Tuesday, May 10, 2016

F.A.Q. on O.H.M.

Some of you have asked about my process for writing and running O.H.M., so I'm answering those FAQs here:

1. Where do you get your ideas?

I get most of my ideas from five sources: (1) observations in my daily life as a parent and from my own childhood; (2) life in Alaska; (3) current events; (4) requests and suggestions from friends/family; and (5) general issues I’m dealing with. I have a list of ideas that I keep on my iPhone, and I just jot them down whenever I think of one, including in the middle of the night. Then I mine the list for inspiration later.

2. How do you write so much so fast?

I touch-type and I often partially dictate my posts into my iPhone after my kids go to bed at night, or while they’re distracted playing with friends. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I make myself write every single day, at least once a day. I don’t care if anyone reads it or not, but it’s therapeutic for me to do it, and after a year and a half of O.H.M. it’s become a habit.

3. Do you think about when to post?

I don’t really think about when to post, although I’ve noticed that I get more reads when I publish posts at certain times of day. I often write several posts in advance when I have big chunks of uninterrupted time at home, and then just push them out at random times when I think of it. I could definitely be more strategic about this if I thought about it more.

4.  Do you think about how to publicize your blog?

I definitely want people to read O.H.M., and I consciously use social media to encouarge that. That's why I created a separate Facebook page for the blog and joined Twitter. I always want people to share my blog posts, because of course I get an ego boost from the blog getting shares and attention. I probably care too much about that, but not enough to pay money to sponsor the blog on Facebook or anything like that. Ultimately O.H.M. is just a hobby, and the main reasons I keep doing it are because: (a) it’s fun for me; and (b) I know that the people who read it really enjoy it. I think about my audience a lot while I’m writing: what they will connect with, what will resonate with them, etc. That’s really what I care about the most.

5. Why don’t you advertise?

Choosing not to advertise on O.H.M. was never really a conscious choice or a self-righteous matter of principle. It just wasn’t something I’d ever really considered. I doubt I have enough readers to make advertising worthwhile, and I think most advertising is stupid and horrible and caters to all kinds of things I openly question. So I sort of like that my blog is bare-bones and ad-free.

6. What do you think of Blogger as a platform?

If I could do it over again, I probably wouldn’t use Blogger as a platform, only because it’s kind of cheesy, like AOL or Hotmail or something. Its spell check sucks, and it screams “amateur." But that’s what I am. So I’m okay with it. I'm hoping Blogger will become retro cool, like a mullet.

7. Are you worried your blog is too revelatory or inappropriate?

No, I’m not worried about that. I actually have a lot of boundaries, in that I don’t (for example) ever blog or even mention anyone else by name without their permission. I don't talk about anything I do at work, anything about the details of my marriage, etc. So I'm actually silent on many topics out of respect for other people’s boundaries. But I know that the second I stop making O.H.M. a real, honest, and raw reflection of my own thoughts and feelings, it stops being authentic. Then it just becomes another curated piece of internet bullshit that can’t be trusted, and I don't want that to happen. So I always try to be blunt and honest, even when that bluntness and honesty is a little uncomfortable for me and sometimes my readers.

8. How has your approach and process of writing blog posts changed over time?

I've gotten a lot faster and more adept at figuring out what will work as an idea and what will fall flat. I have a shrinking number of posts to write, for example, from my childhood, because I only have so many memories that are going to make interesting blog posts. So the source material tends to shift a bit. Also, I've gotten increasingly bold and brave about saying exactly what I think in a very truthful manner. I've asked myself "what's gonna happen?," and discover that I actually care a lot less about "what's gonna happen" than I do about just saying what I want to say, and/or what I think needs to be said.

9. How much traffic does the blog get?

Probably a few hundred reads per post, on average. Sometimes a post will really explode into the several thousands or beyond, but that's not super common.

10. Did you just write this blog post in 23 minutes while eating supermarket sushi?

Yes.

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1 comment:

  1. "But I know that the second I stop making O.H.M. a real, honest, and raw reflection of my own thoughts and feelings, it stops being authentic. Then it just becomes another curated piece of internet bullshit that can’t be trusted."

    Yes! I enjoy every post, and feel like a learn something real from the subjects I don't know as much about, such as parenting.

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