Writing About Writing

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I don’t claim to know how to write but I have some opinions. I’ve written some posts that I would gladly force people that I don’t like very much to read and reread and I’ll probably write some more like that. But I have some rules that seem to help to keep the regrettable ones down to a minimum.

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Write for yourself. Apparently you should dance like nobody is watching. I tried it once and it didn’t go too well, I attempted a robot dance in a nightclub and when I opened my eyes everyone was watching, in a state of bemusement and amusement. I think it’s more befitting of writing, write like nobody is going to read it. Admittedly sometimes it doesn’t take the biggest mental adjustment to arrive at that place, sometimes people don’t read but that’s okay too. You will never please all the people all the time but your greatest asset as a blogger is your voice, it would be a shame to compromise it.

Have layers. You don’t spend all of your time being serious, jovial, informative or observant; your personality has many layers.  I enjoy reading those blogs that mix up the style of the writing, it gives a greater insight into the blogger themself which is what I want as a reader; blogs after all do have a slightly voyeuristic quality.

 

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Don’t imitate. We all have our favourite blogs, enjoy them but don’t try to be them. Imitation might be the highest form of flattery but it’s not achievable or believable over any sort of duration. I am sure there are lots of other posts in a similar vain to this one but I chose not to read any of them because I wanted the content to be my own, it’s much easier to write when the thoughts and emotions are all your own.

Evolve. People change with the seasons, let your content do the same if those changes feel like a better fit. What started out life as a parenting blog began to feel restrictive and one dimensional. I enjoy blogging so much more now that I have spread my wings and dip into other areas of life at will. You can’t force something to fit if your hearts not in it.

No regrets. People aren’t just judging your writing, whether you like it or not they are making judgements and forming opinions about you each and every time you write something. Be at peace with whatever you put out there, if you aren’t quite sure about a post then don’t publish it, trust your instincts. Regardless of whether other people remember the bits and pieces that you regret, you will always remember them.

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What rules, theories or opinions do you have about writing? Are you a better writer now than when you started?

Linking up with Jess at Essentially Jess

 

 

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  • Emily

    Great post – and I couldn’t agree more – I might attempt deep but people might mistake me for having feelings and we just CAN’T have that. And you have sponsors so you can totally dish out advice Mrs Making Money Off My Cool Blog!
    Love your work :)

    • daddownunder

      You do deep very well Em, I’ve read and commented on your deep, I know it exists : ) Love your work too, even if you did just call me Mrs ; )

      • Emily

        LMAO – Freudian slip? Sorry MR – love your work :)

        • daddownunder

          all is forgiven

  • MumOfFiveGirls

    Good post Matt. I have only been blogging for a few months…still finding my feet…and there is no rhyme or reason to most of it at the moment. But hey it keeps me out of mischief !!!

    • daddownunder

      As long as it keeps you out of mischief and you enjoy it then I don’t think you need any rhyme or reason. Keep up the great work and thanks for always commenting.

  • rhian @melbs

    Great post, got me thinking about my blog and how I write. I absolutely agree with what you’ve said. I guess I write when I have something to say, which sounds obvious but it means I don’t blog on a schedule. Ultimately I feel that it takes the pressure off and means I am happy with what I publish. I would rather than my blog be authentic and have 2 posts a week than 7 posts a week which are complete crap.
    The end :-)

    • daddownunder

      That’s absolutely the right thing to do Rhian, I think a schedule can also put a bit of pressure on you and takes a bit of the fun out of things. Thanks for stopping by

  • http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/ Julie

    My blog has just turned one, and I often forget that someone else may read it. I think it has evolved? Who knows? Maybe I just go in circles. But then it is my blog I can bloody well do what I want.
    Am I a better writer? Um nup! Still a dyslexic rambler.

    • daddownunder

      Keep doing what you bloody well want Julie, its the best way.

  • Deb @ home life simplified

    great advice – i stand by most of it myself but especially like thinking about layers – i am often jealous of personal bloggers who can write whatever strikes them that day/season. since i write more personal development i hold back on some things, but will try to frame it through layers now – thanks

    • daddownunder

      I spent the entire first 6 months or so doing the light hearted Dad thing and it didn’t feel like me, it feels like a weight off to write how and about what I want. Good luck Deb and thanks for stopping by

  • http://www.salzdummyspit.com/ Salwa

    Thanks for this reminder Matt. Something that I always need to think of.

    • daddownunder

      Glad you liked it Salz, just my opinion on things, I bet you’ve got lots of great rules you apply too.

