Once I got the germ of an idea regarding this post I found myself umming and ahing about the title, ironic since it’s about post titles. Well it’ll be a mystery to me for much longer than it will be for you because — the gods willing — that’ll be the first thing you see, while I will be scratching my head until the remaining hairs fall out of their own accord.
Do you have problems deciding your title? Or does it come to you in a flash? Maybe the title comes first and you fit the content to it? Or perhaps you don’t bother with one at all, rebel that you may be? Here’s a little discourse on how I approach the issue, and I’ll be pleased to hear about your own modus operandi regarding these tricksy things.
Post titles function in the same way as book titles, don’t they. They may inform: this often applies to review blogs which give the book title and even helpfully add the word ‘review’; with photo blogs they may tell us what in the picture (sometimes in more than one language). They may intrigue with offbeat phrases or witty puns or challenging statements that stop you in your tracks. They may quote from the huge stock left us by literary giants, politicians or philosophers; preferably Shakespeare or the Bible but anything portentous will do. Best of all they will tap into a current meme to capitalise on public curiosity and the efficiency of search engines.
Glancing at some recent posts I find that I’m employing pretty much all these categories. Quotes? Strangers in their own land hints at a phrase from Luke’s gospel, ‘No prophet is accepted in his own country’ and another from Exodus: ‘I have been a stranger in a strange land’. (The last phrase was used by Robert A Heinlein for his classic SF novel.) And Destroying an empire references a Delphic oracle. Memes? Shelfies fits the bill. Something intriguing? I hope Hell’s Angels meet the Outlaws made you think twice. Informative? Perusing progress accurately describes a post reviewing where I’d got to with reading in 2016.
Is that how it works for you? Have I covered everything? Perhaps not; for on occasion I find that I rather like a turn of phrase I have used myself in a discussion post or a review — I fancy it is mellifluous or it encapsulates what I’ve tried to say. But, as this somehow smacks of egomania, it’s a course I try to avoid.
And now it’s time to choose a title. What shall it be? Choices, choices …