The practice of blogging helps:
- To hone our writing so we focus on what matters and what counts
- To find or to recognise the patterns and meaning that lie at the heart of our words
Bold claims I know, but it’s what I’ve learned from experience, over and over. (Have you?)
How does it work – where does blogging get that power from?
Well it’s got something to do with:
The writing habit: Blogging gets you writing. It builds a writing habit and whether that’s sharing a post daily, weekly or monthly it gets you into the habit of shaping, crafting, creating, editing and sharing. It strengthens the writing muscles. And that keeps you writing, even when it’s hard, when the purpose eludes you and the patterns are unclear.
The chance to experiment: A blog gives you the freedom to experiment, to try out different styles, forms, formats, topics, content, voice. It’s the chance to stretch, play and see what happens when you go in different directions. Which words, which styles, which tone of voice is the one that resonates, that gives you that ‘aha’ moment or the shivers going down your spine.
Reading online: Blogging (in my book anyway) includes reading as well as writing. Reading online changes the way you think about length, and tone, and how to make your words short enough, simple enough, to the point enough that your readers will stop, and connect, and stay around for more.
The frame: This is what first attracted me to blogging. I was travelling in Mexico, and wanted to share what I saw (heard, felt, noticed, wondered at). I started to write through the medium of a blog, and from there, I started looking for frames – the hooks, the opening lines, the prism, the frame through which I could invite you in and look. That’s changed the way I think, and travel, and notice, and write… for good. I think it’s for good anyway
Your archive: It’s all there in the archive. Sometimes I find this deeply frustrating – the feeling that I’ve written just the thing I need to find, or refind, or learn or relearn, if I only had the time and the patience to rake properly through my own archives. Whenever I take the time, I find a gem, not necessarily a gem of a post, but something that has meaning or significance, that tells me something essential, that helps me get to the heart of what I’m trying to say (teach, learn)
Learning from feedback: You can learn, always, from the feedback you get from your readers – from what people notice, comment on, from words that jump out and speak at them, from the way they respond to your words. Sometimes they can see the essence of what you’re writing even when you can’t.
It’s a work in progress: You don’t need to see the whole picture before you start to write a blog. You can set out with the intention to explore, to share, to work it out as you go along. It provides the chance and the opportunity, if you’re brave, to share some of what you don’t know as well as what you do, what you’re learning, what you’re exploring, what you’re figuring out how to make happen. And perhaps that’s the only way we can find the essence – not by ‘knowing’ it in advance, but allowing it to emerge as we go.
I’ve been blogging in one shape or form for nearly three years now – but I’m still learning about its power. Fortunately I know a whole lot of blogging maestros who can help me get to the heart of this question
So it’s over to you… What would you add to this list? What other ways can blogging help us get to the heart of things? Are there other times that blogging gets in the way of you writing what ‘really’ matters?