  • http://www.slowheartsing.com/ Vanessa

    This was a lovely read. Thank you

    • daddownunder

      Thank you Vanessa

  • Mel Duker

    Nice easy read for the beginner blogger that I am… I have an idea I have been playing with in my head for Training Tip Tuesday for 1st World Dog… Think tmw is that Tuesday.

    • daddownunder

      yay – go for it, its always good to try new things and experiment, things can take a while to become established so persevere with it and send it my way when you’re done

  • http://muddleheadedmamma.blogspot.com.au/ Lizzy Allan

    Great post, Matt. I stuck my first blog post up 3 months ago today and am still trying to find my feet. I always like reading blogging tips from more experienced bloggers! You are so right when you say “you can’t please all people all the time” :) thanks for some great tips!

    • daddownunder

      I think its the biggest one Lizzy, write for yourself, not what you think other people want to read. Thanks for stopping by. What’s your blog?

  • http://vicky-lifeonthehill.blogspot.com.au/ Vicky Finch

    Good advice Matt
    May I add keep your integrity and authenticity. It’s those things that make “you” you. (Collective “you” there)

    • daddownunder

      Thanks for sharing Vicky, I think blogging is a learning curve and you hopefully work a few things out along the way by making some mistakes.

  • http://lilybettandboy.blogspot.com/ Lilybett and Boy

    I’d add spell-check to that list :) Except if you’re using an American blogging system – then you need to ignore half their spell-check suggestions and stick to your own Australian spelling.

    I think in terms of my writing, I mostly need to better develop the ‘habit’ of writing. I’ve always found when I’m posting regularly my content has a stronger personal line as well as greater variety. I’m more involved as a person, and as a writer.

    • daddownunder

      Yes to the spell check, I’ve been pulled up for a couple of errors here and there, bad me.

      You’re right there is something habitual about writing, I seem to go through peaks and troughs, sometimes I have so much to say and other times I struggle. I guess you make hay when the sun shines and hopefully have a bit in reserve for the quieter times. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.smaggle.com Smaggle

    I love the No Regrets part. Proud to say it’s been ages since I regretted something I wrote.

    • daddownunder

      Good for you, I’ve done one or two I regret, nothing too serious, just posting for the sake of posting and it doesn’t feel good. You make a few mistakes to learn a few lessons I think.

  • seventiesbaby

    Really generous and sensible tips Matt. A year into the game and I’m still finding my feet AND my voice. Sometimes I bang out something that’s really basic and the crowd goes wild and other times I labour over a piece of writing I’d happily pass up to the English teacher and a tumble weed blows by. You just can’t tell how readers are gonna receive things, so I would agree with your tip to write like no-one’s going to read it. Strongly disagree with ‘dance like nobody’s watching’. I think you should dance like EVERYBODY’S watching and put on a show ;)

    • daddownunder

      Its important to have those posts that you’re proud of, those are the ones that make you keep doing what you’re doing and without them you’d probably stop blogging.

      Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong on the dance floor?

  • http://askatoddler.com/ Ask a Toddler

    Great post Matt. I agree with your approach. Thanks.

    • daddownunder

      Thank you AAT, I can see you’re doing these things already.

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    Great thoughts Matt. I think being yourself is an important one, and sometimes the blogging journey helps us to realise who that is.

    • daddownunder

      I was hoping a post about writing would entice you over Jodi ; ) And you’re right it can be a journey of self discovery, I’m still discovering things : )

      • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

        Oooh you are tricky aren’t you?

        • daddownunder

          Very jodi

  • crazyspeedylove

    {www.crazyspeedylove.com}
    Dance like nobody is watching makes me laugh – because my poor husband would be laughed at and told to move from the dance floor if he did. Great read! And always love your pic’s x

  • Maxabella

    Some good writing about writing there, Matt. Personally I’ve never quite managed to dance like nobody’s watching, ‘cos I’M ALWAYS watching and I’m my own worst critic. So the only advice I could add to yours would be to try not to self-censor too much! x

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    These are really great tips, Matt. I love the write for yourself one and the layers one. I’m really new to this blogging gig and worried at first that not all of my posts had the same style. You’re right though, I enjoy how other bloggers mix up their style, so hopefully the same will go for me. I don’t know if I’m better at this creative style of writing since I’ve started (IRL – I write boring media releases for government) but I do know that I’m loving it :)

  • Vanessa Connor

    When I first started my silly little blog I did the whole ‘write like nobody is going to read it’ thing and wrote a post about the depression I had as a teenager. Of course my Mum read it (she’s mainly the only one who reads my ramblings) and it broke her heart, so while I agree that the best writing usually happens when you don’t censor yourself, you do have to be prepared for how others may react to it. Great post.

