Editors note: Today, we are republishing a previous blog post, but Simone has also provided us with some new remarks on the subject so we’ll lead with those….
The actual process of writing is interesting because you don’t know exactly where you will end up.
The simple act of writing by hand stimulates the brain and thoughts start spilling out. All you need to do is to arrange them in a coherent manner so that others can make sense of them.
And writing a blog is not like writing a story. In fact it is much easier since you don’t have to respond to an interior voice which keeps saying “and then what happened?”
Since you are not restricted by events, your mind can ramble like a wanderer in an attic with a collection of strange objects. You need to arrange them in some pattern, and suddenly you have a new reality.
The original blog post (with new pictures):
It used to be that you could only write an “opinion piece” if you were a regular contributor to a newspaper and had your own column. Social media now allows anyone to write what they want anywhere, anytime. Short thoughts can be tweeted: (“You know who’s” favorite medium). Daily events and pictures can be shared on Facebook. and more ambitious writers can start a blog.
Why would anybody want to write a blog? The comparison I can think of is not a very elegant one, but here it is: You have something sticking in your mind that wants out.
So you end up writing something like a school essay on a topic of your own choosing.
In the act of putting down your thoughts, something of your personality will inevitably emerge and you have to be scrupulously honest because readers will detect any insincerity or posturing. For instance, if you really hate “The Nutcracker” or “Swan Lake” just say so! But at the same time, you are not in the business of writing about yourself and you need to safeguard your privacy, so no nakedness! There are good reasons why clothes were invented. Keep “confessions” for your diary.
You also have to remember that you are not writing a novel, so advice like “Show, don’t tell” does not apply to a blog. You do have to tell a story to keep your readers wanting to know more. There are no restrictions on what you can write about. I was asked once: Why don’t you write about advice? So I wrote a blog about why I don’t give advice.
When writing or editing yourself, simple, concrete everyday words are more potent than abstract ones or circumlocutions. But if only an esoteric word can adequately describe your thought, then use it. Some readers will know it too; others will guess or look it up. Avoid empty calorie words like awesome or terrific. Their meaning has evaporated from overuse. Uncouple often paired words. Shun all cliches. They add nothing to your work.
And finally, you need to enjoy writing your blog. Otherwise, what’s the point?