Monday, December 07, 2009

How Getting An F On Your School Paper Makes You A Better Blogger

How Getting An F On Your School Paper Makes You A Better Blogger

This guest post was written by Rob Sutton from Ramped Reviews. Image by kharied.

-1.jpgThis comes to be a surprise to many, but I hate writing. Every paper in grade school through college was a futile effort in an attempt to pull out my own teeth. I could not stand it and I would do everything in my power not to have to write one more paper. My senior thesis to complete my economics degree was one of the worst experiences of my life. I dreaded every word on the page and had to stretch out every thought just to make it past the minimum page point to graduate. So…with all of these harsh, I'd rather die feelings about writing, how do I throw over 2,000 words a day on a screen for others to read and why is everyone I know surprised that my words now turn into dollars?

We Are Conditioned To Be Boring Writers

Throughout grade school and college, we are basically taught to be boring research paper writers. Unless you were a lit major (and probably even then), every single paper had to be double spaced, 12 point font, researched, cited and with 1 inch margins. As you typed out every content driven sentence, you had your grammar book open researching how you needed to structure every sentence and cite every reference. Really does sound like pulling teeth doesn't it?!

This is how we wrote…this is how we were taught to write and this is how we were graded. We were in a boring writing cycle as we continued to attempt to make the grade writing about subjects we had little passion on. It was pure torture (at least for this blogger).

Writing was not seen as a form of expression, but a method on which we were ranked against others with defined topics and content.

How Getting An F Makes You A Better Blogger

Blogging is the polar opposite of research paper writing. Blogging is full of feeling and life, but many new bloggers struggle with boring writing as they are conditioned for years to write in a manner that does not speak to their own personality. Readers engage with blogs to step into the world of the blogger and feel that personality and connection…not to find a list of citations at the bottom of the blog article. It is time to fail lit in pursuit of the successful blog! But how do we do it?

Write As You Talk – One of the easiest ways to get over the hurdle of boring blog writing is to type exactly like you talk. After you get all of the words on the Add New Post screen, you can go back and edit/organize. By not worrying if the article is perfect on the first pass, you are able to make sure that your voice rings through and your readers are able to connect with you through your words.

Be Unique and Have Unique Ideas – Much of research paper writing is regurgitating what someone else has already said in your own words and formulating your hypothesis off of those conclusions. You are a blogger…you have an opinion…you can express that opinion and listen to other readers differing opinion. It is a beautiful thing! Conversation among semi-like minded individuals on the Internet without the aid of compound sentence structure and rules. Bring out your unique ideas and be unique yourself to engage in the conversation we call blogging.

Throw Away Conventional Sentence Structure – Some of the sentences in this article would fail me instantly in a written paper during the years I attended school. Now…I am not advocating writing in a way that no one can understand because you do not want to use spell check or construct sentences that actually mean something. But…you can throw in triple periods for the pause effect and have the occasional misspelled word. You can use run ons and fragments to get feeling across in your writing where only rambling and abruptness will work. You can stray away from conventional sentence structure to bring back feeling in your writing. Just make sure your readers can still understand it.

Be Super Descriptive – By being super descriptive in your writing style, you are able to pull your readers into your world. As I sit here listening to the clicks of the keys on the keyboard, I am imaging a day when my head was buried in a 40 pound book just bleeding for that last paragraph that would get me out of the nightmare. I can still smell the pages of the worn out book as I flipped through mindless text gasping at each failed page turn. See what I mean? No citations there…just painting a picture of the even as it unfolds…

Language - Are there slang words that will connect with your readers? How about a certain form of speech? You already know the type of speech that is going to engage your reading population. Your goal is to speak and connect with them, so what better way than to speak in a way they are comfortable with? Often times, this kind of speech writing would fail your paper, but it builds you credibility in your niche as a blogger.

What We Did Learn From Writing In School

Unfortunately, all of that time dreading papers in grade school was not wasted. As much as I hated it, there were certain aspects of that style of writing that we really need to take to heart as bloggers. Without these ideals and foundation, much of our writing would be worthless and unrecognizable.

Content…Content…Content – Remember when you tried to fill space by repeating the same thought in a different way? Your teacher used to crack down on that pretty hard didn't she! Well…the same holds true in blogging. Many beginning (and experienced) bloggers are sometimes more interested in the word count stat than getting their point across efficiently. Your readers will be able to tell when you are padding up an article just to make it look longer…and they will count off points for that.

Sentence Structure – I know…I just told you to throw away all sentence structure and really go for it in the outside the box writing world, but you can not go too far. Even-though there is the urge to really expand your eclectic writing style, people still need to be able to understand it! You can stray away from the conventional way of writing, but don't stray off into your own world. If your readers can't understand what you are saying, they are not coming back.

Keep Your Paragraphs Organized – Typically, teachers back in the day wanted paragraphs around 5-6 sentences with a defined subject and conclusion. While we may stray from that some, there are a lot of bloggers out there that think writing the entire article in one paragraph is a good idea. It is a proven fact that readers digest information much better when it is separated in organized chucks. Keep your paragraphs short and concise. If I see a huge block of words…I go on to the next site. That much content jumbled up looks like too much work to translate.

As You Draft Your Next Blog Post…

Take an honest look at your writing. Are you speaking from the heart or are your feelings getting lost in the type? It is our goal as bloggers to engage and connect with our readers, and nothing kills that connection more than really boring writing. It is time to start thinking outside of the box in the quest to build a better blog and a better life.

This post was written by Robb Sutton. Auther of Ramped Blogging, Ramped Reviews and Ramped Mindset. He blog about blogging tips and lifestyle design at

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1 comment:

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