Blog Rants: Introduction

Cross-posted to Asexual Agenda.

Do you want to start a blog about asexuality? Do you already have a blog, but want your posts to hit harder, better, faster, stronger? Are you on tumblr but considering joining WordPress? Or do you just want to critically examine the way that ace community discourse has been shaped? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this is for you.

I’ve been planning this series ever since I read Siggy’s post on starting your own blog, and parts of it even before that. It seems especially timely now in light of both this month’s Carnival of Aces theme (writing about asexuality), and this discussion at The Ace Theist on discussion bubbles in the ace community. In case you don’t have the time to read almost 90 comments, there’s a continuation and summary of proposed ideas here.

I can write about writing for basically pretty much ever, given that it’s my chosen field. I majored in English with a creative writing focus, although I actually don’t have any degrees yet—I’ve had to withdraw from school because my PTSD was severe enough to prevent me from finishing, but I’ll go back when I’m ready to tackle those last five (problem) classes. I wrote a little about some of the difficulties I had with the program here, and that will surely not be the last post I make on the subject. I’ve decided that I will not pursue any kind of MFA writing program. I find communities of other writers invaluable, but academic writing communities don’t always sit well with me, even though they have their benefits. You don’t need to be part of a university program to find other writers, although it can make it much easier. Blogging can be another important avenue for finding both other writers and an audience, if you want to write professionally. And it’s good practice.

It’s a common saying in the writing communities I’m part of that you should use one hand to reach out to more experienced writers and pull yourself up, and use the other to help the next person along.

So that’s where I’m coming from on writing in general, and the philosophy behind this series of posts. Now, let’s turn our attention to blogging.

What exactly does it take to be a WordPress* ace blogger? Why does this platform seem so intimidating to so many would-be writers? What can we do to make it more accessible, easier to manage? What are common problems that bloggers tend to run into, and what potential solutions are there?

I want to address all of these questions, but let me be clear: I’m not saying you should all just leave tumblr—either now, or later. I understand that many of you are there because it fulfills specific needs. There are things you can find there that you can’t get on WordPress, it’s true. But there are also things that WordPress is better for, and I’d love to see more people start WordPress blogs, too. It’s much more manageable than you might think.

Some topics I plan to cover include:

  • Google Necromancy and its effects on ace discourse
  • Violence in search terms
  • Dealing with critiques and scrutiny
  • Using sarcasm—when it fails, and how it can succeed
  • Choosing post titles
  • Revision
  • Momentum control for personal comfort
  • The impact of design choices (like themes and widgets)

And more. But first, I will provide a little bit of background on my own personal experiences with blogging, situated within the context of asexual community history.

I will update this masterpost to include links to new posts as they appear. I don’t promise that these posts will be frequent, but I will aim to write at least one per month until I run out of topics.

What topics would you like to see covered? Are there any particular difficulties you’ve had with blogging on WordPress, or with the idea of it?

[1] Please note: Blogger is an option, too, but I find it far less preferable personally mostly because I don’t want to give Google even more access to my personal information, so I have avoided using it. Most of the ace blogosphere seems to have settled on WordPress these days, so I think it’s a bit easier to find community here; the native WordPress reader notifies bloggers you follow about you and can be a good way to passively promote your blog.