Apparently Google looks at the first fifty words of anything you post to your blog and uses key words from there to direct traffic to your site. So it’s important to jump right into your topic and suck your reader in, well at least the Google engine. At that period, I am at forty-one words in this paragraph and I haven’t said anything yet. This is not good…
I write nonfiction because my life is usually pretty crazy. Most days it reads like fiction. I think everyone has stories in their lives – one just has to pay attention to the moments, the tiny things that give pause, things that make me stop and say, really? And I write it down.
I write about the people in my life. Justin Halpern has/d a blog entitled “Shit my Day Says.” Then he wrote a book. People often tell me I should write a book entitled “Shit my Students Say” or maybe “Shit my Grandkids Say” – and believe me they say some shit, but is that really writing? Or is it recording? Some days I don’t know. Is it a talent to be able to ferret out quirky and interesting things said by others? Ok, so I might analyze, or filter things a bit, but still… And anyway, it’s been done.
The most common tag for my posts is “culture” – and by that I mean the culture in which we live, not Culture with a capital C—some shee-shee-foo-foo attitude. Usually I write about Southern culture, yes with a capital S!—ask any Southerner, this is their country. I write about this culture from the perspective of an outsider. There are things I just don’t understand, and never will. I’m from Boston, Massachusetts (and yes, I can spell that without the aid of spellcheck! And did.). I often find myself thinking, what the hell just happened there? After almost thirty years below the Mason-Dixon line, I still find myself in that position. It’s still almost a daily culture shock. When I watched the movie Sweet Home Alabama (2002), I understood Witherspoon’s character – “People need a passport to come down here!”
So do I want to have culture in that first fifty words? Because it’s not really culture – but rather the cultural differences I experience. I am working on a collection of essays entitled, A Yankee in Jeff Davis’ Court. A Yankee as in I am a person from north of the Mason-Dixon line, not a member of an evil empire in baseball. The book is a collection of essays about these cultural differences, about the different countries in our country.
The second most common tag on my blog is humor, because I have to have a sense of humor—or go insane. I mean. I am a northerner living in the south; a liberal surrounded by conservatives; an academic surrounded by farmers; a technology geek surrounded by…by…people who aren’t; a first generation Irish-American, surrounded by the descendents of the original English settlers… I could go on, but I think you get the point. I remember wanting to be the next Shakespeare, but I think I am closer to Erma Bombeck — and I am ok with that.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I am doing this challenge with Robert Lee Brewer, its goal, as I understand it is to help me put myself out there – to market myself well. And maybe someday earn a dollar for my writing; it is a step closer to publishing that book. Setting up Google to look at the first fifty words of my post was one of the “assignments.” But it created such a writer’s block! What do I say? What is google-worthy? It was intimidating (in a week that saw my six-year-old grandson have surgery, stressful sounds like an inept adjective). So, I wrote about what I write about. I guess my next blog post will have the right first fifty words?
If you have ideas about what those words should be, post a reply or email me.