Sex, Kittens & How to Write the Best Blog in the World.

Via on Jan 8, 2013

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A funny thing happens to writers when they begin to think about their audience.

I like to call it “blog pimping.”

(Just kidding, I’ve never called it that before. I’m just thinking about you, my audience, and all the things that were rolling around in my head earlier and how to get them back out now that my coffee has pretty much worn off and I’ve done eighty billion other tasks.)

But yes, back to blog pimping. From an editorial standpoint, it sucks. From a reader’s standpoint, it sucks.

It’s not so hot on the writer’s end either. It’s the writing equivalent of faking an orgasm; it doesn’t really make anyone involved truly happy.

It’s when we are so focused on a particular outcome that we want from our writing, from our audience, that we write ourselves right out of it.

I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it.

There are those moments where we want to make something occur a certain way, and so we force it. And, predictably, it might do well, if doing well means lots of people click on the link and look at the sexy photo or watch the funny cat video. But then what? Who cares? It vanishes into the abyss of the internet, never to be thought of again.

But hey, at least it was Popular, right?

If you’ve spent more than a few minutes on the internet, you know that two things equal instant blog popularity:

Sex

making out

and

sidebox-kitten-thinks-r

Kittens

(And on elephant, vegans are hot too. If you put together a blog that was all pictures of sexy vegans holding kittens, you’d be golden. P.S. To all sexy kitten-owning vegans, send me your pictures for our upcoming segment.)

So what’s my point here and do I have one?

If you want to be write a blog that will actually touch other humans, it’s time to let go of the sex and kittens and open a vein.

There’s that thing, that person, that idea that you just can’t stop thinking about—that’s what you need to write.

When it takes hold, and won’t let go—that’s what you need to write.

When you don’t know if you can write about it, it feels like too much, too raw, too honest—that’s what you need to write.

When you find yourself mumbling as you drive, in the shower, in your sleep—that’s what you need to write.

When you find yourself at your keyboard and it’s pouring out of you and you really don’t give a fuck how many views it gets because it’s true and it’s yours and if it touches one other person and is real to them too, it’s enough—that’s what you need to write.

Write it like a letter that some small part of you needs to remember, the things you have forgotten and need to hear again.

Write it like a love story, to the one who got away, the one you never met, the one sitting on the other side of the room.

Write it like a list, to tattoo on your arm, of all the things you’ve left behind.

Write it like a poem, to whisper, as you’re falling asleep.

Write it as a treatise, a declaration; write it completely—don’t leave anything out.

Write it until it’s finished, because you must write it, and more will come tomorrow.

Not every day is full of inspiration that rips you up and down or fills you until you burst.

Not everything we write is that.

But if we can let go of our audience a bit, and listen to the audience of one, on the inside, we will write what’s true. When we make a practice of writing what’s true—whether it’s about sex or kittens or yoga or politics or vegan soup—then it keeps on coming.

If we practice writing what’s true, it doesn’t matter whether one person reads it or 1000 people read it. It will have a life of its own, this bit of blood we let out into the world through wires and bytes. It will be alive. It will be real.

If you want to write the best blog in the world, write the things that won’t stay unwritten.

 

{Write it, and tell me, because I want to read it. Write what’s real, because nothing else matters.}

 

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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47 Responses to “Sex, Kittens & How to Write the Best Blog in the World.”

  1. Edie Lazenby Edie says:

    Kate! Loved this….should be required reading for all our apprentices….
    My question is I write what I feel but often too often those things I love the most most don't read….ah well. I don't give up though.

    • Thanks, Edie. I think if it's real, and it's what you need to write, it really doesn't matter how many people read it. The people who should read it, will read it. And sometimes it's a big number, sometimes it isn't. I'm amazed at how your writing has grown, and truly—your readership and following has grown a ton too. We have so many more people reading and writing poetry, largely thanks to you. Keep at it!

      • Edie Lazenby Edie says:

        Thanks Kate….I keep trying…some writers have a gift for touching many people…I touch the few I think…but I love it. And love that I get to post my poems here and there….and they get read! Sometimes I fear my writing is too personal but so it goes…I tell what is now….the good and the bad.
        Love your posts. Very inspiring…..

        • Lynn Bonelli says:

          Kate…this is exaactly what I needed to read today. I’ve been too worried about views and clicks and catchy titles to submit anything new lately when I really need to just write from the heart just as you’ve said. And Edie…I’ve only just discovered your posts on ej recently but you’ve found a devoted fan. Please keep writing and inspiring.

          • Edie Lazenby Edie says:

            Lynn: thank you!!! I'll look for yours….
            You know it reminds me of teaching. Too often we get caught up in class size….it's not always the numbers but hard not to get caught up in it….
            I see some writers get over a thousand views each time. If I get over 300 am happy….but I do love to write and learn each time and some things I write for a few or even one person and as always, I never know who else I may touch or how far what I write might reach. And the fact that my poems are even read by more than just a few people tickles me pink…Thanks for your encouragement. Stick with the process….Growth is inevitable.

    • Tara Lemieux Tara Lemieux says:

      Edie… you're a brilliant writer, and you inspire *me*… so, please don't ever let the numbers make you feel otherwise.

    • Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

      I'm hopping in on this conversation. I hear you! First of all, Kate, fabulous piece! Loved it! Edie, the blogs I write that connect with me the most often are the ones that don't do as well on that scale of popularity. Am I less excited that I wrote them? No, because for me, those are the ones that just come pouring out and, as Kate suggests, had no choice but to be written. Am I disappointed when it doesn't seem to connect with as many readers as something I write that's sillier or funnier, rather than more heartfelt? I think I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit upset. However, I think all writers have a slightly thin skin—and this is almost a requirement of being a writer. No?

