Here’s Why I’m Using This Boring And Uninformative Title

A woman in glasses staring out the window with a bored look

Hoo boy, are you in for a treat today.

You’re probably wondering why you’re here, or if this post is going to be a waste of time. Let me tell you in advance that yes, you could very well waste ten minutes of your life here (or however long it takes for you to read 1,000 words), or you could have the ten funnest minutes.

I don’t know which it’ll be. The only way to find out is to read on.

So what’s up?

Done is better than perfect. That’s what I’ve always believed. Not only because the stupid editor in your head doesn’t know a thing about what other people want, but also because it gets you in the habit of finishing things.

Heck, I’d never have gotten published had I not sent in my manuscript on the grounds of ‘Southeast Asian publishers not liking cyberpunk novels’.

And that’s exactly why we’re here. To dispel the myth that you need to know your fifty-seven blogging top tips before you can produce a decent blog post.

Because today, my dear friend, we’re going to be breaking some rules.

But before that, here’s a heading.

And another one, but smaller.

Ditto.

I’m sure you’ve heard these tips before: make your posts scannable, use headings with interesting descriptions, have a proper structure.

Well it looks like we’ve broken that rule already. It’s fun, too. You should give it a go.

Seriously. Try it.

Anyway…

Now that we’ve butchered the title, headings, and our paragraph, I should also bring up another top blogging tip that I see a lot, and that’s ‘choosing a compelling topic before you begin’.

I’m already partway into this draft and I don’t even have a clear idea where this post is headed. Also, I’m totally writing this on the fly, so there are no outlines involved, as recommended by the same top bloggers.

And since I’m not outlining, I’m definitely not researching either, save for the first few Google results for ‘writing blog post tips’. By golly, we’re really blazing right through the list, aren’t we?

Also, not using popular keywords, targeting a specific avatar, and studying my competitors? Check, check, and check.

A GIF about a woman saying 'don't knowck it till you try it'

I’ve always wanted to try using GIFs. And to blabber on in my captions. And to not care where I put it in the post. Booya! Another tip down. GIF: giphy.com

2. I’m seriously not going to name my headings

Power words are like the spice of content. Just sprinkle a couple in your titles and bask in the extra layers of aromatic marketing speak. It’s also a top tip often recommended by bloggers who swear by their power of conversion.

I myself think that power words are a zeitgeist that’ll come to pass, much like guestbooks on the websites from the nineties.

Because there are only so many times you can use ‘unexplained’ or ‘astounding’ in your titles without sounding like you’re repeating yourself, or plagiarising off Buzzfeed.

It’s not to say that I don’t use them. I’m not just using them for this post. I know. Shocking.

Anti Blogging Tips Shocking GIF

Google penalises large images like GIFs when it comes to SEO, so here’s me saying IDC to the m-a-n. GIF: giphy.com

iv. I’m sorry, skim-readers

I once had a colleague who’d called me out on my usage of the word ‘suspect’. My sentence was: “You’re sounding mighty suspect.”

To which she said, “It’s ‘suspicious’, Stu. Gosh, how could you not know that?”

First of all, if anybody adopts a black-and-white approach to writing, don’t listen to them. These are the same people who’d take parodies seriously, the same ones who’d be fuming at sayings like ‘avoid cliches like the plague’. There are rarely absolutes in the craft of writing. Unless you’re a Sith.

Also, my colleague was absolutely wrong. No ifs or buts about it.

Or maybe she was cracking a joke and I was the one who was taking things too seriously.

Why am I telling you this story? Because another top tip for blogging is to ‘avoid meandering’, or to ‘cut out the fluff’. Ha.

Yet another heading

Don’t you just find best practices to be limiting sometimes? Like images. Why do they need to be beautiful and vibrant? In fact, why even use them at all? Why can’t we just break up the text with headings or quotes?

I don’t have an answer for you, but what I do have is the mood to go against the grain. So here’s a misaligned picture of my desk in the wrong dimensions.

A photo of where I do most of my writing, consisting of my desk, laptop, and a window

I stare a lot out that window. Fun fact: I ‘borrowed’ this table from the living room to work, but now that I don’t teach anymore, I still keep it here to write.

These headings exist just to break up the text

Of course, we can’t talk about blogging’s best practices without mentioning editing. I typically go through at least three drafts for my blog posts.

That number increases when it comes to fiction, but it’s harder to pinpoint an exact number, since I revise previous chapters on the go sometimes, before making entire passes through the manuscript.

