Who Else Wants to be a Topnotch Blogger?

by Jan Geronimo on March 7, 2009

In this post I’d continue where I left off in Get Rid of that Feeling of Inadequacy as a Writer. Two readers contributed practical and valuable writing tips. I’d like to highlight them here as I believe these will impact positively on our daily blogging:

1. Yatot: “As I said in the past, people can all be bloggers but not all of them can become writers… but then again, here’s the good news… blogging can improve the way you write… it’s like a practice ground to everything in writing!”

We all start at that awkward stage when it seems we’re not making any progress. We start writing one thing and end up discussing another – a post that’s at war with itself. Sometimes we mix metaphors unknowingly. Other times we let modifiers to dangle ever so perilously. And that’s when we’re being productive. We have yet to touch on those moments when are stuck with a blank page. But that’s for another post.

If at this stage of your blogging career you still feel inadequate with your writing my advice is to press on. As a reader, I don’t let myself get distracted by a few errors in grammar. That can’t be helped. My writing is often visited by errors, too. What matters to me – and to a lot of people, I think – is your story, your voice, your ideas.

I will not name names. Because I find it awkward to cite fellow bloggers’ work in this fashion. But I’m telling you this. I started blogging because of two individuals who have inadequate grasp of English. They inspire me to stop being mere reader and to become a blog author myself. What they wrote about and how they wrote it will make any self-respecting English teacher sob in anguish. Dig deep into the archives of some of our Filipino top bloggers and find out for yourself how awkward they were in the initial stage of their blogging career.

This did not stop me from reading them. Not because I’d like to feel superior and laugh at their faces. Nope. I love their unique voice and their personal stories more than the lapses in sentence construction. You guessed right – the primacy of their ideas won me over.

I keep reading them because I see great talent unfolding bit by bit. And I will be a fool not to be a witness or part of that transformation.

For the record, they have since improved a lot. Blogging improved their writing. Over time.

And I don’t see why your case will be any different. With time, you’d find the going a little bit easier. Just keep on writing on a daily basis as Yatot suggested. If you feel you’ve a lot to learn, take heart because blogging can improve the way you write eventually.

2. Bingkee: “Read and read and read a lot. Write and write and write a lot. Develop a style of your own but be natural. Don’t try to be what you are not. It’s just gonna come out you’re a T.H. (trying hard) if you do that.”

Reading will help you big time especially if you need to improve your writing. Read the best web authors. Subscribe to their feed. What makes their writing sizzle? How do they do it? Break down their post in manageable pieces and find out why they work.

I had worked as a clerk in a factory years ago. I was straight from college. It was a culture shock to me. The language was colorful, blunt,sexually suggestive, and expletives? – oh boy. But it was not for long. Over time, I found myself quite at home speaking exclusively about genitalia and various acts of copulation to express disgust, admiration, sadness, surprise and whatever situation that presented itself.

It’s the same with reading. Keep yourself with the company of the masters and you’d see remarkable progress in your writing. Bingkee is right – read up the classic books. How will this impact on your writing? A lot. Over time you’d find your voice and be more confident in your writing.

Now, over to you, dear readers. Care to share your top secret formula to become a great blogger?

Recommended Reading: Have that staying power in blogging. And here’s another good read: How to turn your passion into a blog.

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  • backreading your entries, dear sir! yes, through the backdoor, indeed. huhlolz!

    these are great writing tips, mr. geronimo! not only applicable to blogging per se, but more so on the real writing stuff. yes, like you, i too dream of writing my very own ruddy novel. but that will take a million light years from now, i guess. i have a lot more to learn and a lot of writing practice to hone whatever writing mojo i have. i think that practice does not make perfect but rather, it makes permanent!

    my only regret as of the moment is not having come across your blog early on. i follow a lot of blogs over the Internet but those are merely for entertainment purposes. but yours, yours talks about the real stuff - not the kiddie, amature shitnitz that i find in other blogs to tickle my humdrum existence. all is not lost though. i'll be back in this blog to learn more about this love that is writing and i'm going to start by backreading through your backdoor - pun not intended. huhlolz!

    thanks for the great writing tips, uncle jan! haha!
    .-= lio loco´s last blog ..SSDD No. 3 =-.
  • Jan Geronimo
    @lio loco: There are lots of writing communities in the net for novel writers and poets. And a lot of them are supportive of each other. Take it one day at a time - or one scene at a time if a chapter is too daunting.

    That's true - lots of distraction online. Open the computer and the day will fill itself up with many wonderful reads, games, social interaction. Of course, we call these part of our work or our education to assuage our conscience a bit. Ahahaha.

