Welcome to the second installment of my blogging the Write A Blog People Will Read Course!
NOTE: This is a review of how I’m learning from the course so this is just one possible experience.
In Module Two, we’re learning not to write just for the sake of having words on the screen, but to write what matters. By that measure, at best, 5% of the early years of this blog (no, no, don’t go see, take my word for it, please) were anything but flotsam.
Most of it was meandering bits of daily jumble. Not at all compelling unless you were just wondering what I’d done or worried about that day. (No one was.)
Writing something that matters.
Much like the difference between living to eat and eating to live, there’s a vast gulf between churning out text for the sake of posting things and crafting a piece that, well, people want to read.
This lesson hits me square between the eyes. Great writing is a revel and a joy to read. The writing here doesn’t meet that standard in my not-so-humble opinion.
I don’t cookie cutter my money posts just to have something to post but does it have value to anyone else? Beyond exercising my writing muscles and keeping my money mojo going, what does my writing about money and family and so on really do for my readers? Is it informative and engaging that you know my month to month thoughts or am I just shouting into the wind?
A good friend from the blogging world, not so incidentally a successful blogger, told me once that my posts are too long and “vocabulary is far too extensive”.
I understood that to mean that I fail hard at the general rule of thumb that in order to write for the broadest audience, you ought to be clocking between a sixth and seventh grade level. This is a valid and valuable criticism. Even the NIH recommends this level of writing!
I’m not sure how not to write like I think. That means using words that taste right in my mind. What you see here is the voice I hear in my head. And like a perfect, warm apple pie with the exquisitely flaky crust, and five dashes of cinnamon, using precise words to communicate is so satisfying. Even when I sound like a nerd.
(It’s because I really AM a nerd.)
D’you suppose that’s what keeps my audience to the elite few?
Does my blathering feel inaccessible to you? (Is blathering a common word? I have the worst trouble with this.)
Killing your little darlings
Maybe this is where my efforts should most be concentrated.
I do edit most writing, truly. First drafts are painful to read. But sometimes, final rounds of edits leave me with posts that have tripled in length and I suspect that your eyes probably start glazing over by the time you scroll a third or fourth time.
There’s a lot to digest in this second module and learning how I should apply the lessons. Good advice is only useful when you implement it, after all.