Some of my Highlight Blogs of 2010

By way of explaining my lack of blogs of late, I tend to take a blog sabbatical this time of year and pick up sometime in January.  But I do have a tradition of compiling a list of blogs you may have missed during the year.  Not including reviews which garner a good chunk of traffic (such as Legend of the Guardian, Inception, Wolverine and the X-Men, and House M.D.  (Part I and Part II)), here are either my favorites or the ones which get the most traffic:

Shame On Us – weirdly enough, other than a few review blogs, this was the most read and most landed on blog of mine.

Road to Mo*Con VI – my single highest read blog.  And I was just announcing one of the topics of conversation for next year’s Mo*Con.

After a stint of vagabond spiritualitysermon exhaustion, and church shopping (part I and part II), the Broaddus family settled on a new church home.  Right out the box I wrote Our Church Stinks and My Pastor Irritates the Crap Out of Me (which the church leadership absolutely loved).

Why do you people still need all that Black Stuff – I try to avoid getting sucked into discussions going on on the internet, but sometimes I just can’t resist commenting.

PC Challenges of being an Editor – it’s really not that hard to have an inclusive, diverse looking Table of Contents when putting together an anthology.

The Artist and the Church – finding our way as artists with our love/hate relationship with (and from) the church.

What would Republican Jesus Do – this is me not wading into political discussions…

On the writing career front, we have The 40 Year Old Virgin (Writer), The Crossroads, and A Time for Career Selfishness.

There were a few blogs on poverty, which has inspired a project I’m working on:  A Day of Day Street with Outreach Inc (part I and part II), This is not a Soup Kitchen, Helping the Homeless, and Poor People are Not Grateful.

The Seduction and Toxicity of Victimhood.  AND The Private Lives of Writers and the Blurred Lines of Ministry.

Some of My Highlight Blogs of 2009

I’m still stunned about how many words I commit to this blog in a year. As is the tradition around this time, each year I manage to summon enough ego to come up with a list of my best or favorite blogs that I’ve written over the course of the year. I define “favorite” as blogs which elicited the most discussion/angry e-mails. It’s a bit of a jump on point and, as usual, there’s a mix of spiritual, race, and writing discussions. In no particular order:

Emotional Affairs (AKA No Longer Just Friends) – Might as well get this elephant out of the room right off. There was much debate about whether I should have gone so public with so private a matter. Then again, have you met me?

Obviously, the blog took an introspective turn in light of this: Walls, Forgiveness Takes Time, God’s Failed Ambassadors, and Wounded Story Tellers. And I Hate(d) Nicknames.

“Just a Servant” – A few ideas on the idea of leadership.

Post-Racial Church: the myth and the hope – with all this talk about things being “post-racial”, the more things change … the more they stay the same

I’m Just Praying – Sometimes I just struggle with what it means to pray in faith

RaceFail ’09: Why horror ignores the elephant in the room – I keep saying I’m not going to wade into these debates, then somehow someone (read: Chesya) pushes the right button …

FNDP: Believing the Lie and Embracing the Truth – I still get requests to resurrect the Friday Night Date Place column. Maybe one day. However, this was a fave.

Belly Pride (Eat THAT Kate Moss) – Ok, I still giggle that my wife posed for that pic.

Oddest Places – My essay for the Spirit and Place Festival. You can also hear it read by me.

My Best Blogs 2008

As you can imagine, this is a busy time of year for me. Teh Interwebz rejoice at the fact that I haven’t been blogging at nearly my regular clip (though, I have found that if I’m working on new fiction, as opposed to editing, I can’t put my head towards any blogs or reviews).

Anyway, between Christmas parties, Christmas preparation, church and family duties, our church moving and making some major changes, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve party preparation, and Christmas deadlines as I wrap up a few projects to clear the deck for next year, I’ve been swamped (and weary). Although, now that I’ve wrapped up the most recent fiction project and before I begin my next, I’ve been thinking about a few blog themes for next year. I know that race will be a recurring theme probably tying in with the administration of our first Black president. I’m sure I’ll be having the spiritual thought or two, and I am waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on reviews.

