Writing is an art, and presenting content, wrapped up in finest language, is a skill which one acquires over time. It is a known fact that everybody cannot write fiction, as fiction is narrative in representation and you need a plot, a story as its background, leaving aside the wizardry over the language. But I believe, one can always pursue non-fictional writing, as it has nothing to do with flair of writing. If you want to be a good non-fictional writer, then you should know your subject well and you have the minimum mastery over the language, so that you can represent facts in an articulate and coherent manner.
However, the boundary between 'once a writer', writer and a good writer is wide. If you don't have ample knowledge and information then once you can write a good article with all the little information you have but you can not produce good content always. A writer is in better position than 'once a writer', but obviously he lacks some virtues which a good writer possesses.
Producing content for professional reasons or for someone is the job of content writer where writing only for you and distributing it for the spread of knowledge is the passion of blog writer. Money is always important but it cannot be the purpose for joining blog community. Other than having an in-depth knowledge in his subject and his aptness in reflecting the same in words, a good blog writer is ethically strong. George Orwell once said;
"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?"
All these points alluded by him are very true and in this article I tried to expand the view.
- Be true to yourself: You know you cannot exist as a writer if you do not have any reader. It is readers who give you the crown of writer, so you shall not forget your readers. In the initial phase of writing, you build a reader community and it's equally important for you to retain them. If you are not true to yourself, if you are stealing content and marketing it in your name, then one day you will get exposed. And on that very day your reader base will turn away from you, leaving you in lurch, groping for survival.
- Reveal the source: We all know you are neither an information warehouse nor a production center. So, you definitely have some source of information. If the source is not electronic, then you might have the liberty to keep it secret. But publishing the link of original source not only increases your sense of honesty, but also gives the reader the chance to read more on the same topic. Do not think that, this will make reader to get more inclined to source. This is not true, as reader will come back to your site, because they will know from you they can start developing their knowledge base.
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. [C. S. Lewis]"
- Don't propagate negativity: A blogger can be critic but he can't be a biased enough to attack others or spread negativity through your blog. Also a blogger should be extra cautious when the subject is sensitive. Political or religious topic might hurt some of your readers which you are not aware of. So balancing between two poles of debate is very important.
- Know your subject well: Context is king, so even if you are very good in English, still you must have a good knowledge base before you start writing. You can't fool readers and you should keep aside yourself from this intention. A very good preparation will also help you to represent facts in much lucid way.
- Write contemporary: Don't write anything which do not fit the current context. Like writing a review of old-fashioned, obsolete cell phone, will always be sent to trash by readers. Also while writing, please be aware that if there already happened any advancement of knowledge. In this world, people progress every second. So if you thought of any subject a week ago, then it is always better to brush up your knowledge on any recent progress of the topic.
- Never be grandiloquent: If you are not writing for any English thesaurus, then it is better to use common words instead of big bombastic words. Use of phrases and group verbs often make your article more attractive and lucid. "Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. [C. S. Lewis]"
- Be roman when in Rome: There exists a blogger community and you are a part of it. So respect all bloggers and read their blogs, comment properly, so that others don't think you are from Mars. Be a good member of this fraternity and link others to your blog and they will reciprocate by visiting yours and linking to you.
- Write proper English: Ultimately you are expressing yourself through a language and so your knowledge over the language is important. Using abbreviated form of English, as we do in chat or IM, as well as using colloquial words and slang should be avoided.
- Never personify: It is well if you write some paragraph about you and it is amusing until and unless it is attracting me. But I am not at all interested in knowing you, your personal trip unless there are some interesting aspects in the facts. So, try to avoid personification of the subject.
- Keywords: If you want to make your blog easily accessible through search engines you have to know the keywords of your subject and you have to use it somewhere. Like if you are writing review of any mobile phone and drop the keyword cell phone, then people who are searching cell phone will miss your blog. As the blog will not be indexed against the keyword. You shall not jump into using all keywords but a select few which has higher ranking in terms of search density.
Anirban Bhattacharya is an open source programmer and has almost 8 years of industry experience. For the past 5 years he is an active coder in LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) technologies. He has wide knowledge in project management and software development life cycle. He spends his free time in writing technical articles for his blog http://www.wertex.org
His past experience has enabled him to gather knowledge on various open source technologies, PHP frameworks and other related areas. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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