Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blogging Myth #3: The Words Aren't Important

Welcome back! This is Myth #3 in my Blogging Myths series for bloggers. If you'd like to start from the beginning of the series, you can click here.

Myth #3: The Words Aren't Important

Reelley, spehleeng ayand grammerr ar knot emportent, ar theeye?

In today's age, we are all in such a hurry to "get in and get out," I often feel as if good writing can be neglected in blogging. We push the importance of having lots of pictures of our tutorials, our kids, our homes...but we don't push the importance of using words to convey our thoughts, feelings, and dreams. 

Readers aren't expecting Perfection:
We all have different writing styles, different tones we use when we write a blog post. I like to use a conversational tone when I write...almost as if you were sitting in my family room with me, except the pile of laundry on the couch would not be there.

But if my posts were filled with consistent spelling errors, no punctuation, and grammar that a third grader would frown upon, my readers might begin wondering just why I got into this blogging gig to begin with.

Thoughtful writing can be good writing.
Rather than just tossing some words onto the page to go along with your super-fantastic-awesome new post about your living room makeover, stop and think about your readers.

  • What can you tell them about the process that they can't see from the photos?
  • How do you feel about the work you did?
  • What was the experience like?
  • What would you do differently next time?

Taking the time to thoughtfully share your knowledge and expertise will go a long way with your readers.

Taking time with your words shows Respect to your readers.
Visitors and regular readers (not to mention sponsors!) will take you seriously if you take yourself and your work seriously. Showing a certain degree of professionalism is important when you blog for income (no matter how much), and even when you write solely for the pleasure of interacting with the blogging community.

When it comes to reading blogs...
Instead of powering through your Blog Roll and eyeing a few pics so you can leave quick a "that's cute!" comment, I challenge you to slow down and actually read what the blogger has to tell you. It's so easy to miss important directions or other information when you are programmed to glance at the pictures before moving on to the next blog.

Remember that we all make mistakes.
I am certainly guilty of my fair share of mistakes here at Serenity Now. I enjoyed the literary side of studying English, but neglected (or purposefully ignored) the time my teachers and professors spent over the years imparting grammar lessons. Adverbs, participles, conjunctions...it made my head spin!

Focus on good content and proofreading (read your post aloud to yourself before you hit "Publish"), and take a deep breath. If you find an error after your post has gone live, just edit and republish. No big deal!

If writing is not your strength and grammar makes you nervous, I hope you'll stop by and see my good friend Richella. A former grammar teacher, she has an entire series devoted to Grammar.

As Richella says, "Good grammar is not the point....So what IS the point? Communication."

Focus on communicating with your readers beyond pretty images, and you'll grow as a blogger!


Hope you'll join me next week for Myth #4.

Is there an aspect of writing that makes you nervous?
(My thing to work on is editing my posts down!)

23 comments:

  1. ah! I love that cartoon--it's hanging on the wall in my classroom!! As an English teacher I couldn't agree more about the importance of words. I have a hard time taking seriously writing that izzzzz spellllleeedddd like THIS or written liiiike omg its sooooo hottttt! :P

    On that note, I will tell you that one of the reasons I enjoy your blog is because it IS well-written, with style, humor, and personality. It's absolutely a pleasure to read, with or without pictures. :)

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  2. Really, really enjoying your series on blogging myths, as well as the series on commenting! Full of great tips for newbie bloggers like me! Thanks! :)

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  3. Amanda, thanks again for yet another great series. Your tips are always helpful. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  4. Great post Amanda! I try to be careful about my spelling and grammar but I sometimes find a mistake or two after I hit publish:) I have a hard time reading a blog if the spelling and grammar is bad mostly because it feels like the person just threw something together instead of really caring about what they are blogging about! I really wish I was better at blogging about personal stuff, but I don't think I'm a very good story teller so a lot of times I let my pictures tell the story for me:)

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  5. Oh, thank you thank you thank you! I cannot tell you how many times I have come across a blog I really wanted to follow but just could not get past all the (multiple!!!) grammatical and spelling errors! It makes me start to twitch!

    Your posts are always so entertaining and well-balanced and I always look forward to reading them. Thanks for the reminder to proofread!

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  6. Love this series! I was never a good writer and struggled with grammar and especially spelling all through school. Luckily my mom is good at it and proofread everything for me until I left for college and was on my own. I am quite sure that I make many mistakes but I do proofread carefully to try to avoid as many as I can. I wouldn't mind if someone like Richella pointed my mistakes out so that I could learn from them.

    I do get turned off when I read a blog with glaring mistakes. One that really bothers me is alot instead of a lot. If it is a new to me blog, sometimes I am so turned off that I don't return to it and that's sad because I might be missing something good.

    I love your writing style and don't think you need to worry about editing your posts to be shorter. I like what you have to say!

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  7. I couldn't agree more!
    I'm wondering what's going to happen to grammar in a few years...we're raising a generation of texters who type and spell in "code" (that makes me sound really old, doesn't it?).