For this post, though? I’m going to finish it in one sitting. Then it’s off to publish. Take that, ‘edit your draft’ tip.

Maybe you’ll find the lesson in this paragraph

Perfect is the enemy of good. In fact, perfect is the enemy of progress, because there’s no such thing as perfect.

And if you’re going to base your output solely on your ability to produce perfect work, then you’d be the equivalent of a driver waiting for all the traffic lights on their route to turn green before pressing the pedal (i.e. never ever starting).

But once you accept that writing (or creative work in general) is all about putting one foot in front of the other, and that each shitty piece is just you taking another step, you’d be so much more willing to put in the work instead of relying on the rare moments of inspiration.

Which explains why I’m making a total ass out of myself here.

Because to be honest, what started out as a good idea is now looking mighty suspect, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this post gets the cold shoulder. I am showing some pretty bad form, after all.

Still, if that means silencing the perfectionist in you to start on a new piece (especially if you’ve been on a hiatus), then making as ass of myself is a tiny price to pay.

And if you take away anything from this post, I hope it’s that you don’t need to be perfect to get a message across. You just need to have something to say.


No fancy CTA this week because that’s a blogging top tip that I’m breaking too.

106 thoughts on “Here’s Why I’m Using This Boring And Uninformative Title

    • It’s something I need to keep reminding myself of too, because I do tend to fuss over the details that may or may not break a post, then I allow them to discourage me from posting. Gah. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. You really went Harley Quinn on the rules😂
    Still, the message was well received. It’s really nice to relieve oneself off of the rules that ‘other people’ created in the first place, and just focus on passing on the message.

    By the way, how come nobody told me about the fifty-seven blogging top tips before you can produce a decent blog post?😧

    • That’s because the sacred blogging tips are mostly hidden behind a paywall, and not only do you need a monthly subscription, you also need to sit for their masterclass to claim your GUARANTEED blog success! Ha.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your message. Going Harley Quinn on the rules is a new expression I’m going to have to steal. :P

  2. Great post! I always have to remind myself too that perfect is the ennemy of good and that it is always better to do one tiny thing than none at all. And this applies to blogging obviously, but also for everything else that you can progress towards. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Oh yes. I’ve always believed that half-assed is better than no-ass. It depends on the circumstances, sure, but most times it’s better to take action than to sit and wonder. So that’s what I always try to do myself. Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

  3. I didn’t know what to call my last post, either. So I just went with a combination of punch, face, and history. I used to aim for high value perfect posting, too, but I find I have more fun with progress reports rather than writing tips based off of a decade-ish of writing fanfiction and wonky prints. To me, it feels more authentic that way. The sucky part is that now my strategy is every Thursday is crunch time and I have to sneak edits in when people are sleeping just to find random mistakes when I look through my posts again. :P

    • Lol at the edits. Sometimes I even do my edits looong after they’re posted, when I just do a quick pass-through and realise the amount of typos that I had missed. That’s part of the reason why I don’t read any of my old posts too.

      Yup, I find that stressing over the perfect post for blogging can be inefficient with our creative energy sometimes. I sometimes wonder if it’s good for me to even stress about perfect at all.

      Thanks as always for stopping by, JB!

  4. Wow Stuart. The way you wrote this story of not using an interesting title actually makes me think you don’t care about writing great content. Well I guess it was for the purpose of this blog post.

    Great topic by the way

    • Lol you may have a point there because I am starting to lose sense of what’s ‘great content’ anymore. All we can do is keep writing. Thanks so much for always stopping by!

    • Thanks for your lovely feedback! It helps me learn a lot about the craft of blogging myself, because I’m a very formulaic writer, and trying out new things can be scary sometimes. Anyway, thanks again for your time!

  5. Yes! Perfection is the name of that wall that some of us get stuck behind, isn’t it? Unless we can do it perfectly, why try at all? But you’re right, sometimes it’s just about letting go and dealing with all the trial and errors along the way that help us get as close to perfection as possible… and honestly, once we get there, we may not even care that it’s as close to perfect.. That’s been my experience at least!

    I used to mull over every post for hours just to make sure it was perfect, just to make sure it wouldn’t offend anyone, just to make sure every word usage was correct or suitable… now I just write a full draft, and I do a couple read-throughs for grammatical errors and then I post. BAM! Perfect or not, as long as I put something out there that I was proud of and now part of me!

