On learning writing through blogging

Frowny

There is still a perception out there that spending a part of your time on blogging or social media is wasteful, frivolous or simply inane–a “soft” pursuit that you choose to follow because you’ve chosen to not take the more serious or rigorous paths.

But for me, far from being inane or frivolous, four-and-a-half months of blogging has helped me learn so much more about the nuances of writing than what many other forms failed to drive home successfully.

So before anyone tells you you’re wasting time just blogging, think about how blogging helps. When you’re blogging, you’re

1. Generating ideas and practising writing: Blogging is a superb method at getting writing practice. And if you manage to get a few readers, you have a process of constant feedback. No matter who they are, comments always make you stand back and take stock and that’s a very important avenue towards becoming a  better writer. Getting used to generating new and original topic ideas on a periodic basic seems very difficult at first but it has amazed me how much more easy it becomes with practice.

2. Understanding audience: We all start with a general idea of who our audience is. But you learn the nuances as you go along. Nuances are very important in writing. One very important lesson I learnt is this: You can never fool an audience with substandard material no matter who they are. On days that I write out a blog hurriedly throwing some points together, I get far fewer readers. The other side of the coin, the good side, is that when I put in effort, more people read. You also learn how much effort is too much investment on a single thing. So it’s not a haphazard world out there which is very heartening.

Also, connecting with different kinds of readers in different ways depending on realizing what different things they are getting out of the same material is a very important learning process. This only comes with putting your wrting “out there” as I could with the blog. You can never take readers for granted. They are very discerning.

3. Focusing on organization: Understanding how/what people read taught me important lessons on where to insert the breaks if I had a long blog in mind, how much to repeat if I was breaking it into different posts, what to foreground for quick readers.

These lessons carry over to other kinds of writing, even to other areas of life strangely–something I learnt as I was recently writing and commenting on a completely different kind of material. As I was working on that, I realized how much I had developed as a writer, how flexible I had become and how much more I was keeping in mind the reader’s point of view as I was working compared to what I was four months ago–a legacy of my blogging experience. All the while, practising organization in writing was teaching me how to organize my life! (No. Writing won’t help clean up the mess in the room. I mean it helps conceptually to see how the parts fit so where life is going as a whole and which parts need to be revised.)

4. Practising patience and preventing procrastination: The two P’s. The former is a virtue I lack. The latter is a vice I had developed to perfection. If I wrote something, I’d either want to submit it immediately to get rid of it or stop thinking about it. Or I would be so anxiety ridden under the surface of my writing self that I wouldn’t be able to start. Since each blog does not matter so much in the great universe of things and since there’s always another chance in blogging, the procrastination driven by anxiety disappeared. Writing was fun!

As for patience, when better edited blogs received better feedback and more readings, when better timed blogs had more readers (and you knew how you had fared almost immediately), you learnt to discipline yourself much more easily because there was a reward at the end of the process and the process was not isolating.

Smiley Face

At first, we think there might be some short-cut method to attracting readers. Innumerable accounts in innumerable social networking sites where you can share, constantly monitor and “friend” people with a purpose. Not to get something out of them but just to make them read!

But in the long run, it’s what you have to say that matters and how you say it where writing is concerned. That’s a constant learning process and blogging makes that process fun.

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158 thoughts on “On learning writing through blogging”

  1. Yes, it is what we have to say that matters. I too am improving grammar and learning with each blog I write. Thank you for writing. It matters.

    Nancy ~ Bead Charmer Girl

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  2. You’re so right. I wrote a novel and then started blogging and in some ways I wish I had done it the other way around. Blogging gets a bad rap. I know it improves my writing, helps me be concise and my mind is humming with inspiration on a daily basis. Thank you for putting all that into words!

