Why Blogging Can Make You A Better Writer
The key to becoming a better writer today is the same its always been. If you want to be a better writer you must write. The more you write, the better you become.
You no longer need to keep a notebook or piles of legal pads that no one else will read filled with your thoughts, musings, and stops and starts. You can do that, of course, but the internet gives you a different set of options.
Blogging your way to becoming a better writer is a great way to go (and WriteLab can help you improve at a faster pace).
But where to begin?
“Have a take and don’t suck.”
These are the words of sports radio personality Jim Rome (please don’t take this as an endorsement of Jim Rome). In short, his idea is that you should offer a unique and intelligent perspective when sharing your thoughts. This is crucial to blogging as well. Decide what you want to write about. Make sure you have a take on it that might be interesting to someone else. And then do your best to make it readable and interesting.
Just be yourself.
There are a lot of writing assignments that will have nothing to do with you, your view of the world, or be of any particular interest to you. Your blog is not one of them. Choose something that interests you personally. It’s so much easier to focus on the craft of writing when you’re also not worried about the subject matter. Be yourself and use your blog to find yourself (your voice) as a writer.
Don’t worry about being universally correct.
You have to accept that certain things change over time. That not everything you write in the present will be perfectly preserved and valued in the future. For example, you might change your view on an idea or topic—or new evidence might change how everyone thinks. Simply put, do your best to make something correct in the present, but know it might not fully be correct forever. Just make sure that this fact doesn’t stop you from writing more—and taking chances when you write.
It’s out there, for better or worse, for all to read.
When you write just for you, you write differently. Look at any notes you’ve ever taken. They are written in a shorthand that you know only you will understand (because you wrote them). When you write for an audience you need to make sure that people who are not in your head, sharing your every thought, will understand what you are saying. This is great practice for your logic and clarity.
You can also get feedback. Look, hell lies in the comment section online, so beware of opening yourself up to comments on your posts. But there are ways to get feedback on what you’re putting out there. For example, sharing your posts on Facebook and Twitter to spark discussions that you can ignore or engage with until your heart’s content. This feedback can lead to real growth in your writing if you work hard at integrating valuable perspectives.
Say more in less space.
You can challenge yourself to write longer pieces where you really flesh out a thought, idea, or argument. Then you can turn around are challenge yourself to make those same points in 300 words or less. Both challenges are worth accepting and will make you a better writer. Your blog allows both, side-by-side.
It’s more real world than you’d think.
There are certain skill sets required to write online and get your work seen that there’s no reason to do elsewhere, like SEO and a greater emphasis on selling not only products but ideas. It’s a different type of writing to be sure, but it also pushes you to cultivate a new set of skills. The more practice you have writing in different ways, the better you can become as a writer overall.
Using AI-based writing software to help you improve as a writer.
Below is a screenshot of feedback I received from WriteLab when uploading a recent post to my personal blog about Indiana University Basketball.
This feedback was an affirmation of something I’d written. It made me happy, which is why I’m choosing to share it here, but you can see that I also have feedback on my Concision, Clarity, Logic, and Grammar.
Here’s one that provides me with a suggestion to simplify my writing by removing an adverb.
Stephen King would approve. He’s not a big fan of adverbs.
I’ve done a lot of blogging and I know my style and my audience, but the tips and suggestions from WriteLab are helpful in pointing out ways I could tighten up what I’m writing, or showing me things I do frequently that I could do without.
All of which makes me a better writer.
WriteLab is a next generation writing app built for all writers by bringing together Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and English Language Instruction.