If you’re needing a boot up the blogging backside (don’t we all!), look no further than #NZBloggers’ ‘Blog Greatness’, a weekly prompt for bloggers to use to get inspired, encouraged and most of all… posting! Today’s topic? ‘Type’. Here’s my interpretation of their idea!
(Disclaimer: I first published this piece in 2010.)
Type, type, type. Type, type, type! Type your words! Type your WORDS!
Ahem. Allow me to switch off KC & The Sunshine Band’s Shake, Shake, Shake.
Now! An expert on writing? Me?! Please! I’m as much as a virtuoso wordsmith as I am a master chef (and considering that I not only burned the vegetarian hot dogs that I was cooking for lunch today, but the bread rolls as well, this speaks volumes! Oh, and how could I forget the lid to the bottle of my barbecue sauce which so helpfully decided to fall off, too, drenching my charcoaled sausages and bread in sauce?! D’oh!), but in between listening to Queen and trying not to set my food alight, I do spend copious amounts of time engaged in this magnificent activity.
Blogging, tweeting, trying to convince my boss that saying “oh, ship’’ is a totally excusable replacement word for an expletive that rhymes with ‘oven mitt’ in the newsletters and blogs that I write for her travel company (which usually results in me standing there with outstretched arms saying “huh, huh? Get it – ship? Because we’re a travel company?!’’ Ba-doom-CHI!) – my fingertips are a regular companion of the keyboard’s, and here’s what they’ve learned along the way!
Make Friends With A Thesaurus (Coffee Date Optional)
I don’t remember anything about fractions and I certainly don’t recall how to play the recorder (somehow I don’t think that my neighbours will be losing any sleep over this nugget of information!), but one thing that I have retained from my early education days is a teacher’s advice to experiment with using different words while writing. You see, I’d just written a story on how much I loved black labradors. “I love black labradors!’’ I’d scribbled. “Black labradors are the best because I love them!’’, my clearly cutting edge prose stated. “Corrine, I love your story,’’ my polite teacher told me, “but interesting stories use different words. What about if you said “adore’’ in here instead of using “love’’ so many times?’’
Mrs. Church, you were SPOT on. Interesting stories do use different words, which is precisely why I’ve enlisted Thesaurus as my writing companion when the only word that’s swirling around in my head is “fantastic’’ and I’ve already typed it 8,658 billion times!
Re-Read Your Content Out Loud (It’s Okay! It’s A Totally ‘Men-In-White-Jackets’ Safe Activity)
Fact: I do this with almost every piece that I type up. Why? Because too often I’ll be sitting there, whacking my keys away, thinking that everything’s all fine and dandy and then bang! I’ll re-read it, and there it is. A spelling mistake. A missing word. Something that makes absolutely no sense at ALL. “How could I have missed this when I’ve already read it three times?!’’ I think. I don’t know, but I don’t usually miss a great big whopping mistake when I re-read it out loud. Fact #2: doing this also helps me to determine how flowing everything is, how easy to understand everything is. And goodness, reading your content out loud doesn’t have to be a boring exercise: who said that you can’t recite it all in a Scottish accent?!
Consider Your Audience (Even If They’re Purple, Scarf-Wearing Caterpillars! Which They’re Probably Not)
So you’ve thumped out an article, you’ve re-read it to yourself (and PHEW are you relieved that you didn’t use that analogy!) and now comes the time in which you must consider the audience that’s going to be viewing it. How will your words make them feel? How are theymeant to make them feel? Happy? Sad? (I hope not!) Informed? Inspired? What are they going to think when they examine your piece? What is the overall message that your piece is trying to convey, and do you think that it achieves it?
Stay True To Your Original Vision
Perhaps you started writing a novel on your passion for tennis balls. Maybe your blog/website is devoted purely to your hatred for snow globes. Whatever it is, remembering your original reason for beginning your project can help to keep your writing on track ENORMOUSLY. Stick a white label to your computer or laptop or pop a piece of paper beside it with the reminder “does this piece demonstrate my hatred for snow globes enough?’’ scrawled on it, and ask yourself the question every time you’ve finished typing something up!
Do you have a secret writing tip? What? You won’t tell me, because that would defeat the point of having a “secret” writing tip? Oh. I see. But what I lack in hotdog cooking I make up for in secret-keeping, I promise!