The Graveyard of Blog Posts

Some blog posts are alive and well. They live in the sunny internet, being read and commented on, and sometimes even admired. However, some of their brethren are marginalized, hidden, and, sometimes (gasp!), even deleted.

Every time a blog post doesn’t make it, a smiley turns into a frowney :-(

Not all blog posts see the light of the day. After a thoroughly unscientific research, I came to realize these forgotten posts are split into five groups:

  1. Untimely. Blogging about Mother’s Day in June, or baseball close to Christmas etc.
  2. Too silly. Some bloggers use personal anecdotes to illustrate bigger aspects of life. The kid who embarrassed a helpless parent, the salesperson who wouldn’t take no as an answer, the old high-school flame who hit on the married blogger: they all become a character in the blog post, and the starting point of a more serious discussion about behavior, society, or culture. But sometimes the blogger just can’t make that connection. Instead of a riveting blog post, the piece ends up reading like a lukewarm Facebook status update.
  3. Too controversial. The blogger has a strong opinion, and not a popular one. The blogger might think the post will offend or turn off her potential readers and decide to archive the post. Maybe she’ll unearth it when she is more established and the readers won’t look at her with suspicion. Renée Schuls-Jacobson wrote a great piece about a mysterious post that she decided not to publish. Side note: as we all know, stay away from politics and religion. See also Rachelle Gardner’s post about topics to avoid.
  4. Too personal. The blogger wants to share a personal event of his life. It might be a medical struggle of some sort, a chronicle of hard times, a grim tale of violence. However, the blogger sees that this particular story is too private, and that it could change the audience’s perception of the blogger. The blogger could be forever linked with the post, for better or worse.
  5. Not good enough. The idea is brilliant; the execution is not. I have a few of those buried in my hard drive :-) I have at least three drafts for which I can’t find the right tone.

Personal example of number 3: I wrote a post about a beloved figure who I think has his accomplishments grossly overrated. I was fair, and I wasn’t attacking this person in any way, but his following is so rabid that questioning his quasi-divinity would put the mob in a frenzy. Result: deleted first draft.

Did I miss any reasons? And what about you? Have you ever dropped a blog post?

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33 comments on “The Graveyard of Blog Posts

  1. emmaburcart

    Good list. You forgot my #1 reason: I have no idea where it is on my computer. The Bermuda Triangle that is my documents folder. For the non-tech-saavy, that is a big one. :)

  2. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

    Thanks for the mention. I’m soooo glad I didn’t post that. Not everything has to go on the blog. Some things can find other homes in larger venues, magazines… Etc. And you were wise to avoid something venomous. What good can come if it?

  3. susielindau

    I think what really lures people to a post is a great title. The one’s that don’t, have less hits. I found out yesterday with the blog party where everyone left a link to a post that not too many had seen, that there are a tremendous number of great stories that don’t get read. It takes time to build a following.

    I also discovered that a lot of people are reading my stuff, but not bothering to leave a comment, which is cool too!

    You can still post a link. People are still stopping by to meet new readers. I am going to host another next month, so people get another chance.

    I rarely read Row 80 posts (I have to read tons of posts each day), overtly political or religious. I have to be careful not to leave my avatar on anything too smutty either! Not that I ever read that kind of thing. Ahem! Hahaha!

  4. Melinda VanLone

    I have one of those. I wrote a lament to the death of my furbaby…and it’ll probably stay on my hard drive because really, who wants to read that? Talk about a downer. But it made me feel better to write it so I did.

  5. sheilapierson

    Since my blog is my own personal writing experiment, I write pretty much what I want. I’ve been trying to do a piece of flash fiction, a poem and then a general post about writing or some random thought I’m having. I don’t necessarily think you have to avoid politics and religion, but it’s in how you handle these topics that make the difference. The number 4 reason you list, too personal, is definitely a rule I follow, though. Thanks for a great post by the way – I think you followed your own rules nicely!

  6. Jennette Marie Powell

    I have drafts that will likely forever remain drafts, and ideas that will probably never be written, for all the reasons you list. Another reason could be, the post is not really of interest to anyone but me, which I realized after I started writing it. Other drafts remain unfinished because I lost interest before I was done writing them, or started them, didn’t finish, and for whatever reason never went back to them.

  7. Patricia O'Dea Rosen (@patodearosen)

    Jeez, Fabio, now I’m fretting that I’ve published two many posts that qualify as categories 2, 4 and 5. I really should write posts in advance. As it is, I don’t give myself time to delete. Luckily, I’m not a fan of controversy and am not predisposed to take swipes at anyone. Life’s too short.

