Tag Archives: Blogging

How to Write a Blog Post in 39 Simple Steps!

So, last week we got Freshly Pressed for the second time. Woooo! And we even somehow got more page views than during our first lightning strike of good fortune! Perhaps because we now have so-called ‘content.’  Anyway, after much frivolity and celebration, Sam and I set out to determine exactly how this came to pass. Unfortunately, our frivolity was a bit too frivolous, and the next morning, all we had was a pizza napkin with the phrases “internet gnomes” and “snorkel” scribbled hastily in tomato sauce.

We later expanded on this idea, but “really sneaky internet gnome oceanographers” still seemed like a subpar explanation.

Having failed at our initial attempt, we decided to do the next best thing: retrace our steps and copy them exactly.

After much sleuthing and step-tracing, we’ve compiled a handy, step-by-step guide that should allow us to achieve brilliance on a weekly basis. In our extreme beneficence, we’ve decided to share these trade secrets with you, the reader. This may be career suicide, but as enlightened members of the Internet Age, we realize that all information must be free and open for the good of humanity. So here, without further ado, is the secret to creating a killer blog post (maybe).

5 P.M. Step 1 (Russ): Prepare

Good. You’re starting early. This is gonna be a piece of cake. Sit down at your unnecessarily-powerful gaming computer, slap on your nerdy wrist guard that protects you from the dangers of typing, and pour yourself a little scotch to, you know, channel the Spirits of Hemingway. Here we go.

5:05 P.M. Step 2 (Russ): Procrastinate

You have more than enough time to write this bad boy. After all, you started early! You deserve a reward for your dedication. Maybe an episode of TV. Or two. Or three.

6:30 P.M. Step 3 (Russ): Guilt

I can’t believe you wasted all that time! What were you thinking? And you call yourself a writer. Writers write. They don’t sit around, you know, not writing.

7:00 P.M. Step 4 (Russ): Choose a Topic

Let’s see, what to write about? Your life’s been going on for a while now—something must have happened somewhere along the line. Something? Anything? Oh god. How could anyone ever care about what you have to say?

7:15 P.M. Step 5 (Russ): Admit Failure

Face it. You’ve never experienced a single real crisis or challenge or unique event (outside of that time you tripped and caught your ice cream scoop with its own cone). How could you possibly think you’d be able to produce quality writing inspired by your own life?

7:45 P.M. Step 6 (Russ): Beg

In the course of living amongst humanity, you’ve managed to spend a lot of your time around “people.” Maybe they can help! Go through your phone book and ask everyone you know if they have any brilliant ideas for your blog.

8:00 P.M. Step 1 (Sam): Receive the Signal

Instant message from Russ. Hello. Yes, you know what day it is. You’ll get done in about an hour probably. No you don’t have any idea about what to write about.

8:30 P.M. Step 7 (Russ): Resent Others

If they had truly been your friends, they would have dropped everything to figure out exactly what you should say to the people of the internet. Reminding you of the time you ate eight-month-old cream cheese isn’t enough!

9:00 P.M. Step 8 (Russ): Come to Terms with Reality (Not sure if this step has ever actually occurred)

Ok, it’s getting late. You need to have something written. After all, tomorrow’s a Tuesday, and you’ve made a group of strangers a promise for some reason.

9:45 P.M. Step 9 (Russ): Start a Draft

The time has come to actually put words onto virtual paper. Slap on some tunes, like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack or the music of World of Warcraft. Pound a Rockstar or two and get in the zone. If you just start hitting keys, letters will appear, and perhaps they’ll form words, which will perhaps make sentences.

11:00 P.M.  Step 10 (Russ): Finish the Draft

Genius. This is pure gold. You’re really on a roll tonight.  You’re even starting to remember why you love writing.

11:10 P.M. Step 11 (Russ): Read the Draft.

Oh god, what were you thinking? Did you write those words? Those utterly despicable words. The caffeine must have given you hallucinations or something.

11:15 P.M. Step 2 (Sam): Finish Work at the Office

Holy cow, how did it get so late?

11:20 P.M. Step 12 (Russ): Freak Out

You clearly have no talent. Maybe this blog thing was a bad idea. But wait, blogging is all you’re qualified for. If not this, then what?!

11:30 P.M. Step 13 (Russ): Write Another Draft

Ok. There has to be something salvageable here. If you can just trim the bad parts, your junkyard of a draft should provide the materials to rebuild your post, stronger than it was before. You have the technology.

