You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Like all clichés, there’s an element of truth to it. The best way to perfect a skill is to practice it over and over and over again, until it becomes second nature. This is especially true of writing. Behind every bestselling novel, there are dozens of discarded pages, book ideas and articles that never ran. The only way you can improve at writing is to practice it as much as possible.
Post by Adrienne.
And that is where blogging comes in. More demanding than journaling, less compulsive than a traditional writing job, blogging is a great way for writers to hone their craft. Here are some of the many ways penning a blog can help you become a better writer.
Writing Close to Your Heart
The most passionate and most interesting writing always comes from a place of passion. If you don’t care at all about television, you’re probably not going to write a very good piece on the series finale of “Breaking Bad.” But if addiction runs in your family, you can probably speak eloquently on the topic of how to help a meth addict or when to push a family member to enter rehab, and it will shine through in your post.
Blogging affords you the opportunity to follow those passions. No one monitors your content with you, and you can decide what topics to cover. Though you are writing for an audience, the only person you really have to please is yourself, because you started this blog to help your writing career. Write about your passions, and you’ll produce better copy.
Time to Experiment
Another great aspect of a blog is that it can be very experimental. When you are writing for an editor or a literary agent, you have to write to their expectations. But when you write a blog, you can play around with different things, such as perspective, structure, wording or presentation. This will help you discover your voice.
Every big-time writer had to find his or her voice, or the style in which you tell your story, before landing a big-time publishing contract. From John Grisham to Sue Grafton, each book has a distinctive voice behind it, and that’s part of what distinguishes every writer. Don’t be afraid to play around with different voices on your blog. You’ll discover what does and doesn’t work once you’ve started to experiment.
The Chance to be Discovered
Twenty years ago, the only way to get published was to approach editors and agents. But these days editors and agents are the ones approaching writers, thanks to blogs. Anyone can be published on the web. However, not everyone gets pulled from the web into print, and that remains the goal of many writers, no matter what their age.
When you blog, you have a chance to show your potential. You can mold your little space on the internet into anything you want and use it as a showcase, an online portfolio reflecting your abilities. A surprising number of authors got their start this way. The best-selling memoirs “Bitter is the New Black,” by Jen Lancaster, and “Julie and Julia,” by Julie Powell, both started as blogs. Your writing will also improve if you’re discovered by a publisher. You will get resources such as editors who will help tighten your writing.
Establishing a Schedule
Perhaps the most important benefit of blogging is the fact that it’s a regular gig. It’s easy to abandon a journal you keep under your mattress because you aren’t beholden to an audience. Online you need to post regularly if you want to keep your audience. And yet, because of the nature of blogging, you don’t need to spend as much time perfecting your words. You can work on the ideas and refine the words later if you decide you want to revisit the topic.
For example, say you’re playing around with some ideas for a short story. You might stumble on a killer plotline while doing a blog post, but you’re not exactly sure how to play out the opening situation in your writing. Blogging about it can help you figure out ways to move the story forward.
Input from Readers
Better yet, you may get feedback from your blog readers that helps you craft an even better story. Many writers who pen blogs are also voracious blog readers. Give their opinion some weight, because they can offer smart solutions to writing problems that plague even the most skilled wordsmiths.
Featured image by: Mike Licht