I don’t remember the exact number, but I have been following Seth Godin’s blog for a few years now. He has a blog that breaks a few rules of blogging – the blog is hosted on typepad and does not have comments enabled – yet his blog’s twitter account has more than 500 thousand followers. I am sure most of us would be happy with one third of that number.
I have often wondered what it is that makes his blog work, and I have come up with a few things that he does that make people fall in love with his blog. I think these can be used by bloggers, and writers alike to improve their craft.
If you have been blogging for any length of time, I am sure you must have used a blog surfing website like Blogexplosion or Entrecard. A lot of people I have talked to are not very fond of surfing sites because they believe that most visitors from such sites are mindlessly clicking the widgets without paying attention to the content of the blog.
Though this contention is true for most people, yet over the years I have found several interesting blogs as well as several regular visitors to this blog through the blog surfing websites.
“Observe, don’t Imitate!”
I came across this quote by John M. Ford yesterday. Something about the quote appealed to me, and the quote stayed stuck in my mind for the rest of the day. The only way, I thought, I could get it out of my mind was by writing a post about it. So, here goes.
I think most of us, when we read something good, imbibe some of the elements of the writer’s style. It is a natural process and, sometimes, we do it even without realising. We copy what we like, mainly because we want what we write to be liked too. This is why it is often said that if we want to write good stuff, we have to read great stuff.
However, blind imitation is for apes.
A few years back, I was narrating a story I was working on to a friend. After patiently listening to my story, he suddenly sat up straight, and asked, “Have you copied it from somewhere? It sounds like something I have read before.”
You think that you have come up with a great story, and your friend accuses you of Plagiarism. There are very few things in life, let me tell you, that can irritate you more than such an accusation.
I, naturally, asked my friend about the part of my story that sounded copied.
“All of it,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. Then he continued to tell me how my story was a copy of the so many stories he had read before.