11:35 P.M. Step 3 (Sam): Go Home

Bike home in the dark. On the way, it’ll start to rain.  Keep an eye out for low-hanging branches which will whip you in the face, just to make sure you aren’t enjoying yourself too much.

12:15 A.M. Step 14 (Russ): Send It to Sam

Send the file to your co-blogger, hoping against hope that your words won’t cause his eyes to melt away in horror, like that time you accidentally looked into the Ark of the Covenant.

12:16 A.M. Step 4 (Sam): Ignore Draft

There’s a draft of something on your computer when you boot it back up. Lovely. You should read it, but you haven’t eaten in a while. Food will put you in a better mood, and you’re going to have to make it eventually anyway.

12:30 A.M. Step 5 (Sam): Finish Dinner

That was a good decision. Nothing like salami on pita bread to let you know you’re alive.

12:20 A.M. Step 15 (Russ): Worry

As Sam reads the draft, you’ll be unable to accomplish anything. Will this be the one that finally reveals your complete ineptitude? Will you alienate all your readers? Will they realize how unfunny you are? Oh god, why hasn’t Sam said anything? He’ll assure you it’s because he was making dinner, but you know the truth. He doesn’t know how to break the news to you.

12:30 A.M. Step 6 (Sam): Read and Edit Draft

Hm. This post makes very little sense and will probably insult a good many of your readers. How do you break the news to him? And how the hell does he expect you to draw a cow explaining ‘the concept of remorse’? Make some edits and hope the images won’t change in the rewrite.

1:00 A.M. Step 7 (Sam): Protect Russ’s Ego

Go back and add some positive feedback to your edits so Russ doesn’t think you hate it.

1:05 A.M. Step 16 (Russ): Rejoice

Sam says he likes it! Not only that, but he’s made a slew of edits and now it’s five times funnier. That guy’s the best!

1:15 A.M. Step 8 (Sam) Start Drawing

Well, you’d better get started—it’s not getting any earlier. Start with the one that seems like the easiest and least likely to be in the final draft. Make sure to save the most complicated one for last so that when you finally get to it you’re so tired that the thought of drawing it becomes an overwhelming chore!

It’s best to queue up all the latest episodes of The Colbert Report on the other monitor as you draw. Keeps the mind occupied.

After each drawing is finished, send it over to Russ. If it confuses him, you’ve done something wrong. Usually though, he’s absurdly excited about it to the point that you feel embarrassed. Then he’ll make a couple perfectly reasonable observations about how to improve them, and you will grudgingly grumble about having to make them even though he’s absolutely right.

1:20 A.M.  Step 17 (Russ): Rewrite Over and Over and Over Whilst Giving Feedback on Sam’s Drawings

You wonder how Sam will manage to bring your absurdly complicated whims to visual reality. Every half hour or so he’ll shoot you a draft of a drawing. How did he make that so good?! Once in a while though, you’ll need to step in and tell him that the hands he drew are too claw-like and terrifying. While he deals with this, do around 5 rewrites, making sure to work in some television, or, if you’re alone, something more risqué.

2:00 A.M. Step 9a (Sam): Enjoy Yourself

You’re making fairly good progress. See, this is fine. This is fun! Drawing is what you love to do, right? Why do you act like this is some sort of chore you have in addition to work? You just need to relax a bit!


2:10 A.M. Step 9b (Sam): Really Enjoy Yourself

Inhale or imbibe some relaxing substances. You’ll have a blast! This is going to be the best post ever.


3:45 A.M. Step 10 (Sam): Panic

Your masterpiece is complete! Adding that extra alien spaceship was totally worth it. And it’s only–how is it already 3:45?? There are still… 9 more pictures to draw??? How did this happen? You’ll briefly consider lying down and resting your eyes for just 10 minutes, but you know if you do that, there’s no waking up.

6:00 A.M. Step 11 (Sam): Rejoice

That’s the last drawing! Should you edit the text one last time? You could. But then again, it’s six in the morning.

“Can I go to bed now?”

The 30 seconds it takes Russ to respond will be the longest in the world.

6:00 and 30 seconds A.M. Step 18 (Russ): Let Sam Sleep

Sam never drinks as many Rockstars, so by the time he finishes the art, he’ll only be about 10% awake and will be very disgruntled by any requests for early morning companionship. If you try to ask him for input now, he’ll just start ranting, marveling at your ability to be so incredibly verbose without actually saying anything.

