Art Of Blogging–Style

Just another in the continuing series that I write to pass on to my readers what little I have learned while writing a blog.  Please do not misunderstand….I am by no means an expert….if I were I would be getting more attention and popularity…….but I have learned a bit in 9 years of blogging.

After many years of rigorous study and application I found my calling…..analysis.  It was a shame that I refused to work for think tanks for they are nothing more than extensions of of one industry or another……

I have always been a writer…..that causes a few problems with a blog nowadays…..people want instant gratification with videos, steaming this or that, etc…..but I am an old fart and I like words so I will continue to write.  My grandfather gave me some advice in my younger days…..he said..”Why write a novel when a paragraph will do?”

I have found he was right….most people lose interest after about 500 words…so my style is to try and keep my post between 350-500 words….I am not always successful and gone over my prescribed limit.

If I would buckle down and learn to do more with vids and such I could probably get more people especially younger people to come and stick with my blog…..but I cannot let a vid do my work for me….I will post links for people to check out what I am writing about but I refuse to let that be the total extent to my posts.

I use to flit around writing about everything and anything that struck my fancy……but I found that if I stick with one field of interest there is a better chance of readers coming and deciding to stay… is not written in stone….just something that I have found with my blog.

I feel like my regular visitors like my style that is why they continue to come and most important comment….it also helps if you can have a field of “expertise”, if lack of a better word, that way readers know pretty much what will be written on any given day.

Blogging for me is an amazingly rewarding endeavor…..and I thank all my readers and regulars for their good taste in choosing my blog….(sorry had to throw a little ego in there)…..

Onward and upward…..always vocal.

Art Of Blogging: EGO!

This will be my 6th post on blogging……damn!  I did not know I was so opinionated on this subject.  But I am truthful in my ‘about’ section……I said from the start that I was an opinionated SOB…..and I prove it daily, huh?

Originally I started a blog as a way to store info… the time I did not have a printer and wanted to save stuff that I read that I could use at a later time….there was no intention of this to become a daily all consuming passion…..but as they say …*t happens.

My tagline is not just a tagline….it is my code…..”It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to expose delusion and error”  I try to do this daily for there is so much misinformation out there and I feel someone has to challenge the bullsh*t.

I have always enjoyed research….looking for clarification of things I was not sure of…..I have been writing for many years mostly to help people understand the complexities of this world…..nothing is as clear as we want to believe.

To be truthful all of us bloggers are a bit egotistical……most of us like to see our name up there in lights.

The problem is that some of us bloggers are always searching for the magic bullet that will make their blogs will be the most popular thing since sliced bread or in today’s world, Kale.  We switch platforms time and time again…….we searching themes and fonts and yada yada…….we just know that we could find that perfect look and feel for a blog and we will be bombarded by so many new visits that we will have to make it a 24 hour job…….and then when little positive happens disappointment sets in……some of us decide that if we cannot be popular then we must just stop and re-think what we are doing.

All in all it is ego……not the compulsion to give readers truth and balanced writings……we want to strut around showing off our accomplishments.  And we seldom speak of any failures…..and believe me there are more failures than victories.

We need to put ego aside for awhile……we want those people to visit then we must go out and work for those visits…..there is no magic magnet that will ‘force’ people to visit your blog…..pick a few blogs that peak your interests and visit often….even a comment or two and like their stuff…….most will do the same as a favor for your loyalty.

You could pay some service that will promise you thousands of new visitors everyday….but at what price and will they continue to visit?  Or you could buckle down and help a fellow blogger who in turn will do the same and in the mean time you will gain a new friend that will help promote your blog.

None of this is rocket science……it has worked for me….and no I am not the most popular blog out there….but I do have good people that are loyal and repeat ‘customers’ for my writings and thoughts……..

Yes……blogging can be an ego boost……but I feel that it should not be a driving force…..helping people understand complex situation and the spreading of truth should be the main concern……any one can spout hate and misinformation……I try to do better.

I am not the most popular blog but I do love what I do and I enjoy the people that visit my site daily….that is what it is all about….at least for me.

