How is a New Blog Like a ’66 Mustang?

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Filed under: Blogging, Writing Tips 

66 MustangI didn’t get my first car until I was 22.  I know, a total late-bloomer in the auto department!  I was starting graduate school in Phoenix, AZ and as a gift, my parents got me a sssuhweeeeet metallic blue 1966 Ford Mustang.  It was in great condition and I was immediately in love.

That Mustang was awesome!  A cool, classic car that got noticed — and got ME noticed, too!  I always felt kinda sexy every time I walked up to it in a parking lot, surrounded by look-alike Japanese compacts, boring late model Fords, and status symbol Mercedes.

Unfortunately, my cute little Mustang had a few drawbacks.  For one thing, it had no air conditioning.  Did I mention this was in Phoenix? Where it’s like a bazillion degrees in the summer?  It only took one burning micro-second to know that I had to put a towel on those leather seats. Yieeee!

Another quirky issue was the radio.  Naturally there was no CD or cassette player.  But for some mysterious reason the radio only played one station.  An AM station.  No FM at all, which meant no top 40, classic rock, ‘smooth listening’, or NPR.  No, the only music muscle this little muscle car had to flex was an AM oldies station playing songs from the 50‘s and 60‘s.  Aawwhh, how cute.  How apropos!

But after about 4 months of driving the Mustang – with the windows open, blaring Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and the Beach Boys, all those little quirks started to wear me down.  I longed to arrive at my destination without my hair being a frizzie mess and feeling hot and sticky all over.  I longed for FM radio and a tape deck so I could listen to Madonna, Prince and Janet Jackson.  Hey! This was the 80’s after all!  Oh, and wouldn’t it be more convenient to have power steering, power windows and power locks?  And what about a cup holder, people?!!

So what does this have to do with your new blog?

Because like the feelings I had with my first car, you’re probably thrilled to have a blog that looks decent, functions well, and allows you to maneuver reliably.  In other words, it meets your basic needs. Back then, I was just happy to have a car.  Having never owned a car, I didn’t know the value of all those modern extras.  I needed to drive a basic model first before learning what else I wanted and preferred.

And that goes for your blog as you’re just beginning.  Have a decent and uncomplicated theme to start out.  Make sure you have the fundamental features and plugins, like All In One SEO, Anti-Spam, ShareThis and an RSS feed.

As you get going, your writing will also be somewhat stripped down and spare; following some of the easier writing formats like list posts, how-to posts and citing other blogs and articles.  The length of your posts will probably be on the shorter side, too, maybe 300 – 500 words.

As you continue to ‘drive’ your blog, your voice and specific topic(s) will evolve and get stronger, too.  After you build some experience posting to your blog, you can step into something more complex – an opinion post, a series, an interview, or an in-depth compare & contrast post (Week #7 of our 52-weeks of post ideas that our Quick Start Guide readers receive).

And like me with my beloved Mustang, after a while you’re going to want a few more convenient bells and whistles.  You’re going to want a spiffier design, maybe a different banner, different colors, more interactive plugins like Tag Clouds, Calendars, or RSS by Email subscription.

These features are groovy, but you’re probably not going to need them right off the bat as you get the hang of blogging.  If I’d gotten a high-performance BMW or slick Ferrari as my first car, I certainly would have appreciated the way it looked and felt, but I would have been clueless about how to drive it to it’s fullest capability, and probably garnered a few speeding tickets along the way.

So let your blog, and your new online skills, evolve and progress.  Start simply and reliably, then incorporate advanced options and posts.

After finishing graduate school and heading off to my next adventure in Japan, my parents took the car back and eventually sold it.  I hope it brought as much magic, Motown, and messy hair to the next owner as it did for me.   Cheryl


4 Comments on How is a New Blog Like a ’66 Mustang?

  1. Lisa Schliff on Fri, 19th Mar 2010 5:58 am
  2. Aw, this blog reminds me of my first car: a little yellow Karman Ghia that my mother bought me. It brings to mind a few stories of its own. Nice segue into blogging, my dear.

  3. Allison Bliss on Fri, 19th Mar 2010 10:03 am
  4. omg Cheryl, this is hilarious – and also makes such a good point. I have so much to learn from you – I soooooooooo need to get to this bkfst club. I just love your writing – really to the point and fun to read.

    Your fan, Ali

  5. Debbie Zachry on Fri, 19th Mar 2010 5:51 pm
  6. Seeing that I just signed up to attend your Jumpstart Blogging Workshop tomorrow, this was perfect timing for me. Thank you for sharing how its ok to start out with the basic model and that you don’t have to have the all the bells and whistles of the fancy model until later.

  7. Beth Barany on Sun, 21st Mar 2010 6:29 pm
  8. Debbie, It was so great to see you on Saturday. Thanks for attending our Jumpstart Blogging Workshop. We’ll see you soon!

    Allison, I know! Isn’t Cheryl’s writing hilarious? I love it. We look forward to seeing you soon at our next Breakfast Blogging Club. We do still have a few opening for April 13th.

    Lisa, What a fun little car you had! Those Karman Ghias are cute.