    • Writing is weird sometimes, because there was a time I had become so disenfranchised by always having my work called crap by my editors that I started sending in first drafts—which were duly accepted without further comments. So maybe I’ve had an involuntary recalibration of the term ‘good’ lol.

      But what that’s let me see is that just because I spend more time on something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good, especially after the words have been processed through the readers’ biases.

      So yeah. Putting something out is the way to go, compared to splitting hairs and choosing not to publish instead.

      Always great to see you here, Jen!

  6. I appreciate this post from you! I can tell you feel out of your comfort zone when it comes to breaking blogging rules, and I so appreciate that you made yourself uncomfortable before our very eyes! I l super 💯 agree with letting go in this way. I think creative people will never and truly be able to thrive if they keep themselves in a box, or allow others to cage them. The courageous rebellion vibe that comes along with artistry is sort of why artists were put on this earth I think. Because they have the courage to do and say and share what others don’t. Even if it’s scary. So, yes, fuck rules and just write what you want. People will either like it or they won’t. And I like this one 🤣😬💖🌺🦋🔥

    • Oh yeah, it definitely took some doing to break the rules, especially since I’ve always had a format to follow my entire writing life.

      It felt pretty liberating, to be honest, and I was glad to explore another side of this medium. It’s almost made me look at the message as much as the presentation, and how they can meld together into one final product.

      Love your vibes in this comment. It’s definitely added a pop to me day!

  7. Ten minutes well spent. I love it when you go rogue! Didn’t know that about SEO and GIF penalties. I just can’t bring myself to take an SEO course/webinar because, well, I just don’t care enough about it to be bothered. Still, I love learning little tidbits about it from people who have taken the time to learn about it, so thanks!

    • You’ve made the right choice in not taking that class, because it’s all about execution anyway. You’d be able to get all you need online and on YouTube, and the rest is just elbow grease (which I, as an ex-marketer, can’t be bothered to care for my blog as well, lol).

      But there’s no denying its long-term benefits in generating traffic so…

      I guess I’ll just chalk it up to wanting to explore my artistic tendencies rather than caring about marketing :P

  8. Thanks Stuart. You’ve got me thinking! It seems to me that rules are good guides, but it’s okay in the power of creativity to be able to let them be just that. They are tools that help us produce great stuff but they are not meant to become form-fitting strictures. It’s okay to draw outside the lines! Let the muse be released!

    • Yas, the stories must flow, in whatever form it needs to take. I believe that the story—or the message—is more important than the presentation, but that also depends on the medium. Not gonna find lots of rule breakers in the newspapers, for instance. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. Lol… this is awesome man!! I literally thought you were using reverse psychology on your title. But I would’ve clicked and read the post anyway.

    I laughed out loud on the part about using power words in the titles. Cos that’s what my SEO plug-in tells me to do!! And since I am a newby, I just do what I’m told. It’s been an astonishing experience!! Haha

    I totally agree with your sentiments. Done is better than perfect… something i am trying to perfect! Ha!!

    • A ha. I feel like I’ve made it when you say you’d click on the post even though it appeared like I was pulling a fast one :P

      You’re being modest, because you’re far from a newbie. You have the total package, from amazing pics, to social media, to an interesting life outside of the blog.

      So many people can learn from you, myself included.

      And yes, let’s get that ‘done’ life over that perfectionist life all day, every day!

  10. Thanks for the post! :) I am sometimes guilty of the headings “tip”, but I honestly find them helpful to break up what I’m writing. I usually have a topic I want to write about and have the general thoughts in my head before I spill them out on the page (or screen, depending on how I feel). But I generally write how I want to write, I don’t worry about SEO, optimizing pages for searches or whatever. Otherwise, where does my voice go? Is it my voice anymore?

    Great post.

    • This is exactly why I love having different mediums to explore, because my voice in my diary, for example, would vary so much from my voice in my novel, or on the blog.

      So while I’m guilty of sticking to certain ‘standards’ while blogging, I let it all flow in my journal and sometimes find my true voice there. Very interesting topic, this thing about voice.

      Thanks so much for sharing your process, Steve. Great comment!

  11. That was fun! I’m a huge fan of breaking the rules, not just in writing, but, well, pretty much everything. In some situations, this doesn’t work (say, the time I tried to argue out of a speeding ticket by pointing out that I was really driving quite safely, if just a tad quicker than the posted number), but in other situations, my unconventional methods made other people more comfortable and made my teaching and writing better (or at least I think so, lol…I suppose I have no tangible proof of this).

