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Overheard on #Blogchat: Writing Well (@mkrigsman)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Monetizaton with Darren Rowse (@problogger)

I’m a writer, so blogging was something that I fell into naturally. Originally, this was a field that was only filled with people who enjoyed writing, simply because blogs weren’t monetized so the only reason to do it was for the love of writing. As more and more people begin to see blogging as a way to make money or build a brand, however, writers aren’t the only ones starting blogs. Monetization means that blogs are being run by people who don’t have a background in writing and, in many cases, don’t even like writing. Someone at #blogchat brought up an interesting point in regards to this:

@mkrigsman: If you don’t write well, then you cannot blog expertly. Great content requires skill created by devotion. No shortcuts.

First, let me talk about what I think people will take away from this tweet – then why I wholeheartedly believe it’s wrong.

When most people read this tweet, what they’ll read is, “if you aren’t a writer, your blog is going to suck.” I actually know quite a few people who have told me that they have a great blog idea, but they don’t like to write or don’t think they can write well, so they never do anything with their ideas. That makes me sad.

Frankly, you don’ t have to be good writer to be a good blogger in most cases. If you are blogging for entertainment purposes (such as posting short stories or creative non-fiction), being a good writer is necessary. But really, if you don’t like to write, why the heck would you start a blog using your writing to entertain others? That doesn’t make a lot of sense. No, most bloggers blog to share information about their niche. To do that, you don’t have to be a good writer.

To be a blogger, you have to learn to share you ideas clearly in a way that connects with your readers. Those are skills you can learn, not inherent talents. Becoming a good blogger is all about perfecting your craft, just like you do with any other job tasks. Someone working at Subway doesn’t have to enjoy making sandwiches to create a really taste lunch for me! You can’t teach talent, but you don’t need to be a talented writer to be an amazing blogger. I think that’s what @mkrigsman was trying to say, and what people should take away from this tweet.

If you aren’t a good writer or hate writing, you do have other choices. For example, you could record a weekly (or even daily) podcast to post on your blog or become a video blogger. You could also create a photo-centric blog if it fits your niche. Not everyone needs 500-word posts every single day. You have other options! You can even hire a virtual worker who is a good writer and do interviews with them so they can create your blog posts (or have them rewrite your work so it is easier to read).

Writing does get easier as you work on improving your skills. While a blog post may take you three hours now, in the future, you’ll start to learn how to write faster in a way that better connects to your audience. Even if you aren’t a writer, don’t give up! Your blog can be awesome.

I’m curious, readers/bloggers – were you a writer in any way before you started blogging? If not, what are your biggest writing-related challenges?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

8
  • Michael Krigsman

    Alli,

    Thanks for clarifying an important point: blogs are about communication. One way or another, other people need people need to see and receive your message.

    My comments were meant to encourage bloggers to develop and improve their skills. More than anything, writing a blog requires a sense of topic, goal, and audience. For most of us, developing reasonable writing skill has little to do with talent, but require consistent effort and work. With writing, practice does make the difference. Personally, I find that a consistent writing schedule really pays off.

    Best,
    Michael

    • Alli

      I definitely agree with you and am glad you tweeted the above comment at blogchat this week, because it gave me a opportunity to rant a little! I just think too many people use “I’m not a writer by nature” as a reason not to start a blog. It isn’t a good reason at all. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Paula Lee Bright

    I am a writer, Alli. I write because I have to! I write even if it’s not for a purpose—so it’s more sensible to PUT it to a purpose than not.

    I agree that you don’t have to be an excellent writer to be a successful blogger, but I believe one better damn well be good at something! Poorly done anything stinks on the web. I click away instantly when I come across junk.

    That doesn’t mean a typo once in a while, or one awkward phrase. But not interesting? Not captivating? Gone-zo.

    HOWEVER! Suppose you are a fantastic photographer with a gift for gab? Use that. Video your vibe.

    Maybe you’re a slideshow creator. Slip that stuff to the slurpers out there.

