Svitlana, one of the 2012 TechWomen, was kind enough to ask me last year how to write a blog entry. This is finally in reply to her question… Of course, this only represents how I write my blog – every writer must find her own voice.
I have been writing a web log since 2005, at the rate of over three entries a week, for a current total of 1,325.* In putting together a blog entry, I focus on three areas, in this order:
- Writing Composition
I consider a single topic for each blog entry, picking a subject that I find of special interest. Within that general requirement, each entry topic must also be one or more of the following:
- Educational or Historical:
- Updating a prior blog entry that was one of the above
My family and friends lovingly inform me that I take too many pictures. My generous and patient husband (our family system administrator) is always trying to stay ahead of my photo storage and sorting requirements. There have been 47,674 images posted in our family Flickr archive since 2008. I take pictures not only to illustrate blog entries but also to make a record (as when taking a picture of a business card, or notes on a whiteboard), or because an image seems beautiful to me. This is an extension of the famous William Morris sentiment:
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
A photo often starts me writing a blog entry – expressing what I found of interest in that image. Starting with a photo makes a more interesting story than an formidable wall of plain text. Once I start composing, I work to ensure that not one word is wasted. One friend told me that he has to rest between reading my paragraphs because the text is so dense. I see it as being respectful of my reader’s time and precious attention to be succinct. I write until I have no more to convey. As Lewis Carroll’s Red King said:
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
I check facts carefully and provide links to references or data sources when available. Even after checking my work, I often have to go back to a published entry to add missing words. Still, I publish as soon as the entry feels complete, in accordance with my motto:
Done is Better then Perfect.
I also go back to much older blog posts and clean them up from time to time – to fix software rot causing broken links and format changes.
7 March 2013 Addition:
Here is some good advice on how to write: Kill Your Darlings: Five Rules for Writers by Rita J. King, EVP Science House, 6 March 2013:
- Have Fun
- Don’t Have Fun
- Kill Your Darlings
- Do the Research
- Ask Yourself: Why?
29 January 2016 Addition:
On 23 October 2015, I gave a presentation with updated information on this to the TechWomen at Symantec in the Silicon Valley: “How to Blog: Best Practices”.
Image Copyright 2009 by John Plocher
* 2005-2009 on blogs.sun.com/katysblog and 2009-now here at katysblog.wordpress.com. I have also been a guest blogger on other sites.