Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.18.2011

Elements of Stylish Blogging

Both Lauren and I have loved writing since we were five or six, when we penned “books” and peddled them to our customers (read: parents). Since then, we have continued to work on books, together and separately, have written a great deal for high school and college, and have participated in a myriad of writing contests. And of course, there has been One Bright Corner which has allowed us to hone our writing every single week for the past 2 ½ years. We are certainly not the most experienced, successful, or excellent writers you will find, but if passion compensates for other areas of weakness, then we are good to go!




Photo Credit
During our blogoversary, Ruthie had this question for Lauren and me: "I would love to someday read your tips and ideas for writing a good blog post. It is obvious you have penned some good posts, considering your large following and being named 'Blog of Note.'" Ruthie herself is an excellent writer, so I'm somewhat baffled as to why she would ask us for writing tips, but I will do my best. There are certainly some principles we have kept in mind all this time, and they seem to have worked well, so I’ll share them now in hopes that they might help you!

Watch Your Length
The internet is synonymous with “short attention span,” and even I am guilty of SAS when combing through blogs. As I start to read and scroll and read and scroll, the likelihood of making it to the end becomes less and less. We always aim for one Microsoft Word page (500-600 words); if your post is longer, consider breaking it up into a series or editing for clarity and precision.

Mind Your Linguistics
Always take the time to spell check your blog post, but even that isn’t enough. Comb the post carefully for typos, rambling, punctuation errors, and such. Go easy on the emoticons, and avoid them whenever possible—challenge yourself to express your meaning using a thesaurus rather than a colon and parenthesis!

I usually know what I’m blogging on three to four days in advance, and I spend those days mulling over my chosen topic and planning my approach. I aspire to write engaging, interesting posts that inspire and convict, and are easy to grasp, yet do not sink to sloppiness. These are tough goals that I do not always attain, or even usually attain, but taking the time to plan and even outline my blog post helps immensely.

Obtain Help
Without fail, Lauren and I proofread each other’s articles, and this has proved invaluable. Many are the times the other person will catch an error or point out a misunderstood statement. In the blogging world, where so much is instant and so little can be taken back, it is always wonderful to have another person with whom to cogitate. Even more importantly, however, is God's feedback. Do not neglect to seek guidance and help from God and His Word; ascertain that every point you make is Biblically based, or leave it out.

Of course, there are other things we work on too, like eye-pleasing formatting; eye-catching pictures; consistency in posting; citing all pictures, quotes, and information sources used; and enjoying further conversation with our readers in the comment section. These and all the other principles I shared are certainly not rules, and they are not boxes that we manage to check confidently with every single blog post. You will find typos, lengthy and uninteresting posts, and statements that can be misunderstood if you look for them! Neveretheless, these are the goals Lauren and I work towards every single week, and I hope you have found them helpful yourself!



Photo Credit: Bob Aubuchon

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. I came to the same conclusion as you about the length of my posts when I realised that I did exactly as you described - the longer the post, the less chance there was of me finishing it or reading it properly. I thought, if I don't read other people's long posts then why should my readers read mine??

    With that in mind I have tried to make my "proper" posts fit into a 500-ish word frame. ("Proper" being those posts that aren't pictures, or quizzes etc).

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  2. Glad to hear I'm not the only one with "SAS"!

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  3. Ouch. "Wordiness" is definitely one of my greatest weaknesses!

    I enjoy your blog and I'm amazed that two ladies so young could write so well. I'm grateful for whatever advice you have to offer!

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  4. good tips and thoughts! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! Why didn't i think about thesaurus rather than colons and parenthesis. I will apply that one.

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  6. Mikaela, I enjoyed your "stylish" blogging tips, and hope to put most, if not all, into practice if I am not already. The fact that you proofread each other's writing made me smile as my mom has done that for me numerous times. However, now that I am far, I try and do my best "solo." But there are times when she sees a typo on my blog and mentions it in an e-mail. :)
    You both are excellent writers and I thoroughly enjoy your pieces and posts! I am also happy to continue learning from you. :)

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  7. T. Holt--Ah, thank you! I, too, struggle with wordiness, but at least we recognie our composition weakness and can aspire to concise precision!

    You're welcome, Charis! Thanks for commenting.

    Sey--good to hear from you again. I definitely love my thesaurus; as a child, it was my source for many--shall we say--"interesting" word choices! Use with caution. ;-)

    Ruthie--Oh my goodness--I appreciate your humble, learner's spirit, but I highly doubt you have much to learn from us! That's very sweet that your mom helped proofread and continues to, in her own way, thousands of miles away.

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  8. Hi Mikaela! :)

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog not too long ago. :) It was SO lovely to meet you at long last, too~I certainly hope we shall see more of you in the near future! I know you and Lauren attended the CH Conference this past year; so did we! :o) Will you be going this year? Lord willing, we will be..it would be fun to "meet up" there for a sec, if possible! ;)

    Aw, I just love these tips! And your blog. ;) We all certainly can learn a whole lot from you, I am certain! <3 I just love your thoughtful, in-depth posts. They *are* so well-written! I agree, though; Ruthie is an excellent writer, too! ;)

    Blessings,
    Lucia

    www.one-beloved.blogspot.com

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  9. You're welcome, Lucia! Lord willing, we are also planning to attend the CH conference, so I will look forward to seeing you there! It would be fun to coordinate a get-together that conference weekend, but we usually volunteer, so we'll have to wait until the week of when we know our schedule a bit better. ;-)

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