It’s time to write a blog post. What to do? What to do?
Unless there’s a burning issue sitting happily on my frontal lobe, step one is usually checking my “blog notes” and finding some scrap of an idea. But wait! It’s not as easy as it sounds.
For one thing, my notes are scattered to the wind across a wide variety of locations. In the physical world this includes sticky notes littered around my desk like dying leaves on an autumn lawn. There’s also two pocket notebooks filled with pages and pages of tiny scrawl. Most of it is not decipherable, even to me, the hand that did the scrawling. And they’ve both been through the laundry so the ink is fuzzy and faint.
In the electronic world I’ve cleverly tried to consolidate my little notes to self. There’s the “Notes” app in my iPad. There’s another app called “Werdsmith” I also use from time to time. And, in an app called “Evernote” there’s probably my biggest library of random thoughts. This one has the advantage of being shared with my computer, too. Lastly there’s a plain text file in the home directory of my computer that I maintain with a command line text editor.
Here’s a sample of what can be found in my notes. I’ve culled these from the herd for your edification of the writer’s process.
Artichoke or Boss?
Tags: smell, rat
As is often the case, my notes are generally useless when I revisit them later. They may seem obvious at the time but usually I don’t breadcrumb enough to lead my brain back to the scene of the crime and grok the point, if there even was one.
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House dust mites are ubiquitous everywhere humans live indoors. Positive tests for dust mite allergies are extremely common among people with asthma. Dust mites are microscopic arachnids whose primary food is dead human skin cells. They do not actually live on people, though. They and their feces and other allergens they produce are major constituents of house dust, but because they are so heavy they are not long suspended in the air.
Source: Wikipedia – Dust
Right out of the gate and a fascinating factoid already got slipped in. See? That’s the power of blogging. Take a deep breath and let’s begin!
An effective blog post requires several key components: A premise, a point of view, words, pictures and other things. That leaves me out. To that end I often find myself researching my own historical archive of posts. Perhaps I want to link a phrase back to something I wrote before. Perhaps I want to revisit a particularly riveting and interesting idea.
Remember, this is all theoretical.
If you’re like me, you got bedazzled and bamboozled by the sheer spectacle of the promised internet. It was going to be this shiny, vast repository of knowledge. It was somehow implied that this would be a Good Thing ™.
A big piece of this bamboozlement was the heralded “hyperlink.” This was going to be a little information workhorse that magically tied it all up, just like the Force binds you, me and the rock together. Unfortunately, it turned out that hyperlink was one of the most gamed inventions in human history and, even worse, had the lifespan of a fruit fly doing the backstroke in a bowl of malathion soup.
We interrupt this blog post to report that the dumb ass author prematurely pounded the Publish key quite by accident. This is another crucial part of blogging. It’s called The Instant Two Part post.
To be continued…
It was Saturday morning and I had a blog post to pump out lest my streak towards 1,000 days of continuous blogging fell into jeopardy. Yes, it was Saturday, but there was little time for blogging. Chores were waiting.
Luckily, for once in my my life, I already had an idea percolating in my head. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. This shouldn’t take long, I thought to myself, right before everything went straight to Hell.
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I’ve been cleaning out some old data. It’s a big job since I’ve accumulated a lot over the last two decades. Today I found a little snippet of a text file from September 2002 and felt it was quite telling in light of how my blog has turned out.
Apparently I haven’t changed all that much.
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Inspiration. Not a word I use often. But when it comes to blogging, I gots to find me some every single day or I’m dead.
I was thinking about this the other day. Where does inspiration come from?
The rest of you may have your own way, but here are a few things I’ve found that (sometimes) work for me.
First up, the painfully obvious. Life. Living. Being alive. And pain. Searing pain. Yes, I’m talking about the burden of being alive and doing things. Painful things. This means things like my job have their upside, like Blogramedy so thoughtfully pointed out recently. Without my jobs this blog probably wouldn’t exist. I’d just be sitting here with a vacant look on my face and drool going down my shirt. Hmm. That’s a tough call!
Leaving the house is a very close second. That is, of course, where you bump into all sorts of assholes. And I loves writing about the assholes. The possibilities are endless, but the most basic opportunities are found in places like: driving, stores, sidewalks, movie theaters, standing in line, and being outdoors.
