Every Writer Needs a Blog and Every Blog needs a Writer

hieroglyphs Showcase by pcdazero CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

I was discuss­ing sever­al things with an editor and publish­er yester­day and we concluded that every writer needs a blog. It is true. They need somewhere to showcase their work, a writer-friendly place. Given how simple it is to publish in the modern world there is always a place for good, well-edited, writing. The reverse is also true, every blog needs a writer. The meaning of this is that writers and bloggers share a commit­ment to improve.

 

Every Writer Needs a Blog

 
This element of the title seems easy to under­stand. It is true, for every writer. If you count yourself as a commit­ted writer then having a blog makes sense. Even if the site is simply shown to poten­tial publish­ers or employ­ers it can still be a power­ful demon­stra­tion of writing prowess. The way to put your best foot forward. The blog has a place in a writer’s life.
 
In the past many writers were also essay­ists. Those essays being letters to other writers, friends, people of influ­ence, and even publish­ers. They were a way to explore ideas, talk about what is right or wrong in society. Are we to believe that only the past was littered with societ­al challenges? There are as many today, writer simply needs to choose to identi­fy injustices and write about them. Life is little differ­ent today, there are plenty of challenges to inspire. Plenty of oppor­tun­ity to write essays that challenge the mind.
 
Much of this commu­nic­a­tion happens in the modern-day, but, in addition writers have access to a larger world popula­tion. Writer always had a keen interest in their craft. Stephen King gives many insights for writing improve­ment. These are not limited to his genre.
 

Writing and Writer Blogs

 
Olb man portrait writer experienced by subhamshome28 CC0 Public Domain from PixabayI follow a lot of writing blogs and a lot of writer blogs. The two are differ­ent. The latter concen­trates on the thoughts and challenges of the writer. The former is about meta-writing. This is writing that explains the process of writing. The word meta, defined as self-referential, thus meta-writing is writing about the process, challenges, and techniques in writing. Arguably this also covers the challenge of writers getting their work published.
 
The article by Peter Selgin, “Avoid Nagging False Suspense Questions in Your Story Opening” offers writing advice. Meta-writing includes advice like this. How to handle that partic­u­lar problem, learn­ing, growing are each import­ant aspects of learn­ing to become a better writer. A skill that may take a lifetime to master. Writer blogs also bring the stories of a lifetime of writing, exper­i­ences etc.
 
There are many challenges associ­ated with writing and there are many writers that love to explore each of those avenues within their blogs. But, is there more a writer could do? I believe there is. Room for improve­ment always exists. The blog is the start point, not the end in itself.
 

One Challenge, Layout

 
One of the challenges of writer blogs is that too many leave default layouts or choose simple themes. Come on writers! Pull up your socks, explore a bit. Be a little more adven­tur­ous. Make your blog a little more like a magazine. Showcase articles, have a sensible category list. There are plenty of themes avail­able that can change your blog and give it a more excit­ing look
 
Many blogs are a mixture. I confess to provid­ing a mixture on GobbledeGoox of both meta-writing and meta-blogging, which leads onto the next point in the title…
 

Every Blog needs a Writer

 
Whatever their topic. Whether they consider themselves one, or not, every blog is written by a writer. That said many concen­trate of deliv­er­ing mater­i­al about their special­ist subject, without partic­u­lar atten­tion to the mechan­ics of writing. They don’t neces­sar­ily consider themselves writers. But, they may openly admit that their work requires some delic­ate editing. Truth is they have no money to do that. 
 
Its called doing the best they can with the resources at hand. But blog writers need to look at ways to improve their skills. Spelling correctly, syntactic­ally correct English, and using better grammar are only the start of this process. Engaging tools are neces­sary. But under­stand­ing the mechan­ics of the language helps the most.
 
“I never make errors when writing.” You say. Congratulations, welcome to the club! I don’t make mistakes either, but I often have to correct what I write.
 
The best way to under­stand your errors is to have your writing analysed. There are plenty of tools avail­able. They are not all accur­ate, but they help you learn as a writer. Once you learn why something is wrong it will help you break the habit.
 
 

Tools to Use

 
Grammarly
Many bloggers do not have the Hemingway editor. Nor have they installed Grammarly, to help them polish their master­pieces. These are tools to assist is the humble word processor and its check­ers. Trouble is, people know that spelling check­ers are notori­ously inaccur­ate, especially if you use multiple versions of English (USA, Canada, etc.).
 
Now it is true that Microsoft Word, for example, comes with checks for passive sentences and other grammat­ic­al errors. 
 