    Thanks for finding your way back in here. I'm not scared anymore of you suddenly popping up through the backdoor, nephew lio. :)
  • hold on. i did not just spell amateur as amature, didn't i? geez. my apologies for my typo, uncle jan!
  • and another grammar booboo. sorry, uncle jan. i was in a hurry to logout from the office. didn't notice my question structure.

    i meant, "i did not just spell amateur as amature, did i?"

    i should be extra careful next time, knowing how grammatically polished your entries are, uncle jan! oh the grammar oc in us! huhlolz!
    .-= lio loco´s last blog ..SSDD No. 3 =-.
  • Jan
    @fifi: Oh, there you are. Now, I know why you hesitate to join the discussion right away. You have strong opinions. Perhaps you did not want to be misunderstood by other who might not feel as strongly about it as you do. Well, that's the idea behind the interaction in a blog community - to live vicariously perhaps in the other person's differing point of view. So we can gauge if the things we hold dear can survive the give and take in the blog conversations. Wooo, that's a mouthful. I think though a lot of other readers here will be benefited with your inputs. :)
  • fifi
    i think a good blogger need not really be the best writer. there are those who are admittedly gifted in being able to weave their thoughts through written words fluidly. others aren't as lucky. i tend to dismiss bloggers who aren't coherent in presenting their ideas as i get confused with whatever it is that they are trying to say. when you succeed in getting your message or ideas across, without necessarily being flawless, that should do, i think.
  • Jan
    @Jena Isle: That's kind of you, thanks.

    A guest post on your blog - now that's interesting. I'd check your blog later to see what piece of writing is appropriate for it. Oh, I don't do EC. To be published in your site is its own reward already.

    Thank you. You made my day. :)
  • Jena Isle
    Hello Jan,

    I discovered your blog through Roy's and I find it interesting. I like your style and the way you present your ideas.

    I agree that blogging improves one's writing acumen (is that an appropriate term?), and one should never be too conscious of his style or grammar to the point that the fluidity of the article suffers.

    Thanks for a very informative post.

    BTW, you might want to be a guest writer in my blog and in a soon-to-be-published book entitled: "Inspirational Stories from Bloggers All Over the World."

    I don't award cash; instead, I give 5,000 EC credits to an accepted article, and I'll be giving one copy each of the book to the authors as soon as it gets self-published. I hope you can join us. Roy has already contributed his story.

    Thanks and more power.
  • Jan
    @bingkee: Yeah, there's a real danger that once you annoy readers with your sloppy grammar they may never return. Unfortunate really.

    Life is a process of becoming as they say. And it applies in blogging as well. In six months, in a year or two, we maybe surprised how far we have progressed as bloggers. I'm optimistic in this regard.

    I may lose readers today because I irritate with them pesky "your" and "you're" errors etc, but I guess for the rest of the visitors they get to appreciate the other qualities I have as a blogger.

    One thing for sure, Bingkee. Any blog author is lucky with you as a participant. You're not an echo chamber. Thanks. :)
  • bingkee
    Thanks for the honorable mention here, and all the support you have given me. I feel flattered. Hehehehe! The only thing I can say is that if just want to blog because you want to vent out---I think grammar and good writing skills really don't matter. But if you're concerned with criticism and/or wishing to attain recognition and good readership----good writing skills come in handy.
    Who wants to read a blog full of grammatical errors that can put you off because the post "sounds" so "poorly-written, dumb and nonsensical"? Most oftentimes, grammatical errors can make a thought sound complicated or nonsense.

    But really, be truthful to what you really want to write.

    I mean, that's my conviction. I f others don't agree, it's fine. They may have some other reasons to believe that a good blog can surpass the rules of grammar and style.

    But you can make blogs with pictures and videos that don't really need a lot of writing.
  • Jan
    @yatot: Blame Roy. He started the trend, he set the mood. He opened the flood gates. hahaha.

    You know me, Yatot. Blogging is my thing, but I moonlight as PRO whenever I can. :)
  • yatot
    whew! this blog post i think has the longest comments ever... hahahha... bloggers/writers have to write their comments talaga and give their insights regarding the topic... nice icebreaker really! and i wont make this comment any longer! hehehhe... and oh, thanks again for the links! :D
  • Jan
    @dee: Yay! Let me guess your secret then.

    1. Because you're a recovering attorney. Bryan Clark is a recovering lawyer - look where is now. :)

    2. You write well. And as if that's enough, you've got a high-caliber editor beside you. hahaha.

    3. You have a fancy camera and uses it like a pro.

    You're secret is out, Dee. :)

    @Selboy: I wonder where they are now - making house calls, selling detergent bars maybe? People can be so judgmental sometimes. I'm glad you're still here and doing fine, mighty fine. Wish they can see you now, your detractors. :)
  • Selboy
    5 years ago, other Filipino bloggers called me IDIOT or DUMB just because I couldn't write well.
  • Dee
    Good post. Very illuminating.

    My secret to become a great blogger is ... tada, SECRET! Hehe, just kidding. :D I don't have a secret because I'm still trying to learn the intricacies of this blogging thing. Hopefully when I've learned quite a bit, maybe then, I'll be able to formulate a secret formula of my own and come back here and share. Till then, I'm still groping in the dark.:D
  • Jan
    @earthlingorgeous: And why is it that only when we hit the publish button that we see these errors? It seems so perfect - then bam! I thought of doing other things after I hit the publish button. But I can't leave. I have to correct a spelling here, an awkward construction there.

    What's great about blogging is that we can always edit our posts anytime. Even after a week, a month, or a year maybe.

