Do you want to become a good writer? Keep writing! Practice makes perfect.
Or does it?
Keep writing is usually the advice new writers are given to help them launch a journey onto the uncharted waters of how to write well, a practice that doesn’t usually have any proven rules of success although there’s plenty of advice going around.
I realized that as in every good thing in life, blogging too comes with its own share of pitfalls. Where there is opportunity for improvement in writing, there is also a need for tremendous caution.
Some of the pitfalls might not be that obvious in the first few months when the novelty of producing writing every week obscures many a nuance of habits picked up, where the unsuspecting traveler of the blogosphere might encounter a dangerous writer’s sinkhole.
Writing becomes work. A hobby becomes a job.
Most experienced bloggers recommend publishing upwards of three times a week in order to keep a rhythm alive. If the frequency of posts lapse, no matter how great a post, it has fewer readers. Yet, while in rhythm, even the most banal of posts are guaranteed to have a minimum number of views buoyed up by the other posts.
For the blogger, attempting to stick to this rhythm can have a detrimental effect on the pleasure of writing and being too prolific might compromise quality. What was fun becomes work and too much work makes the writing pedestrian.
Complex ideas are dumbed down.
If a blogger already has a niche audience that reads longer, involved posts, s/he is relatively safe. But for those bloggers who have to build an audience, it becomes quickly obvious that longer posts with nuances and details that are not simply vivid descriptions or emotion-invoking statements or situations of small talk (anger, feelings of comfort, chatting about everyday situations) will be overlooked. A point that needs sustained critical thinking will receive less interest than shorter posts that actually require less effort to write.
That is not to say that all short posts are easy to read, understand or write but it’s certainly easier to dumb down a long idea or write down a part of it than to thrash out the whole. In that sense, the temptation is tremendous for the blogger to pick up the habit of a choppy style that talks about bits and pieces of ideas at one go and gets out of practice with engagement with complex subjects.
A sudden idea is shot out onto the internet as a permanent point of view on an impulse.
The temptation to hit the publish button is tremendous in blogging although it can be argued that whether a person succumbs to desire is more a reflection of one’s personality than a reflection of an attribute of blogging. Yet, repeated exposure to such temptation can affect core writing values and privilege short-term goals over long-term gains.
So let’s be cautious as we enjoy blogging.