    • Ha. I guess you gotta know the rules to break em, and by breaking them, maybe you learn which parts are important and which aren’t. Which helps with learning and understanding. Which brings us back to breaking rules. But of course, when it comes to the law, it pays to toe the line, lol. Anyway, thanks for your wonderful thoughts!

  12. The last two lines of the post are the best.

    I couldn’t help but think that while I was reading this how differently I read posts (especially on Medium). The more I read about how to craft searchable, SEO-rich posts the more I see behind the curtain. In turn, it makes me see articles differently. My perspective has gone from “Hmm, what can I learn here” to now looking at structure, tips, format, and other things. Not in the form of how they’re written, but more about that the writer is trying hard to follow the “rules.”

    It ultimately dilutes the intentions of the article, if that makes sense. In other words, if there were no “rules” would it be written differently? Not just structure, but information as well…?

    I write a ton for the fitness industry. Now, I can barely read anything in the fitness field because I’ve seen how the sausage is made.

    Medium (dot) com is a great example of this. I think most of the articles published are just trying to get eyes. Information and real learning suffer.

    This post, however, was great. It needed to be said.

    • I’m guilty of trying to fit into the mould of typical online publishing. I mean, best practices are there for a reason, and I myself read a certain way online (I expect to be able to skim, or else I’m out, for instance).

      Then again, what you say is true. Once you’re deep in your niche, you begin to see things as they are, and most times, online writing is just about the performance (or getting eyeballs) rather than actual knowledge.

      But don’t hate the player, eh? I guess that’s part of the fun of doing what we do. Trying to find new ways to reach people’s minds and hearts.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your lovely comment and your support, Brad!

  13. Haha great writing! I loved it Stu. I always just go as my mind takes me when writing my posts. The blog is my outlet into the world. And I love to use it as I like it. 😊
    Some people love it, some will hate. Can’t please everyone. Tried it. Didn’t work. 😊
    Have a fabulous day!

    • I love that you use your blog as an outlet. To be honest, I use it as a hybrid. Half to explore my voice, and another half to impress potential employers, lol. So I’m neither here nor there. But that’s the best part about blogging, ain’t it? Finding yourself? Anyway, thanks for stopping by as usual!

      • Thanks and you’re welcome! That’s also a good way to use it. I don’t think anyone would be interested in hiring me for my writing. So that’s not an aim, which probably takes off pressure. I “just” write to share, to inform, to show people that things can be sh*t at times. 😊 Wishing you a fabulous day 🌸 and I’ll keep following your posts!

  14. This post was actually quite fab!! Thanks for being so rebellious against all the “tips.” Have a great day….if you want to of course. Oh and the pink chair! It looks like one of those great massaging chairs at the nail salon that I may like even more than the pedicure I pay to sit in the chair and get! :)

    • Indeed! That chair has been a great place of comfort, especially after embarking on my ‘exercise every day’ journey. Too bad it’s broken now. Thanks so much for your kind support, Becky. I appreciate you!

  15. Haha! I had so much fun reading this. Thanks Stu. You may say that this is one of your most random post but I beg to differ. It actually takes a lot of skill coming across nonchalant-sounding, when in fact it’s clear to me that you’re laser-focused in your passion for writing to be ‘done rather than perfect’. It’s what keeps me keeping on even on or especially on those days I feel like I wrote trash! So thanks again man! I love your not-so-subtle admonition for us to break all the writing rules. Perhaps that’s what I’ll do in the near future. Peace bro!

    • You know, I even persuaded myself that perhaps I could break a few rules, and I plan on experimenting soon. Hopefully it doesn’t give me too many problems, lol.

      And nonchalant-sounding is the best sound. I’m honoured you’d say that.

      Always great to have you here, Kelvin. Keep on keeping on, no matter how you feel about the day’s work!

  16. The title alone was enough to attract my attention! Then I had to read right through because of the conversational style….you say there are no rules or you broke rules, but whatever gets my attention means IT’S WORKING! Hahaha 😆 This post was anything but BORING AND UNINFORMATIVE. Maybe the term ‘clickbait’ can be used in a positive way to describe how quickly we click on something we think is interesting. This post was interesting! Ok bye bye 👋

    • A ha. Great to know the reverse psychology in the title worked :P

      And yes, I’ve been giving that much thought lately. Who says that blogging has to be done a certain way? And what other ways can we attract readers? It’s a pretty interesting topic, for sure.

