Try Something Different, Say Something Different On Your Blog

Yesterday was a sad one for me. I went to the funeral of a young man who I actually held in my arms as a baby. That was a first for me, as I also took the picture you see here to make it the only 2 pictures I have with him in it, the first being me holding him & my niece Krystal as babies, him just over a month old and her 2 weeks old.


Ryan, the young man in back

The funeral was held at a church that’s morphed over the years I’ve lived in this town from a tiny traditional building into what I’m calling the central New York version of a megachurch. It won’t hold anything like 10,000 people like you have in the south but yesterday it easily held over 300 people, and could have held a lot more.

To say that the service was nontraditional would be an understatement. The ceremony began with 3 songs, two by a band and one solo; no choir whatsoever, although I thought it was coming. There were basically 4 presenters as pastors, and even that was different because each of them has other jobs; two are lawyers, one is an accountant (who was also the father of the young man) for the church and the other… well, I never figured out what he does except play the piano, which he did a couple of times.

At one point there was a 2-song period while pictures of Ryan, the young man I’m talking about, were shown from infancy up to holding his baby niece just a few months ago; that was something new as well. The pastor who opened things up was the brother in law of Ryan, the pastor who spoke the most was the brother of the brother in law, and the pastor who gave the most impassioned presentation was Ryan’s father. Also, something else I wasn’t used to was the saying of “amen” as a question rather than a statement.

Later on, after I had some time to break the ceremony down in my head, I was thinking how different it was than anything else I’d ever gone to. Then, as I thought more about it, I realized that in actuality I’ve been to way more nontraditional ceremonies, at least in my mind, than traditional ones.

My dad’s funeral was traditional, even though it was only the 2nd I’d ever been to. So was his twin brother’s, my wife’s father’s and my grandmother’s. All the nontraditional ceremonies were for folks closer to my age or, in this case, much younger.

I thought about it some more and realized that what seems to be taking place is that as time passes and audiences change these religious institutions start changing to appeal to their audience. They’re not afraid to take risks and they’re not afraid to possibly alienate older members, many of whom will either go to another church or go ahead and adopt the new ways because, when all is said and done, they may hear the same message being delivered yet in a more upbeat and challenging way.

Over the years I’ve read probably thousands of blogs. I’ve read many blogs on blogging, social media, writing, making money… you name it, I’ve probably read it. I see so many blog posts these days that emulate what I’ve seen previously, say the same thing almost word for word, recommend the same staid things like “write high quality content” without telling anyone what they actually mean (if you’ve read some of my posts you know this one’s a pet peeve of mine lol), “write compelling titles“, “don’t be controversial“, “don’t write or comment on blogs outside of your niche“… ugh.

Me Ryan Krystal

Ryan’s on the right, Krystal’s on the left

I’m not saying those aren’t necessarily good recommendations, although I’m also not saying they are. What I’m saying is that seeing new blog posts quote the same thing over and over, almost in the same language, gets boring and tiring to read all the time. I know, most of you probably aren’t seeing it as much as I do because of how many blogs I visit (I also see a lot more blogs these days because I’m on Flipboard) but I’d be hard pressed to believe that you’re not visiting blogs because you see certain titles that attract your eyes and, somewhere in your belly, you’re not saying “that sounds familiar; I wonder where I’ve seen that before…”

Last week my buddy Adrienne wrote a post titled 5 Reasons Your Blog Will Fail This Year, and I made a general comment to two of her points, #2 & #3 (in case you go to read it, which you should) by saying that I wouldn’t want anyone to refine their writing so much to their niche or those they’re hoping to reach that, in their minds, they can’t figure out what to write about. That might seem like an apocalyptic statement, yet there are thousands of people every day who hit that wall and stop writing their blogs… I find that pretty tragic.

That’s why I recommend trying something different and sometimes find new ways of saying something or making a point that someone else might have already made. For instance, if you’re going to tell people that they should try to write blog posts as if they’re telling a story, try doing it by telling a story, or linking to a story, or telling people the components of writing a story.

In other words, if you’re going to talk about a specific topic, find ways of saying it differently, or presenting it differently by trying to be more colorful. You can stay on topic, or you can even stray off topic and come back to the topic… like I did with this post. Goodness, I can’t think of how many times I’ve found something to compare blogging to and come up with at least 5 points about blogging by using those comparisons. Truthfully, all of them haven’t worked great but then even Shakespeare has a couple of plays that are dogs. lol

Not being religious, most of the time I’m hard pressed to find a good reason for someone passing away as a lesson for the rest of us to learn something new, or learn to appreciate something we either already have or need to find a way to get there. This time, in saying my final goodbye to my young friend Ryan, I hope I’ve passed on a little bit of wisdom in his honor. Please comment and share this one if you found it useful or compelling of even a little bit controversial; thank you.

