Blogging quality posts

Rodders

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I'm not sure if this is the right place but a search couldn't find anything.

Personally i have been unhappy for a long time on the quality of my own blog (my Millennium Falcon collection). I appreciate that it's a niche subject, but i would like to improve the quality of my writing. (My education level is grade 3 CSE in English and I'm even thinking of trying English at night school once the furlough is over.) Looking at my posts on the Chrons, i notice that many are single sentence posts that aren't overly descriptive and don't actually say very much. I have been accused of "not running a chat program" by online friends. Is there a way that i can be more open on paper? :)

Many of the members here have a blog of one kind or other, which are very articulate and read nicely. I was wondering what makes a blog post interesting?
 

Toby Frost

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I have a blog about miniature painting and occasional bits of wargaming, and a lot of it is basically saying "Here's what I've made this week". I don't have a particular formula to which I adhere, but most of the posts involve these sorts of things:

- What this particular thing I'm doing is, often with some background about how it fits into the wider scheme of things, in terms of either the fictitious worlds of the game or the model's history as an object
- Why I'm making it (usually what inspired me, or that I want to do some specific thing with it)
- How I made/changed/obtained it, often with work-in-progress pictures (people seem to find these especially interesting)
- The finished item, with photos
- Some kind of general comment on how well it came out, what I'll do with it, where it'll be displayed or something like that.

Obviously this is different if you're not making any of the various Millenium Falcons, but I think the combination of background information and why it's of interest to you remain good things to talk about.

It's here, out of interest: In A World of Paint
 
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Jo Zebedee

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Why not try speaking it first, and see if that’s more natural? You could always record yourself and type it up later. Blogs are supposed to sound like the person writing it, so it might work.
 

The Judge

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I've just had a quick look at your blog. I'm not your target readership, so I can't comment on the material itself, ie the meat of the posts. I did wonder if they were a bit long, and therefore at risk of your readers losing interest, but as I skimmed down I saw that other posts were much shorter. Perhaps, though, break up longer posts.

As to the writing itself, it's informative but perhaps a little dry. That's to be expected when you're detailing technical issues, but even when you want to praise something, it comes over as not terribly enthusiastic -- you don't want to be gushing all over the place, but a bit more heart and soul wouldn't come amiss. Take the Itty Bitty things -- they're fabulous, but although you use the word "cute" you seem more interested in the specifications and price than on the sheer delight they must produce. I've no desire to collect MF stuff, but by golly I want one of those! If I were blogging about them I wouldn't be saying "nicely done" but "too cute for words!" and "absolutely adorable!"

I appreciate you might not feel comfortable with too much emoting (not to mention the plethora of exclamation marks!) but you could still explain why you like the things you talk about eg instead of "I think it’s well lit and its a good looking piece." for the painting, you could pick out some details eg "The lighting on the starboard thingummy is superb, and the sense of movement is very well caught -- I particularly like the shading she's used." (To be fair, I saw you did this elsewhere with Chewie on the loo, but you need to make more of that, I think.)

Humour is something else that can make a blog attractive. You don't need to have a succession of jokes, but an occasional aside (eg like my "plethora of exclamation marks!" above) can create a warmer feel to the writing. Treat the blog as if you're chatting to friends -- they want to know what you think, they want to laugh and be entertained, they don't want to attend long lectures.

As for your style, I noticed you tend to use lots of short sentences. In the right circumstances that can be effective, but here it produced a kind of shopping list effect, and it can also make readers edgy/uneasy as well as bored. I'd suggest you vary sentence structure more, linking short clauses together with conjunctions.

I hope that helps a little. Good luck with the blog. (And if you get bored with the Itty Bitty Chewie, let me know!)
 

Biskit

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1: Write about something that interests you - I think you've got that bit.
When I started my blog I was being urged to "write about writing" and honestly, the whole prospect bored me to tears. What I ended up doing was writing about life here on the farm, whatever caught my interest or attention, or seriously wound me up. Very occasionally I write about writing, but that usually comes out a bit strange. These days I sometimes blog a short story in response to a writing prompt. It all helps to keep me interested.

