I am preparing to give a talk on blogging at the end of February. This has me thinking a lot about the topic. However, I have not been thinking about strategy or what goes into building a blog. I have been thinking about the issue of writing: what qualifies us to write, what gets us going, why we write and why we don’t.
I read a lot; blogs, news articles, magazine articles, academic articles, books and posts. In fact, if I were to sum up my primary activity, reading would be at the top of my list. Because I do this, I come across a lot of good writing and a lot of bad writing, especially in the world of blogging. Most seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
As a consumer of writing, I feel as though I am a fair judge. As a writer, I am rubbish at critiquing my own. So I have given up trying.
Lately what has become more interesting than the quality of writing has been the reason behind it.
Why do we write?
I started writing this blog to help my business. Blogs establish expertise. They give a voice to your business. They help with SEO because they create dynamic content. I also started writing because I have a lot of thoughts about social media. I wanted a place to share these thoughts, as well as a place to work them out. Sometime my theories, when trapped in my head, are not fully formed. Writing becomes a way I can work out the finer (or thicker) points.
My mom would argue that I write because I am a writer. She would say that I have always written. For those who remember me in my younger and more tortured years, they will recall my stint as a poet. And yes, I have written stories for kids that I share with a select few.
I think blogs help turn reluctant writers like myself into writers. It becomes an easy way to embrace the writing bug. For those who never were writers, blogs provide an easy vehicle where opinions count first, and writing second.
The biggest hurdle for new bloggers is the intimidation factor. There are many people who are interested in blogging but don’t do it because they don’t feel qualified. They don’t feel their writing is good enough or their theories are worth sharing.
First, you are the worst judge of your own writing. Just start – the more you write, the better you will become.
Writing about your business is a great way to begin. It drives traffic and establishes your expertise in an area. No one is asking you to be the next Hemingway. Write what you know about. As you continue you will fine tune your skills.
As bloggers, our posts become the social proof that qualifies us to write. We don’t need any qualifications to start writing. Do you have an opinion? Do you know stuff about stuff? Then you are qualified. And like anything, practice makes perfect.
You have something to say. It is time to say it.
Editor’s note: Lauren’s message is positive encouragement for your desire / willingness to communicate. All good. Here’s one thing for you to consider: have someone look over your stuff before you go public. Your style is your style, and maybe it’s all one sentence in lower case and stream of consciousness. However, if your goal is to be seen as a professional, or be taken seriously (or humorously) have your writing reviewed. It’s easy for us to miss our own mistakes – and if readers are tripping over typos, seriously misspelled or misused words and unintended grammatical hiccups they’ll miss (or dismiss) your great concepts. A good editor can proofread your stuff, help you streamline the flow of syntax and ideas and make your unique writing “voice” more effective and powerful.
OK, start writing! Hilary Jetty (SM3 associate and copy editor)