26 thoughts on “Try Something Different, Say Something Different On Your Blog”

  1. Sorry to hear about your friend. You don’t mention his age though he appears to be a young man. Unfortunate.

    Coming up with different ways to blog about my topic of coaching, leadership, entrepreneurship, etc. at times can be a challenge.

    Knowing I’ve made a pact with myself to write something, anything, at least once a week keeps me focused.

    If anything you’ve given me a reason to pause and think about ways to mix up my blog somewhat. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for both of those thoughts Steve. You’ve done well with your blog and I’m so proud of the way you’ve woven stories into your niche. I’m with you; I’ve committed to writing so many articles and such and sometimes it just takes being creative and figuring out another way to get it done.

  2. Hey Mitch,

    I’m So sorry to hear that your friend passed away. It’s never easy to say goodbye especially when we don’t feel like they’ve lived enough life up to this point. I can say that about my best friend who passed away after he had just turned 44 years old. That’s still pretty young to me.

    I’m sure the service was wonderful. I know for my Dad’s service we had more of a celebration than a church service. I know a lot of funerals lean toward that but we felt this wasn’t more about religion, it was more about his life.

    As far as the blog posts go, I know what you’re talking about when all you read seems to be the same things said over and over again. One thing I do know for sure though is that when you’re in a particular niche your main goal should be to attract that particular audience and for the most part that’s just not most of us anymore. You know, been there and done that more times then we can remember. I also know that there are a lot of people who are still trying to learn how to write so that their posts are much more appealing to their audience. I think there are a few people I’ve run across that will never make it. LOL!!!

    Thanks for the mention and isn’t it funny that my post today pretty much did what you said you wish others would do? I just realized that as I read this one. Not that I’m the best storyteller but I gave it my best shot.

    Thanks Mitch and again, I’m sorry for your loss. I know it must be really hard on his family as well.


    1. It was very hard on his family, but they seem comforted by the service… well, his mother not so much but that’s understandable.

      As for the rest, I know there are always new people getting into blogging, and much of what I write is for them as much as for the veteran bloggers; maybe moreso. After all, if I can reach some of those folks before they develop bad habits like copying what someone else said in almost the same words and get them to at least think about being creative, then my work will be done. I won’t be done writing, I’ll just be happy to read something more substantive than the norm.

  3. It’s always hard to lose a loved one or a friend; it’s tragic when they’re young, and it brings on thoughts of our own mortality and questions about why some of us live longer than others.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Ryan looks like a great kid, and I’m sure his family is devastated. 🙁

    As for the rest of this, well… when it comes to funerals, we don’t do them in my family. (I’ve told the kids to do it if they’re moved to do it, because funerals are for the LIVING, not the dead. You do what you need to do to feel better – me, I’ll just be hovering about long enough to make sure and throw a chair if you fail to drink a toast or try to go all maudlin on me.) My personal hope is to be scattered over the Atlantic with the help of when the time comes. And to have a small marker in the “family plot” to say “she was here. But not HERE here, if you know what I mean.”

    As for the blogging, I hope the dead wood, phone it in, unhappy bloggers quit – for their own sakes as much as for ours, their readers. The ones who make blogging a fast track to burn out for the rest of us? Good riddance. Buh-bye, don’t let the door hit ya…

    Is that harsh? It’s not meant to be – call it “tough love.” So many other ways to spend time before we die than doing things we hate doing for reasons we can’t even remember.

    You write: “That’s why I recommend trying something different and sometimes find new ways of saying something or making a point that someone else might have already made. For instance, if you’re going to tell people that they should try to write blog posts as if they’re telling a story, try doing it by telling a story, or linking to a story, or telling people the components of writing a story.”

    Amen. Wait – are you just saying “practice what you preach”?


    1. Holly, I don’t want to go at all; I have to admit that the thought scares me and, in its own way, works to push me to be better and grow faster, even though I feel I’m aging way too fast lately.

      I don’t think your words are any harsher than mine when I tell people that if they can’t even think of writing 10 articles to not even start a blog. I have seen some people who write creatively and I’m astounded. I’ll throw out Neil Patel as someone who writes some amazing content and topics; there’s someone I’ll never write like, but then again he’ll never write like me either. 🙂

      Actually, in this case I’m not sure the storytelling recommendation matches up with “practice as you preach”, which I’m assuming you’re linking to the “high quality content” thing I’m always grousing about. For me it might be, but I’m sure there are some folk who want you to get to the point. I’ve been there when reading some stories, wondering where they’re going to take me… and if they’re actually going nowhere, I feel like I just lost an hour I’ll never get back. Maybe I just want the “practice” part at that point. lol

  4. My sincere condolences on the death of your friend. Losing friends is never easy and I have lost quite a few in the past few years, but I am much older.

    Since I blog for pleasure, my topics are eclectic and I don’t follow any particular pattern. Perhaps that is why I get a regular readership and viewership.

    I read all your posts but since they are usually on subjects that I cannot comment on, I don’t comment often.