But, many people turn off these warnings. They are working without guidance. Telling a writer about use of passive voice is unhelp­ful if they don’t know how to resolve the problem. It was certainly the way I felt when I first started blogging. I turned off grammar check­ing until I decided it was time to under­stand what passive voice was and the impact it had.
 

What is Passive Voice?

 
Passive by creozavr CC0 Public Domain from PixabayEvery writer needs to under­stand what passive voice is, how to use it and how to avoid it. General writing advice is that people should write in active voice. In an active sentence the doer comes first. “The letter was mailed by Mary” is a sentence in passive voice. “Thomas Edison inven­ted electric light” is an active voice sentence.
 
Why avoid passive voice? When to use passive voice? These are two questions to under­stand. Most people overuse passive voice. But, there are times when use of passive voice is unavoid­able. Some examples:
 
  • The person (or people) perform­ing the action are unknown or irrel­ev­ant. One example: “An exper­i­ment­al wind power plant will be built in the Canadian tundra.”
  • It is neces­sary to be vague about respons­ib­il­ity. “Mistakes were made.”
  • When making a gener­al state­ment. “Rules were made to be broken.”
 

Minimise Use

 
Minimise use of passive voice. Use active voice wherever possible. One tactic to avoid use of passive voice is to ask questions. 
 
Start the sentence with the person or group who performed the action. Yet, there are times when passive use is neces­sary. It cannot be avoided altogeth­er. You should feel a rule coming up. So here is the rule that I have under­stood: limit passive voice usage to 10% of your sentences. 
 
One of the challenges of longer sentences is passive voice usage.  
 

Note on Longer Sentences

 
Long - analytical by FotografielLink CC0 Public Domain from PixabayTo use longer sentences, you should delib­er­ately construct them from a series of active sentences. Create delib­er­ate sentences. Each explain­ing a part of the whole. One at a time. Each built without commas centred around the subject. From this you construct the longer sentence. The subject being the person, place, thing, or idea that is is perform­ing the action or at the centre.
 
There is a gener­al principle in English that the subject is used once and replaced by he, she, or it as a sentence or paragraph devel­ops. Yet repeti­tion can sometimes add dramat­ic effect. I am of the view that longer sentences or paragraphs do not make your work unread­able. Yet sadly readab­il­ity statist­ics take a dim view of the longer sentence. 
 
There is a time and a place. The phrase, the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter, etc. need to be as long as they need to be to explain the point at hand. No more, no less. They are short when need demands, and long when neces­sary. William Shakespeare is respons­ible for how we use much of modern English and he used long sentences to beguile readers. If he or Charles Dickens use them, then so may we.
 
But, once again it is a game of percent­ages. Keep them under 10% of the total.
 
 

Great Re-writing

 
There is popular saying “there is no great writing only great rewrit­ing”. What is meant by this state­ment is that all writing MUST be edited. One of the causes of writers block is not knowing the precise words that need to be used.
 
When start­ing a writing project there is no reason to know the final form of the words you will use. Get the idea down on paper (well in an electron­ic notepad at least). Once written, your subcon­scious mind will automat­ic­ally know how ugly the words are and will seek to find an elegant explan­a­tion. Give it time, it will come.
 
In part, this is why I take time prepar­ing articles and posts for my blog. Left for a few days, it is easy to add new elements. 
 

Long Blog Posts

 
Once upon a time in the blogo­sphere small posts predom­in­ated. Trouble was that unless the post was complete within itself you would soon see part 2, 3, 4… 27, 28… Do you get the picture?
 
There is a place for the short blog post. It is when something can be accur­ately and succinctly described. I take the view that a blog post should be precisely the length it needs to be to complete the topic, wheth­er that is 450 words of 45,000. Modern blog reader­ship reflects this. Readers demand educa­tion. People don’t wish to see part 19, they need guidance through the whole process.
 
Posts should be longer, consider 1,500 to 2,500 words to be the normal length of your work. Being longer means being more analyt­ic­al. Educate the reader on the topic and move on​.You can write a non-fiction book through your blog. Write about one compon­ent, then anoth­er — when creat­ing the book you collect these togeth­er in a logic­al order. 
 

My Hope For Bloggers

 
I wish to encour­age bloggers to seek to improve writing quality. On the flip side I would love to encour­age writers to create great blogs. There is room for both and both need encour­aging. Improvement is always neces­sary.
 

Other Material to Read:

 

Do you agree that every writer needs a blog? Does every blogger need to be a writer? What do you use your blog for? Tell us about your blog. What are you proud of? What needs to improve?

 

Something to contrib­ute? Please leave a comment. If you like this article, we appre­ci­ate any donations to GobbledeGoox. All images here were sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay, Unsplash or simil­ar sites.

 
 

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