5 Rules For Getting What You Want…Do They Apply To Your Blog?

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com

Used with permission: Debbie Ridpath Ohi /  Inkygirl.com

Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.

Today, I’m thinking about blogging.

I read a really long meandering blog the other day and it made me think about what we all look for in a blog post.

Sharla Rae said it the best in Why Some Blogs Make Me Cranky.

None of us bloggers want to make people cranky! But what do you want from your blogs?

I’ve said it before, you want to be very clear on WHY you blog. If you don’t know, it’s likely blogging will make you cranky. If you’re cranky, we’re cranky. Cranky is catching, you know.

It occurred to me that we could all benefit from the wisdom of a character I just met, Sophie Dempsey from Welcome To Temptation by Jenny Crusie.

Note: Crusie is one of my favorite authors. She writes snarky, sarcastic characters who still manage to be kind,  and she always makes me laugh. (20 quotes from the above book can be found here.)

Sophie’s 5 Rules for Getting What You Want:

I put the excerpt below but here’s a quick summary, in case you’re short on time. Out of respect for my posse, I’ve replaced the word “mark” with “reader”:

  1. Make the reader smile.
  2. Get the reader to agree with you.
  3. Make the reader feel superior.
  4. Give the reader something.
  5. Get what you want and get out.

Here’s an excerpt from page 7 of “Welcome to Temptation” (the Pillar stands for “Pillar of the Community”):

“I’m so sorry,” she said to him, flashing her family’s stock-in-trade gotta-love-me-give-me-what-I-want smile.

The Pillar stopped glaring at Amy and turned back to Sophie. Amy said, “Hey–” but shut up when Sophie held up one finger behind her back. One: Make the mark smile.

“Someday my sister’s brain will catch up with her mouth,” Sophie said, “but until then I apologize for her.” She deepened her smile and looked at the Pillar through her lashes.

“Well, I don’t know,” the Pillar said, and his scowl faded a little.

Sophie held up two fingers behind her back, and Amy sighed. Two: Get the mark to agree with you. “We’re new here so we don’t know the roads,” Sophie went on. “You know how confusing it can be driving in a new place.”

“Well, yes,” the Pillar said. “But that doesn’t–”

Three fingers. Make the mark feel superior. “Of course, you’re probably never confused,” Sophie smiled up at him, no mean trick since they were the same height.. She widened her eyes. “I bet you always know where you’re going.”

“Well, of course,” the Pillar said, relaxing now. “However–”

“And now we’ve stopped you in the middle of all this heat,” Sophie went on, apology thick in her voice. She nodded to the Pillar’s trembling hands. “And we’ve upset you.” Four: Give the mark something. “We really should let you go on. Standing here waiting for the police isn’t going to do any of us any good.” She smiled at the Pillar again, who began to smile back, looking a little confused.

“Well, that’s true,” he said. “It could be hours before Wes or Duane come by.”

Great. He knew the cops by their first names. Sophie kept her smile in place. Five: Get what you want and get out.

(For all of Chapter 1, click here.)

Interesting thought process, huh?

Do you think those rules can apply to blogging, or am I way off base? What’s your goal with your blog? Are you in it to have fun? Sell something? Monetize? All of the above? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!


Image credit: Inkygirl.com


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
This entry was posted in Blogging, Thoughty Thursday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to 5 Rules For Getting What You Want…Do They Apply To Your Blog?

  1. Gene Lempp says:

    Essentially, yes, that sounds right. I always think of posts as a story: Hook (what to expect and/or why you want to expect it), Set-up (necessary information to set context and understanding), Value Points for the Reader, Wrap-Up/Pay-offs for the Reader, “Get what you want.” Like stories, post needs and styles vary, however having a general framework/structure in mind from the outset will save a ton of headaches during the rest of the process.
    Great post, Jen 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nice summary, Gene! And yes, exactly what I was thinking. I read that and got a little tingle (IYKWIM), which means I had to share it with all of you for Thoughty Thursday. 🙂


  2. Gah! I think my SPATHCOCKED blog may have been the long, meandering post that made you cranky, Jenny.

    I L-O-V-E Jennifer Cruisie. My favorite reads because of her snark, laugh-out-loud one-lines, and…

    Oh! Right! The heat in certain scenes doesn’t hurt, either. My personal favorite is Faking It.

