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Sunday, April 28, 2013

A blog about what I've learned about writing blogs well.

I have written a whole lot of blogs. At first, I was okay at it. Then, I got better at it. But still, I was not happy with what I produced. So, I tried to get better. 
First, I started reading a lot more blogs. And a greater variety. I made some notes, some mental, some on paper. Then I went back over some of mine, and now, I hope, I am doing a better job at it. Something I know I can do. 
So, here goes. This is what I have learned to do at various stages of blog creation.
Basically, I ask myself questions. If I don't get the right answers, I go back and re-do the blog. 

For me, and many, every blog starts with a thought or an idea. Some have an agenda, some just want to explore some art, some want to make a statement, some want to educate, or inform. A few of us even just rant and talk about shit that happens in our everyday lives and families. But it all starts the same.

What is the point you want to make?

When you begin to write the blog, sometimes you can go off on a tangent and the blog you started out writing is not the one you are writing about anymore. That is fine, but if you still want to talk about the original thought or idea, perhaps you should keep the one you have now written, and start a new one
That new one will be the one about the original thought. If you drift off topic again, and you are not making the point you wanted to make, then maybe, just maybe, you don't really want to make that point, and you should forget trying to. Or, just write down your point, in point form, and work with that. Don't start trying to do too much. And as you go forward, keep reminding yourself what that point was...and why you want to make it.
I find making a few notes beforehand helps, and keeping them within the text to make sure I know I want to lead towards that direction. That doesn't always help, but it does most of the time for me.

What is the story you want to tell?

This is simple. Just about every point you make is based on some story, personal or something out there in the big, bad world that you know about. Make sure you know where you are going in the blog, so that you can lead yourself into that story. That usually sells your point, and keeps the reader interested. It isn
't an essay for your college degree. It is supposed to entertain on some level. Remember that and make sure you aim towards it.

How do you want to tell it?

There are lots of ways to tell a story. It can be sad. It can be funny. It can be factual. It can be folksy. It can be a lot of things. But decide how you want to tell it before you begin to tell it. Or it will become disjointed. This is the one tip that always relates back to me. I start out telling the story one way, then drift into telling it another way. Then I am left with two options. First, I can go back, edit and re-write it (which is not something I am happy to have to do) or I can leave it all jumbled up and live with it. When I do that, I often hear in private about how my story was all over the place and hard to follow. Of course, I know that the criticism is right, because I realize that already. So, the best course of action is to know how you want to tell it, and stick to that, as best you can.

What types of examples do you want to use?

The advice is much the same as the previous tip. Do you want to use words, videos, pictures, facts? Just decide and try to stick with it. The more you know about what you want to use, the faster you can get it finished and stick to your original point. For a while, I started to use too many videos, and I realized that and had to edit back some blogs because the videos were not examples anymore. They were overshadowing my blogs and my point, instead of enhancing them.

When you get to the end, did you do what you set out to do?

This is the key tip. When you are done, re-read your blog. Entirely. You know (for the most part) what you wanted to say when you started. Did you end up doing that? If not, fix it. This can only be done when you read the blog and see if it conveys the thoughts and ideas that were in your head originally. Many times, for me, it isn't and I have to touch it up.

This is the procedure I use now. Hopefully this might help you. It helps me to go over these tips when I complete a blog now and I think what is in my head is more likely to end up on the page than ever before. 
That is why we write, isn't it? 

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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact