Your Blog Is a Big, Friendly Dog — Redux

Greetings, me lovelies! I just got through reading a great post by Michael Martine: “Why You Should Experiment with Your Blog.” (Edit: Michael’s Remarkablogger is no longer in existence, so I’ve removed the link.)

Darling, most constant readers, does this sound familiar to you? ; )

kablooey

If you’ve read me here for any length of time, you know that I’ve enjoyed romping about with the blog-as-lab(oratory) concept. So when I read Michael’s post, of course I had something to say about it. : ) My comment on his post reads as follows:

Ooh! Ooh! I love the blog-as-laboratory concept! I’ve had several conversations with Judy Dunn of Catseyewriter.com about it. These led to: several concept posts on my own blog; a grand experiment of blogging every day for a month; and a myriad of tiny little blogging experiments that taught me some of what works and some of what doesn’t work on my blog. It’s great fun and an awesome learning experience!

I will admit to plenty of “mucking about for its own sake” ; ) simply because I thought a particular experiment sounded fun at the time. But Michael, I’m thinking that maybe this is where I’m not quite the audience you’re speaking to, since mine is an author blog. Yes, I am “selling the service” of fiction novels, and I do want readers of my blog to convert into readers of my books. But part of what sells the books is for readers to get to know me — and part of getting to know me is getting a glimpse of what interests me. And that’s a lot of things, many of which show up on the blog at random times. So maybe I can get away with bending the “rule” a little. ; )

So there you have it, folks. Another brief reminder of what I’m doing here and why and wherefore and whatnot. Feel free to drop me a line sometime and let me know how you think the experiments are going. I’d love to hear from you.

Here we go again...

Here we go again…

The One With Remarkablogger Michael Martine

“Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.”

–Michael Martine,
Remarkablogger

Greetings, inklings! Today’s post is my interview with Remarkablogger Michael Martine, who blogs all sorts of fantabulous whats, hows and whys for blogging and business. His humor is dry, his style straightforward, and his advice spot-on. He loves helping others accomplish their business dreams. I hope he inspires you as much as he does me!

Plus, he’s as big a fantasy nerd as I am, which just makes him cramazing fun to talk to. ; )

Courtney: How did you decide to start coaching bloggers?

Michael — That’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t coach bloggers. Bloggers are cheap and broke and the worst clients. I coach business owners who use blogging and social media as marketing tools. This isn’t just semantics: the mindset, goals and–very important for me–budgets of the two groups are very different from each other. I decided to become a blog consultant because it dawned on me that it was sorely needed and would be fun as well as profitable. If there’s a gold rush, don’t run to the hills with everyone else, sell pickaxes and a prospecting manual instead. There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there. The means in this case is an understanding and strategy about how online business and marketing works. You bring the courage and I’ll help with the means.

CC: In your post What Narcissism Taught Me about Marketing, you share painful childhood memories and don’t shy away from honesty about your flaws. What gives you the courage to make yourself so vulnerable to all of your readers?

MM — I don’t care what other people think about me, but I have to live with myself, so honesty beats lying. It also makes for juicier reading.

CC: In that same post, you write:

“On the other hand, as a one-person business (which most of you are), you are also something of a one-person ‘cult of personality.’ Which is odd, because in the right situation, people actually will care about what you had for lunch.

“The way this works is that you have to connect your personal stuff to the lessons your followers want from you. You have to connect specific personality traits to your brand and express them in your content marketing.”

How does “one-person cult of personality” in content marketing apply to honest, open bloggers who don’t consider themselves a business?

MM — It’s what makes people want to follow you, regardless of whether you have anything to sell to them. While it seems weird to say “be a slight caricature of yourself” and “be authentic” in the same breath, all I’m saying is that people remember certain things about you and you have influence over that. You also still have to decide on a logo and colors, which are also part of your brand. You’re deliberately crafting a certain look and feel in order to communicate specific ideals. Is this dishonest? No, of course not. So, neither is it dishonest when considering how to “color” your writing voice or your speaking. Deliberateness and purpose are not dishonest.

CC: A few weeks ago, one of your posts caused a ruckus because some of your readers took exception to your calling them either pimps and prostitutes. When you have a controversial idea for a post, do you always implement it?

MM — Controversy and shock value are somewhat related but I never post anything just for shock value. Dividing people is a great way to get comments and a reaction. Things are never so simple or black-and-white, but when you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion. Whether you get that great discussion or your comments devolve into a FOX “news” show is up to you. It’s your blog.

I think about what kind of reaction or discussion that will happen before I post. I think about how the topic meshes with my brand. For a site with the tagline “No-Bullshit Blogging for Bitchin’ Businesses,” dividing the online business world into pimps and prostitutes to get a discussion started and drive traffic makes perfect sense. If you’re too squeamish or dainty to follow me down that road, I don’t want you on my site because you’re never going to be a client of mine.

CC: What’s your most effective way of dealing with readers’ criticism?

MM — Real criticism is valuable and I love to receive it. I will thank you for it. If somebody is just bloviating because they’re pissed off, well… they’ve already made themselves look bad. People can and will think whatever they want, and facts be damned. Having said that, it almost NEVER happens on Remarkablogger because my readers are smart and have good manners.

CC: What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to post the controversy?

MM — I kinda already talked about this (yay for reading the questions in advance… ) but let me add this: I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people who may need me as a blog consultant move closer to hiring me, which is how all businesses should decide to publish marketing content. Let’s not forget that’s what we’re doing here. We’re marketing. If we do it right, it doesn’t look like it. But it is.

