Why is Blogging Difficult?
For some writing a blog comes naturally. They may have a good grasp of language and how to us it to communicate effectively. Allowing them to find their voice reasonably quickly. Also may find that ideas for posts come easily and readers just seem to respond to them.
For others, blogging is a struggle. It takes more time, finding a rhythm of posting is hard for them. Finding ideas to post about are allusive and translating those ideas into words takes a lot of effort.
Practice makes Perfect
The old saying of ‘practice makes perfect’ is true for many aspects of life, including blogging.
In the same way that hitting balls against a wall for many hours improved my tennis I’ve found that my blogging has improved the longer that I’ve blogged. Some of this has come as a result of time and some of it has been the result of intentional ‘practice’.
So how can one practice their blogging? Here are 10 intentional ways to ‘practice’ your blogging:
I am a big believer that the best way to learn is through a combination of Action and Reflection. Do and then analyse what you did. So with blogging this means to post lots and then to set aside time to reflect upon what you learnt from those posts. Here’s a little exercise – look back on your last 10 posts and ask yourself some of these questions:
- Which posts worked best? Why?
- Which posts didn’t work? Why?
- What posts did people respond to most (comments/feedback/linking to you)?
- What could you learn from the writing of the posts?
- How could you improve the posts?
There are a lot more reflection questions that you could ask – but even just asking these ones once a week could lead you to all kinds of learning and improvements to you blogging.
2. Set Yourself Assignments
Every now and again choose a style of posting that you’re not used to or select a topic that is a little different to normal and see what you learn through the process (you may even choose not to publish your assignments and keep them purely as a learning experience).
3. Write for Different Mediums
While I focus fairly heavily upon blogging as my primary medium I do occasionally take on work for other mediums. I’ve written newspaper and magazine articles, have written for other types of websites and have even tried my hand at non written mediums like podcasting. Each time I’ve done this I find that it teaches me something new about communication. There’s something about writing for a new audience in a slightly unfamiliar medium that makes you pay a little more attention to what you’re doing.
4. Write as a Guest Blogger
Similarly, writing for a different audience on someone else’s blog can give you the motivation that you need to put a little more effort into your blogging and think more about how you’re writing. While I don’t do much guest posting these days on others blogs in my early days I did quite a bit of it and found it really beneficial.
5. Ask for Critique
Blogging is likely to get very immediate and at times quite blunt feedback from your readers. They’ll tell you what they like and dislike, what mistakes you made and how you should improve your blog.
If people don’t give you this feedback, ask for it. Ask your readers, ask other bloggers and ask your non blog reading family and friends. Of course once you’ve asked for it, be willing to take what you hear to heart and learn from it.
6. Read and Analyse others
Studying other bloggers you can learn a lot about blogging. Ask yourself about what voice they write in, what works and doesn’t work for them, what style of posts people seem to respond to etc. You probably won’t want to imitate them, but in reading and observing others you’ll find some of it will rub off on you.
7. Speak Your Posts
When I’m working up a lot of my posts I’ll read them out loud and will listen to how they sound. In doing so you pick up all types of mistakes. I also find that as I read them that I also come up with other ideas.
8. Critique Your Own Old Work
Have you been blogging for a while? Take a wander back through your old posts to some of the first ones you wrote and read them as though you were reading someone else’s work. Critique it – correct it and ask yourself how you’ve changed since writing it.
9. Get an Editor
One of the most confronting things I’ve done was work with an editor on some of my blog posts. I am very aware that I can improve my blogging in many ways and so a year ago hired an editor to work with me for a week on my blogging.
Before hitting publish on any post for that week I made myself run it past her. The results were enlightening, frustrating and confronting. Enlightening because it taught me a lot, frustrating because I realised how much I needed to improve and confronting because it forced me to think about my posts in ways I’d been too lazy to think about previously.
One lesson that I learned that week was how many unnecessary words I used in my posts.
10. Take a Course
I’ve been considering enrolling in a writing course. I suspect that doing so will teach me a lot.
Just do it
In the past, when learning something new I’ve been encouraged to visualize improving with each task I performed. The same can be true as a blogger. Each post you write has the potential to not only be a post that impacts others, but one that you can learn something from as a blogger.