6:05 A.M. Step 12 (Sam): Sleep

Check Reddit one last time on your phone before collapsing in exhaustion.

6:30 A.M. Step 19 (Russ): Despair

You need to think of bonus jokes for all the images?! This last, dainty straw will be more than your caffeine-fueled, overclocked brain can bear. And you were so close to completing this week’s post without a mental breakdown!

6:40 A.M. Step 20 (Russ): Man Up

Just say the first thing that comes into your head. No one’s going to know. People probably don’t even read the mouseover text anyway.

7:00 A.M. Step 21 (Russ): Final Review

Read through it one last time. Too bad at this point you’ll no longer be able tell what’s funny and what’s gibbering inanity. Your ability to comprehend words will seem to have fled entirely. That’s the sign that you’ve finished the post!

7:15 A.M. Step 22 (Russ): Post It!

A great sense of accomplishment and release should wash over you as you stare at your fledgling post, all on its own out there in the dangerous world of the internet. It doesn’t know what it’s in for.

7:16 A.M. Step 23 (Russ): Refresh!

Time to go to the stats page and hit F5 until your fingers break. Has anyone seen it yet? What about now? Now? Any comments? I can’t wait to respond to comments!

7:45 A.M. Step 24 (Russ): Go to Sleep

When the sun is shining brightly in the rosy dawn and the birds begin their joyful song, delighted by another beautiful morning, you’ll know it’s time for bed. Shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and crawl under your covers, comforted by the fact that you’ve accomplished a bare minimum of productivity. You may not get paid, but at least it’s something.

8:00 A.M. Step 25 (Russ): Wait a Second!

As you drift off to sleep, your brain will drowsily mull over the post, which will inevitably lead to the realization that you should have referred to that evil taxi driver as a “toothless hobgoblin” instead of a “vehicle-dwelling night-lurker,” or something equally unimportant.

8:15 A.M. Step 26 (Russ): Boot Up the Computer and Make Changes

Leap out of bed and input the minor changes. As long as the computer’s already on, you might as well refresh the stats page. And if you wait just a few more minutes there are sure to be comments to respond to!…

——

And there you have it. As easy as stuffing a rabid weasel into a snake-filled gunnysack! And not nearly as much chance of infection! With these simple steps, you too can be on your way to making a mark in the blogging world. And if you’re nothing like us, perhaps you’ll manage to keep your psyche from shattering into tiny, unsalvageable parts along the way!

Note: If, in repeating these steps exactly, you find yourself able to write something that would gain Internet-wide mild approval and bemusement, we hope you’ll remember Reasonably Ludicrous as the blog that made it all possible. Good luck!

Bonus Step 27:

Add this step so that the title of your post can seem like a Hitchcock reference.

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We Can’t Seem To, Uh, Ward Them Off

Like a loyal animal you try to shoo away because you think it’s in their best interest even though you love them, they just keep coming. That is, our second blogaward just padded its way over to us on furry feet. Apparently our enemies’ attempts to encircle us in a blogo-ward have failed, and the “Tell Me About Yourself” commendation was able to break through the barrier and alight on our egos.

Which means that we’re slapping together another slip-shod shoddy slip of a Thursday post to acknowledge the kindness of one of our fellow bloggers. Thanks Book Snobbery! Now, it may technically be Friday, so I’m just going to pretend I’m posting this from Hawaii. Also, it has just been brought to my attention that a second award was able to pierce the force field. What I Meant 2 Say has bestowed a second 7×7 upon us. Huzzah! If we have two 7×7 awards, that’s 49 square units doubled, so 98 square units, which means our new award is 9.89×9.89. With all these awards, it’s starting to get a little crowded in this chainmail. But if we’re going to have any hope of defeating the Orcish brutality of the Uruk Hai of the blogging world who want to horde all the internet readership for themselves, banding together and donning the armor of these self-perpetuating awards is our best bet.