The Art Of Blogging: Consistency

An observation from the taxing mind of Chuq

It is the weekend and I would like to pass on my thoughts about blogging……..This will be my 5th post on my thoughts on blogging.

These posts are just my small attempt to explain what I have learned after about 8 years of blogging

All of us bloggers want our stats to be through the roof….but unfortunately unless you have a much recognized name then you are wishing down a dry well.

To me the amount of readers is not as important as the quality of my readers…….I am not breaking any number of hits records by any means but I do draw a continuing amount of readers that turn to me because they like what I have to say or they are interested in my subject matter…..I think that my readers continue to come day after day is …..consistency.

I find that too many of my fellow bloggers are concerned with their stats and yer they do not help other bloggers with theirs……..I make it a habit to try and visit every site on my reader…… me the key is the old saying….”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”……..

My regular readers know that I write mostly on International situations, the Middle east to be more exact, and delve into political stuff, especially during an election.  For those that are concerned with the world situation that is a good thing for they know that I will write about what I see and read and do all I can to help them understand a complex situation……..

When I began my blogging experience I was on another site, will not mention the name for I did not like their format, my blog was entitled “Studies and Observations” and after about 3 months I went to another site that was popular at the time, now not so much, but after a couple of months there it just was not working out and I went back to the original site…..then I came upon WordPress and switched over and have never looked back.

My problem back in the early days was that people that liked my stuff (not many in those days) were having a hard time finding me for a visit… was then that I settled down and decided to choose one and stick with it…..and here I am about 7 years later.

That decision of consistency has paid off…….I now have a great bunch of regulars that have NO problem finding me and reading what I have to say and for that I am very grateful.

I also wish that more bloggers were interested in truth and justice…….instead many excellent writers are worried about their popularity standing.  To me they are waswting their minds by worrying about popularity where they should be concerned is let their readers know what is out there and why justice is elusive…….and why truth is so important.

I am NO expert by any stretch of the imagination…….I am just letting you know what I found that works for me in this experience.  Blogging like so much else in life needs consistency……without it the blogger is just spin his/her wheels in search of the ultimate ego boost……..

Blogging Is A Process

This will be my 4th post in a series on blogging……these are my thoughts and not a template for anyone else…..I just see the whole blogging experience as  a labor of love.

Most of us bloggers begin our process with checking the news to see what is happening while we were otherwise distracted…..with stuff like…..SLEEP.  once we have digested our information and have found something that appeals to our sensibilities then we begin to write our posts…..whether we agree or not we have an opinion and that opinion needs to be voiced.

The beauty of the internet and most specifically, is that it is a place where everyone has a voice and we can use it……sometimes it hits a nerve and other times it is just a thought we want to pass on……whatever the reason does not matter…..what matters is that we can begin a conversation and others may join …..for the exchange of ideas and thoughts is what it is all about.

Like I said previously…..we all have a process or if you will the madness of our infliction……a method to our posts.  Mine is a bit extreme more so than most….I begin my day at 0100 hrs (1am)…..I start so early because my interests are in the Middle East and in war zones….so in my time is about 0900 hrs Baghdad time, depending on whether it is real time or that fake time……I begin with check with sources in Iraq and Syria to see what has happened while I snoozed….then I check around the region for news that could be a game changer and then I begin my writing process once I have decided what the subject will be of my post……I also mark stories that I think would help my readers to understand what is happening in the region……..believe me when I say what we hear in the US is not necessarily what is important in the region.  These marked articles will become presses for my readers education.  Of course during my process lots of mind soothing coffee is consumed.

I also as part of my process try to visit daily the sites that visit my site……I feel that it is my effort to help support their attempts to make their blogs more popular.  Some bloggers want it to be magic that everyone reads their stuff……I try to assert myself into their world by commenting as much as possible…….

After I finish my posts I save them in draft of which I have any where from 5 to 20 being held to be used as needed…..after all that I sit down and make one more trip through my news sources before I shut down the process go eat and then try to sleep.

I am by no means telling my readers this should be their process……..but I am serious about my statements of concern for the education of my readers and a little work and lack of sleep is a small price to pay for a better understanding in the world.

I truly enjoy writing my blog….In Saner Thought is a true labor of love for me…….plus it helps me deal with retirement, forced retirement and it expands my knowledge and that is a great thing in my mind.