With that in mind, I see that everyone is turning in their best of 2008 lists. The only subject I can speak with any authority on is … me. So I give you, in no particular order, my best blogs of 2008 (a wholly subjective list with me defining “best” as the blogs which received either the most comments, most hits, or were simply my personal favorites):

Emerging Frustrations – as always, I both love and am frustrated by the church.

Spiritual Perspective on Culture – it’s just something I love to do. Ironically, a “criticism” I often get is that I can “find Jesus in anything.” I don’t really see that as a bad thing.

My Name is Earl: A Doubter’s Faith – this just spoke to where I can find myself all too often. And it’s not necessarily a bad place.

Fundamentalist Atheism – I really liked this blog though apparently some of my atheist friends weren’t as keen on it as I. Then again, once I posted my An Atheist and a Pastor Go to a Convention series, I think it became more apparent the kind of atheism I was talking about. Sure, I could have simply called it “Militant Atheism”, I just love the juxtaposition of some atheists adopting the worst of the tactics they call out about religion.

Notepad Worship? – I just like it.

Why I Haven’t Self-Published – yeah, I got letters on this one.

Not Dancing to the Tune of the Pied Dobson – okay, I got hate mail on this one.

The situation of homelessness weighs on me, be they Panhandlers or simply their state of Invisibility.

Some Fools Exhaust Me – During my nearly three year tenure writing for Indy.com, no column was praised more. Though it’s strange sitting in a restaurant and having white men in business suits come up to you and say “black people, we do not get to pee on our youth!”

Yes, I’m Still Pro-Life. Are You? – um, did I mention the hate mail?

http://www.mauricebroaddus.com/2008/05/friday-night-date-place-true-beauty
The Burning Ceremony – a personal favorite. Dedicated to far too many of the ladies in my life. (True Beauty was another personal favorite though).

http://www.mauricebroaddus.com/2008/08/god-of-boobies
God of the Boobies. Come on, you HAD to see that coming.

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Weekend Link Salad Round Up

And here are some blogs which caught my attention over the last week:

Undercover Black Man exposes more political chicanery as an anti-Obama site pretends to be a black power site. Note to all would be political saboteurs: you probably don’t want to register sites in your own/real name.

An ocean separates the issue of diversity on television. Over here we wonder why is TV so white? Whereas over on the BBB, we have execs lamenting that there are too many black and Asian faces on TV.

On the writing front, have you ever read a blog post that not only makes you want to be a better writer, but think more creatively in terms of what it means to even write? And then there’s a blog on posts that draw in more than the usual number of readers to a blog.

On the spiritual front, the question for the day: Is “Christian humanism” a good expression for central themes in the emerging movement? And then there are a few thoughts on James Dobson’s comments on Barack Obama.

In the “feud” between Ice-T and Soulja Boy, game set match to the creators of this video. Speaking of which, here are 25 Things That Killed (and are Still Killing) Urban Music.

And in my continual struggles with BET, we have a new video produced by BET executive Reginald Hudlin whose theme is that “coon-ass rappers” who traffic in negative images are “sellout niggas” who ought to be lynched. Then again, we had the BET Image Awards where Li’l Wayne felt the need to thank God. (Of course, I’m obviously would be in the camp of needing to thank God for His patience with me considering what I write).

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.

My Blog Birthday

Today is my third year birthday for this blog. It’s finally coming out of the terrible two’s: it is learning to talk back, throw tantrums, and still often drool on itself.

Though a lot of my friends had blogs/Live Journals at the time and some spoke of the marketing advantages such things had to aspiring writers, my first comment to the blogosphere involved nothing related to writing, spirituality, race, or pop culture. No, it was an encounter with a crazy @$$ squirrel.

That, ghetto weddings, and white trash weddings are my legacy to teh interwebz.

Now, instead of checking to see how much my blog is worth, let’s check its readability:

Difficult to Read

[Results: Difficult to Read]

P.S. – My friend, Richard Dansky has a new story up over on Pseudopod. Go forth and check it out.

