Adventures in Writing

Blah, Blah, Blah!

Whatever the niche, a blog writer needs to write effectively. Bottom line this means clear communication of information, good organization and simple direct sentences. This is how most of us write because we have been conditioned from work to do workmanlike writing. This is good when your target audience has to read your message. At work there are all sorts of memos and procedures that you have to read and understand to do your job. They don’t have to titillate or entertain because you have to read them or get fired.

Blogging is a popularity contest.

Blogging is altogether different. Nobody has to read your blog and before they can read it, they have to find it among all the other blogs. There are systems for being found and any diligent workman can apply  them. Being found is only part of the problem.   What these systems can’t do is make people return once they sample your wares. This is a different kind of problem and there isn’t any system that can solve it for you. Workmanlike prose won’t spark your audience and unless your information is so unique, it won’t make them bookmark your site or sign up for your newsletter. You’ve got to to bump up your writing, go back to composition classes from high school and college, and become a creative writer. Learn to write prose that will make your audience fight to get your latest article even if they have no interest in your topic.  But how do you do that?

It is more than just stating the facts

I’ve been fighting this all the time I have been blogging. My literal, organized mind insists that people just want good information. Just give them the right info and an audience will eat out of your hand. I am stubborn, dense and pig-headed but at long last, I see the truth. Readers demand more.  Readers want ribbons, glitter and confetti.   It won’t hurt to give them bon bons from time to time  as well. My writing is all work boots and pick ax. No grace and no eye candy (ear candy?). So what to do?

Look to my betters.

Suggestions abound: inciting incidents, narrative arcs.  I am trying to master those tools but they don’t get to the dullness problem. How do I lighten up and have fun and even more important how can I help the readers to have fun when conveying serious information. Recently, a writing guru whose advice I have discounted up to now gave me a thought about what to do. She said to write some bad poetry. Normally I would ridicule that suggestion but since readers are choosing not to return to my blog in droves, I am a bit more receptive.  Why not give her a chance?  I have every confidence that I have what it takes to write bad poetry and maybe it will help.

Let me know if it is helping

I can’t say where this will lead me. I don’t know how writing bad poetry will improve my prose or make readers want to read what I write. But still, I have started the Bad Poetry Project at RCB. I will set aside some time each week for writing poetry. I won’t try to write bad poetry but I can’t expect it to be good. Look forward to better writing on my blog as a result. Take notes and let me know how I am doing, particularly if something comes off really well. And then there is the bad poetry itself. She didn’t tell me what to do with the bad poetry once I write it. I hate to throw it away so I guess I will share it. So here is today’s bad poetry – haiku.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Dave Doolin October 6, 2010, 9:32 am

    Those aren’t bad at all!

    Mine this vein a bit. I have more resources for you shortly, including some stuff that’s a little bit mindless (it seems), but might help you out a lot. All the top copywriters swear by the techniques. But not yet, keep going with this.
    Dave Doolin’s last Blog Post ..Want your WordPress and your Flickr- too Flickr secrets revealed

  • Ralph October 6, 2010, 10:09 am

    Who am I to argue with top copy writers? Bing it on!
    Ralph’s last Blog Post ..Social Media- Making and keeping connections

  • Bob @ October 6, 2010, 9:13 pm

    It’s certainly not the whole solution, but your “bad poetry” has a big chunk of the answer, Grasshopper. Wrap your arms around “Writer’s Block”, and kick in the last line of “My Office”.

  • Ralph October 7, 2010, 7:13 am

    Hey Bob,
    Where’s the love?
    Ralph’s last Blog Post ..Adventures in Writing

  • Bob @ October 7, 2010, 7:19 am

    I can’t get CommentLuv to work and Andy Baily’s response from over at CommentLuv (after FOUR emails) was that he didn’t have time to help. just go to WP forums. Screw it.

    BTW…I just discovered you don’t have a problem writing in an interesting way…informative yet enjoyable to read. The COC Manifesto is spot on.

  • Ralph October 7, 2010, 7:50 am

    So does that mean I don’t have to clean my office?
    Ralph’s last Blog Post ..Social Media- Making and keeping connections

  • Bob @ October 7, 2010, 8:08 am

    It means it could probably still use some cleaning, but not nearly to the extent you think.

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