    • daddownunder

      I completely get that Vanessa and I’d take back a couple of things I’ve written but I can’t. I mention being at peace with what you put out there and knowing that people will make judgements on you based on what you put out there. I now try to do the two things together, not one or the other. Thanks for pointing that out Vanessa and I’m sure its not a silly little blog what’s it called?

      • Vanessa Connor

        Yes, very good points. I obviously didn’t think about all the judgements enough because my blog is all about me being a bogan! lol. It’s called Ness Of Boganville. Thanks for the reply.

        • daddownunder

          Hey Ness, I just read your About Me page, very amusing indeed – keep enjoying what you do

  • Author Bek Mugridge

    These are great, i love the evolve, it is so important to grow and go with it X

    • daddownunder

      Its not much fun to write about something that you don’t really believe in is it? There are lots of success stories too of bloggers making some big changes and reaping the benefits. Thanks Bec

  • TeganMC

    I like to think that my writing has evolved since I started blogging. Well I cringe at the earlier posts so that’s a start right? I love your point about changing your voice. I find myself getting stagnant and so I throw in something completely different and it gives me a new direction to try and investigate.

    • daddownunder

      I can remember reading a Reservoir Dad post, I’m used to his tongue in cheek and dry humour and this post was all deep and meaningful – it was a surprise and I liked that. Thanks Tegan

  • http://essentiallyjess.com/ EssentiallyJess

    Write for yourself, and have layers. Two best bits of advice ever I reckon

    • daddownunder

      I agree, I think for longevity you need to do both Jess

  • Neets

    Awesome post once again Matt, love every one of those points. I especially love the evolve & write for yourself points. I’ve only been blogging for 7 months. Have I changed since I started? I don’t think so. Interestingly I posted a blog about my engagement story a few weeks back. “If you like it then you better put a ring on it”. I was so nervous to post it as it was the first blog that I ever wrote & had only got around to finishing it. I didnt mention that. Turned out to be a hit! Thanks for sharing & getting me thinking.

    • daddownunder

      I think for longevity you need to Neets, for yourself to stay interested and interesting. People want to know who you are and its nice to tell them. As long as you are happy with what you put out there keep doing it.

  • http://overacuppacoffee.com/ Psych Babbler

    I agree with all those points…especially with the layers and the need to evolve. I’ve noticed that my writing has evolved in the 6 years I’ve been blogging because I’ve grown and changed as a person too. Nice tips! :)

    • daddownunder

      Well done to you for keeping going for 6 years, takes a big effort I imagine to keep on serving bits of yourself up for others.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Your thoughts really resonate with me. I try to think what people might find of value and then write like no-one is reading it, if that makes sense. Sometimes I think I’m too serious and would like to be lighter and then sometimes I surprise myself. As a former journo I get a kick out of this blogging gig being about your own voice – no point turning the volume down.

    • daddownunder

      Exactly, people come back to hear from you and what you have to say, not what you think they want you to give them. “I try to think what people might find of value and then write like no-one is reading it, if that makes sense” – that makes total sense, I’m the same. Thanks Kathy.

  • Francesca WritesHere

    Great advice, I completely agree :)

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Francesca

  • http://emhawker.blogspot.com/ Emily

    No regrets. Yes. If you’ve written something you wouldn’t say out loud to someone, don’t hit publish. Don’t hide behind ‘It’s just a blog, I exaggerate sometimes.’
    Great tips.

    • daddownunder

      Exaggeration and hyperbole is good, a few embellishments are good for a bit of dry humour

  • http://www.gen-y-mum.blogspot.com/ Cam

    Some great tips there. Have layers struck a cord with me cause I know we all have layers but I fear showing more than one on my blog which could explain ….. a lot.

    • daddownunder

      Its a breath of fresh air to do it Cam, it feels too limiting to write about one thing, give it a go

  • http://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/ Jonathan

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your list. I think that writing about topics that come naturally and that you have a genuine interest in is really important. One thing that I do try to avoid running out of ideas is to make a note of post ideas on my mobile. Sometimes I also scribble together a few thoughts and save them as a draft on my blog.

    I think that it’s also important to spend time reading other people’s blogs is at can have a real impact on how you perceive issues. I totally agree with what you said about not imitating, but think it’s still OK to do a few posts as response pieces to things you’ve read or use them as a starting point for your own reflections on a topic.

    • daddownunder

      I do the same, re. scribbling down ideas when I get them. Each to their own with reading other posts, I think I’m in the minority to be fair, I just find it works for me.