Blogging Makes You Smarter
A year ago, before I started this blog, I didn’t know the difference between Steel Cut and Rolled Oats. I didn’t know the truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup or that frozen vegetables are actually healthier than other supermarket veggies. In fact, there are very few articles apart from my tea and fitness articles for which I didn’t have to do research. I ask myself every day what it is parents might want to know about, and if I don’t know the answer, I find it out. Blogging has forced me to ask questions in the same way a kid asks questions, unassuming and randomly. Where otherwise I could have gone my whole life without asking why milk is good, I now question those long held assumptions. I answer the questions I might have taken for granted before. It’s true. Blogging really has made me smarter, or at least more curious.
What People Care About:
I don’t really know what other people care about. All I know are the things that interest me. Blogging can be revealing that way – and a little narcissistic too. I write with the assumption that what I’m saying are things that people want to know without having any evidence that that’s actually the case (I really don’t read my analytics very much). I want to know about tea so I naturally assume everybody wants to know about it, or at least, enough people to make writing the article in the first place worthwhile. In other words, anybody who reads my blog is going to see a constant stream of things I really want to talk about. For somebody who never thought he had anything interesting to say in the first place, it’s humbling to see that 500+ people per day are tuning in to listen to my nonsense about dolls, baby products and Halloween costumes. I wish I could peer into other people’s brains to know what they care about, because then I’d write about those things. But, unfortunately I’m stuck with this self centered view of the world that I can only hope other people care about too. For as much as I sometimes claim my indifference to other people’s opinions, I do care. I aim to please.
How to Research:
People are only going to read your blog if you have something interesting to say. Some people talk about their daily lives and manage to make it relevant to other people. They say things that are witty and insightful about their own lives that we can graft onto our own. I, however, don’t write like that. I’m not that witty, and I don’t think my life is interesting enough to compel other people to spend their day reading about it. I would hate to bore anybody to death. I do have something to offer though. I’m good at doing research. I’m fastidious and detail oriented. Thus, my blog is focused more on solid information than it is on witticisms or philosophy.
My Book Collection: I own about 3000 books. I haven’t read them all, but I have them. I also remember what they are so when I need information I can easily go find it. Producing an article every day is hard work which is made easier when I have so much reference material on hand.
Magazines: Once a month I go to the book store and peruse the magazine racks. I buy a heap of stuff that I can randomly pick out of for subject material.
The Book Store: When I wrote about Coffee I went to the book store with a pad of paper and wrote down all the stuff I wanted to say in my article while still in the book store. That way I didn’t have to buy the books.
The Internet: It’s amazing how much irrelevant crap is floating around the Internet. Finding solid information can be hard. But, if you know where to look it isn’t that bad. Google News is a good place to start. When you search google you also have the option to look at only scholarly articles (it’s under the more section on google search options).
We all have different ways of communicating. Even among dad and mom bloggers there are a wide range of styles. Some bloggers are great natural writers and can capture people with excellent writing regardless of what they’re talking about. Other people are funny and make us laugh. Me? I rely on my love of discovery and research. I choose topics that I want to know more about, and I select the most relevant bits that will fit into a 1000 word or less blog post. That formula has been working for me, and it’s made me a lot smarter in the process.