Tag Archives: Writing

The Value Of A Good Blog Title

12 Sep

This is a slightly edited repost from 2013, but I’m out of ideas so I thought I’d share it again.  It contains some good advice for new bloggers.

Let’s start with a poem I wrote some years ago:

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The Thing About Poetry IsEnglish: Groucho Marx & anonymous blogging

Titles
are
vital

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The same is true of blog posts.  Titles are vital to lure unsuspecting readers to your blog, where you will dazzle them with your wit and wisdom and encourage them to waste time they could have used for eating, watching TV, and sitting on the couch.

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How Not To Write A Post Title

From my blog:

  • Joke 648

Unless you are looking for 648 jokes, it’s rather dull.  However, it does tell you exactly what you will find: a joke; the 648th joke in a long line of jokes.

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Be Specific

  • The Value Of A Good Blog Title 

is not particularly interesting but it will attract people looking to improve their blogging.  I know this because

  • Seven Tips For New Bloggers 

still attracts readers, years after being posted.  List titles like this are also popular, for reasons I’m sure psychologists could tell you, though I can’t.  

A word of caution, however: don’t be tempted to make it 147 Tips For New Bloggers, because nobody’s attention span is that long.  I know this from experience.

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Be Topical

  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Posted in December, it’s seasonal and likely to attract Christmas fanatics like me. In November, it makes me the blogger who’s ahead of the game; in June, it makes me quirky and will, hopefully, make the reader curious.  But beware: posted in January, it’s the blogging equivalent of the guest who won’t leave when the party’s over.

Sometimes, being topical leads to dumb luck:

  • Some Snow Facts

A fun factual post a year earlier led to my best-ever day – 4,720 hits – when Google Doodle celebrated the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the World’s Largest Snowflake.  I’d have been happier if just one of those people looking for the Google Doodle had left a comment but, hey, I’m not one to look a gift spike in the mouth.

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Reference Popular Culture

Here are some posts of mine which still receive hits:

  • Twilight: I Hope Bella Remembered To Shave
  • Seven Of Nine, And Not In A Good Way
  • Robert Pattinson With Small Hairs

Being up to date with the news helps:

  • What Really Happened To Gaddafi

brought in hundreds of people who thought a housewife in Stockport could tell them what 24-hour news channels and thousands of dedicated reporters could not.

Adding the word ‘Review’ to a title is another good way to attract readers. However:

  1. It irritates them if you use the word ‘Review’ and then don’t review whatever it is you claim to be reviewing.  I know this from experience.
  2. Reviewing books and movies four years after they’ve been released is unlikely to make your post a bestseller (I was surprised to discover).

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Use Keywords And Phrases

Here are some posts that still receive hits.  One was written six years ago:

  • You’re Only As Old As The Woman You Feel – old jokes and clichéd phrases are popular searches as ageing people begin to lose their memories (I know this from experience).
  • Smile And The World Smiles With You – the word ‘smile’ is the top search that finds this blog, with over 10,000 visits.
  • A Is For ‘Arguments’ – the key word here is ‘A’.  Bizarrely, the letter ‘a’ comes in at Number 7 on my search list, with 1,044 hits.

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Sweaty Armpits

Sweaty Armpits (Photo credit: mricon)

Have Fun!

After all, if you’re not trying to change the world, it doesn’t matter who reads your blog so long as you are enjoying yourself.  

Here are some of my favourite titles from posts that I have written:

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  • Famous With Sweaty Armpits  
  • Okay, Tesco: I Forgive You
  • So Many Jokes, So Little Class   I like this one for its searing honesty.
  • If I Break Wind, I’ll Write About It  The previous title refers.
  • I Have To Kill My Kindle
  • Love Many, Trust Few And A Canoe
  • I’m Three Mugs Of Tea Away From Becoming A Feminist
  • It’s Time To Give Up Food   I like this one for its absurd premise.
  • Ten Don’ts For When I’m Dead  Another list post.
  • Bring In Arms Fat Mummy
  • Hula Hoops. Very Proud Of The Queen.   I can’t claim credit for this one as it was from a comment by another blogger.
  • Vasectomy Dog And A Frog Disease Called Awesome
  • Camping: The Art Of Staying Wet Indoors
  • Flying To Spain In A Manky Cardi
  • A Labled Easy To Follow Leg
  • Sandra Bullock Has A Sex Change And Retires To Norfolk

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A Final Tip

Related to blogging but not to titles in particular: ask an open-ended question. A question as title will pull in the curious and the opinionated (I know this from experience).  You don’t have to use it as a title, however; you can use it as a closing sentence.  It never fails (I know this from experience).