      Anyway, thanks for your kind words, Jeanne. Always glad to chat with you!

  17. You had me with your picture with the misaligned desk. I may have to use it for my next post on the mating habits of the tsetse fly. (Of course, I’ll use headers because someone told me that’s what it takes to be a successful blogger.) 🤣

    • Mi casa su casa. Would love to see my desk mentioned alongside a post on mating habits :P

      Perhaps next week I shall include the dinner table!

      Anyway, always glad to see you here, Pete!

  18. “Perfect” isn’t in my vocabulary in regard to blogging. I’m in the “done is better than perfect” camp as well. Once I improve at the “done” part, I’ll worry about the “perfect.”

    • That’s such a great way of looking at it. I too have a similar way of looking at things: If I can’t even finish a thousand-word draft, how am I going to publish a thousand-word article?

      Great to see you here, Hetty!

  19. A social worker once told me, “practice makes progress,” and as someone with a malicious perfectionism streak that was possibly the best advice I could have received. Trying to be “perfect” was wrecking me (and it still does, if I’m being completely honest) because every mistake that pointed out I wasn’t just shattered me. This is what your post reminded me.

    • You wanna know a secret? I even try to ‘perfect’ my journal entries with the assumption that someone might read it someday. How about that? I can’t even let go in my most private place. So yeah, here’s to ditching the need to even be ‘good’. Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

    • Not gonna lie, I actually did have loads of fun stepping out of my normal blogging structure. I might as well be a gang biker at this rate. Wooo! And yeah, it’s a great desk. It’s sadly been tainted with the impression of work and dread though :P

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

    • Lol, glad that I inserted the desk picture then. If that’s the case, I might start inserting more shoddily-taken pics to attract your attention! Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  20. Thanks for this clever/funny post Stuart. Oh perfectionism! You just have to believe in yourself, hit send and get that bloody post out there (a little editing of course) Otherwise, you’re procrastinating, doubting yourself and going NOWHERE 😕

    • Oh yeah. If it’s a choice between writing and not writing, posting or not posting, it’s always best to choose the one that involves taking action.

      Because posting a crappy blog is much better than hoping for the perfect one but not publishing anything.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, and for stopping by!

  21. I like this post. Throw paint at the wall, try something new and different, follow your own path and enjoy the process, let other people stick to remaining in the same lines if they want to, but you should have fun with your writing. <3

    • Trying something new is my motto, and I guess that’s why I have so many hobbies that I barely have to to get good at :P

      But yeah, it felt great to try something new for the blog, and it’s made me appreciate my ‘standard format’ so much more.

      Thanks for your kind words, and for stopping by!

      • Personally I think the reason that we find new things that we love doing only to abandon them after a short while, is because they are only meant there to find other ways for us to say what we’ve been thinking. A new language created with our hands and feet, but not necessarily meant for every day common use.

        Good job for you jumping out of your comfort zone. Please keep it up, it makes for really good reading. <3

      • Whoa, I love that term ‘a new language created with our hands and feet’. That certainly puts things in a new perspective for me. Thanks for that!

  22. Yes, how dare you bore us right off the bat Stuart 😂😂
    I just spent a day and a half agonizing that I can’t bet my niche right in my new bathroom as it’s just about sheetrocked in but I’m gonna do my damndest to get it perfect. You better know math if you are a contractor of there’s gonna be some head bashing. Ok so there is no perfect for sure but you’re pretty close, if you only do 2 drafts before you hit send. I must have 11 by the time I find a other error! 💖😂😂🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🌈
    Thanks for the laugh and motivation always! 💖

    • Always great to see you here Cindy :)

      You know what’s weird about editing? We all know we have to write several drafts to put out a ‘quality’ post, but I’ve found that a higher number doesn’t necessarily mean a better post.

      My stories that were accepted for publication were minimally edited, compared to some other pieces I poured my heart and soul into, lol. But it’s the work that’s the reward so I’m not complaining.

      Anyway, here’s to more laughs and motivation in the future!

      • Thanks Stuart and that’s so funny that the ones with fewer edits made better impressions and made it for publications over the ones your put your heart and soul into. Go figure and go figure why I’m not getting your messages and I have to go back and find them when I see your posts again.