The Rewards Of Blogging

Memorial Day and Summer begins…….as usual we have yet another disaster movie and about the only thing missing is another Nicholas Cage movie.  Please take a moment and remember those that gave their lives in service to their country.

As per my tradition I will not be posting much today….instead I will spend the day with family and friends doing what people do (you fill in the blank)……….

This will be number three (3) in my series of why I am blogging and what the experience means to me personally…….

Most of my regulars know that I enjoy research and then writing about what I have discovered.  Have you ever felt like there is something that you were destined to do?  I feel that blogging is mine.

Some of my fellow bloggers judge their success by the number of daily hits which is their thing…and yes I would very much like to get 1000+ hits a day but I try to be realistic.  The only way to get those high stats is from some sort of promotion service and most of them are looking to get paid for their “secrets”.  I just refuse to pay for popularity just to feed my ego.

I find that there many rewards to blogging, at least to me……..regular visitors and commenters, fellow bloggers that think my stuff is worthy of a re-blog, but my biggest reward is those readers that come to my blog looking for what I have to say on a given subject or situation…..recently there was an international situation that one of my regulars said that he came to me first because “I would probably be all over it”……that made me feel that all my hard work has NOT been in vain.

I do not always blog about the story du jour, unless of course it is of major importance and I need to address the situation……instead I try to give my reader information that they may not be aware of or those situations that they, my readers, may find thought provoking…..there is enough confusion out there….I just want to try and clarify it, at least from my point of view which I realize that not everybody will agree with the analysis.

I write a lot on the Middle East….it is the area of my interest….I have both lived and worked in the region….but to write fresh perspective I am on the PC at 0100 hrs (1 a.m.) for at that time it is about 0900 hrs in say Baghdad and I can get fresh news as it is happening not the selective regurgitation of NBC………. I could puke up the popular topic these days…..hate……..but that is not my style…….if I speak ill of something I try to explain why I feel that way………. hopefully my readers appreciate that I want to give them news as it happens not later……ignorance must be fought whether the people want to hear it or not……for ignorance breeds hate and fear…….

After college I was recruited by a think tank to analyze and then report on situations in the Middle East…..the problem was I was given a conclusion and I had to make the report fit that conclusion…..something I would not do….needless to say I was not hired and got a bad name in the world of think tanks……so I took to writing and analyzing stuff on my own…..did not pay well but it was so satisfying to punch holes in the garbage being sold as analysis……then a blog became the next step into my world of international relations……..

The rewards in blogging are many….but it all takes work and it becomes a labor of love……well, at least for me.  I also feel that it is my duty and my responsibility to point out misinformation wherever I find it and by whom regurgitates such lies…..and I must do it everyday without fail….dependability is an asset when blogging……if my readers cannot depend on me then I have failed in my duty.

Enjoy your day and I shall be in form for tomorrow……see you then.

Blogging Is Hard Work

The weekend again…..I want to try something completely different from my weird little stories I find to break up my week….some of them are popular and some fall dead from boredom……today is about blogging……a subject that is near and dear to most of us…….

We bloggers are always looking for ways to increase our exposure… is hard work to keep a blog up and running and current.  It is even harder to get readers after all there is about a gazillion blogs out there.

We try to find ways to get more readers to increase our stats….some of us pay a service to increase our traffic……or like me they try to visit and follow as many as possible…..we comment on their sites and we give them a like whenever possible…..with the hope that they will reciprocate….this is not for those that are impatient….it is a time consuming process but it does pay off.

Some bloggers carve accolades……like awards that are heaped on them……most of the awards are just a way to try and increase traffic to sites…….do not get me wrong….there is NOTHING wrong with these awards and they work for some people…..we do what we must to try an increase readership.  Thinking that readers show up because it is a certain type of blog is not always true……we bloggers work on the old adage….”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”

There is no guarantee that there will be people flocking to your site because it has a certain word in the title….like liberal or conservative or other descriptive names……people will help those that help them……

For me I try to use my schooling in international relations especially the Middle East……a subject that many want to forget or ignore simply because it does not fit into the narrative they have made for themselves.

