I promised y'all last week that, regardless of merit, I was gonna hate on my reviewee this week. Now, chances are I'm a liar, because I'm pretty much going to review with my gut, and if it happens that I like a blog, I'm going to say so. But dagnabit, I do like it when I'm able to get all vitriolic because y'all tend to comment more that way. And bloggers are all comment whores. Leave the money on the dresser.
It's come to my attention that I've gotten a reputation as "the nice one." This is perhaps deserved, insofar as I'm not one for conflict, I don't like to stir up shit, and I tend to go a little easy on the flaming fingers. I'm fairly even-tempered, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm a glass-is-half-full (of wine) kind of girl.
But I'm nothing compared to this chick: Thinking Out Loud.
People, it is pretty much sunshine and lollipops over there. Problem is, I'm not entirely sure what "over there" is. Is this a blog or a self-help site? What is the purpose? The header says, "My rants or ramblings about life," but I don't believe her because there are all these posts about money (35 posts) and blogging (21 posts) and such. If it's a finance blog, say so. If it's self-help, say so. And why all the posts about blogging? Are you trying to be a resource for bloggers? What the hell is the purpose of this blog? Your "Meet the Blogger" page doesn't say. You're all over the place. There seems to be a website. And a blog. And a weightloss blog. Why? I'm so lost. Hold me?
About the design, I don't mind the colors, and it's clean and easy to read (barring having to click to read more -- HATE! Unless there's something spoilery after the jump, just leave it all out there, don't make us work more to get to the goods), but ultimately what you've got here looks like a corporate blog. It looks like somewhere I'd go to find out about mortgage rates or human resources seminars.
Who is this cartoon person following my cursor? I want to smack a bitch.
What's the difference between "flash back" and "recent posts"? You really don't need more than maybe the last 4 posts, and you've already got an archive page at the top, so watch the overkill. You've got the recent comments dealio, but there aren't any actual comments there, just the names of the people who commented and the post they commented on. Who cares? If you want to spotlight your commenters (which, why?), actually include the text of their comment. Otherwise you're just creating more and more filler. Filler that makes me, the nice one, want to get out the birch rods.
Jesus, archives AND a calendar? No. Just no.
Otherwise, the writing is... chipper (Look, people: I used ellipses! Correctly!). It's very Good Housekeeping-ish, chatty, "studies show," rah-rah. There are some chuckles. Chippy, cheerful chuckles. No one's cackling with glee here.
And holy lord, there's some shameless blog promotion (at least she admits it). Advertising? Your blog? That feels dirty. She's a very different blogger from me and those whose blogs I enjoy most. It seems like she approaches this like a job, like a way to break into something. It's all marketing and spit-shine and I want to hate it because it's gutless. Yes, gutless. There's nothing on the line here, there's nothing revealed. We don't get to see who Valerie really is beyond helpful saving suggestions and surface twaddle. There are no relationships explored, no real memories shared, no meat, no dimension, no sexiness. And I don't mean it's gotta be raunchy (although that'd be great, please) -- I mean sexy like interesting, piquing, engrossing, bulging, tightening... ooops, got carried away there.
Also, I've seen Rodin's Thinker in situ, and you're not doing him justice. Art, girl, ART! Be lyrical, be emotional, be thoughtful, be meditative, be exposed.
Look, Valerie, you're a nice person. I can tell that. You're even an interesting person (Stuck in an elevator in Cartagena? Locking people out of bathrooms? Yes! More of that!), but it all gets lost in the acres and acres of self-helpy "I'm a personal organizer. Ask me how!"-type crap. I don't want to discourage you because you've obviously put some effort into this, you write consistently and not terribly, and I don't hate you. But for the love of Shamwow, find some focus, figure out why you're blogging, what you want to gain, and who your audience is. If it's a general blog about your life, be that and leave out all the money-saving crap. If you're trying to break into the self-help or financial consultant field, put that out there. But don't go all infomercial on us and expect me to like it.
You knew it wasn't going to be pretty. You knew you were sticking your neck out. Because of that, and because you're nice and devoted and eager and you smile like you really mean it, I'm giving you
But because you lack focus, I feel like you're selling me something, and you haven't broken the surface, I'm giving you
I say these things because I care. And it hurts me more than it hurts you.
Nah, it doesn't. Use some ointment for the sting.