    That's true, when I read your post about your fun time with other bloggers, I so wish I was there as well. And you told your story well. Splendid. :)

    xprosaic: you've got a lovely bunch of friends in your blog community. That's what initially attracted me there. I love the banter, the teasing, the general sense of fun you guys are having. Of course, it helps a lot that your post interesting stories. Thanks. Enjoyed your comment. :)
  • I am Xprosaic
    Hi jan! Thanks again for the visit! I find this article intersting... I am not a writer period hahahahhahaha... Well, my primary intention when I started to have my own blog May last year was simply because I just want to practice english and paragraph construction while at the same time trying to have a 'sort of' diary of what interests me during my course... I wanted to see if I improved over the past couple of months, although until now I still didn't know if I did! hahahahahhahaha... Surely, I have lapses in some, if not all, of my entries. However, this reminds me of who I was and what I have become(Who am I by the way? jejejeejjeje). As months passed, my blog even was a tool for new friendships developed among my peers. Anyway, haba na pala ng naisulat ko... Maiba lang.. yun pala sa tanong mo? yun bang 'popular pages today'? Nakuha ko yun sa feedjit. It's been a while na din nung nailagay ko yun kaya hindi ko na gaanong kabisado pero understandable naman ang instuctions nila jejejejeje. basta visit ka lang doon. Hoping to see that widget in your blog one of these days... Ingats!
  • earthlingorgeous
    I don't have a secret. I suck as a writer lol lots of grammatical errors I won't see after a day or two and correct if but still won't get it right. Ah it sucks but yeah I have to agree blogging improves my writing.

    I don't read a lot I only read what interest me and not really read just browse. I only read what truly interest me.

    I blog about the things that interest me and tell the story like I was telling a friend. I guess that attracts people to read in my blog imagine I have more than 100 subscribers!

    So I try to keep my blog as interesting and informative as it can be and give something people can actually use or something they wished they could experience.
  • Jan
    @Ad: What an inspiring comment, Ad. I love your insight on what differentiates a blogger from a writer. Obviously I haven't given this much thought, but you're so spot on about the persona a blogger consciously or unconsciously projects. That's very true.

    Well, that can only come from experience. Priceless wisdom. :)

    Thank you, Ad. If you care to flesh out more the latter part of your comment, I'd be very proud to make it as a guest post. Only because it qualifies to be promoted in it's rightful place. Just lovely. :)
    haha! i like this one. i suddenly remember my first attempt to create a blog. I said to myself, "This is not a blog but a journal, a piece of writing, a mirror, a window to one's soul, and a remedy for a broken heart" (from my diary Feb 23, 1008)

    I never thought of becoming a great blogger, but i always imagine myself becoming a great writer.

    I always felt this euphoric feeling, coming out of my room, plunging into my daily life with a thought that i started a new thing: a blog. In changed me in many ways, and blogging help me a lot in breaking my WRITER's BLOCK, which plague me for two years. I have always kept a diary, but i felt it wasn't enough to cure the blockage.

    A great blogger is not necessarily a great writer. One has a quality different from the other. I find it surprising to find bloggers such as bryanboy (byanboy.com) and scott (thesartorialist.blogspot.com) earning a lot of money without putting much effort in their writing.

    i came with the understanding after a year of immersion into the blogosphere that the a great blogger should have the following characteristics:

    1) a Persona: this is the projected character of the author, it manifest through his writing style. if bryanboy is known for his tongue-and-cheek and funny character on his blog, he may turn out to be a different person when one meets him in person. Great writers should be masters in depicting this persona.

    2) CONSISTENT with his own niche. niche blogging is growing nowadays. It works effectively for me to focus on one theme: CINEMA. If one starts a personal blog, he probably has to invoke a consistent persona.



  • Jan
    @roy: wow, thank you for this. That is almost a post in itself. For its candidness and breadth.

    I find it odd, too, you know. The lightest post I've written - one you can consider a filler for those times you can't come up with a more worthy idea - is the most read I've had. It puzzles me no end. hahaha.

    That's a lovely quote, Roy. Love it. hahaha. And I have a quote about perfect writers, "Perfect writers are those who do not write." Or something to that effect.

    Yeah, that applies to blogging as well. We maybe frustrated bloggers, but if we can post? Not for long! :)
  • Roy
    ahem... my secret to becoming a great blogger? hahaha! i wish :)

    to be honest, i really don't know what works for me... no! make that for my readers, because as far as i'm concern, i am fine.

    however, i can't seem to find what ticks with the readers. sometimes i get lots of comments, feedbacks and violent reactions when i put more angst and pains in my posts... other times, everything seems too quiet.

    trivial matters get a lot of attention once, sometimes i wonder if they ever get read at all.

    not that i don't care about my readers, but i know i'm enjoying what i'm doing - writing what i feel, when i feel it. and i guess that is really my first reason in blogging... expressing myself.

    i don't pretend to know everything, but i do claim authority in fields that i know i am.

    once i met a writer and asked her how to become one because i am a frustrated writer. she snapped back at me - "there's no such thing as frustrated writer!"

    she was right! i am not a frustrated writer because i am actually writer right now... maybe that also applies to blogging, don't you think?
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