CC: What’s your favorite part of helping others be more genuine in their blogging?

MM — Getting emails and having conversations with people who tell me their business is better because they implemented my advice and ideas. That’s the best feeling. Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.

_______________________

Courtney here again. I want to thank Michael for saying yes to my interview request and for taking the time to give such thoughtful replies to all of my questions! And hope that you, my inklings, find his tips and openness as encouraging as I do! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his interview:

There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there.

…[W]hen you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion.

I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people…

…[M]y readers are smart and have good manners. 😉

So, dear readers, what do you have to say?

How difficult is it for you to be genuine in your blogging? How much do you worry about what others will think of you?

What are you going to do about it?

Remarkablogger and El Edwards Told Me To Write This

Universe? Is that you?

I talk a lot about synchronicity. That’s when a bunch of unrelated stuff happens, but it’s all pointing toward the same thing, and it happens and points over and over again until you turn your stubborn head and open your eyes to it and say, “Okay, I get it!”

And then you do something about it.

The Synchronized Universe Hits You in the Head (Ouch)

I guess this is what people used to call “serendipity.” But I prefer synchronicity, because I like the idea that a bunch of coolness in the universe gets synchronized in order to get a person’s attention. I think synchronicity affects every single one of us every single day — we just don’t pay enough attention to realize it.

I also believe that synchronicity is a conscious force that rejoices in our every breath and wants to permeate our every moment with beauty, truth, and goodness.

(At this time, I’d like to insert yet another plug for Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the book that taught me to pay attention to synchronicity.)

I walk through life as half asleep as the next person, I guess…but sometimes, synchronicity slaps me upside the noggin and says, “Yo! Human! Get your heart and mind out of this befuddled daze you’re in and look! I’ve got all sorts of cramazingness waiting for you — all you have to do is reach out and embrace it!”

You get hit in the noggin often enough with love like that, you’ll eventually start looking for it.

I’ve been looking for it. And this week, I found it. Without further ado or adon’t, here’s what synchronicity plopped into my lap this week.

Remarkablogger

In comments on his post WARNING: Perfectionism will Kill You, Michael Martine and I had the following exchange:

Michael: Do what feels right to you but be aware of the edges of your comfort zone, your self-censoring and your perfectionism. …Being a little scared to hit Publish because you were raw or personal or opinionated is a good thing. : )

Courtney (that’s me): You really do hit the nail on its proverbial little head, don’t you? ; ) It’s true, I do censor myself too much. I’m still overcoming lifetime of training that says, “Don’t say that; you’ll offend someone. Don’t say that; you’ll hurt someone’s feelings.” Not that I want to hurt anyone’s feelings — but I do want to write truth, no matter how gritty it gets.
Oh crap. There’s another new blog post to write. *sigh* ; )

Impassionate

Every morning, I listen to El Edward’s Impassionate, audio posts designed to start your day with a little kick of joy and optimism. A few days ago, El talked about going big or going home. She encouraged her listeners to get out of our ruts and get out of our comfort zones. If there’s something we feel passionate about — or something we could become passionate about, if we’d only allow ourselves — then it’s time to stop dithering and worrying. It’s time to get out and do.

Go big.

Dream or Nightmare?

Sometime along in there, between impassioned audio posts and admonishing blog comments, I woke up one morning from a very disturbing dream. I’ll spare you the rather awful details, but here’s the gist of it:

I dreamed that I was marooned on an island with a large group of people. Most were strangers; some were acquaintances. But while I was on this island, the whole group — strangers and non-strangers alike — regularly attacked me. I endured the torment for weeks before I managed to escape. “Escape” consisted of submerging myself in a pond beneath a dock by day, then creeping around at night to find food.

Eventually, the dream switched to a later time at which I was accusing some of my attackers — the acquaintances. Through tears, I demanded to know why they had treated me so horribly. I never got an answer.

Unstressed Syllables and Twitter

You’d think that by this time, I would’ve been getting the message. But no, synchronicity had two more nudges for me…and they came in the form of my own unexpected self-expression.

In this week’s edition of What I Learned About Writing This Week on Unstressed Syllables, I wrote on Allen Ginsberg. He said something really stunning about following our inner moonlight. In WILAWriTWe, I respond by taking myself to task for not having the guts to speak truth in its bluntest, basest form.

Later, “out of nowhere” (ha ha), I tweeted this:

Sometimes, the loudest rejection you can hear is another’s silence. Ignore it! Listen instead to the supportive voices who rejoice with you!

Egad and zounds, Watson-by-George, I think she’s got it.

Let’s Recap

Remarkablogger Michael told me to stop self-censoring and start saying what I really need to say — but be respectful of the consequences.

El’s Impassionate reminded me to stop dithering around in my comfort zone, get out, and go big.

Less than a week after I published my first novel, my dream revealed that I’m feeling vulnerable to strangers and acquaintances. (Me, feel vulnerable after publishing a book? Shocker.)

Allen Ginsberg admonished me to revel in being different, in being a little crazy, in being a little dark.

My tweet knocked me on the noggin, saying, “Hello? Helloooo! Anybody home?”

“Okay, I get it!”

The creative, benevolent, loving force that rules my life is sending synchronicity my way.

I am determined to open my arms and receive it.

I will speak the truth.

I will speak the fears, the loneliness, the rejection. I will speak the joys, the all-encompassing wonder, the acceptance. I will not hide these things from others. I will not secret them away for fear of the consequences.

I will not hide my heart.

And that is why I wrote this blog post. : )

P.S. A shout-out to Judy Dunn of Catseyewriter for inspiring the title. ; )

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.