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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Blogging The Write Way

If you are a recent blogger and have never had anything else published before you started your blog, the following statement may come as a surprise to you. Writing a blog, or several, professionally is no different than being a professional writer. The only real difference is that you are working for a different medium, and you have to edit your own work.

The truth is, blogging is probably better for your ego. Submitting a manuscript or even an article to an editor gives you no guarantee you'll be accepted. If you are accepted, there is no guarantee that you'll be read. There's no way to measure if you are being read, short of a survey, where you hope people will be honest.

With blogging, you can measure your readership. Quality, useful content and frequent postings, followed by pings to Blog and RSS search engines/directories increases your chances of being read. Did I say you can measure your readership :?

But back to to my main point: If you are a professsional blogger, or are heading that way, you must think and act like a professional writer. You need to plan a loose set of topics, do some research, even get feedback from other people before you post entries. Use a spell-checker. I make frequent typos because I type too fast and and my keys stick. I'm the first to admit my typos. But I do not make spelling mistakes. There is a subtle distinction here. Contrast that with the numerous professional blogs I see where there is great content but horrendous spelling errors. Not typos, errors. How do I know? Because the error is consistent. The English language is going to Heck. Bloggers, you have a responsibility to use correct spelling. Try, try, try. Use a spell-checker.

Grammar is another story. The problem is that in speech, we almost never use proper grammar. And since the charm of popular blogs is usually due to a conversational style, proper grammar may be liability. Write your blog entries as if you are speaking them. If you are not sure, read them back to yourself out loud, or even to someone else. It actually takes practice to write like you speak. One way to achieve this is to get some sort of digital recording device, even your computer. (Audacity is a great OpenSource recording package.) Now, instead of writing your blog entry, turn on your recorder and microphone and "explain" your topic out loud, as if you are telling a friend. When you're done recording, listen back to your audio blog entry several times over several days. Now try to transcribe the audio: type what you're hearing and save the result using your fave blog editing tool. Your transcribed blog may sound a bit awkward. So edit anything that doesn't read properly. Keep doing this exercise with several blog entries and eventually you will reach a happy medium between written style and spoken style.

(c) Copyright 2005, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.blogspot.com

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You know, this is a good article. But who's reading it? I read the other article you submitted to ProBlogger and it was good too. Like all of us, however, we need to reach our market. I have ideas of how we can do that and so have you. There are ways to share our knowledge and thoughts, just as Darren is doing at ProBlogger.

I recently established the Writers Blog Alliance with a view to increasing writers' profiles and chances of capturing readers through blogs. I won't say anything about it here but you could have a look at the site and make up your own mind on it. Good luck, whatever you decide. :)

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BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.countwordula.com/