2: It doesn't matter whether you are writing a tech manual or a novel, you need to tell a story.
My background is as a professional scientist, which brings a fairly formal style of writing, but even then you are telling a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, and ideally something which catches the reader's attention. I think @Toby Frost makes a good point here - let the reader know why "it's of interest to you", because here that is a part of the story. You're writing about something that interests you, so draw the reader into your world.

3: Have a bit of fun with it.
That's easy for me to say - I write about trying to disentangle a goose from a bucket, or psycho swallows doing strafing runs on the stable-yard. Even so, play with something different, even if you only try it out on friends and don't put it up on your blog. You're looking for a way to make your posts more engaging, so experiment.

ETA - crossed in the post with @The Judge, so, what she said.
 

msstice

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Quality of writing and whether the writing is interesting can be different.

Multiple witnesses caught the President on video and audio promising to pardon criminals in exchange for money.
Very interesting, but not very "quality"

The incandescent sun rose over the parched desert, setting the dunes aflame in harsh relief.
Poetic, but not THAT interesting.

Blogging helps me keep in practice with writing but with low stakes (I don't make money off it). I've stopped blogging now that I am writing a lot (because of limited time, when I do anything like blog, watch TV and yes, even read a book, it's time I am not writing - so currently all my spare alone time is spent on my WIP)

The only way I judge my posts is whether they still entertain me 6 months later.
 

The Big Peat

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I am repeating what others have said at this point but -

The blog posts I enjoy reading most (and receive compliments on) are where someone invites me on a journey with them into something they did, how it was, and what it meant to them. It's about their story of doing something. Or, alternately, their thought provoking excursion into something I hadn't considered before. Either way, good blog posts are a form of exploration of thought and sharing that exploration.

I've looked at your blog and there's nothing wrong with your writing. But there is little sense of exploration. It's you talking about what something is. Which, tbf, does have an audience. But it's not as big an audience as the explorations. If that makes sense.
 

Rodders

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Thanks guys. I appreciate the comments. Judge, your feedback was especially useful and I’ll take note.
 

Overread

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I think your blog looks fine.

One thing I think that might help is if you sit down and work out exactly what your blog is communicating and what its all about. This isn't just coming up with a subject, but actual focused topics and styles of post that fit those topics. Break them down into type of post. Eg some of your posts appear to be mostly about the newest released product on the market. Something that you might not yet own yourself, but that you are providing basic information about. Such posts, by their very nature, might be short info snippets with little more than what the marketing team for the company put out themselves. In those you are just conveying information so you can keep it short without there being a problem.

Others might be reviewing a product and you've a few of those with photos/screenshots and a good amount of detail. These might well be longer and where you'd go into using longer descriptive elements and such.


I think if you start to break your blog posts down into types and focus then you can start to see the different nature of some. However you also might find that your recent blog posts are all short infodumps because you're mostly doing previews and product overviews and such. Ergo its not so much your writing that is the issue, but the nature of the topics that you are covering.
If this is the case then you've got to decide if you want to stick with that or start adding more topical discussion on a regular bases focusing on new kinds of chat. These might well give you an outlet to be more wordy, descriptive and in-depth. Plus by identifying them formally you can put yourself on a bit of a rota so that its not just a one time burst and then nothing. If you get really formal you could even dedicate specific days of the week to specific types of post. Every Monday is "infodump on new products day"; Wednesdays are "long rambling story about cool lore; Fridays are product reviews of things you own etc.... For those that read blogs regular things like that can mean that someone who finds product reviews rather dry and boring, will just "ignore" the blog on those days an will focus on the days that they do find the info they do like.
Of course the risk with that is that your blog might feel a little less personal if that's your style so you might find a happy medium between the two styles of formal and informal.
 

Rodders

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Thanks overread. You are correct in that most of my posts tend to be about released items, rather than in-hand reviews. Probably impatience on my part. I think there are two types of collector. Those who “enjoy” their collection and are happy displaying everything, or ”Mint In Box” collectors. I fall into the latter.

Hi Toby. I liked your figurine painting blog. I used to love painting Judge Dredd figures in the day. I was terrible at that, too.

My blog.
 
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