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The Pleasures of Blogging

Wait, blogging? Isn’t that over with?

Actually, not. Blogging is alive and well, but has entered a new life or a second life. Blogging like mad for SEO purposes is passé. You don’t to put in all the work of blogging every day just to increase your discoverability. Google is looking at factors other than the frequency of your posts. Your keywords matter, your title, your topics — these will pull in more visitors than just bombarding your page with new posts. There is another way that blogging is being used today. For testing things out. Playing around. Experimenting. That spirit was strong in the early days of Blogger and WordPress. The joys of blogging included its immediacy. You wrote something. You posted it. The world saw it. Or at least, the small world of your WordPress followers. But the exhilaration was there. It was really fun to blog like that, informally and experimentally.

What changed?

Blogging got more serious. Bloggers started taking themselves too seriously. Blogging platforms like WordPress got complex.I’ve been reading about how some people hate the new release of WordPress, 5.1, because you have to work in blocks. I happen to like it, because it has Markdown support and I like to write in Markdown. But I don’t know anybody who writes directly into WordPress like we all used to. As a platform, it isn’t as easy to post there as it used to be. I use Scrivener or Bear because of the editing tools and because I can change up the interface, even the color scheme, to suit myself. Scrivener is amazingly full-featured for longer projects. All of them make it easy to export and post. For speed, cross-referencing tags, and fun, Bear is unrivaled, and IA Writer is pretty sleek.

Here’s what really hasn’t changed about blogging. Writers like to write. Blogging is a way to test ideas, break out stories, experiment with viewpoints and characters. There are platforms that can help your do this without pain — some are even fun. Substack is a newsletter platform that is also website and also a blog. When you write up your newsletter to your subscribers it also is posted to a personal website in blog form. You can charge a subscription for it if you want. The interface is intuitive and easy. If you like an effortless path from creation to publication, have a look at blot, a minimalist blog platform that doesn’t have a user interface. You read that right. There is no interface. You write in whatever platform you like — Word, Scrivener, Bear, IA Writer — drop the finished file in a Dropbox folder, and bang, blot formats it and posts is as a blog. It’s thrilling to see your work go up so fast. So thrilling, you can forgive your own typos. Micro.blog is a promising minimalist platform that, as the name might imply, is a cross between Twitter and blogging. The point is to keep things informal and fast. You can post quickly to Ello, but I wouldn’t call it a writing platform. Medium isn’t bad. Have you ever tried to post from Evernote? It’s sad how tightly that platform hangs on to your work. If you’re still composing in Word, you have my condolences.

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