      • Edie Lazenby Edie says:

        I guess am just often surprised by what people connect to and what they don't….half the battle is getting a title and picture so they'll even open or click on article….
        Though have to say don't know if I am thin skinned….in a way…when very young ie college aged I worked one on one with someone with such intensity…and have had my work pulled apart by so many….that part does not phase me….
        Am impressed with like Tara Lemieux who writes and blogs beautiful stuff and always gets lots of hits…fascinating really. I watch tv now with an eye at how folk try to connect to the audience….It is an art.
        But I do write what I feel….a poet at heart….and I am aware that sometimes only a few are touched but it always worth it….I am always learning….and yes, a bit disappointed I admit when I don't reach more….maybe that does make me thin skinned….?

        • Being thin skinned is part of what makes you a good poet. Sadly, many people think they don't like (or won't understand) poetry.

          • Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

            I with you there, Kate. I think being sensitive to the audience of your writing shouldn't be viewed as a synonym for something negative. However, Edie, I do hear you and agree with the reality that age does lend a different perspective and point of view. (Thank goodness.) You know what I often find my inner voice telling me when a piece I really felt strongly about "flops" in readership? That to the number of people who did choose to view it, it really meant something to them or spoke to them. I love your writing, Edie. I can think of a couple of the things you've done lately that are probably in the back of your mind as works that surprised you in lack of numbers (as I was surprised too).
            It's definitely an art. My last blog hit almost 10,000 views and the one I was most excited about a few blogs back (on elephant) had a hard time reaching a few hundred. It seems to me that the ones that really get those numbers somehow combine something valuable and thoughtful with something palatable to the masses. It's a fascinating balance.

  2. katie says:

    thank you. beautiful. inspiring. fun.

  3. Michelle Marchildon says:

    This explains a lot. I'm a dog lover.

  4. Tara Lemieux Tara Lemieux says:

    "It’s the writing equivalent of faking an orgasm;" LMAO!!

    You are so freaking awesome… and I am a vegan, but I don't have kittens…I do however, have a rather mischievous puppy. Will that get me anywhere?

  5. Fucking Amen. Thanks for this one!

  6. Amy Cushing says:

    "Blog pimping." Love it!

  7. Anne Falkowski anne says:

    I think it needs to be "Sex" "kittens," and the "Dali Lama."

    Loved this.

  8. "Write it like a poem, to whisper, as you’re falling asleep." – yes…I know that one well. This piece is both funny AND beautiful. I love it. Interestingly, my retelling of a Ganesha Story ( http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/10/receiving-… ) was veryvery popular while my latest piece, an end-of-a-crazy-year piece (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/12/on-yoga-dreams-displacement-sea-change/)received a quarter of the attention. While both were about change, longing, and transformation, the 1st had a picture of an elephant and was about an elephant deity & the 2nd did not. So it seems that an elephant is pretty close to a kitten in its allure…or to sex. :-)

  9. Karl Saliter Karl says:

    Nice one, Kate.

  10. Jayleigh says:

    Love it. Often I do go to sleep with the article I've just written whispering in my ear. (and wake up wondering what the heck I wrote and why I let anyone see it!) Writing for elephant has given me the chance to take a risk and put things out there and also be pleasantly surprised that others can relate!

  11. Jody says:

    as soon as i saw the title, i knew it was kate. love your articles. aloha

  12. Nichole says:

    Kate, this is great! Thank you fro writing this. It helped me to dig deeper. Also, I think that even if a person's intentions only just to journal, this is a article to read. Writing our own truth, even if our own eyes are the only ones that see it, can be quite powerful! Write in truth. I dig it.

  13. [...] have much to say about it. But, as I move into the second week of it, I’ll take my own advice and just write what’s true, without trying to keep to some formula or be [...]

  14. Jodeen says:

    Hey there Kate,
    Love the posting. I have been writing a blog on wordpress (shhh……another site….) for the last 5 months, right after i had a mastectomy. The writing is all about me and for me, and in that truth and raw honesty readers come as well. It is so gratifying to hear that others have been touched by your writing, but ultimately it is writing for my sanity. And yes, it does all boil down to sex and kittens in the end. Thank you. Jodeen

  15. Shawna Turner Shawna says:

    I love this! When I started writing for elephant I was obssessed with how many views I would get and would try so hard to come up with just the right title. But it was always the posts that just seeped out of me that always felt the best to hit "publish" and always got the best response. People respond to honesty. And I've stopped giving a fuck about who looks and who doesn't. My writing is after all for me. Awesome awesome post. Thanks Kate!!

  16. Oh yeah! I have to make this one a part of my "writers guidelines" Thanks kate.

  17. My best work comes when I let go and tap into the real me. I can feel it and the work needs very little editing. Love the way you've expressed this.

  18. The Lucky Mom says:

    Amen. I can think for days and get nothing. But a moment of passionate thought (not the sexy kind, the enthusiastic kind) and I can turn something good out in an hour. Like today. :-)

  19. Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

    I should have re-read my post before I submitted, or not written before my first cup of coffee…sorry for the typos.

    • Edie Lazenby Edie says:

      No worries and thanks again. It is an art: title etc and then writing with what holds meaning. I keep trying. The process holds me.

  20. Chris Lemig Chris Lemig says:

    You're, like, one of my writing heroes. Thanks for this one.

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  23. Elle says:

    This is an amazing article. So much truth in what you said. What is written should shake people to the core, and make them feel it flow through there veins.

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