By Jesse S. Somer
Writing...Blogs...Blogs are on-line journals where people express themselves through writing. Writing...Writing is the process where one puts down words of a language on a format that others can read. This process has not been around very long, to use one of my writing teacher's favorite sayings, "Writing has only existed for one day in the one year that humanity has existed." Speaking and thinking come much easier than writing. These processes just flow out naturally like a river of consciousness; sometimes we hardly have to think about doing them. Anyone and everyone can write words down on paper but that doesn't mean it's 'good writing', myself included. Like most things in life, our society already takes writing for granted which is proving to expose more of our ignorance. Writing is a new form of expression, and if we want to do it in a way that the masses can connect with our ideas, we have to think much more simply and clearly about this art.
Now that was quite a big paragraph, you've got to wonder if I really needed to say as much as I just did to introduce this article on the best way to write your blogs on the Web. I didn't even mention this main idea, and that's what an introduction paragraph is meant to be for. This is a common mistake in many blogs out there. We try to get too many ideas across in one paragraph, sometimes even in one sentence! The key, as in all things in life-is to keep it simple. Simplicity means that readers won't get confused about what your journal entry is actually about. Introduce your main general topic at the start, and use the subsequent paragraphs to discuss separate ideas that relate to this topic. Try to tie everything up in the concluding paragraph, your main argument and the reason why you've written in the first place.
Grammar and sentence construction are not easy systems to master, especially if you come from a school system that spent more time telling you about historical battles and quadratic equations than on how to read and write. This is a real problem. When we speak we can get messages across to others easily, but if we put these words down on paper, the writing just isn't interesting and doesn't connect with people's curiosities and fascination. When you write you are not talking to a close friend. You can't use slang and colloquialisms that only your local community can understand. The aim is to connect with all the people in the world, so let's make it crystal clear and enjoyable to read.
Your computer has spelling and grammar checks, as well as access to a thesaurus. Use them, but remember that the machine can't decipher all the intricacies of language. Language is a world in itself, and much of its territories are undiscovered by the masses. So, again keep it simple. Short, precise sentences with single ideas are great. Many words in the English language have the same meanings (synonyms). Use the thesaurus so you don't repeat the same word over and over throughout the text. It keeps the story fresh and doesn't turn the reader off. There's nothing more boring than repetition. Using different words can be a lot of fun and a learning experience, just make sure you use a dictionary (also on the computer/Internet) to make absolute sure of the word's definition.
Readability...Simplicity...Make your blog accessible by all people. You can even take into consideration that many readers will have learned English as a second language. As I've said in previous articles, keep to the point-don't go on tangents. Stick with the article's topic, and definitely stay within the realms of your blog's main area. If your blog is entitled "Jazz music", people who go there don't want to hear about how your football team won on the weekend! Please be consistent. How irritating is it to visit a blog that hasn't been written on in months or years?
I hope these little tips will help you on your quest to producing 'good' writing that brings new friends and acquaintances of similar outlooks into your world. If you want people to read, the aim is to produce an emotional reaction in your reader. Pretend you are writing to another form of yourself, if it were not readable, interesting and fun...would you stick around?
Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer is a 'grasshopper' writer attempting to inform other beginner writers on how they might one day become masters or 'sensei's'.