    What do I want when I blog? I want to connect with my followers and provide a forum that reads and feels like a two way conversation

    Here’s the problem:

    I often start three sentences without finishing any of them. My brain moves on before I finish a sentence, and I don’t realize I’ve done it. In conversation, I sometimes give people whiplash from sudden lane (topic) changes. Transferring these communication shortcomings to a blog article is not a good thing.

    The solution to my glob focus is an ongoing challenge. Just this morning, I thought about a suppressed desire to write humor columns. Could I do it? I don’t know, and won’t know unless I try. I’ve connected with talented writers and bloggers via my blog (and comments). I would also like to connect with more of my target audience: lovers of snark, quirky characters, and some PG13 double entendre steam (on my blog). In my books? Skip the PG13. I let it all hang out….IYKWIM

    I have only my “voice” to bring to the party. Now, to find themed topics for weekly posts that aren’t a meandering mess of a glob.


    • It’s OKAY to say this comment made you cranky, btw. And, I’ll happily take critique on what I could have done better with the aforementioned SPATCHCOCKED post. (Hope that mention isn’t as unintentional promo.)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are so funny, Gloria. The blog I read was NO ONE HERE at More Cowbell. I promise you. Stop fretting. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      p.s. Faking it is my favorite Jenny Crusie too, followed by Bet Me and Welcome to Temptation. I’m also a huge fan of her books with Bob Mayer, particularly Agnes and the Hitman. Her structure is one I’d love to emulate. She always hits her turning points. 🙂


  3. Jane Sadek says:

    I started out blogging because Kristen Lamb told me I had to, but what I found was something I really enjoy. When I began, I was trying to build a platform, but I wasn’t sure how to link it to my WIP. About the time I started blogging, a series of family issues put the WIP on the back burner, but the blogging kept me writing. The blog has changed a lot since the beginning and instead of a platform, I’ve found a community. The WIP has returned to the front burner, but I’m still not sure how the blog relates to it. The WIP is a humorous romance set in a retirement community, while the blog has morphed into an online travel journal. Life takes us on interesting journeys.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      “I started out blogging because Kristen Lamb told me I had to..” <– ROFL

      I think scads of writers started blogging with that same mentality, Jane. How lovely for you that you've found real benefit in it. Your posts are totally fun, and you'll have a stronger platform in the long run, just by entertaining yourself and getting in the daily writing practice.

      You go, girl…. 🙂


  4. Jenny, my blog needs a serious overhaul, so I’m taking Kristen’s two month blogging course starting – uh, today, lol! I’m looking forward to really getting it “right” for me this time. Great and timely post!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Good for you, Christine! It’s wonderful the way Kristen’s classes are structured because you all will support each other as you go through the journey.

      You’re starting from a really good place because you’re just looking to add some more gusto. Good for you…I can’t wait to see your changes!

      p.s. I just joined that loop to be a “den mother” in the class and help support everyone on Twitter, etc. so I’ll be around while you go through this. Hit me up if you need to. 🙂


  5. zkullis says:

    Great info Jenny! Thanks. Some of us *pointing finger at self* tend to be verbose.

    Thank you for sharing this.



    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re not too verbose. In fact, come back. Talk more. I promise it was not the blog of any of my posse.


      • zkullis says:

        Thank you Jenny! I will. 😀 I didn’t think you had leveled this post at any of your posse, but it did make me consider my propensity for blabber.


    • I, personally, love your (non) verbosity, Zack. You have both a juicy and compelling tone in your words. Your “voice” pings — even in Smite the Damned, where some horrid creatures do horrible things to good people.

      Put me out of my misery. Is Keith going to see any action? IYKWIM


      • zkullis says:

        Thanks Gloria! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but you might want to wait for the second book to see about THAT kind of action. I’m not saying he does, and I’m not saying he doesn’t.

        It should hopefully be published by the first of March.


  6. I get really cranky at those long posts. Especially when they repeat themselves or go on and on and on about their opinion. I’ll forgive it if its funny though!
    And Sophie’s rules are also salesmen’s rules. Like, never ask a yes or no question. Why? Because you don’t want to hear the “No!”. Works with three year olds too. “Would you like it in green or blue?” “Would you like to eat the brocoli a whole piece or cut up?” 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      It’s good to know it works with 3 year-old, Jessica, since mine will be there soon. Yep, I find myself skipping through the long posts. My happy place is 500-800 max. Of course, if it’s really funny or really full of knowledge, all bets are off. 🙂


  7. I want all of that stuff for my blog readers. I started blogging because I was told that blogging will help establish your brand and get your name out there and yadda yadda yadda. Since I’m new to the writing world, I don’t want to screw anything up so, I started blogging. I had no idea what to blog about or who would read my blog.

