Writing versus blogging: the war rages on (yawn)

 

Writing versus blogging: the war rages on (yawn)Recently that ageing but still ridiculous war about writing and blogging being different, has reared its scabby little head again on the SocMed radar. Let me sketch out the brain-dead battle plans for you…briefly ….

Bloggers in this scenario are people who should not be afraid to write what they think and feel in their blogs without anything more than a lot of unstructured scribbling practice, and if they make mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation that doesn’t matter even if such mistakes lead to a less than comprehensible result.

Nowhere, however, does this scenario suggest that you need to get your thinking right before you figure out how to convey it in a blog post, despite the fact that this will reflect your own views and possibly those of your business, too. This is because the only people who complain about such petty things as proper writing are writing snobs who drink vodka-and-tonic and are unsuccessful.

Such humble bloggers cite writers like E L James as prime examples of how bad writing is so OK that it sells millions’ worth. Funny, I thought it was the porn, whips and orgasms. It’s not surprising that you may not notice an overuse of adverbs when you’re indulging in imaginary BDSM.

Writing versus blogging: the war rages on (yawn)Professional writers, the villains in this scenario, apart from bitching about dangling participles and drinking too much vodka (although I don’t know how they can afford it if they’re unsuccessful – see above?) are bullying monsters who try to intimidate talented bloggers by sneering at their supposed inability to string a grammatically correct blog post together. They pontificate and talk down to bloggers in order to crush the latters’
hopes of ever writing anything other than a shopping list.

Now, let’s get a few things straight…

Professional writers do not think it’s OK to write bullshit as long as it‘s grammatically perfect. If they do, they don’t last long in the business.

Bloggers are people who write. Get over it. If they write bullshit, they won’t last long either. If they write good blog posts, they will succeed.

Shame on so-called blogging coaches who deliberately encourage bloggers to feel intimidated by professional writers and writing itself, purely to try to get blogging coaching and mentorship business for themselves. Many new bloggers just need a few simple tips (see below) – and no more.

Writing and blogging actually are not about writing and blogging. They are about sharing ideas, information, entertainment, inspiration, humor, and many other things, via the vehicle of the written word (and sometimes by the spoken word in video or audio).

That, in turn is primarily about thinking.

If you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it, and you can’t share it.

If you can think properly, you can write. Anyone can write. If you don’t think clearly and appropriately, your writing / blogging / journaling / copywriting / scriptwriting / poetry / graffiti will suck. No matter what.

Writing is not rocket science: it’s the means to an end – it’s that vehicle through which to convey and share thoughts.

Grammar, spelling, punctuation and all that also are not rocket science. They are not there to threaten and intimidate poor, innocent bloggers or journal writers, or to be used as whips (sorry E L James) by sadistic professional writers to chastise the multitudes. They are simple tools to be used by everyone.

7 key ways to harness the “writing vehicle” – especially if you normally don’t write much

  1. If you’re unsure of what and how to write for a blog post or any other purpose, don’t sit there in front of a gloomy screen stressing about it. Grab hold of a good old-fashioned notebook and pencil. Go sit somewhere comfortable, and turn off your phone, laptop, IPad, etc. Let the ideas come to you. (NB: there are loads of free resources on the internet to help trigger ideas for blog posts – Google “ideas for blog posts.”) Think through what you  feel about the topic; your own experiences with it; your tips for others to learn from you.
  1. Be sure you’ve thought the topic through and you’re happy with it. Remember, if you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it  and share it.
  1. Then imagine you’re chatting to a friend over a coffee or a beer. Jot down in bullet point form the key points you’d make to that friend, to explain your topic and your opinion on it, the pros and cons, whatever arguments you feel are relevant. Then go back to your screen, copy down the bullet points.
  1. This is your basic structure. Start to flesh out each bullet point with a few more notes. And a few more. A few more again. Soon, you’ll realize that you have the basis of a good, well-thought out piece.
  1. Rather than use the notebook-and-pencil method, you may find it easier to talk through your topic into an audio recorder, then transcribe that into your device. This works well, too.
  1. Either way, tidy it up. That’s where the snotty bits of grammar etc. come in – but don’t sweat it too hard; what matters is that readers can understand what you’ve written and those tools help you make sure they do.
  1. But, don’t let the naysayers persuade you that it’s OK to ignore the snotty grammar bits: it isn’t. Just keep it in perspective – make sure what you think / say / write is correct enough that everyone knows exactly what you mean. After all, you don’t want to be misinterpreted, do you? And if your blog or article is for business purposes, you want to look professional, don’t you?

One thing nearly everyone agrees on is that practice makes perfect, or perfectish, anyway. You’ll find that the more you write using the method I suggest the easier it becomes, until you reach the point where you can skip some of the physical steps and just go through them mentally.

But don’t overdo it; remember it’s not the act of writing that matters in itself – it’s the act of expressing your thoughts, in writing, that really counts. If you’re going to practise anything, practise thinking up blog posts and then thinking through how you’re going to share them.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I will go pour myself a glass of tonic (don’t like vodka) and retire to re-read some steamy passages from 50 Shades of Grey ….

Here’s a bit of help if you do need it…

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

photo credit: blakeemrys via photopin cc
photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc

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  1. What a well structured piece. Thanks for the info and interesting links well worth the read. Keep up the good work or should that be keep up the good writing?

  2. Great post! Aside from the fact that I really like the topic, the post itself is so well structured. I think that a reason that some people are scared to start a blog is because they fear their writing isn’t “good enough”. So your take on the whole blogger vs. writer topic is awesome. “If you can think properly, you can write.” great quote!

    • Thanks for that, Dominique, and feel free to share the content of my article as long as you give me a link, OK? “If you can think, you can write” is based on the notion that all but a few people – certainly people in business, anyway – should speak with reasonable grammar and syntax, which in theory should translate into what they write down in their blogs. To a limited extent spell checkers and grammar checkers should take care of the rest, with some often hilarious exceptions…!! I’m off now to read part 2 of your series…all good wishes. Sz xx

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