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Thursday, January 8, 2009

FriedOkra's Simple Tips for Blog Writing, Number 2

Today I'm continuing the series I started yesterday with Tip Number One: Know Your Purpose. I'm encouraged that some of you are finding these tips helpful already and want to hear more. Coulda gone a whole 'nother way, and I've had nightmares about just that!

Today's tip will help you flesh-out your individual posts and further develop your overall blogging identity, tone or voice.

My second Simple Tip for Blog Writing?

2. Be yourself.

What's blogging (in our community at least) all about but developing a thriving, mutually beneficial relationship with your readers? And what's the first and best advice you'd give someone seeking a thriving, mutually beneficial relationship? Be yourself. Because if you've ever gone into a new relationship pretending you're someone else, you know it doesn't take long before the wheels start to fall off and the whole thing just gets awkward and disappointing. Authenticity's as important in blogging as in any healthy relationship. It guarantees a certain continuity of your message and voice, and can help you gather a loyal reader base. Plus, as your blog grows and you begin considering Big Blog concepts like branding and target demographic, your early dedication to authenticity will have lain a strong foundation upon which you can grow and build.

How to be the authentic you? Start each post by relaxing and writing your thoughts exactly as you would express them if you were talking to your best friend or, in the case of a more professional or technical blog, a trusted colleague. In this earliest pass or first draft, focus on capturing everything relevant to the reader's understanding of your message. Don’t worry about sentence construction, word choice or punctuation (you can use punctuation, just don’t spend tons of time weighing the pros and cons of every comma or period.)

Just get your thoughts down – get the story or the message on "paper." Include everything you believe to be important in conveying the point, telling the story or explaining the concept, always with an eye toward that purpose you defined using Simple Blog Writing Tip #1.

Keep typing until you’re all done. Writing this way – freely and without constraints of form, length or style – will free up your mind to details and bring your own voice and style to forefront of the post.

After you’ve written this free-style, detail-filled first draft, then go back and edit carefully, check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, reorganize and add or remove content to pare down and clean up the message to make it powerful without being overly verbose. Think of this process as reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme.

Or, you know, distilling corn mash into moonshine.

You'll also want to examine your initial word choices and punch those up a bit to breathe life into your language and capture the minds' eyes of your audience. I'll talk more about what I mean by that, and exactly how to do it, in additional tips I'll be sharing in the days to come.

Now don't go crazy! I'd advise, of course, because I'm ME -- long-winded, rambling, don't-leave-out-a-thing me -- after all, not to OVER-edit yourself. Because much of the beauty of your own perspective and passion finds its vitality in the nitty-gritty details, you should avoid trying to be too concise, particularly in writing that conveys a personal story, a sentiment or a just moment of life so special you want to share it with your readers. I'll tell you in another upcoming tip that less is more, but remember also that too much less can also be just plain not enough when you're trying to share a message in your own unique way. Don't edit out your voice.

Tip Two is Be yourself. Relax and let your true self shine through as you craft your posts, starting with EVERYTHING and carefully whittling that down to perfection.

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I'll publish the next post in the Simple Tips for Blog Writing series next Monday. Don't miss it, it's one of my all-time favorites, and the one I think I lean most heavily on when I write here at FriedOkra. We'll see if y'all agree.


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23 comments:

  1. These are great. Thank you and keep them coming!

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  2. I've been to a blogging conference, and heard both of these tips, BUT you have such a way of fleshing things out - bravo! :)

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  3. Excellent tip! And I would add a good way to check and be sure your post is YOU is to read it out loud before you hit the Publish button. You'll be amazed at what you find to change when you hear yourself say it. :-) I read that tip in the book On Writing Well (GREAT resource - highly recommend!) and I do it all the time now!

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  4. I always reread my post about a gazillion times. At first i thought it was because i was just concieded and wanted to hear my own words over and over lol but then i realized that i was highly over editing myself. I was worrying too much about if i was going to offend someone or if i was coming across badly. I have since stopped rereading except to do one editing session per post. I think i have to be true to me as well as anyone reading.

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I think editing is my favorite part of writing.

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  6. Thank you for these excellent tips!

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  7. Great tips and very helpful.
    Thank you!
    Anita

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  8. You make some good moonshine, girl!

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  9. As you pointed out, this is good advice in all of life!

    I like metaphors and wish I were better and finding a good one.

    I like yours.

    "Think of this process as reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme...Or, you know, distilling corn mash into moonshine."

    It's a gift--the ability to implement appropriate metaphors--and you've obviously got it. Wish I could dig up something as memorable as "distilling corn mash into moonshine." But I shan't compare. Why? Because I must...

    Be Myself!

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  10. Have I told you lately that I love you? cause I do! :) great series. loving it! thank you!

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  11. This seemed like a good post to leave this comment.
    You are, by far, my favorite blogger to read. There are lots and lots of reasons, which I can list if you like! Thanks for sharing so many beautiful parts of your life with us.

    Amanda

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  12. Amanda - Thank you, girl! I'll send you the $50 via FedEx. Mwah! xoxoxox.

    M(FO)

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  13. so practical and so true. And I agree with Jo-Lynne, too, to read your drafts out loud before you publish. I definitely echo your advice to free write first, edit later!

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  14. Thanks for all this valuable info. I haven't been able to pull up your site for a while (I get the left bar, but not the juicy stuff in the middle). So glad it worked today - just in time!

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  15. Thanks for all these tips- I really appreciate it! :)

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  16. Love this tip! I always think about my blog as writing to my friends as I know you all are. What you see on my blog is what, for what's it worth, you get in real life. Thanks for all the blog tips. I always like to hear others opinions!!
    Mel

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  17. Already commented, but wanted you to know that I nominated for a 'fabulous' bloggy award over at my place: http://ceaselesspraises.blogspot.com/2009/01/guess-what.html

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  18. Thanks for taking the time to write these. I am finding them really helpful. Can't wait til the next tip,

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  19. I love this line: reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, I look forward to exploring more of yours.
    Lori Lynn

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  20. Seems you hit the mark with "Think of this process as reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme. Or, you know, distilling corn mash into moonshine." What an incredible analogy.

    I want to write like that when I grow up!

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  21. Seems you hit the mark with "Think of this process as reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme. Or, you know, distilling corn mash into moonshine." What an incredible analogy.

    I want to write like that when I grow up!

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Thoughts?