Thursday, May 1, 2008

Things To Write About

I'm generally amazed when, during my websurfing, I find Blog Posts lamenting that there isn't much going on to write about.
Yes, those statements are out there. Put the phrases "not much to write about" or "nothing to write about" into Google, and you'll find them.

It's the Year Of Our Lord 2008. China's got Olympics problems with Tibet. A former P.O.W. who was tortured for years by the Vietnamese is running for president against either a black man with serious preacher problems or a white woman with more hidden and lost baggage than Heathrow Airport. Our government has checks in the mail in a Keynesian effort to end a recession that we can't be in yet (recessions require two consecutive quarters of negative growth.) There are millions of people online, just waiting to read what you have to say about all this. But sometimes we all need a kick start.

So as a service to our Republic, here are my suggestions for what to do when you think there's nothing to write about.

1) Somewhere near you is a newspaper with an online presence. In my case, there's my beloved Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Just looking through the first page of the site, there's an article about the Methodists having a "negotiated disruption", whatever that is, about same-sex unions, gay clergy, and the like. The Star-T also has more info on John Peter Smith Hospital, our local government funded charity health care center, which is underfunded but has $72,000,000 in the bank. Plus, the Top Dawg was pulling in $700,000 per year. Eminent Domain abuser Jerry Jones has signed Bad Boy Pacman Jones. If you don't have something to bring to the table on any of these issues, you need to turn off your computer and go watch American Idol.

2) Because God loves us, She has given us a world that includes an internet search engine called Google. You have information at your fingertips that, just twenty years ago, was inaccesible to all but the most privileged academics. As further proof of Divine Blessing: a feature called "Google Trends". This lists the top 100 search terms put into Google over the last hour.
By the time you read this, Google Trends will have changedfrom these topics, but.... I have an interest in one called Paul vs Hillary, which is a court case involving the baggage lady mentioned above.
Another term in the top Google Trends Top 100: May Day. May 1st. The traditional holiday for socialist labor. Following the links provided led me to this article in the Guardian (UK), about Raul Castro having to lead Cuba's May Day ceremonies in place of ailing brother Fidel. I LOVED the last line of the article....Marches were held simultaneously in other Cuban cities; several million people were expected to attend. As if the poor bastards had a choice.
If you can't spend five minutes on Google Trends and find a topic to type about, give up, get up, turn off your computer, and go watch "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?".
(FYI... As soon as "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" goes off the air, an embarrassing number of the show's questions show up on the Google Trends site. I fear for my country.)

3) Do you ever wish that you had a subscription to Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, and every other major magazine? Well, those are the links. It doesn't matter if you're into dogs, kites, coffin-handle manufacturing, cars, or the life and career of Millard Fillmore, somewhere out there is a magazine or site devoted to that interest. I probably write more about politics than anything else, so from far left to far right, there are websites for The Nation, Mother Jones, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, and National Review. On the libertarian side of things (different continuum) you have Reason and Liberty magazines. (I can never sign onto the New Republic site. I've either ripped them to shreds so many times that they've blocked my URL, or they're going through a financial crisis, or they just can't keep their site running.)
If you can go into those and not find something to make your blood boil, then give up. Go watch Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olbermann. Let tell you what to think. I apologize for the snarky tone toward bloggers who have nothing to write about. I've seen so many great topics in these links.... I could type for days.

4) There are other sites called "Aggregators". They simply collect links on a given topic. Republicans generally like Instapundit or Little Green Footballs. There's one called Real Clear Politics that covers the entire political spectrum. Alan K. Henderson's Weblog and Libertarian Blog Place are the best ones for libertarians. Whatever interests you, simply type "Blog" "aggregator" and _____ into Google. Chances are, you'll come up with something. I just tried it with the word "Decorating" in the blank, and came up with this. It has all sorts of stuff on Decorating, House, Home and relationships. I tried it again with Macroeconomics in the blank, and got this.
Surely you will find something to love, link to, and discuss.

5) Then there's YouTube. Lord, have mercy. I was looking today for something for my next safety meeting and discovered this:

Youtube has enough video of forklift accidents to give me bad dreams for months. Whatever floats your boat, they've got movies of it. Type in the keywords, you'll find it. Amazing. I might do an entire post of "Worst Forklift Accident Videos" sometime soon.

6) How many jokes, funny pictures, photoshops, and email chains are you forwarded every day? Copy them. Post them.

7) What cool places and things are in your city or neighborhood? I once gave online directions to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave, and that thing still gets about a dozen hits a week.

8) You can put together lists of new sites that you've discovered and enjoyed.

I'm tired and going to bed. Hope this has been useful.

This has been a public service of The Whited Sepulchre Outreach Ministry.


Patrick said...

Great post, your suggestions are dead on and your point is definitely true. When I first started I was worried about running out of things to write about but I followed some of your suggestions as well as some of my own tactics.

Might I also add a suggestion to bookmark interesting articles / blog posts that you run into. I keep a bookmark folder creatively called "Blog Ideas" that contains plenty of links. If I ever run into a slow news day or am feeling uninspired I dig up one of those bookmarks and I then have a good topic to write about.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Yeah, I sort of use StumbleUpon and the same way. And I probably have about two dozen sites/posts in my "Favorites" that I've been meaning to do something with.
Part of the difficulty lies with keeping it all organized.

Also, Patrick, I'd really really really really like to be able to do a post about being the first Blogger (as opposed to website) added to blogroll of The Official Libertarian Blog Of The Great State Of Texas - aka -

Sigh....Don't know if it'll ever happen.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Especially if I can't spell correctly....