Yesterday I was having coffee and carrot cake (yes, I was a bad girl and went off my diet) with a friend. I complained about a blog I had read that was just this long rant with no substance (and wasn’t funny to boot). Her response? But isn’t that one of the main forms of blogging – the long rant? Now, this friend doesn’t blog, but she is incredibly well-informed, intelligent, and reads blogs of others. Which means that I – unfortunately – have to take her comment seriously.
First of all, let me say that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ranting per se. I love a good rant as much as the next person. And sometimes you need to blow off steam with a loud, uncontrolled outburst. But – keeping in mind that blog posts are on a public forum that never dies – is it a good idea to write a blog post that is a full-on raging rant? It depends. (Sorry, I am a recovering lawyer and can’t help but use that response sometimes even though it makes me cringe. Seriously, I’m sitting in my office chair cringing right now.)
But – and here’s where it gets tricky – you can’t just rant. Not only is that a bit juvenile, but it effects how your readers view you. If you don’t care how others view you, good for you. I’m more than a bit jealous of that as I have to care how others view me. I’m not only a blogger but a novelist and – no matter how much I pretend otherwise – I want to sell my novels. Even if you aren’t a writer, if you are using your blog as a platform to market any product or service, you need to be aware of how your blog posts make you look to potential clients.
So how can you rant in a blog post without it turning into full on rant that may or may not turn away blog followers and therefore potential readers and/or clients? Substance and/or humor. If you’re upset about something – for instance, the inability of writers to know the difference between past or passed – you can complain (=rant) about how uneducated indie writers are. Or you can explain the difference in a simple, though not entirely rant-free manner, like I did here.
Another way to add substance is to analyze the problem instead of just ranting poor me, life is so unfair. For example, my blog post Why not me? started as more than a bit of a rant about how unfair it is that some writers are more successful even though their books are not properly edited and their stories unoriginal. Instead of crying about how unfair life is (although I do spend a fair amount of time doing that with a glass of wine), I looked at the reasons why some books are more popular than others and how some writers gain marketing success. I won’t lie, the blog was still a rant, but it turned into something more. In fact, a few writers wrote to thank me for the post.
If you don’t want to sound like an uppity bitch who knows better than everyone else, you can add humor to your rant as well as substance. I like to think I always add humor to my blog posts. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be funny all the time. I do try, though.
In conclusion, the answer to this eternal question – to rant or not to rant – is yes! Go forth and rant. But don’t forget to add substance and/or humor. (Please feel free to rant about my blog post about ranting in the comments.)