    1. Rummuser, you follow this one as much as anyone although, because yours is a totally personal blog and you have no illusions about its purpose, you can get away with it easier than many others could. For instance, I have 3 blogs where I really couldn’t get away with moving away from certain subjects, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with them. This blog… even when I’m fussing it’s all about fun.

  5. Mitch I am sorry for your loss. I can imagine that must have been difficult to lose someone you held in your arms.

    I agree we need to focus on more diverse topics.

    I like your blog because I can always find different topics on your blog.

    I am trying to write on different topics. It may not be a viral takeoff, but someone is interested.

    Again, I am sorry.

    1. Thanks for your kindness Michael. I like the diversity of topics but I also like reading about one specific topic where the writer has taken time to find a new way of presenting it. I know that everyone can’t play a piano, and I know everyone doesn’t love writing, but there has to be a median ground where people can find new ways of communicating their ideas to people. That’s my hope at least.

  6. Sorry about your loss, it is never easy to explain why young people die.

    My favorite piece of advice for writers is to just write and to have fun. If you do those things good things will have the opportunity to come about.

    1. Thanks Jack. That’s my advice also, though I understand the need for niche writing. Still, if one writes long enough they’ll start figuring out other things to write about while staying on topic.

  7. Hi Mitch,

    I’m sorry about the loss of Ryan.

    It’s creative how you tied in the differences in the services with blogging. It worked! 🙂

    I too get tired of reading the same blogging advice. When I read something different or should I say ‘worded a bit differently’ it helps me see that there is always more than one way of doing this blogging thing.

    Take care,

    1. Thanks Evelyn. I think each event in our lives can be connected to something else that makes sense in someone else’s life. This time it took something tragic, but next time it could be something joyous. That’s how life goes; there are many lessons to be learned, and hopefully this post will inspire more people to use their creativity more often.

  8. What I love about this, Mitch, is that you have given us a real piece of yourself in this writing. I can’t say I read every post of yours, but in what I read I see you sharing yourself by way of your knowledge and your experience. You are open and giving of those. This opened your life a bit more to share a bit of love and a bit of loss. If that makes it controversial for your particular blog…then you have done that. I haven’t read the other remarks (this is my pattern) before writing because I don’t like to be influenced, so I may be showing my ignorance of your norm, but there you go. I can’t say I enjoyed your loss, but I enjoy knowing a bit more of who you are and admire how you mind works in linking the nontraditional service concepts to our being more nontraditional in our approaches to blogging. And perhaps to life.

    1. Thank you for your words. I always try to be honest and I find that telling my own story and experiences often helps to enhance whatever subject I’m talking about. In this case, I got to honor a good young man at the same time and the two pictures will be emblazoned online for… well, however long I’m around, or at least this blog is.

  9. Mitch, I was sad when you wrote to me about Ryan, and I am even more sad to read these words. I hope you can come to grips with the idea that our time on this stage is finite: many other actors are waiting in the wings to play their parts.

    The services are indeed for the living and you described something that sounded more like a memorial than a funeral. In that respect, given that each life is unique, almost no two memorials would be the same.

    And that’s a good thing. Celebrating a life is a cherished moment, one that should stand alone in an alcove of your memory.


    1. Mitch, it seems like I go to things expecting one way and almost always getting something new. I vacillate between being fascinated and being irked because of this thing called “change” fighting tradition. I figure if that’s how I feel about some things, others must feel the same way about other things. I live everyday with the knowledge that it could be my last one on earth; it’s why I get freaked out so much and why I always feel like I don’t have enough time. Thanks for your words on this post.

  10. Thinking outside the box is a great idea to make your blog go viral and also to create a buzz around it.

    Most times a new blogger want his/her blog to look like a successful blog, but being different from the crowd these days is what helps to work.

  11. Hi Mitch,

    I am so sorry to hear about this loss. I’m sure this hit you pretty hard – as it did for the family of this young man.

    I find what you have to say refreshing. It takes guts to speak your mind, your truth regardless of how others may interpret your words. We really can’t control how anyone else perceives something – all we can do is be authentic, real and do so in a way that doesn’t directly harm another.
    We can be true to ourselves, but still be compassionate and respectful. To me, that’s balance.

    I love to tell personal stories with my own content. It’s my way of letting my visitors know – I AM you (at least to some degree).

    In a world where things are becoming so automated and impersonal – it’s simply being human, relatable and REAL that I think most of us are drawn to – more now than ever.

    1. Dana, I like how you write comments and I love how you write your blog. You’re definitely honest and open and engaging; that’s the kind of thing I like to see. I like to think we can all learn something out of life and use it to inform others. I figure that aligns with my goals, which includes the one about being rich and famous. At least I’ve got something to aim for and the support of my memories.

  12. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. It’s a real shame. Thank you for adding tips about blogging in here as well. You have quite a way with words.

  13. Someone told: “I love you every day. And now I will miss you every day.”
    I am sorry Mitch sir for the loss..

    And thanks for sharing your tips about the blogging, I loved it and appreciate..

Comments are closed.