Now that I have your attention and you are suitably scandalized, allow me to suggest you don’t spit out your coffee in wide-eyed amazement. Let me elaborate and make my point.
During a recent discussion about writing and blogging with a friend of mine, a comment was made that was really interesting. It was, of course, about the role of sex in blogging and it is what piqued my curiosity. By sex, I don’t mean to ask whether you’re getting any action. Quite frankly, I don’t know you that well and it would be rather impolite of me to lead that inquisition. So, no I am talking about the act of ‘wham bam, thank you ma’am’. Instead, I refer to gender when I say sex (hah! Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?). So, exactly how does a female blogger influence our behavior as opposed to a male blogger? Does it affect the way we receive them or the manner in which we view their blogs?
I don’t know about you, but I have always been jealous about the fact that women can get pretty much anything they want by being pretty or flirty or slutty, or even all three at the same time. If a man did the same, it would be downright despicable. And then they talk about equality of the sexes! Regardless of my grouse, and assuming that we all begin to blog on an equal footing, which gender has more of an advantage in the long run, and is there an advantage to be found at all? So yes, I am asking the question; does sex really matter when blogging?
There is one more thing that I have noticed about women (besides the fact that their hair always smells wonderful, which is part of the reason why I love them) and that is their natural diffidence. By that I mean to say that I have seen women be hesitant to start something new since they wonder if they’re qualified to do whatever it is while men just rush in where angels fear to tread! If a guy feels he has anywhere near a reasonable skill set, he’ll simply say “yeah, sure , I can do that”. It’s not about positivity versus negativity either; it’s simply a question of having a gung-ho attitude (at times) and believing that experience is as good a teacher as a classroom.
My point is a very simple one. There are subtle, but very noticeable differences, in the male and female psyche and this manifests itself in the way we behave. Note particularly how I have no formal degree in psychology but feel like I can hold court on the subject. This is a validation of sorts of my hypothesis and another male characteristic. Similarly, there are female characteristics that are obviously beneficial for blogging. Qualities such as being a good listener and empathetic (besides just being female) helps out the ladies for sure while being more carefree, more analytical and better problem-solvers certainly help out the males.
I do believe however that the best bloggers draw upon the best of both sexes. It’s like having a muscle car and making it beautiful too; form meets function. It’s not like I’m advocating a personality transplant. All I’m saying is we can always learn from the opposite sex since gender does play a role in blogging.
Most people can write a whole lot better than they already are and I’m not just talking about incremental improvements here; I’m saying a whole lot better, and I do mean those precise words. If you start writing on a topic that you know is a winner, and if you feel you have a firm grasp of your audience and what they like, you’ll normally end up with an article that is more than just decent. It’ll end up being pretty good, if I’m being honest. But why settle for pretty good, why not aim for excellence? Just taking a look at the finer nuances of your writing style means that you will be able to tweak things to go from good to great with ease. Here’s some principles to do just that.
Go crazy, edit later
Okay, so this is a bit sensationalist as advice goes, I must admit. You don’t literally need to go apeshit while writing a post, an article, a letter or just about anything else you can think of. What I do mean is that you need to simply cut loose and write whatever it is that you like writing about in your own, distinctive style. As my good friend Mr. Hemingway once said (okay, you got me; he isn’t really my friend), be real; it is the best way to produce compelling prose or copy that reels people in. Trust and persuasion is vital for the written word, so don’t ever write like some robot spitting out text heartlessly. Don’t write, tell; your copy needs life.
Patience is a virtue
Being patient is a very vital virtue when it comes to writing well. Sometimes, you just have to write whatever it is you want to and then walk away from it in order to gain some perspective. Anything looks better in hindsight (especially beautiful women walking away, but that’s not the point), so let that text simmer overnight instead of being in a tearing hurry to just get it done rapidly. Okay, so you have to be in a hurry at some times, but don’t get so excited about whatever it is you’re writing that you end up losing perspective. You don’t need to send it out straight away; give it some time and take a second look at it. You’d be surprised by how much you missed first time out.
Get a little help from your friends
If you’ve followed the previous piece of advice I mentioned in this post, read it out aloud. Not you, silly; get a friend to do it for you. This way you can pick up on little errors that you might have missed earlier. Problems with flow and continuity that just skipped by you earlier become clear as day all of a sudden. I’ll be honest; I rarely every do this myself and everyone says it’s the way to go and I do agree with the idea behind it all even if I rarely ever get around to doing it myself.
Rebellious, assertive, ambitious, enduring, bitchy. That’s Madonna for you, and that’s the person that once said, “I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” Many people think of pure, unadulterated sin and pop extravagance when they think back on Madonna’s career, and not many realize that she’s now 52 years old. Many people see her madness, the chaos and the pop circus surrounding her every move and word. But what they don’t see most of the time is that she knows exactly what she’s doing and she knows exactly what she wants. She has a rare mastery over the aura surrounding her and the message she exudes. She is in complete control of brand Madonna.