        To more laughs, spam and always motivation at least from you!! 💖

  23. Have you started a movement here? Unblogging, like unschooling? I’m not sure but you have written another grand post and I don’t regret the time I took it read it.

    Do have a bit of desk envy though, that is a handsome desk 😍

    • Ha. I’d be honoured if I even get one person to start writing. That’d be a great movement.

      And thanks for the desk appreciation! It’s special to me now, because the moment I touch it, I get triggered to do ‘serious stuff’. It’s almost like the totem in Inception, lol, reminding me that this is my world.

  24. Interesting, I suspected by the end you were going to call it quits. I make up the outline as I go along – is that still an outline? And I don’t care for perfect but correct is a reasonable expectation (of my work, not yours). Your work is your work and welp mistakes happen.

    • Ha. I’m pretty sure my work is wrong on so many fronts, especially since I like to believe I’m more on the intuitive side of the spectrum. I guess you’re pretty much a pantser too, since you make things up as you go along, instead of having a plan in place before starting. Thanks so much for stopping by, Danny!

  25. Ok, I read through this rather quickly. Maybe it’s the third Starbucks coffee I’ve had. Maybe you’ve been drinking to many Starbucks?? And that made it a fast read??
    Either way, is that a massage chair next to your window, I think I need to sit in it. 😂

    • Yes that’s a massage chair indeed. A broken one though, and it has been that way for a few months now. The serviceman just doesn’t want to come. So I’m afraid sitting in it isn’t going to be that much different than sitting in a normal chair, lol.

      Here’s to more coffee!

  26. “Perfection is the enemy of progress”. This line is the best thing I’ve heard today. The unstructured writing is what kept me piecing the puzzle together. Great work!

  27. Awesome post! I love how you broke all the rules and it was still a good read. I don’t worry too much about the top tips. Oh, I’ve read plenty of those blogging advice articles but my head can only hold so much information. I write how I write, like it or not, that’s just the way it is.

    I do edit Razz’s work. He’d be the first to admit his spelling is horrible! But he definitely has his own style and I try not to mess with that. Sometimes I use subtitles, sometimes I don’t but I will always have pictures. I try to use photos we’ve taken so they may not be perfect but I have fallen into the stock photo sites for some posts. I hope to eventually use only our photos.

    Another great post, thanks Stuart!

    • Using our own photos is always the best, because it adds a personal touch to this medium that’s supposed to be personal anyway. Too bad I don’t practise what I preach :P

      But yeah, blogging is all about finding that balance between expressing ourselves and keeping the audience in mind. It’s a super interesting topic, if you ask me. Thanks so much for your comment here, and I always enjoy having you and Razz around!

  28. What a wonderful way of breaking rules. Just so you know, you failed to make me cringe with my screen reader.

    You know what would make me cringe? Every single paragraph be on a heading. Yeah. that’s a great way to get on my shit list as well. So break as many rules you like. Just don’t do that.

    You’re right about pictures. Who says they have to be clear and beautiful all the time? Though that’s easy for me to say, given I can’t see. But at least I have blindness for my defense for choosing bad pictures for my blog. That’s worth something, right?

    Also, will you please check your email? I’ve sent something to you, and I would love your feedback on it.

    • Does the screen reader process headings as paragraphs differently? It’s great to learn more about your perspective so I can be more knowledgeable on accessibility formatting.

      Ha. I might actually take a play out of Mark Manson’s book and even forgo images completely. That takes away one extra step in the publishing process, and might not even make a difference.

      Time for another experiment!

      And I saw your e-mail and will get back to you on that for sure!

  29. Call me a rule breaker because I very rarely make up an outline! I also don’t break up my posts and I mix it up with both pretty pictures and cellphone photos. 🤷‍♀️ I LOVE breaking the rules with purpose. I do proof read and re-write each blog about 100 times. Glad I have permission from a fellow rule breaker to break the rules… with purpose of course 🤪

    • Sometimes we just gotta break the rules to feel like a rebel, ya know? I feel like I’ve been all goody two shoes with my previous posts, but I’m now entertaining breaking the mould in future posts. Here’s to breaking the rules together, even without purpose. Ha!

  30. I think there’s a time and place for the polished and the unpolished, in blogging especially. I’m sometimes in the mood to read something that cuts straight to the point, but it’s often the off-the-cuff posts that give more insight into the writer themselves.