    But Kristen Lamb’s class was eye-opening and I learned fast. Now I like to blog about me and my life experiences. Not sure why, maybe I’m egotistical, but I’ve gotten lots of comments from people about how my blog makes them laugh or smile and they love it so I just keep giving them what they want. And some of them keep coming back so it must be working.

    Good stuff to ponder from that Cruise chick.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Patricia, I firmly believe that people want a connection. By sharing your experiences and making them smile, you’re forming that connection. Good for you, girlfriend!

      And Jennifer Crusie’s books are sassy. 🙂


  8. amyskennedy says:

    Brilliant. So flippin’ easy. Even if I fail at some of them, to start with this lovely map. And I also am a Cruise fan. Welcome To Temptation is one of my faves…


  9. Sharlarae says:

    Love Sophie’s rules Jen. And lets face it, it’s hard to stay mad at someone or totally ignore their request if their smile is sweet and seems sincere.


  10. I wish I knew where my blog was going (glad I caught the typo…bog…sometimes it feels like that’s what it is, lol). I’ve tried to focus it a few times, but dang…that’s hard to do. What am I trying to do with it? Connect with people, especially people who like my books. 🙂

    Do I think those principles can be applied to a blog. I do. I’m just not sure HOW at this point. Maybe because I don’t sleep enough. I need a nap. Or a few. Or maybe I just need lots of wine, and then the blog could get really interesting. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I agree that more sleep equals easier blogging. But have you spent time lately in Kristen’s blogging classes? She lets all the WANA alumni come through at a discount and it makes a huge-o difference in kind of setting the lessons into our brains. Just a thought…


  11. Julie Glover says:

    I agree with all but #3 (“make the reader feel superior”)–just because I often get a lot of someone’s blog post while still feeling rather inferior, like “Why didn’t I know that?!! Duh.” LOL. But I get the point because you never want to insult your reader and indeed you should compliment them. They should feel like you’ve extended a personal invite to sit down at their table and chat. That I definitely like. Great list!


  12. S. J. Maylee says:

    Jennifer Crusie rocks, I love her books. Her and Bob made magic with Angus. Get what you want and get out, lol, I love that and it’s a great concept for blogging. Wonder if that’s why I love flash fiction so much. I’ve been blogging for over a year and sometimes I feel like I haven’t really started. I’m still finding my way, I think. Get in, get out. Yeap, I love it. Thanks, Jenny.


  13. I love Jennifer Crusie, too,my favorite being Bet Me. Anyway, I started blogging as a result of taking Kristen Lamb’s branding course through my writing chapter (where I met all my lovely WANAminions). I focused on my love of travel and need for mini-escapes from the hassles of daily life. Hence, Margarita Moments was born. It has grown steadily, despite only posting once a week (or perhaps because of that?), and I love everything about it. I love connecting with people and giving them a moment of me-time they otherwise may not have gotten on a particular day. That’s what I hope to achieve with my books one day, entertaining others with escapism. 🙂


  14. Deanna says:

    I blog because I enjoy it, and I want to share with others how my life has changed, with the help of God. I do struggle though with thinking my posts can get a bit long, although mostly because I read that posts should never be over 500 words. That is barely enough to sometimes briefly state all I am trying to convey. Although I am trying to work on it.


  15. emaginette says:

    Very educational post. Thank you. 🙂


  16. I love it! Print-it-out-and-stick-to-my-computer love it. And now I have a new author to check out…


  17. shanjeniah says:

    I started blogging while grieving the unexpected death of our second son, and what I wanted was for the raw hurt to ease.

    I blogged for a few months, until around the time we knew we were pregnant again. Annalise’s was a high-risk pregnancy, and I wrote very little of anything during that time…

    Six years later, I came back, as we became unschoolers….

    I’m up to three blogs now, and I tend to wander, meander, mosy…

    Just this week, I had an epiphany – my posts were often WAAAAY too long.

    I’m working on it, and taking Kristen’s class, and this is really going to help! =)

    I gotta say, Jenny – I love stopping by for your delicious nuggets of wisdom, and I am so happy that you are “in the loop” for the class! =D


  18. filbio says:

    Great post with some good rules to live by as a blogger. As a relative newbie I have learned a bunch already by reading blogs like yours, and I do it for fun.



Comments are closed.