What are your blogging tips?

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Joke 822

23 Jun

The last one, I swear!

More How To Write Good, this time from William Safire’s Rules for Writers.

  • Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
  1. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
  2. Avoid archaeic spellings too.
  3. Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  4. Don’t use commas, that, are not, necessary.
  5. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
  6. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
  7. Subject and verb always has to agree.
  8. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
  9. Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
  10. Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  11. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  12. Don’t never use no double negatives.
  13. Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  14. Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
    1. Eschew obfuscation.
    2. No sentence fragments.
    3. Don’t indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
    4. A writer must not shift your point of view.
    5. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
    6. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
    7. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
    8. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
    9. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
    10. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
    11. Always pick on the correct idiom.
    12. The adverb always follows the verb.
    13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
    14. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
    15. And always be sure to finish what

 

Joke 676

28 Jan

How to Write Good

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

3. Employ the vernacular.

4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. Remember to never split an infinitive.

7. Contractions aren’t necessary.

8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

9. One should never generalize.

10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

12. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

13. Be more or less specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

17. The passive voice is to be avoided.

18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?

21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

22. Don’t never use a double negation.

23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point

24. Do not put statements in the negative form.

25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

28. A writer must not shift your point of view.

29. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

30. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!

31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the irantecedents.

32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

37. Always pick on the correct idiom.

38. The adverb always follows the verb.

39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They’re old hat; seek viable alternatives.

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From jokesaboutwriting.

Joke 671

23 Jan

Q:  How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A:  Why does it have to be changed?

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Three guys are sitting at a bar.

#1: “…Yeah, I make $75,000 a year after taxes.”

#2: “What do you do for a living?

“#1: “I’m a stockbroker. How much do you make?

#2: “I should clear $60,000 this year.”

#1: “What do you do?”

#2: “I’m an architect.”

The third guy has been sitting there quietly, staring into his beer, when the others turn to him.

#2: “Hey, how much do you make per year?”

#3: “I guess about $13,000.”

#1: “Oh yeah? What kind of stories do you write?”

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From writersjokes.

How A Post Is Made

15 Jan
St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

  • Write
  • Save after every paragraph
  • Squeeze in all available puns
  • And then some more
  • Save
  • Proofread  
  • Google Proofread proof read for correct usage  
  • Save
  • Justify text
  • Save
  • Change font colour to red
  • Save
  • Change font colour to black
  • Save
  • Add picture(s)
  • Save(s)
  • Add links
  • Save
  • Preview
  • Check links work
  • Check links highlighted
  • Check links open in another page
  • Save
  • Spell check
  • Save
  • Preview
  • Check
  • Check
  • Check
  • Check
  • Check again
  • Add Categories  
  • Add Tags  
  • Add witty Twitter comment to entice readers
  • Publish
  • Check

A post takes about thirty minutes to write and ninety minutes to perfect.

If I come back to a post at a later date and discover a typo or other error, I have to rest on my bed for an afternoon to recover.

This post first appeared two years ago.  

The system is rigidly adhered to.  Or else.

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Tory Boy

Tory Boy (Photo credit: Big Richard C)

NOTE:

Tory Boy gave me a heart attack.  I was preparing this post and he was sitting on the couch behind me.

TB2: You’ve published early.

TB1: I haven’t published yet.

TB2: Yes you have – ‘How A Post Is Made’.  There’s a list.

TB1: [Terrified Small Creature impression; looks from monitor to TB2’s tablet to monitor]: Oh no!  Oh no!  Oh no!  I can’t believe it!  I’m writing about writing perfect posts and I screwed up!