Madonna’s career has spanned decades now and she has been the best female performer of all time even if you don’t like her music very much. She has been to the pop genre what Ali was to boxing, what Sampras is to Tennis; she is a living legend, and there is a lot to take away from the material girl when it comes to ruling your brand and your niche. Madonna has some powerful lessons to teach, and here we sum up 6 of those teachings that can be gleaned from the Material Girl.
Always believe in something
If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for just about anything. The simplest way to do this is to take a quick look at your about us page. What have you thrown on there? Is the message you are conveying very feel-good, but entirely forgettable? Is there a message at all in there? You have a powerful way of conveying what you believe in with your blog and you should best distill your message into something you fully believe. It’s your unique selling proposition and this is your raison d’être. Your customers should be able to say why you matter and why they turn to you.
Always come good with promises
Look around and you’ll see that the best of businesses will always look to deliver on their promises at all time. It requires putting in a lot of effort to make sure that they deliver quality again and again, without fail. Madonna claims she has “never canceled a show, ever” and you can translate this into something of meaning for your business. Make every customer interaction and make every product a promise that is fulfilled, and never rest until this is so.
Clarity of purpose
In the music industry, Madonna is famed for her ability to negotiate like a shark. Heck, she even wrangled $5 million out of Pepsi for an ad they never ran. They got the jitters, she didn’t care; she got her pound of flesh from them. There is a clarity of purpose for Madonna that is almost scary. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. Know your goals, and work relentlessly towards it. Setting a goal sets a tempo for your efforts, so get your goals and priorities right and you can deliver on something you want, and you can deliver it your way.
Trample on toes if you have to
Madonna has never been afraid to trample on toes and bloody a few noses if she had. Interest groups, professors, politicians, businesses, they all came the same to her. She doesn’t care if it’s the Vatican taking pot shots at her, and her fans love it. She never backed down from fighting things out and neither should you. Never apologize for who you are if you say something you feel is true. You can’t please everyone all the time. Take criticism on board so much as it makes sense and keep on moving towards achieving your goals relentlessly. If everyone does agree with you, maybe you’re saying something so innocuous that everyone can easily agree with.
Redefine the rules
The only rules that matter are the ones that you impose upon yourself. If and when Madonna does engage her fans, she doesn’t follow the regular rules and you can rest assured knowing that she comes up with unique ways to rip the rulebook to shreds. Rules are there for a reason, but to make the rules suited to your purpose marks out the successes from the failures and Lady Gaga might be the epitome of that today, but Madonna was the original.
“¿Qué quiere para su desayuno?”, asked the waitress rather demurely. She hovered not more than a few inches from my face inquisitively, and I struggled to come up with a response before remembering what I wanted.
“Tortilla de Patatas, por favor”.
This was all I remembered, and it was a good thing that I liked Spanish Omelet a whole lot. But I had to ask myself the question while I was waiting for my breakfast; why have I not learnt any more Spanish seeing how I needed to know at least a passing amount of it. That was back when I was traveling through Spain on one vacation many moons ago, and Tortilla de Patatas was all I had for the better part of a week, at least at breakfast. I just didn’t learn from my mistakes, and I spoke Spanish like a four year old; I was babbling, I was disjointed and mind you, I am someone who prides himself reasonably much on his communication abilities. My Spanish was not much better than my Pig Latin, and that’s not saying much.
But in that experience, I learned something of immense value over those few passing days and no, it wasn’t Spanish. Lord knows I picked up a bit in those few days, but more than that I shed my inhibitions when it came to public humiliation. You see, one of my big phobias has to do with looking like a fool in front of a collective and I managed to get rid of that one fear. I think everyone doesn’t like to be made to like a buffoon, and I am no different. And so when I tried to make myself understood in Spanish (awkwardly, I must admit) I fumbled around a bit in a manner not much different to a gauche teenager admitting his (or her) love to another teen. The point is this; while I am proficient in my local language and then a few more, you still have to start at the very beginning when it comes to learning a new language. For a time, you will sound like a toddler.
It’s just that you will mangle a few words, jumble a few phrases and look like George of the Bungle for some time. There will be those that laugh uproariously at you, those that look at you with a genuine sense of confusion and those that call together everyone else just to see how much of a jackass you are making of yourself (yes, that has happened to me). Is there a point to all of this? I’m glad you asked; I don’t think learning to blog is any different than having to learn a language. And the important thing is that Spanish summer meant that I had no problem making a fool of myself (at the times I did) while blogging in public. The point is that in order to become a more experienced blogger you just have to learn your way around by making rookie mistakes.
I’ve published rough posts when never meaning to, used caps lock without realizing it simply because I was too lazy to proof-read, I’ve incorrectly embedded files and sent out links and sometimes I tried to get my readers into action but left out the one piece of information that would have got them to move into action. Again, it’s the same thing when it comes to selling a product or service and I ask you this; how is blogging different from having to sell a product? And all of this happens in the public eye, and every single failure teaches us something new (at least it should), even if it is something as elementary as what not to do. Know that you will fail, and know that you must plan to rebound from it. That is the only way you will learn anything and that is the only way to become a better blogger.
At least I got Spanish Omelets out of my mistakes, perhaps you’ll get more.