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  8. Great post Amanda! In this day and age when everything is OMG, LOL, and so forth, it's refreshing to find that most prefer the use of good grammar. I did have to laugh though after reading your sentence with poor grammar. How many of us could read it without thinking twice? And, know exactly what it said. Funny how the mind works.

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  9. Aren't you the best blogging friend ever? Thank you so much for the linky love. And thank you for calling me your good friend. . . I'm so honored and grateful to be your friend!

    This series is shaping up to be just as good as your series on commenting, and that's saying a lot. I am so grateful for you to be saying what needs to be said--and you always say it with grace and good humor.

    There's no question about it--as much as I try not to be the Grammar Police, it's hard for me to wade through writing that's full of errors. I really don't look for perfection, but some attention to grammatical correctness really does show respect for your readers.

    I need to get back to writing my grammar posts. I stopped at the time of Jack's surgery, and I haven't picked it back up. Meanwhile, I am ALWAYS happy to answer grammar questions. I think people sometimes feel shy about asking questions, but they shouldn't.

    Thank you for being such a great example of the way blogging can (and SHOULD) work!!

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  10. I do try to overlook spelling and punctuation errors, but there are a couple of blogs I stopped reading because there were so many errors. Great tips! In answer to your question, the writing part doesn't make me nervous but I sometimes worry that my posts are too wordy, without enough pictures.

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  11. That cartoon is hilarious! I wholeheartedly agree with you on spelling and grammar being important when it comes to blogging. There are blogs that I had to stop following simply because the author would write a whole post as one giant run-on sentence. *shudder* I love your blogging series that you have been doing. Keep up the great work! :)

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  12. This is such a great post! You have so much wonderful information for us bloggers in this series!!

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  13. I don't want to sound slutty ,but please take me; every time you need me;use me whenever you can,don't abuse me;don't try to change me.Thank you.
    Your Grammar

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  14. Great post! I think that is one of the harder things to figure out. Do I talk too much? How many pictures should I include? Yes, I talk this way on facebook but is it appropriate in a blog post? I may think something sounds funny in my head, but reading it back I sound incredibly rude!

    I feel like I am constantly editing and trying to find my voice. One thing that really, really helped was becoming an ACT instructor for the English portion. I had to re-visit grammar and writing basics because I had to teach it to students! After I got the job, I found myself more critical and better equipped to edit. I look back at old posts and cringe!

    Yes, it's not the most important thing in the world, but I highly recommend looking into refreshing yourself on the writing basics. It really helped me and my writing, although I do still find errors! That, re-reading like you mentioned, and laying off of the exclamation point key!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha ;)

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  15. That's cute!!! ;) j/k I am seriously a horrible speller!! I'm basic, very basic. My husband will sometimes proof read for me. That helps me out. Thanks for sharing.
    p.s Now, I'm so worried! I hope you sill stop by everyonce in while!! ;$
    www.moddybee.blogspot.com

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  16. I think good grammar and spelling are important, but I am also grateful that there are many bloggers who are unafraid to express themselves, bad grammar and all. Bad grammar and misspellings can distract, but communication is the most important thing. Good post and great series. Thanks, Amanda!

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  17. Yes! I absolutely agree with this - the occasional typo is excusable, but there are a lot of readers out there who won't be able to actually read your content if it has too many obvious spelling and grammar errors. I do think there's a difference between a style of writing/speaking that isn't technically perfect, since most of us don't speak in 100% perfectly correct English, and readers can usually tell if someone is using a casual tone or if they just didn't proofread.

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  18. Since I am still relatively new to blogging, I have enjoyed reading your series and will try to remember to slow down and really read. Smiles

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  19. A blogger's voice and writing style is truly the most important thing to me as a reader. There are a lot of blogs in my reader. Some of them are indistinguishable to me because they don't have a "voice." The blogs with authors who sound real and interesting in their writing, those are the blogs I remember and want to return to. The writing matters, big time! As for grammar, I too have stopped reading blogs because I couldn't take the spelling errors, lack of normal punctuation, tons of LOLs and OMGs and especially all the exclamation points!!!!!!!! Maybe there is an audience for those blogs, but it isn't me!

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  20. I just got finished reading this entire series. Thanks for taking the time to share all of these pointers with us. I'll be jumping back to your Commenting series shortly!

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  21. Hi Amanda,

    Me again. :/ The thing that makes me most nervous when writing a post is not writing enough. I tend to be a person of little words and it shows when writing my posts. I know, however, I must write more so I force myself and allow time to make sure my posts are well written with good content (hopefully) and personality. Those two things are what keeps me on the pages of other blogs so I try and include them on mine. :)

    Christine

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  22. Great article! Thank you for this actionable tips! I am really looking forward to using them for my blog! However I was looking for the editor and finally found GoHunters review review, however, there were no feedbacks about their editors. Don't you know something about them?

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