Writer’s Blogs

Every time a bell rings, another person starts a blog … and apparently that bell is ringing a lot.  As writers, I wouldn’t say that it’s mandatory for you to have a blog, but I would highly recommend it.  I’m going to confess something: I’m subscribed to around 100 or so LiveJournals, Xangas, MySpaces, and blogs.  Many just to keep up with friends and colleagues, some for industry (both writing or religious) news, some just to read other writers.  Writing is a solitary pursuit and the blogosphere has allowed a sense of community by being our water cooler.  Also, blogs serve as a convenient way to communicate with fans.

The problem is that as more and more people start up blogs, the amount of noise in the blogosphere increases and the less likely you are to be heard.  Without a platform to spring from, it is hard to launch a new blog with enough splash to draw notice.  Then there’s the sad reality that most writer’s blogs aren’t that interesting.  I can count on two hands how many writer’s blogs I look forward to reading.  I don’t know, maybe writers don’t have much to say outside of their work.  Maybe writer’s just aren’t naturally interesting people, after all, we spend our time by ourselves in front of keyboards.  You would thing that, hey, you’re writers: fictionalize your life and make it interesting if you have to.  I have a much cooler online persona than I have in real life (or at least that’s the lie I’m telling myself).

There are a few things to consider when it comes to deciding whether you want to commit to having a blog.  They can be a time sink. I can’t tell you how many hours I wile away writing blogs, checking for replies to my blogs, checking for replies to my replies on blogs, and so on.  So you have to ask yourself if you only have an hour or so to write a day, do you want to spend it blogging?  I do, but I consider blogging part of the discipline of writing daily, no different than journaling.

There are several advantages to having a blog.  They are great vehicles to drive traffic to your web site.  Your site is a fairly static place, but your blog is a regularly updated place that can be used to increase your name recognition.  For me, blogging allows me to have something for folks to read from me between my short stories getting to the marketplace.  In the same vein, you can used your blog to develop an alternative audience for your writing.  I know several horror writers who have cultivated whole new fanbases around their blogs because, while many folks might not pick up a hardcore horror novel, they will read intelligent, well written thoughts on various subjects.  Blogs can sometimes pay for themselves.  My blogs are a trove of potential essay material that I can draw on for non-fiction work (though remember, things posted on your blog are considered published).

Remember, your blog becomes your public face.  Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts:

DO:

-blog about something.  Content is king.  If your blog is about something, some central theme, people will seek you out.  Being a cancer survivor, being a writer, writing tips, being an editor, life as an agent – write about some topic you have some expertise on.  With my blog, I believe that I have something to say in the areas of spirituality, writing, and pop culture analysis (maybe another delusion.  I sometimes confuse it with being in love with my own words).

-mix in some touch of the personal.  Every now and then writing something on the personal side allows for a reader connection.

-be passionate, be interesting, be engaging.  At the very least, we are most passionate and most interesting when writing about the things we care and know about.

-update regularly.  I would suggest at least weekly, but however often enough to give people a reason to come back or subscribe to you.  You set the schedule and train your readers to come back, so be regular.  However, there do seem to be tiers of blogging schedules that increase traffic:  weekly, daily, three times daily.  Each level will see a bump in traffic.

-write well.  One would think that one wouldn’t have to mention this to writers, but if you claim to be a writer, treat your blog like you would any other piece of writing.  Edit it, be aware of how it looks on the page, and at the very least, spell check.

DON’T:

-just throw up a random jumble of your thoughts.  Few people can get away with having their grocery lists published, even fewer can keep readers by having long rambling blogs.

-take your break ups with your significant other to the blog.  Don’t take your hurt feelings about having a story rejected to the blog. Don’t take your frustrations with an agent to your blog.  Don’t get me wrong, if I’m reading you meltdown, you will greatly amuse me.  I love a good train wreck, in fact, I will direct friends to you and we will point and laugh.  However, it is your career and you will be judged by prospective agents, editors, and other pros as well as potential readers.

-overwhelm your readers.  I’ve been told that people shouldn’t blog too often or multiple times a day nor should their blogs be very long because folks have a short attention span.
-don’t let it become a time sink.  To help out in that regard, here are a few tools that you ought to familiarize yourself with (but not obsess over): Statcounter, Marketleap, Technorati.

Lastly, know when to violate any lists of dos and don’ts.  I’m blogging about blogging.  I’m so meta.