It seems like an eternity ago that I actually talked about writing, as opposed to reading. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t had an idea for a compelling topic, or simply because the more I learn about writing the more I realize how little I actually know.
However, in the nearly two years I have been running this blog (my first post was in December of 2016), I have found that my writing has improved. I was surprised by this fact, as I started my blog for many reasons but improvement of my writing was not one of the top motivations.
But since I have noticed improvement, I wanted to share with all my lovely readers (who are perhaps writers themselves) how my blog has helped me to expand my ability to write.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
One of the writing tips I hear all the time is to write every day (or as often as possible). While I don’t think mindless practice ensures you become a better writer, it probably doesn’t hurt either.
Since beginning my blog, I have gradually increased how much time I write in a week. Since college I have been probably been writing every day, but it hasn’t been necessarily writing towards a goal. I may jot down a story idea here or a horrible poem there, but it was never something that I would go back to, think about, and rewrite.
With my blog, I post three times a week now (plus my random day of photography) and each of my posts varies from about five hundred to a fifteen hundred words. That means, at minimum, I am not only writing but editing at least 1,500 words every week. This means I’m getting a lot of writing practice I did not get before.
Despite having an excellent English program in high school, I noticed my grammar actually regressed in college (mostly due to low expectations of the teachers, which meant I put little to no work into being conscious of grammar). In fact, just recently I went back to some of my earliest blog posts and was horrified to discover multiple grammar typos in a single post.
However, since then I have learned my grammar weaknesses and am surprised how my grammar has improved. It’s certainly not perfect and I am sure you can find many typos in my posts still, but writing frequently has helped me notice my common errors more and fix them.
Often the biggest difference between a successful author and an unsuccessful one is that the former stays on schedule and the latter never finishes anything. Since I set a schedule for myself on my blog, I have found it easier to stick to any type of schedule, whether it is writing a book, reading a book, or reviewing one.
I used to so commonly start a book and never finish it, or have an idea for a blog post and then never write it. But by giving myself due dates, I found that it became easier to force myself to write, especially when I was passionate about what I was writing.
One thing a lot of teachers emphasize is experimentation in writing. Seeing what you like to write and how you like to write it. Due to just how much I’m writing now, I began to realize that I constantly have to try new things or I get bored. You will probably notice this a lot on my blog. I may try a new type of blog post (sometimes I stick with it, sometimes I don’t).
When I first started my blog, my posts mainly focused on writing. When I posted my first book review, I found out how fun it was to actually share my thoughts of a novel. Also, I would never have considered how fun doing tags was until I actually did one. I completed two NaNoWriMos, something I had tried and failed to do before I featured it on my blog. I posted some of my own photography. I completed NaPoWriMo, even though usually I hate writing poetry (I really give props to anyone who likes writing poetry, because it is certainly not my cup of tea).
This blog has helped me to simply let loose and try things, and that has helped me as a writer too.
5. Understanding Your Own Process
So, how do I come up with blog posts? I get an idea (maybe inspired by some other blogger sharing a tag, or seeing a book I want to read and review). I jot down some ideas and do research (like actually reading the book and taking notes). I write the blog post, inserting pictures where needed. And then I edit, making sure everything looks and sounds good. And then I post it.
I have learned how my writing process works in blogs, which applies perfectly to writing on a larger scale.
How do I write my books? I get an idea (maybe a setting, or a character). I jot down some ideas and do research. I write the book, taking extra notes and doing more research as I go. And then I edit the book, making sure everything is perfect. And then I try to publish it…
Writing a blog post is exactly like writing a book, just on a much smaller scale. And if you learn how your process works best in writing a short essay for your blog, it will be surprisingly easy to transfer your knowledge over into writing a book.
6. Making Time
Since I’m on a deadline, I have to make time for writing my blog. This is something I used to have major trouble with in writing. I would put off writing for other things (some important, like my job, and others not so important, like Youtube). But since I’ve been on a deadline with my blog, I’m forced to make time for writing.
I’ve had to prioritize different things in my life, which has surprisingly changed a lot of things I do. Little things that I used waste time on don’t seem as important now. I barely play video games anymore and it’s been forever since I’ve watched an entire movie as opposed to a ten-minute analysis of the movie instead. I’ve compressed certain things I used to do (like TV) and expanded other things (like reading and writing).
Running a blog is surprisingly challenging. I’m sure many of you reading this who are bloggers know this to be the case. You’re constantly trying to improve your site, your posts, and your own understanding of computers and web software. How can you use the time you have most efficiently? How can you utilize your website’s organization?
There are so many things to think about when running a blog and, if there is one thing I learned in blogging, it’s how to problem solve.
This is also one of the most important things in writing as well. Learning how to make things better and overcome one’s weaknesses. Being able to think about everything. Realizing why I do what I do and what I’m good at with writing and where I lack quality. It’s learning to sit back and think and improve yourself and your blog.
Has your blog helped you be a better writer? Have you improved in anything because of your blog (for example, are you reading more than you used to)? Or are you only considering starting a blog? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,
P.S. Yes, that is my picture behind the title and that is usually the position I write in, cross-legged on my bed (no, I’m not weird…maybe).