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  3. I hadn’t thought of it like that before. But now that I think of it, since I started my blog last year, I have been much more focused on my writing in general, much more consistent in my efforts. I don’t know if that’s because I also have the perceived social pressure of ‘being a writer’ since I’m blogging about my writing journey, or if it’s an internal pressure created by other factors, but there is a correlation nonetheless. Just a question though – I noticed that you copyright your posts – is that because you live in America or is that something bloggers would be wise to do in general? In Australia we have ‘automatic’ copyright, I wonder if that applies on the global sphere of the internet though?

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  4. A blogule, indeed. Great style. From this post, I got enough out of point two to be getting on with. You hit on so many great points. Thanks for liking my (with permission?) “blogule” on Thinking and Writing.

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  5. I couldn’t agree more with your post. I keep two blogs, one about Louisa May Alcott which requires a lot of research (which I love to do) and the other which features other kinds of writing, mainly spiritual. Keeping these blogs has disciplined me and it keeps the engine oiled if you know what I mean. It’s also a way to build up a following and in the case of the Louisa May Alcott blog, building up credentials so that I will be taken seriously by the academic community (and I’ve managed to do that).

    The drawback I see is that blogging is very different from short story and novel writing and I’m having trouble crossing that bridge. It will happen though because the desire to do it is strong. Thank you for your blog, I love reading your writing.

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  6. Great post. Just like you, I started blogging to practice writing & now I have come a long way. It has become a place to express my thoughts & feelings.It has helped me in being positive & increased my creativity. I never knew I could write, photograph & create new recipes. Thanks to blogging I have found my space :-). Good luck with your writing endeavor.

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  7. This is a superb article! And I loved that you didn’t make it so technical and it helped that I’m learning too. I’ve realized that though I used blogging for practice, most times I’m what you described as “wanting to get it over with”…which really isn’t the way to learn…so yes..a lot to think about! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  8. “Since each blog does not matter so much in the great universe of things and since there’s always another chance in blogging, the procrastination driven by anxiety disappeared. Writing was fun!”I agree, blogging makes writing fun again, like when I was kid who wrote masterpieces for the sake of writing, not the masterpiece. Thanks for the validation. Write on.

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  9. Hmm this post is very helpful to me right now. I just started blogging (in seriousness) and I never thought about how it would help me understand my audience. For me I have always been wary of sharing where I can’t see my audience. Because I love being around and in front of people I like to look for cues in facial expression and tone. But to put it out there on the internet or world always had me hesitating. There is no physical personality to “boost” it so to speak. My words are on their own. But after reading that, I think I made a good decision 🙂

    But all in all I hope blogging helps me just as much as it has helped you 🙂

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  10. Very good points! To me, blogging is to improve my own skills. Concentrating too much on the social aspects or acquiring “likes” and “follows” is counterproductive to self-improvement (at least in my opinion). Thanks for this worthwhile post!

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  11. Agreed. Write first, learn later. Blogging provides a platform to gather thoughts and put them into words. Enjoying writing is the only thing that should matter. Everything else is secondary.

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  12. Great post! It is so true about learning to write. ICYI, I found a site the other day that I used to evaluate a paper I wrote for school. The site is http://www.dynamo.dictionary.com It’s a service that analyzes what you’ve written and gives you suggestions to make it better. There is a reasonable monthly fee, which may dissuade you—but (for me, at least) it seems worth the $$. I am soooooo looking forward to graduation so I can spend more time on my blogs—and other things that I’ve had to put aside for the sake of my GPA.

    Keep writing! You are doing just fine….and that comes from someone who has been an editor for nearly 20 years.

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  13. This post really rang true for me. Even though I started blogging a few months ago it’s only now I’m forcing myself to make the time for it and realising the benefits. For me writing is a therapy a passion and a buzz but showing that writing to people who might ( oh the horror ) judge me for it , thats fear Nothing makes me happier than good feedback and hey the negative always has a lesson in there somewhere…even if sometimes that lesson is just to stick your chin up and keep doing your thing .

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  14. Great post! I totally agree with you. One of the struggles I’ve always had with my writing is being careful not to overstate things, and I’ve found that blogging has really helped me organize my thoughts a lot better.

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