    Maybe you’re a musician—move your mood! Nobody will like it they don’t hear it.

    But you’re going to need some text. People have to move about your space. Bad spelling and grammar will mar your presentation.

    I suggest that you find someone good with words to handle that for you and you carry on with your art. That’s the part you’re good at.

    I see too many of us spending hours and days trying to master things that others could so easily do. I do it! And I hate it. I’m going to STOP.

    It’s a time-waster. And child, I’m old! I don’t have that much time on the clock.

    That’s what is killing me now. I need a techy! I’ve tried on my own for ages, and no. I. Don’t. Get. It.

    I need it done NOW.

    I need a geek to whip it out in an afternoon or less, as opposed to me spending days and days and days trying to learn something I’m not cut out for.

    I need a techie. And somewhere, I have to think, there is a techie out there who needs ME. I can edit, proofread, and work with text. I can flavor it the way you want it. TRADE ME!

    I’d love to see a barter system evolve amongst bloggers. Or maybe it’s already there and I’m such a noob that I haven’t found it.

    Yet.

    If anyone knows of a system: LET ME IN!

    Thanks for the time, Alli, and I think your work is absolutely sensational. Keep it up, my friend.

  • Rob

    Participated in my first #blogchat tonight and had a blast! I found, and I believe young bloggers may relate to this more than older, that blogging made me realize I was a good “writer.” Not to toot my own horn. Just to say, I always viewed writing as strictly a tool of education and communication. Blogging made me realize writing as a form of self-expression.

  • Vernon

    Alli,

    Interesting post. I’ll answer the question you posed at the end: “were you a writer in any way before you started blogging”

    I wasn’t a writer in a published sense. I was working as a guide on a nature reserve, and we had to record various things. I found that I enjoyed it. The company had a sightings report blog, where we could chat about things we had seen in the field.

    I participated a lot in those sightings reports, and when I left the job, I started a blog as a way to keep doing that, just on my own.

    It has gone from sightings to blogging about many different things – including blogging itself now (as boring as that is, it’s fun)

  • Lola Dee

    I agree, that if you are going to do a blog, you do need to have some type of unique talent or skill to be successful. If you have poor grammar and spelling, or pontificate about nothing, I am surely not going to read your blog. The blog should be entertaining and informative. You need wear many hats. In my case, I am a writer, photographer, videographer, chef, recipe creator, food stylist, director, producer,and on air talent. You need to have drive, and most of all, be relatable.

  • Karen E. Lund

    This reminds me a little of when a friend told me she wanted to lose some weight, and I offered to lend her a simple vegetarian cookbook I got good use from when I was losing weight.

    “I don’t cook. I don’t do that Julia Child stuff,” she protested.

    “Julia Child! Goodness, nothing like that. Simple vegetarian dishes, like soups and stews. You won’t lose weight cooking like Julia Child.”

    Some of us blog because we like to write, as I do. But people blog for all kinds of other reasons, including promoting a business–or as a business. Good standard English is required, but literary flair is not. Indeed, trying to get too “literary” might wreck an otherwise good blog. Instead, write clearly about your field of expertise.

    If your prose is a little rusty, get good advice. The classic Strunk & White book “The Elements of Style” will help, and “Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer” by Roy Peter Clark is useful. I picked it up on a whim at the library. Clark takes the view that anyone can write well, if they practice and take care. You don’t have to do all 50 exercises (I didn’t) to improve your writing. He walks you through various techniques and asks you to examine your own writing and common things you see, like newspaper articles. Both books apply the KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) principle, although they don’t use quite those words.

    Of course, in a real pinch, if you’re just not good at writing, don’t enjoy it, or if English isn’t your native language and is a struggle for you, get a good proofreader/editor. Nothing spoils a good blog or website as quickly as poor grammar or typographical errors. But maybe that’s just my English major background speaking.

    • Alli

      I think two words in your comment stand out above all others – “write clearly.” People forget that sometimes!

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