Rules are Made to be Broken

In the weeks after my blog first went viral, I had no idea what to do next. It’s a strange sensation — looking at your blog’s statistics, seeing the traffic climb higher and higher, and wondering what to do about all of it. I googled phrases like “Tips for a Successful Blog,” and took careful notes, ignoring the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. So much of the advice out there is common-sense, and one of the biggest “golden rules” seems to be: narrow down the focus of your blog. Keep your blog clear, direct, and specific.

It’s great advice. And continues to be great advice. Only problem is: I completely ignored it. 

The most popular post I have ever written, by far, was a semi-drunken rant in which I used the f-bomb fourteen times and encourage everyone to fart more. It’s pretty funny, and I’m proud of it.

My second-most-popular post was about racism in America and the events in Ferguson, Missouri. It’s not at all funny, and it grapples with extremely challenging and deeply sensitive issues. I am also pretty proud of it.

In between, I’ve blogged about anything from fashion and boyfriends to social justice issues and depression. I’ve experimented with format — some posts are almost entirely pictures and images, while others are lengthy three-thousand-word affairs. It makes my blog difficult to categorize — am I a humor blogger? A feminist advocate? A graphic designer? A satirist? A memoirist?

To be honest, I think in some ways I am all of those things, and I’m so grateful that my blog can be a platform for my voice, no matter what forms that takes on any given day. Maybe it’s just that I was a really straight-laced, rule-oriented kid and this is my adult act of rebellion, but sometimes … I think rules are made to be broken.

Weigh in! Have you ever ignored or broken a rule about blogging? 


  1. I’m just beginning and trying to get the courage to write my first blog so it’s good to see that the “rules” are made to be tattered!

    1. Advice from one veteran blogger: just publish something! The more you blog, the less scary it is, for sure. You can’t break OR follow the rules unless you’re playing the game. 🙂

  2. Well I would challenge those golden rules, about one’s blog being clear, direct, and specific. My hunch is that there are not ‘rules’ let alone ‘golden rules’. There are no rules in writing, over and beyond the words and sentences making sense to readers.

    I’ve been blogging since July 2009 and have published over 2,400 posts. At the time of writing this comment today I have 1,328 followers.

    All that matters, in my humble opinion, is to respect those that follow one’s blog and, even more so, those that actively comment.

    1. That’s interesting Paul! Has your blogging changed at all because of the comments you’ve received?

      1. Andrea, tho things come to mind by way of replying to you. The first is that the viewing figures and comments to a particular post give one a sense of what readers prefer. So there’s a definite influence there.

        But the other thing is that out of the many followers who are themselves authors of blogs has come a wonderful array of friendships. Not in the face-to-face sense, naturally, but from the way that we reveal so much about ourselves from our public writings and seem to be drawn to other like-minded folk. Sharing ideas, feelings and emotions with those ‘friends’ has most certainly influenced me!

        Lovely question, Andrea.

  3. Great post. I understand. I consider myself to be a Renegade Poet Blogger. I don’t know any rules to writing poetry or even writing my blogs but I press forward with what is written on my heart.

  4. I break the same rule: I don’t have an exact focus, but I have topics that I return to again and again. New content doesn’t surprise my readers, cuz it’s never too far outside of what they’ve seen before, even if it is truly new.
    Other than that, I follow the “rules” pretty well. Haven’t really figured out monetization/connections with companies (perhaps some of that would be fixed with a more focused blog), but that’s also not my main goal in blogging so I don’t mind.

  5. Rules? Pssst. Rules are for print journalist. lol. I’ve found “rules” in blogging to be very hivemind. Everyone doing the same things over and over. So glad you push your voice because that’s rare these days. If I see another travel blog that says “off the beaten path” i’m going to quit.

    Our blogs are a reflection of who we are. And I think a few of us tend to say the “f-word” and speed a bit. lol

  6. Yes! My blog meanders its way through anything and everything. The viewpoint remains consistent i.e. that of a subversive, but kindly, old bat. However the topics are whatever happens to be going round the old brain. I enjoyed your post on this subject of focus – or the lack of it 🙂

  7. Blogging is so individual. I think that is why it suits us. Don’t you think bloggers are a special group of people.. and they love honesty. And in such a PC world we love it when you just Let Fly and we get to read what you honestly meant to write. Not the tidy edited version. Congratulations on going viral that must have been a sensational feeling. . c

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