This particular “Tell Me About Yourself” award may not increase our Armor Class much though, for it doesn’t even seem like praise, per se. It’s not a “Best Blog” award, or a “Moderately Entertaining” award, or even a “I Read This and Didn’t Immediately Bleed From the Eyes.” Which is totally one of the craziest defense mechanism ever. Anyway, this award doesn’t seem to have any descriptors or qualifiers of any kind. It’s simply a command that I must follow, and I fully intend to climb down from the Mount Sinai of the blogosphere and obey it. It may be just a drawing on the internet, but ever since that one bush caught fire, I’ve treated every award’s demands as if it were etched on a pair of stone tablets.

So here come 7 things about myself. Hopefully they’re not too revealing.

  1. Sadly, I have almost certainly coveted my neighbor’s wife, but in my defense, you should’ve seen her. Oh man.
  2. I haven’t committed murder or adultery, but I’m not making any promises.
  3. My team won the co-ed Intramural Softball championship four times, and I wear the shirts ALWAYS, just to prove to that cute girl at the checkout counter that I’ve done something with my life.
  4. I’m actually SAM! I just hijacked this post right now. Whatcha gonna do about it, sucka?!! Russ can’t have all the fun.
  5. Jeez, what should I say? Damn, I didn’t think too far ahead on this one. I guess…I like to draw. That’s something. But that’s sort of obvious, huh? Man, I’m bad at this.
  6. Um….I’m terrible at the game 5 Fingers. I can never think of anything I haven’t done that would be fun to say in the context of the party. Like, I’ve never been to Africa, but that’s not the kind of thing you want to hear in a game of 5 fingers. You want something juicy! And then I just get self-conscious that what I’m about to say reveals something horribly embarrassing about my psyche.
  7. SAM GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! Do I need to get out the flyswatter? Okay let’s make a deal. Since there’s an odd number of details we’re required to provide and an even number of the two of us, let’s make the last one into a sentence at a time story about our lives. We’ll take turns writing sentences and see what happens. I don’t guarantee its accuracy, but I do guarantee its creation method. Here ya go:

Once, when I was just a young lad, I found myself in a complicated situation. I wanted to play video games and watch cable television, but my parents thought such activities would rot my brain. I soon realized there was only one thing I could do to achieve my mind-rotting dream. I wrote to Santa Claus, telling him how stingy my parents were. That night, which happened to be the night before Christmas, I heard the pitter patter of reindeer hooves (a very specific and recognizable sound) on the rooftop. I immediately panicked, because I realized Santa did not know my house had no chimney. But I had an iron will and a similarly metallic shovel, and given just a few minutes, I knew I could dig myself a path to Mr. Kringle, and to video game fun. So I got on a stool and began stabbing the roof, with…my…shovel? I’d never expected such success, but the roof collapsed in a perfect rectangular prism, allowing Santa to shimmy down with nary an obstacle. I literally squawked with glee. At first, Santa seemed taken aback, but he must’ve been used to childish bird noises of surprise and delight, so he quickly recovered and handed me the most amazing present of all time. At least, I assumed it was. Santa himself had given it to me! But he made me promise to wait until morning to open it.

The next morning, I opened it.

It was socks.

You can see how that’s the kind of story that informed the rest of my/our life.

Now it’s time to pass this award on to some other unsuspecting blogs. To make it more flattering, I’ve tweaked it slightly. Here are the blogs I think deserve the “You Are Good At Telling Me About Yourself (I Presume, and Hopefully Your Post About This Award Won’t Make a Liar Out of Me)x9.89” Award. It’s up to you guys to tell the world 9.89 things about yourself, then pass it on to up to 9.89 more blogs you deem worthy.

  1. Allenavw. She’s a charming, risk-taking risk-taker, who, like Sam and me, loves alcohol. She praised us recently, so now I love her forever, and I have a feeling she’ll be good at revealing interesting details about herself because her about page pleases me. Also, she has some photos of herself that I find very compelling.
  2. The Problem with Young People Today is… I’m sure Crabby Old Fart (a.k.a. Mr. Mills) is already fully aware of how awesome he is, what with his huge following and everything. I trust that he’ll be able to tell us a great deal about himself because he has two about pages, and explaining the geriatric details of his life is pretty much his modus operandi.
  3. Boggleton Drive. I’m not sure ol’ Boggy will let us in on his secrets, but his amusing examples of grammar faux pas prove that he deserves at least a large percentage of the 98 square units of praise.
  4. The Ruminations of Jess. She’s so supportive! Her blog is highly amusing, and it includes quite a few personal stories and details. She can tell us about herself any time.
  5. Love the Bad Guy. Since she gave us our first award, it seems only fair that we reciprocate. Plus, I’ve already learned that she’s a garfield-collecting cat person, so clearly some of her secrets are out there.

