Although blog writing allows one some flexibility from the standards of academic writing, one should never abandon the elements of effective writing. You can have fun with blogging and you don’t have to approach blogging like you do an academic paper. However, no matter what approach you employ as a blogger, you should not neglect the core principles of effective writing. From the beginning of this piece, I want it to be clear that I’m not trying to present myself as the world’s greatest writer. I’m far from the world’s greatest writer, but I’m a very accomplished writer. I’ve had many of my articles posted here at Revolutionary Paideia featured on many sites. I’m a university English Instructor and published scholar. I do, therefore, know a little something about effective writing. The fundamental purpose of this piece is to offer some writing advice to bloggers about how they can ameliorate the quality of the writing in their blog posts.
I’m not a blog expert. I have only been blogging for a little over one year. I’ve been reading blogs for a while now. One thing I have found to be problematic about many of the blogs I have read and/or stumbled upon is the writing does not reflect that the authors have fully given themselves an opportunity to be benefit from the complete writing process. As an English Instructor, one of my primary goals for my students is to have them to buy into the notion of writing as a process. While you can see that many bloggers have thought about what they want to write about, many of them are not engaging in the editing and proofreading stages of the writing process.
One the easiest ways for a blogger to give his or her readers a negative dominant impression about his or her blog and writing is to post pieces on his or her blog that have not been carefully edited and proofread. Some bloggers feel like they have to maintain a certain kind of schedule, and this leads them to feel like they have to just get the piece posted—with little to no editing and proofreading. Never let your self-created blog posting schedule interfere with you posting pieces that have been carefully edited and proofread. Bad writing is just as unattractive as a funky mouth. Why would you rush to post a piece that no one can understand?
Good writing is not boring writing. Don’t try to justify your bad writing with the trite excuse that you don’t write that well on your blog because you’re trying have fun and not bore your reader. I hate to tell you but bad writing is boring. It’s the kind of thing that will cause the reader to move on to the next blog.
One thing you can do to improve the quality of the writing on your blog is to have someone who you know who’s a good editor to review your work before you to publish it on your blog. Even for good writers or people who perceive themselves to be good writers, you can benefit from letting someone review a draft of your post before you promulgate it on your blog. The feedback you receive from a good editor can help to improve your public online image. With the power of Google, you don’t want a potential employer to perform a Google search on you and discover your poor writing.
The grammar error I see most often on blogs, even from many of the better written blogs I read, is noun-pronoun antecedent disagreement. The pronoun you use to refer back to the noun with has to agree in both number and case. Here’s an example of the error: “When a person does negative things in public, their public image will suffer greatly.” “Person” and “their” don’t agree. This error may seem obvious to you now that it is being highlighted, but it’s one of the main errors I see too often in the blogosphere and elsewhere.
The following is a list of more writing tips I recommend for bloggers:
1) Eliminate unnecessary uses of “that” in your sentences. This is something you should check for during your editing process.
2) Avoid repetition. When you’re editing your work, go back and look for repetitious words. Additionally, look for repetitious beginnings of sentences. Don’t have 4-5 sentences in a row that all begin with “I.”
3) Don’t create your own words without informing your reader of the definition of your newly coined words.
4) Use apostrophes appropriately.
5) Don’t write sentence fragments, save for when you’re intentionally and appropriately using them.
6) Make sure your sentences are clear. If you know you’re not the strongest writer, just keep it simple.
In no way am I trying to denigrate any blogger, I just enjoy reading good writing and want many of my fellow Black bloggers to improve their writing.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison