woman have these psychos hanging around HER?!)
#2: COOKING: Hey, have I not revealed here both the Hot Pockets in my freezer and the canned goods in my cabinet? Have I not shared my complaints about local fast-food establishments? What more can I give, people?
#3: PHOTOGRAPHY: Really, what would you rather see: Self-taken shots of me sloppy drunk at 4 am or of cattle being herded? Come on, now.
#4: HOME & GARDEN: My one-room casa has been YOUR one-room casa! And as for the "garden" part -- I KNOW that I have shared photos of both my rubber-tree plant and the trees outside my window. As well as stories about hopping spiders and neighborhood jackals. So there. I have no guilt about holding back in this area.
#5: HOMESCHOOLING: While you might not get charmingly cranky lessons from the "Mean Ol' Schoolmarm" here, you do, though, get plenty of "Oh my god, how STOOPID was that?" Plus lots o' info (aka "bitching") about "homeworking" -- the new "homeschooling."
#6: TASTY KITCHEN: I'd join this with the COOKING category, but...that's just me, me who earns approximately $0 from my blog. Who're you going to listen to?
And then I saw the below list on Pioneer Woman's blog:
Pioneer Woman's TEN IMPORTANT THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT BLOGGING
1. Be yourself.
Write in your own voice.
Write as if you’re talking to your sister.
Unless you don’t get along with your sister.
Or don’t have a sister.
2. Blog often.
Whether you write a sixteen-paragraph essay about the cosmic implications of a free market system, a one-paragraph description of what happens to your soul when you walk into your godforsaken laundry room, or a simple photo and caption, consider your blog a precious bloom that requires daily nurturing.
If you water a plant once every two weeks, it will shrivel.
Unless that plant is a cactus, and then it would thrive.
And to tell you the truth, I really can’t figure out how a cactus fits into this analogy, so forget I brought it up.
3. Be varied.
Change things up.
Offer a smorgasbord of content.
Unless you’re, say, a fashion blog.
And in that case, you should probably continue to blog about fashion.
But never blog about the same top twice!
4. Exercise more.
Blogging is an insidiously sedentary activity, and if you blog daily you should take steps to markedly increase your daily movement.
Unless that movement involves eating coffee ice cream.
In which case it would be better not to markedly increase your daily movement.
5. Allow your boundaries to set themselves naturally.
Don’t feel like you have to sit down and set rules about what you will and will not blog about from day one. Just blog, and see what feels comfortable for you.
I did that.
I’ve found, over time, that I tend to blog about the same things I’d talk to my sister about.
I’ve also found, over time, that I tend not to blog about things I wouldn’t talk to my sister about.
For example, I don’t blog about hanky panky.
I also don’t talk to my sister about hanky panky. If I did, she’d cover her ears and say, “Okay, gross.”
And you probably would, too.
6. Bring back retro phrases like “hanky panky.”
But only if it feels right to you.
7. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself.
On this website, over the course of the past five years, I have burped, performed Britney Spears songs in Ethel Merman’s voice, misspelled words, posted typos, and talked about ways I humiliated myself as both a youngster and an adult.
At times I’ve wondered if maybe the burps were too much.
But they’re a part of me.
At least they were…until they came out of my esophagus.
But you know what I mean.
8. Try your best to spell words correctly and use proper grammar.
You don’t necessarily have to wig out about it.
But do try.
And if one or two of your readers emails you alerting you to a typo, don’t be offended. Thank them profusely and sing praises for the day they were born.
9. If you have writer’s block, push through and blog anyway.
I posted the first chapter of Black Heels on a morning when I woke up with the most raging case of writer’s block, I couldn’t even type my name.
I was sure you’d hate it, but I posted it anyway.
I went on to write forty-plus more chapters.
What if I’d given in to my writer’s block and decided not to blog that day?
I would never have written my Green Acres-meets-War and Peace romance novel.
And my bottom would likely be a little less jiggly.
Please see #4 above.
10. Value every person who takes time out of their day to stop by your blog.
Tell ‘em you love ‘em. Regularly.
11. I love ya.
More’n my luggage.
(Sorry. That was eleven things. Please see #1 above.)
While I do naturally abide by Rules 1-9, when it came to #s 10 and 11... Uh-oh. Therein lies the key. I'm mean. I'm sarcastic. I don't say "I love you, you 50 people who visit my blog every day." In fact, I seem to recall posting a couple of messages about "Geez, why would someone visit this blog 20 times in one day?" But that wasn't bitchin' about someone regularly reading my blog, it was about someone obsessively coming back 20 times in one day when there are never/have never been that many updates in one day... c'mon now!
See, there I go again. Pioneer Woman is nice and forgiving. I'm mean and judgmental.
Sincere voice as The New Me: Luv ya!