There you have it! And so, like a virus, the award moves on to a new host, and I move on to bed, a place I find myself in all too rarely.

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The Burdens of Internet Fame

Wooo! We just hit 1000 subscribers! In honor of this momentous readership event, and because everyone’s been so supportive, Sam and I would like to say thanks and take a look back at the Fresh Pressing that started this electrically unsafe daisy chain of fortune.

I’d always viewed the internet as a vast, unicorn-infested, cat-plagued, time-sucking mega-void that would chop up whatever creativity I was brave enough to offer it into tiny, troll-size bites, but I wasn’t about to let a few grammar-defying kittens stop me.

I knew damn well that I could be mildly, vaguely, intermittently amusing, not to mention the fact that Sam’s artwork is torn straight from the heavens. He declared that any representation of this truth would be self-serving, but luckily I have no such qualms.

And so, it was with a great sense of achievement that I wrote and published my first post, ate some microwavable mini-quiches, and promptly fell asleep.

I awoke to the sound of bells.

My first thought is that a bunch of angels, now armed with the bell-induced power of wings, are hunting us down for stealing their heavenly artwork, but it’s only the doorbell—the computer guy’s here to fix my internet.

I wriggle into pants (the last guy had filed an official complaint), boot up my computer, and briefly glance at my page views—WHAT THE GRAPH?! The number is so huge my atrophied English brain can barely comprehend it. I call Sam to make sure this is real life, but he’s either asleep or at the mercy of the battle seraphim and can offer no persuasive evidence. Before I can come to any conclusions, the doorbell rings again.

The plumbers! My apartment is soon filled with jostling servicemen, and the computer guy has shut off my internet. I have no idea what’s happening out there in the mega-void! The plumbers start sawing into my ceiling all over the place and suddenly it’s disgorging water in three spots with vindictive aplomb, and the now-soaked drywall is collapsing like the Soviet Union.

Long story short, after my internet was revived about an hour later, after the water-spewing pipes had been sealed off and the gaping holes in my ceiling were—well, those are still there. Anyway, after dealing with my assorted apartmental issues, I was able to resume my e-vestigation and found out I’d been freshly pressed…on my very first post!

Still in shock, I scoured my kitchen for smelling salts, only to realize that I live in the present day, so I gave up and proceeded to bask in the joy of one of the most exciting moments of my life. It was a singular experience, receiving ludicrously positive feedback from complete strangers. I still can’t figure out what they stand to gain! Since then, though view rates have naturally never come close to that chart-ruining outlier of a first day, the blog has grown as slowly and surely as a lesson-teaching tortoise, and for some reason, the people reading it seem to actually enjoy it.

And it’s all thanks to you! You, my readers and new favorite people ever, made this happen. You are the first wave of hope in a stormy sea of fear and slimy kelp, helping propel us forward on the journey toward the shores of moderate internet fame. And it doesn’t matter that I’ve already been offered dozens of jobs all over the tropics. I don’t care about the fact that scores of moon women have been throwing themselves at me, and so be it if the state of Rhode Island promised me a small herd of attack lions if I’d only drop everything and compose their official State Poem.

You know what? I don’t even care that Ex-Vice-President Al Gore offered me a position by his side saving baby albino whales from underwater greenhouse gases. I told him the world would have to wait, because by god, I’ve got readership now, and if he didn’t want me ignoring literally every other aspect of my life in the pursuit of becoming internet famous, then he damn well shouldn’t have invented the thing.

Now, it’s not all fun and games. Every week I’m filled to the brim with frothy, bubbling panic as I realize I’ve finally written the post that will prove I’m merely a fraud masquerading as a merry minstrel of the mega-void. Sleep has become such an unattainable fantasy that whenever I manage to snag an hour or two, I invariably dream of more sleeping. It’s like a boring, sedated version of Inception.

And now that I spend all my time alone in my room attempting to befriend the internet, my social skills are going the way of the red wolf—critically endangered in the wild, but thriving in World of Warcraft.

Yes, internet fame may require great sacrifice, but you’re worth it, readers, and you can bet your oversize bonnets I’ll be here for you this Tuesday, and barring serious injury or any non-fictional job offers, every Tuesday after that.

Like an abacus, you can count on me.

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