  8. Karen McFarland

    Ain’t that the truth Fabio! We all want to hit the sweet spot with our blogging audience. But the more I post, the more I’m beginning to think that it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. I have on occation deleted a post. Sometimes, like this week, I will test the waters and blog on a topic that perhaps might not be the most popular of subjects. Then of course my readers never know what I’m going to be talking about. LOL! I just want to appeal to people’s hearts. If I can make them feel good about themselves, be of help to someone, encourage others, that makes me happy. I like to help others enjoy life! Great post Fabio! :)

  9. Coleen Patrick

    Sometimes I end up not completely connecting with a post. i write a draft and then end up not finding the point that matters to me. So I leave it and when I’m looking for a new idea, sometimes I can fix it. :)

    1. Kecia Adams

      Fabio, I’m in the same position as Coleen…I have launched into a topic only to find it too complicated for a 500-1000 word post, or just not interesting. Also the point about being too personal is well-taken. My life is so involved with my children that I come up with topics about them all the time, but I mainly keep them off the blog. I remember Anna Quindlen (journalist, author) who did a regular weekly column for I think the NYT. Anyway, she talked about her children fearing anything cute or funny or crazy they did would end up in print. :) August McLaughliin did a great post recently on writing about controversial topics too: http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/controversial-blog-posts-how-to-make-them-work/

  10. jansenschmidt

    I haven’t blogged enough to have that problem. Hopefully it won’t come to that either, but I’m sure it would make me sad.

    It is sometimes challenging coming up with a perfect blend of interesting, fun, and personal, but not too much so.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  11. corajramos

    I’ve got several non-starters. I try to stay away from controversy, but no matter what you write about, somebody’s going to dislike it. So, I’m learning bit by bit to be true to my voice, trying gently to lay my truth out there. Good post.

  12. Juliana Haygert

    Yup, I know those. I start posts that are more like rants, and they remain as drafts forever. Not publicly, but at least I vent in some way LOL

  13. Barbara Forte Abate

    Ah yes,those genius ideas that hit the wall at two paragraphs–about the time you come to realize that the original genius idea was really just a one sentence observation without stamina or roots.

    1. Jodi Lea Stewart

      Well said, Barbara! I think those kind will re-surface. Greatness cannot be suppressed for long. They might come back in another form, but they won’t go away.

  14. August McLaughlin

    I tend to write posts pretty spontaneously, but I have trashed or back-burnered ideas. Sometimes the timing is the reason a particular post seems not-postable, at least from my experience.

  15. Angela Orlowski-Peart

    Susie has a post now where everyone is welcome to mention those “”forgotten” posts.
    I have a few from my old blogging days that never earned a lot of comments. But comments
    are not all a blog needs – page visits better measure the popularity of a subject. I often read a blog but don’t leave a comment, and so do many people :-)

  16. Nigel Blackwell

    Hi Fabio.

    LOL. I think I’ve checked all 5 boxes. Sadly, I’ve still published some that shouldn’t have reached the light of day. At least when that happens I do get that what-have-I-done feeling that reminds me not to do it again! My biggest reason for shelving a post is because I just can’t give it a point, and who wants to publish pointless!

    Cheers

  17. Amber West

    I guess I’ll postpone the one about the time I ate WAY too many prunes…

    But seriously, your example of #3 – I want to read! Hahaha. :)

  18. CC MacKenzie

    Ah yes. The great idea that went nowhere fast.

    I’ve tons of those and I’m one of those who rattles on about family. Must. Stop. Doing. That. It’s not easy. But as Susie said a great title makes a big difference. One that connects to the readers asap. It’s difficult to come up with one when we’re up to the eyes in other things.

    Great post!

  19. Sheila Seabrook

    Oh yeah, and I can usually judge which ones will by the mood I’m in when I write them. I’m simply not sparkly every day! :)

  20. Tom (Aquatom1968)

    Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong, Fabio. The posts I post fall into four of your five categories! I’m very often out of time, too silly, personal (well, look at the blogs name… it isn’t really all about me!) and a lot of my posts could be better I suppose. I’m not controversial though. Well, I don’t think so anyway…

  21. richardmonro731

    Example #6 – upbeat, encouraging blog about family member or friend. Then you find out that they don’t want to be mentioned on the interned. Delete Key!

  22. Eden

    Ah, at least I’m not the only one here who says there are drafts sitting around that meet all five (or six if one follows Emma’s bottomless pit of posts) criteria…. Though I tend to write my posts all a once (much as August says she does), if I have a post idea waiting (blog mashes or meme posts, awards etc…) those can sit in my drafts folder for weeks or months. I have to really be in a different state of mind to work on those.

    So, yep… looks like the consensus is: we all do it. You’re in good company, Fabio. (Or we are… either way, it’s all good.)

  23. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Hmm… I did delete one political post (I was a little P.O.’d about some buses), but mostly I just leave the drafts floating around WP. They might not be what I want them to be right now, but someday I might be able to fix them…or they could spark an idea for a better one. :)

  24. Marcy Kennedy

    My biggest problem is that I won’t publish it if I’m not happy with it. I have some sitting in a folder I call “Draft Blogs.” It’s basically where they go to die when I’ve written them, but I know they’re off. They just didn’t end up on paper the way I envisioned them in my head. Of course, I might still revive them. It’s happened.

  25. Reetta Raitanen

    I have a blogging perfectionism issue. When I write about a topic I’m really into, I want to make the post the best I can write. But since I am a slow writer and time is scarce, I often can’t fill my quality demands. I need to learn to write shorter posts. Often I realize that the post I have written should have propably been two posts or even more. I cover too much ground and don’t say much with depht about anything. Surface scratches about general topics aren’t very interesting to anyone. It’s better to go for cool niches.

    1. Fabio Bueno

      I’m with you, Reetta! Sometimes my post is good enough, but good enough is not good enough :-)

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