If you’re an aspiring author, blogging can be beneficial for you. It’ll get you on the internet, but blogging will also help you become a better author.
I’ll be honest with you: writing for a blog was never my first choice for a writing job. While I love this blog, I’ve always been more interested in the writing part than the internet part. And I suspect that this might be the case for many writers who’ve taken advantage of the internet to promote their writing or aspiring authors whose day job involves blog writing.
If you want to see your name in print, starting a blog or writing for a blog may feel tedious. However, I’m an aspiring fantasy author and a former poet (don’t ask,) and I can tell you that writing for a blog has made me a better writer. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
You Work With Editors
Before I started this job, there were two types of writing that I did. One was school writing, which was tedious and necessary, and regulated by teachers or professors. The other was draft writing, which was fun and personal. Part of the fun came from the fact that the only people who saw my drafts were my friends, who (generally) wouldn’t step on my feelings.
Aroono is the first job I’ve had where I work with an editor. I think most published authors can remember the first time they had to work with an editor. It’s a bit of a shock, having someone look at your work for the first time and pointing out all the errors you made.
By the time we leave school, we’re so used to getting graded on our writing that criticism stings of failure. It took me a little while to figure out I would not lose this job because I hadn’t followed the Style Guide to the letter on my first article. Once I got it in my head that our editors were working with me, not giving me a grade, writing got a lot easier.
You Learn to Adapt Your Writing Style
Most of the issues I had with our editors came from writing style. I’m a psychology major; when we write, it’s usually in incomprehensible blocks of text using as many big words as possible. (You learn this style in junior year, to cover up the fact that you wrote the entire paper in a desperate insomniac haze ten minutes before your 9 am class.)
Blog writing is pretty much as far from psychology writing as possible. Instead of a minimum word or page count, there’s usually a maximum. And you want to be accessible, not impressive. If a random person stumbles across your blog and can’t understand your writing, you’re doing something wrong no matter what you’re talking about.
Once I accepted that, writing became a lot easier. I learned to enjoy writing shorter, more straightforward articles instead of the long-winded papers I was used to. That style doesn’t work for everything, but I think it’s essential to learn how to use it.
You Promote Your Work
As I’ve made abundantly clear in other articles, I really, really don’t enjoy the social media aspect of blogging. I don’t enjoy social media in general, and I used to worry about getting sucked into it and turning into one of those people who lives on Instagram. Social media is a necessary part of blogging, though, so I had to learn how to use it quickly.
It’s not just bloggers, though. If you’re doing anything creative in the 21st century, you will need social media to promote your work or find people interested in it. Some writers might successfully cultivate an aura of mystery and seclusion, but that typically only works for people who are already famous.
Blogging is a great way to learn how to use social media to promote your work. Even if you can’t stand social media, you have to use it eventually if you want people to see your work. Blogging is as good a place to start as any.
You Practice Writing on Demand
The worst thing about deadlines is the way they immediately suck all the fun out of writing. Having a deadline means that you have to write, and even the most passionate writer hates being told to write. In creative work, imperatives suck the fun out of everything – and it’s a lot harder to write when you’re not enjoying yourself.
Part of the imperative factor is the science of flow theory – we do our best work through intrinsic, not extrinsic, motivation. But I think part of it might also come from a certain mindset writers commonly have – especially new writers. “Real” writers receive inspiration from the heavens; writing on demand feels inauthentic – if it’s even possible.
This mindset is a great way to ensure that you have writer’s block forever. If you spend your entire life waiting for that perfect moment to write, you won’t get anything except a handy excuse to avoid writing. Writing for a blog, and contending with several deadlines a week, went a long way in shaking me free of that mindset. When you can’t make excuses anymore, all you can do is start writing.
Blogging wasn’t my first choice for a writing medium, and I suspect that may be the case for many people who write online. But I think having a writing day job has improved my writing a lot, both inside and outside this website.