    As for writing fiction — I think of it like playing an instrument. You have to practice a lot to get good, but eventually you can sight-read a piece or improvise, and it sounds great. And there will still be important performances where you’re going to really prepare as much as you can, to create something as perfect as possible.

    • Great points here, Samuel! I, for one, am definitely not going to send a tongue-in-cheek manuscript over to a publisher, but after working with one and seeing the edits they’ve proposed, I sometimes wonder if I am indeed sending them the equivalent of a first draft through their eyes.

      Sometimes we stress ourselves out trying to create something perfect, only to have our haphazard pieces garner a warm reception. Weird how the creative field is sometimes.

      Anyway, thanks for your amazing perspective!

  31. I don’t know what a “fancy CTA” is, since I don’t even know what a CTA is, but this post was definitely entertaining, especially you breaking all the rules there at the end! :P
    I’ve never looked up top blog tips. I wonder if that’s why my blog isn’t more popular. Also, I don’t care that my blog isn’t more popular. I do include pics, however, because doesn’t everyone enjoy pics?
    This was the best line: Unless you’re a Sith. Thanks for the fun post. :)

    • I don’t know, your blog looks pretty danged popular at the moment, especially seeing how jiu-jitsu rarely garners any interest (we’re only a select few, after all). I am actually curious about that ‘best practice’ regarding images though. I might go imageless for a while and see what happens.

      And thank YOU for the fun reply!

      • I’d be interested to learn what you discover by going imageless. The different headlines idea is pretty good. The diversity of sizes is a nice visual break. As you see in my latest post, I had to stretch to find an image. I didn’t want the one at the end to pop up in social media and give away the “punch line.” ;)

  32. This is precisely the kind of content I signed up for when I followed/subscribed. Until this week, I’ve never outlined my posts and the only reason I’m using an outline now is because they’re major informative posts (and will be long). I won’t have room to go off track. Otherwise, yeah, I typically just write what I need to say and if people don’t like it, oh well. I’m so glad you broke all these rules. This was a fun post to read!

    • I feel like blogging—just like journalling—doesn’t have a real formula, and our only goal is to produce a finished product. However we end up at the finish line is our prerogative. So it’s great that you know when to use outlines, and when not to, according to your personal style.

      I myself, like to think that I function through structure and rules, so it was great fun not blogging to ‘maintain a certain standard’, especially when those standards are my own, lol.

      I appreciate your lovely words, and here’s a lifetime of fun writing for you, best practices or not!

  33. The best posts come from following your gut I reckon – when we are winging it. It’s over editing that waste time and in the end butchers what you wrote in the first place. “the stupid editor in your head doesn’t know a thing about what other people want” – that’s worth remembering every time you sit down to edit. Needed to hear this one today Stuart – thank you 🙏

    • Ha. A cracks me up to hear a pilot say ‘winging it’. And yes, overthinking the final product is a waste of time sometimes, isn’t it? Because what are we going for? The thing that makes US happy? Or our audience?

      Admittedly, it depends who we write for, and we can pick a different audience in different stages of our writing, but yeah, overthinking is generally just wasted energy.

      Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts!

      • Haha. Yes, I have to set limits now – review/edit my post a couple of times then let it go and move on. The problem with the internal editor is it’s never good enough. Cheers Stuart – take it easy 🙏

  34. Putting my hand up as someone who just published a post and THEN spotted five spelling errors, despite previewing it three times? Sometimes perfect really doesn’t exist. A post that I once wrote on a whim landed me a guest post on a woman’s heath site, and a post that I wrote completely unrelated to my niché (though still interesting to me) has had pingbacks not less than four times. Sometimes when I revise SEO I read an old post and wonder what on Earth I’d had for breakfast that day. You’re right. perfect doesn’t exist, only your best does.

    On a side note here, let me tell you about two bloggers that I engage with and follow. One of them I used to envy, she had more than 600 followers and seemed popular and successful. Suddenly she stopped blogging for about six months, and when she returned, she started right at the very beginning. She’s now asking me for tips in our niche because she gets stuck and doesn’t have confidence in her blog, even though I once envied her. For the other, her follower count is in the thousands. Again I was envious, but then she admitted in a post that she’d bought views and wasn’t breaking even. Suddenly, when I looked at the figures, it made a lot of sense – she had hundreds of likes, but not many comments on her posts and she was working long hours on content and social media, all in the name of success. I’ve never done anything of the sort. I rely entirely on SEO and interacting with other bloggers and suffice to say, it does definitely pay off. I’m okay with only maybe reaching 60 views a day because that’s purely organic traffic. People aren’t reading me because I’ve paid them to, they’re reading me because they want to and that’s an incredible and very humbling feeling.