TB2: [Collapsed in heap of hysterical laughter]: … … … …

TB2: You haven’t published!  I read the title on your monitor!  [Rushes to toilet in wet pants] [Not really; but a mother needs her revenge]

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This is the same child who managed to get me to thank him for locking his brother in the loft.  Putting away the Christmas decorations, Spud was up top, Tory Boy passing to him, and I was directing.  Once the last, fragile bag was carefully passed up, I headed downstairs, calling ‘Thanks’ a split-second after TB closed the loft hatch on his brother, sealing him into the crowded, dirty and freezing roof space.

I don’t think Spud minded – it looks better than his room.

 

NaNoWriMo Update

29 Nov
nanowrimo

nanowrimo (Photo credit: evilnick)

You may have noticed, after my first burst of enthusiasm, that I went quiet on the subject of NaNoWriMo.  Then again, you may actually have a life.

I signed up for NaNo to settle an argument: the Hub reckons I have a novel in me; I don’t believe I do.  I was prepared to fight fair and give it a real go.  Either way, I’d win: either I had a novel in me, in which case, hooray!  I’d have written a novel; or I wouldn’t, in which case, hooray!  I won an argument.

I won the argument but I couldn’t gloat because the Hub looked so sad.  He’s such a spoil sport.

The bit I have written isn’t very good.  That’s no false modesty: I’ve read enough tripe to know when I’m writing it.  I am a Twihard, after all.

I had intended to have a heroine only – Daisy, deserted by her husband, jobless and searching – but a hero appeared on the scene, name of Jack (a manly name; I made a point of saying so).

Jack was an accidental hero and it was incidental that he happened to be a traffic warden.  While I was still in the throes of writing passion in early November, I envisioned Jack and Daisy in their follow-up novel: Daisy works alongside Jack (it’s the kind of job you’d have to be desperate to take, which she is); they become sleuthing traffic wardens.  I doubt such a pair exist in literature – most writers want readers to like their characters.

I got to about Day 14.  I had about 12,000 words.  I took a couple of days off to do stuff that needed doing…and I never went back.  Every time I thought about sitting down to it, I found something else to do.

For a time the guilt hung over me: I signed up for NaNo; I should see it through; it doesn’t have to be great – it just has to be done.

Then I decided to say, ‘Stuff it!  I don’t want to do it.’ And I stopped feeling guilty.

Writing has always been a joy for me, even essays.  This was the most un-fun I’ve ever had when writing.  I’m not sorry I stopped.  

But I do like the idea of sleuthing traffic wardens.  Maybe I’ll sign up for NaNoWriMo next year and finish the novel.  The Hub is always saying I have a book in me.  It’s about time he won an argument.

NaNoWriMo Day 8

8 Nov

Yes, well…

Traffic Warden Clamping

If you recall, I’m attempting NaNoWriMo, to settle an argument with the Hub as to whether I have a novel in me or not.

To be considered a ‘winner’ it is necessary to write 1667 words a day to reach the target of 50,000 words.

Day One: Full of enthusiasm even though I think I don’t have a novel in me.  Easily reach the target.  Don’t mind the Hub winning this one.

Day Two:  Still enthusiastic,  the book is writing itself.  Come on, publishers, start courting me!

Day Three:  Busy day, don’t start writing until six p.m., by which time I’m ready for bed.  Drig out a thossand words of my comedey navel.

Day Four:  Another busy day.  Start at five.  Comedy is killed by a mystery element.  Hmm, write a murder mystery of sorts, but keep the housewife and the traffic warden?  Nine hundred words.

Day Five: 

Day Six: Wrote nothing yesterday because of everything I had to do in real life. However, only 1700 words behind.  I’ll soon catch up.  A thousand words.  Only 2400 words behind.  I’ll catch up.

Day Seven: Managing to make the traffic warden sexy.  Don’t know how, because I’ve never met one, and he’s modelled on the Hub.  Oops!  Discover the power of words: but he’s modelled on the Hub.  Only 3583 words behind.  Will I catch up?

Day Eight: Make a model of the computer and stick pins in it.

If I do have a novel in me, it’s trite, dull and meaningless.

They say you should write what you know.

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For my non-Brit readers, a definition:

Traffic Warden: Evil creature sent to torment innocent drivers who only parked illegally for five minutes but it was urgent and yes, they know the rules of the road apply to them as well but, please, officer, please, please, please, my partner will kill me if I get another ticket…

 

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