I could post many articles a day….but I try to limit my day to 5 or 6 post at most……more and I feel my readers will be overwhelmed… I look for stuff that can expand their horizons, so to speak…….events and situation that they might not give much thought to but could be a thorn in the country’s butt……I like to be fore armed…….

Hard work pays off, at least it did for me……recently  when the US and Iran came to an agreement on nukes a reader said that he came to IST because he knew I would be all over it…..and that is why I do what I do.  That made my day…….made me feel like it is all worth the hard work.  Then I was asked to be a guest writer on another site……for me that is the highest honor that someone would like my opinions and analysis on their site.

Not just bitching about issues that frustrate me but rather helping my readers understand what is what.  I also try to help them understand politics….but these days there is NO understanding politics other than to realize that it is NO longer a science but rather a circus of morons playing a dangerous game…….dangerous to the country but not to themselves……..HELL the more extreme they talk the more wackos vote for them…..the more wackos that vote the more dangerous the world becomes……it is a vicious circle that cannot be broken until people try to understand the world…..and that is where we bloggers enter into the conversation.

Me?  I have been a writer for decades……until I discovered the internet most of my stuff was ‘letters to the editor’ and an occasional piece sent to magazines and such…….then Katrina hit where I live and I was badly injured and could no longer work…..but I continued to read, research and analyze……and by a stroke of luck I was given a used computer by a friend…..and as they say…’the rest is history’.

Blogging is hard work and bloggers are hard workers!  Most of us do it out of love of information and passing it on to others with the hope that they will use it for a better understanding and to eventually make better decisions.


How To Be Effective

This may be my only post today….I have to settle a bunch of legal stuff dealing with my father’s estate…….but do not despair I shall return….probably more opinionated than I was……we can only hope that I do not take offense and try and strangle some random attorney……my handler will be with me to keep me on the straight and narrow……Let us pray!

All of us bloggers, especially those of us that write on politics, want to be effective.  We try and bring issues and situations to light to hopefully start a dialog…..we all want what is best for the country and its people.

When I began my political writing and analysis I was given some great advice by my grandfather…….”Never write a novel when a paragraph will do.”  Basically, keep it short and precise and always stay on topic.  It has proven to be excellent advice that has served me well over the years of writing and speaking.

I try to help my fellow bloggers in any way that I can….I am by no means an expert and have made many mistakes in the last 8 years of blogging….a lot of hit and miss……I pass on some of the stuff that I have come across in those years that could possibly help my friends and fellow bloggers……

Awhile back I was reading on the ‘net and came across some advice that a man, Ramzy Baroud, had given to a 16 year old that wanted to get involved in activism….let me pass on a couple of his points that I found helpful……..

Humanize – But don’t sanctify your subject

It doesn’t matter how worthy a cause is, if it is too distant or disconnected from people. It is essential that you allow your audience the chance to relate to your cause as that of people, with names and stories, beautiful, inspiring, but also disheartening and complex. But it is important that you don’t provide a sanctified, thus unrealistic narrative either, for your audience will disown you and question your credibility. Humanize your subject, but remain truthful in your presentation.

Be educated, strive for intellect and be wary of ideology

Education will give you access to otherwise inaccessible platforms. It will empower you and your message with the articulation you need to widen your circle of support. But you are also an intellectual. The right education could further develop your intellect. And when it is done with sincerity, both education and intellect will feed on one another. While there is no harm in adhering to an ideology that you may perceive to hold the answers to the dilemmas with which you contend, be wary of becoming an ideologue, a slave to stubborn dogmas. That will stifle your intellect and will make your education a mere platform to serve unworthy, elitist causes.

Keep an open mind

No matter how powerful your argument may seem, how high your education and how insurmountable your intellect is, remain humble and open-minded. If you close your mind, it will cease to grow. Your ideas will eventually become outdated, and your ability to imagine a world beyond your own will wither and die under the weight of your own sense of self-importance.

These are excellent points and I feel that if we try to keep them in mind there could be a better dialog and possibly find the answers we are all striving to find…..Just a few of my thoughts early in the morn after a good cup of Joe…….Have a day, my friends.