    NB. I love your authenticity, by the way. Kudos Stuart!

    • I think you struck gold on your point. Maybe turn this into a blog post of its own? The bloggers who are just starting out can certainly use it.

      I never pay for the traffic on my site, even though people insist that I should do it. I rather have 10 people who read me and support me, because they like my content, instead of 100 people (or bots) reading my content just because they’re paid.

      I do need to up my SEO game though.

      • Tanish thank you, I certainly will. I’ve got plans for the next few weeks but it’s in my planner now for the start of next month. Once written down, it won’t be forgotten.

        I didn’t know paid followers were a thing (in the blogosphere, anyway) until recent, but it’s not something I’d do. In truth, only a few days ago I skimmed back how much I was investing in my blog because I realised that I was bleeding money. I was paying for Adobe stock images, Canva, automated dead link checker and a few more on top. You want the best for your blog, but there comes a time when what you’re putting in is a lot more than what you’re getting out. I’ve been thinking about setting up a mailing address for reviews and fan mail, but then I think I’m not big enough yet to do that. Merch? I need to find out if that interests my audience first. It’s so easy to throw everything at your blog in the hope of making it work, but it’s very rarely a good idea. You are completely right about follower counts too. I only have 189 followers, but so what? There was a time (and under a different domain that I sort of wish I’d kept now) I had 600+. More than half of those were spam accounts and not real bloggers anyway. It’s not good for your SEO if you have dozens of spam followers. Better a few real ones than hundreds of fake ones.

        Haha don’t mention SEO! I have dozens of posts (probably 150-200+) that don’t have any SEO at all on them, because I didn’t know what SEO was until after I’d spent months depending on the algorithm. I now go back through and edit 10 posts every couple of days to pull things up to speed, but it’s a long and arduous process. I still need to go through my media and add alt text on a whole bunch of images too, but hey, it will be worth it in the end. Good luck with your blog and thank you for replying to me :)

    • Right? How we see our OWN work changes as our own moods change too, so I know that what I’m feeling right now will not reflect accurately on the quality of the post.

      Case in point, when tipsy, my drafts always feel like the best thing I can gift to mankind. Upon sober reading, not so much.

      So who’s to say that the ‘perfect’ post we just wrote is going to feel the same to us one week from now?

      I can definitely relate to having what feels like rough drafts being picked up for publication, while the pieces we worked harder on go ignored. I’ve since stopped wishing for acclaim and just create for the sake of it (and enjoy the process), because there’s so little I can control outside of that.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience from your point of view, especially with how you see yourself among other bloggers. That’s an enlightening perspective to add here.

      Appreciate your wonderful comments as always, Helen. And thanks once more for your kind words!

      • Haha Stuart! You do make me laugh because yes, 100%. I can start off feeling confused and hopeful, then feel bored, then energised, then like maybe I should just step off of the podium right now. It’s amazing how external influences can alter our moods (and therefore our work) too. For example, if my dog barks or someone rings the doorbell, that breaks my concentration and usually by the time I come back to it, I’m not in the same flow. I definitely think that carries forward.

        Haha hey, when we’re tipsy then EVERYTHING can seem like the best thing in the world. Tipsy me once stoood sober me in the fountains in central Bristol and fed a random duck some hot potato wedges, all while having a thoroughly good conversation with it. I also apparently kicked my shoes off one night and proceeded to walk on the double yellow no parking lines, all while loudly declaring “choo choo! I’m a train!” and thoroughly enjoying myself. Needless to say, I drink quite a bit less these days!

        As always it’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for replying to me, Stuart!

    • Lol, I have no idea why this comment went into the ‘approval’ folder when you should already be approved, but I guess your latest comment does provide more insight into this one :P

  35. Love the uninformative and boring title – I find that once I find a blog I like, the title or headings don’t matter to me because I’m interested in what the author has to say even if it isn’t packaged with power words :)..agree, perfectionism can truly get in the way of publishing a post or doing anything, really.

    • Awh, I truly appreciate what you said, and I’m honoured that you’d give my content a chance despite the titles. It’s really a privilege to read comments like yours. Here’s to more expressing our creativity, and less pursuing fake perfection!

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