I am throwing down the gauntlet, issuing a challenge to all wine bloggers. Will you rise to accept it?
First, let me get the politically correct crap out of the way for the overly sensitive. Yes, you have the ability to write any type of posts you want, even those that are boring, mediocre, unoriginal, trite, repetitive, insincere, whorish, grammatically incorrect, incoherent, kiss-ass, misspelled, and such. You can continue to go through life writing those same type of posts over and over again. No one can stop you. Though the world would probably be a better place without such posts.
Now, if you are the overly sensitive type, and get offended easily, then I advise you to stop reading now. You won't like what comes next. If you do continue to read on, just remember that you were warned.
It is a new year, a time for reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. So what are your plans to improve your wine blog? There is not a single wine blog out there that cannot be improved. And there are lots of wine blogs that need significant improvements. Don't listen to what your friends say about your blog, as they may not tell you the truth in order to protect your feelings. Your readers are unlikely to provide you proper constructive criticism either. Brutal honesty can be difficult to find, unless you actively seek it out, and even then you might not receive it.
Face the truth, the majority of wine blogs are not worth reading. They offer little, if anything, of unique value so there is nothing to differentiate them from the mass of other wine blogs out there. Others are just damn boring, like watching infomercials about toilet bowl cleaners all day. Some repulse through their mercenary motivation, their obvious desire to write simply to gain free wine. Others amaze you with their ignorance of the very subjects they write about.
Even some of the most popular wine blogs are guilty of these sins, yet for unknown reasons, the flaws get overlooked by most readers, who dare not question the high and mighty. Just because you have a significant number of unique hits, that might not be indicative of much, except that you have good SEO (search engine optimization). Sycophants will tell you anything you want to hear.
Where is the true passion for wine, for writing? Where is the need to better ourselves, to increase our knowledge, to hone our skills? Where is the desire to entertain, to provoke thought and discussion? All of these are desperately needed and I now challenge wine bloggers to step up to the plate and deliver.
Change your wine blogs, making them better. Don't be content with doing the same thing you did last year. Infuse passion into your blog, and endeavor to improve your writing, in content, style, and form. Break out of your comfort zone and try to write something different. Take risks with your writing, and whether you succeed or fail, at least you would have made the effort and taken a chance.
Make the effort to learn more about wine, whether it is from books, classes, wine region visits, or some other resource. Expand your palate and drink wines you have never tried before, maybe from wine regions that are unfamiliar to you. There is plenty of writing about Cabernet and Chardonnay, but far less about such items as Greek wines or sherry. If you only write tasting notes, try to write something different, to test your own skills. Try posting more than once or twice a month. Dig around to find more original topics, rather than using the same news articles as everyone else, who all write about the same thing. Stop writing about the same old issues, time and time again, unless you truly have an original angle to the story.
Frankly, my words will fall on many deaf ears. Not everyone who should read this post will do so. Others who read it will ignore it, thinking it does not refer to them, when it definitely does. Others who read it will still lack the desire and motivation to make change. Those people probably can't be helped. Others will get upset with me for even writing this rant (though their anger won't bother me). If I am very lucky, maybe a couple bloggers will take my words to heart, and endeavor to make positive changes.
I am accepting my own challenge as I know my own blog needs improvement, and I will be making efforts to do so in 2011. I won't just keep doing the same old things I did last year. Change is good, and I want to bring about positive change. Hopefully, I will succeed.
So my question remains: Will you accept my challenge and truly try to improve your wine blog? Or will you take the easy path, remaining stagnant and stale?