You’re a student who has been in multiple writing classes before. You’ve written a few stories that impressed your teachers, your friends, your parents. That red A-plus written on the top corner of your Magnum Opus still smiles at you when you collect the milk for your Cheerios in the morning. You’re no newbie to writing, this is true.
But now you’re in college, and you’re staring at a blank page. The professor in your Introduction to Creative Writing class wants a blog entry to post on the class discussion board by Monday morning. The blue neon clock on your dresser is piercing your weary eyes at midnight on Sunday. What in the world are you going to blog about? And what is a blog, anyway?
The blog appeared in the late 1990s as a shortened form of the weblog, consisting of online content similar to an essay, but which started a conversation. The World Wide Web swarmed with content evolved into a global commentary. Blogs contained content ranging from pizza toppings, to historical sites, types of sponges and even sandpaper. As life became faster and social media integrated further into society, blogs taught the world to communicate with fewer and fewer symbols. Twitter showed us that stories could be written in 140 characters. As a society, we learned how to say more with less.
Desperate for topics, you pull up the Google and perform a search on blogs. But your search is random. One result leads to a real estate blog covering changes in a Chicago neighborhood. Another result gives you ten thousand entries covering various types of cheese. The third leads you to a webpage about defeating aquatic monsters on Metroid Prime. You toss your fourth can of Mountain Dew into the recycling, but its sugary contents fail to keep you awake.
Blog posts can be about anything. Think about things that interest you. Maybe you’re the only student in your dorm who’s finished the latest Fallout game. Write about that. You volunteered for your old elementary school? Fantastic, write about that. Before returning to school, you served two tours in the Navy? Thank you for your service. Write about anything that’s declassified. If it’s a subject that interests you, write about it – the more obscure and the more off-kilter, the better. The best part about blogging is that there are millions of people on the web these days, and odds are at least two people in the world might be interested in any given subject that you choose.
Once you have your topic in mind, think of how that subject affects you. Have you engaged in this subject with others, or is it more of an individual activity? Does it have the potential to start a conversation among its patrons? Even if you’re stuck wondering whether or not these questions can be answered, remember that it’s a public record. Anything you say online may be there forever. Be prepared to stand by your words. If you’re passionate about your subject, and can defend your words with honest conviction, you’ll be surprised at what kind of conversations can result.
Go write that blog about what it was like the first time you used Elmer’s Paste in second grade. Write about that day you fell down the stairs and broke your leg. Write about a time that you ordered other than your usual at your favorite restaurant. If it’s a topic that gets people talking, you might discover a different angle to your subject that has challenged your own views and interpretations. You might even decide to expand your understanding of the subject, or even related subjects you‘ve never researched before. Not only will your professor be happy, but in a few years you just might be writing a dissertation that leads you to that six figure job, pitching your ability to creatively attack a solution, all because of how you decided to look into the origin of a subject as innocuous as cottage cheese.
Above all, don’t be afraid to pick a subject that challenges you. At the end of the day, blogging is just freestyle writing that starts a conversation among peers.
Time to write that paper. What will you blog about today?
Meet the blogger:
J.D. DELZER is a published author with two novels of adventure fantasy. He is also a recent graduate of Hamline University with a BFA in Creative Writing. You can often find him either in front of a computer writing or with a Nintendo controller in his hands. His three greatest inspirations are nature, novels, and his cat.