- You’ll get into the habit of writing regularly;
- Instant feedback lets you know how you’re doing;
- Having readers for your work is a big motivation;
- The more you practice, the better you will write; and
- Blogs are an ideal medium for experimentation.
Not so fast, according to Miss Write, who lists reasons “Why Blogging Doesn’t Necessarily Improve Your Writing,” including:
- Practice doesn’t always make perfect;
- Bloggers receive Insufficient constructive feedback; and
- Blogging is frequently done in an informal setting and manner, lacking standards and expectations.
Both articles assert arguments with which I agree and disagree.
Blogging regularly does provide an opportunity to practice and develop good writing skills, but the type of feedback bloggers receive generally differs greatly from the criticism provided by a writing teacher or via peer critiques. Miss Write correctly points out that readers do not highlight grammatical, punctuation, usage or other errors in blog posts: “Comments rarely contain corrections, and if they did, they’re probably the seeds of a flame war.” If you read a blog regularly, it is common to see the author make the same mistakes repeatedly. For instance, one blogger comes to mind who regularly confuses “lose” with “loose” and has written several posts about her efforts to “loose weight.” Thus far, it appears that none of her readers have stepped forward to correct her error.
In fact, the Daily Writing Tips article actually lists reason number four as “Your writing will improve.” Above, I paraphrased the rationale offered in the explanatory text rather than setting forth the subheading verbatim because, as phrased, it merely restates, but does not advance the argument.
Having an audience is a motivating factor, but keeping readers interested is just as important. Cultivating a regular readership requires that you offer a high-quality product. How many times have you visited a blog, read a couple of posts and, because of the poor writing quality exhibited, closed the browser window and never returned? I do not have time to wade through a poorly written post in search of the message the writer clumsily tried to convey. There are simply not enough hours in the day and far too many well-written blogs competing for my attention. So while practice does generally lead to improvement, I am of the opinion that anyone who seeks to be a truly great writer needs more guidance, feedback, and direction than can be derived from the readers of one’s blog.
The style of writing found in blogs is frequently extremely informal, especially in personal blogs. “Blog-speak” is common and abbreviations abound because entries are often completed an published in a hurry without being proofread or edited. “A blog post, . . . is quick to write and free to publish: if it fails, you’ve not lost much. Blogging gives you the freedom to experiment, to try out something new,” so Daily Writing Tips advocates adopting a new form or style of writing. That’s an excellent suggestion because the blogosphere is a wild, untamed frontier where writers have the freedom to find or modify their unique voice. However, even within the various genres, overarching principles of structure, form, and technique still apply. And a dieter is still on a crusade to lose, not loose, weight.
What do you think? Is blogging one way to become a better writer? If you blog, what has your experience been? Do you believe that blogging has improved your writing? If so, how?