Exercise Your Brain, Write a Blog

By Shlomo Maital

blog   

  According to the host of my blog, wordpress.com, I have written over 900 blog entries.  I have several hundred faithful readers, get frequent comments, as well as massive spam attacks.

  I urge everyone to consider starting a blog.

  Why?

   The main reason for writing a blog is to give your brain a serious workout, daily, by challenging yourself to be perpetually curious about what is going on, what is new, what is interesting and unusual, in the world.  If you know you need to write a blog several times a week, your brain is trained automatically to search for ideas and topics.  Without that spur, I find my brain tends to go to sleep. It also helps those around me – my wife regularly passes on to me things she reads, that may be blog-suitable.

   What should you write about?

    Blogs are very personal. Write about a) what you are passionate about, what you really care about, and b) what you really know about, really understand.   Blogs need to be short, perhaps 200-300 words.  Amazing how much you can pack into a few words.  Write about everyday things.  People like to read about other people’s lives, their problems, conflicts, joys, triumphs, defeats.  You’d be amazed. 

     If you do want to maximize readership, take into account words that are used in web searches, e.g. on Google.  My most-read blogs involve things like Wal-Mart, and Lady Gaga, and terms like ‘workplace innovation’ (my all-time #1, for some reason).

   Use ‘first person’ (“I”). State your strong opinions.  People will react.

   Try to be positive.  I found myself writing doom-and-gloom blogs, driven by my profession (economics).  Look for things that inspire, rather than depress.  There are enough horrible/terrible/awful stories in the daily press already.   Your blog can reach out and touch other people in surprising ways. 

   Think about visuals – what picture or graph can you add, to make your point and catch attention? Remember, there are many many thousands of blogs out there already.  If you want others to read yours, try to catch attention with a great photograph or illustration. 

    And finally – the real goal of a blog.  A New York Times columnist (Arthur Krock, ‘dean of Washington journalists’) once said, during a newspaper strike: “How do I know what I am thinking if I cannot read what I write?”   As a thinking person, capture your thoughts, by writing them down.  You’ll see that once you start your blog, suddenly you will have a great many opinions, on everything.  Your significant others will find you a whole lot more interesting.

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