Another idea is a WOTD (Word Of The Day). Fire up the dictionary of your choice and get their WOTD and work it seamlessly into your writing. You know, this reminds me of the time I once “sojourned” at a dictionary factory. Bonus Tom B. Taker trivia: I once sojourned on a shitty little planet known as Earth, too.
Then there is a website called Plinky.com that serves up daily blogging inspiration. Caution is advised. Is the world really ready for me to answer questions like, “What do you do when you can’t sleep at night?” I mean, seriously, the thought of that is simply too horrible and graphic to contemplate. I guarantee no one wants to hear things like that. Even I have to draw a line somewhere at how truly pathetic I can be. (Luckily for us all, though, I haven’t yet found that limit.)
What do you do when you can’t sleep at night? I wrote a song about it!
It’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep
Nothing worked not even counting sheep
Wanna know the truth? It’s really quite silly
It’s hours and hours of wonkin’ my willy
Oops! I guess I missed that line. Again!
The news is always a great source of ideas. Just the other day my regularly scheduled post was bumped by a picture I saw of an idiotic pinhead douchebag idiot. Properly inspired, I can occasionally come up with satisfying zingers like “the separation of church and prostate.” (Sadly, though, a Google search reveals I wasn’t the first to coin this phrase. Dammit!)
Another form of inspiration I’d like to discuss is music. Everyone once in a while music comes along that just grabs you and throws you to the ground. From the very first listen when it catches you completely unawares, you are hooked. Call it love at first sound bite, if you will. There have been many of these in my life. Recently it was Green Day who I heard for the first time ever. Yeah, I like to be at least a decade behind the times. Just this morning, while writing this blog, it happened again. Check it out. I’m attaching the video at the bottom of this post.
Finally, there is one other form of inspiration. It’s one that I use from time to time. I guess you’d say it’s a form of meditation. It works by discarding in disgust whatever I was trying to write. I then stomp off in search of a different idea. I sit or lay down somewhere quiet, close my eyes, and clear my mind. Then I just let random thoughts wash over me. This method has actually produced a few posts. And some very random tweets over on yonder Twitter, too.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into how I go about my craft of blogging. The good news is, tomorrow morning the whole thing starts all over again and I’ll be under the gun with an insane deadline. Good times!
Uh oh. Look out, but the official theme song of the Abyss may be in trouble. A new challenger waits in the wings. It’s time for the Octogon of Video Death. Two videos enter, one video leaves.
Does this song have what it takes to dethrone The Grouch by Green Day? Good luck, Theory of a Deadman!
It’s amazing how fast a crowd can form.
One moment the restaurant hustle and bustle was completely normal, then there was a wild shriek and everything went completely to hell.
A man had collapsed to the floor and a crowd formed around him instantly.
I leaped to my feet and pushed my way through the throng. “Excuse me! Make way, make way!” I said authoritatively. “Come on,” I extolled, “let me pass!”
Breaking through, I saw that no one was even helping the man yet. Jesus Christ, I thought. This is gonna be grizzly.
I moved to get in closer but hands reached out and stopped me.
“It’s alright,” I said. “I’m a blogger!”
As the man lay there choking, I snapped off a few shots with my camera (always at the ready) and jotted down some notes in my handy little book. This is going to make an awesome post, I told myself.
Then some damn doctor showed up to help the man. Shit, I lamented, there goes the story. But it turned out it was a only a false alarm. The man had merely seen the menu and was reacting to the prices. Quite understandable, really.
Luckily I didn’t fall for it. What a lame post that would have been. Good thing I was able to avoid it.
My next big idea: A line of t-shirts based on the movie The Princess Bride. That movie has a veritable plethora of shirt ideas. 🙂
These are either exact quotes or phrases based on the movie…
I mock your pain.
As you wish.
Looking for the six-fingered man.
Life is pain.
Rodent of unusual size.
I am not left-handed.
Dread Pirate Roberts.
You killed my father. Prepare to die.
You think true love happens every day?
You seem like a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
Mostly-dead all day.
I know something you don’t know.
Get used to disappointment.
Give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it.
No one withstands The Machine.
Death only delays true love.
You warthog-faced buffoon.
Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.