I’ve been seriously into wine for over two decades, but only writing about it for less than two years. Blogging is a great way of expressing your passion, whatever it is, and can be thoroughly rewarding.
The hardest part is starting, but then it’s important to get a bit of momentum. I think these three fairly self-evident rules are the A-B-C of improving the quality of your writing.
Unless you’re a natural born writer, reading other writers’ output can help improve your own for several reasons:
Firstly, just seeing how other people use words can inspire you to use language better, how to express what you’re saying succinctly and eloquently. We’re not going for the Pulitzer or Booker Prizes, but it can make your writing more readable.
Secondly, even if you’re knowledgeable about the subject matter, it won’t hurt to read others’ viewpoints, and the chances are that you will learn plenty. Speaking just about wine, the more you learn the more you realise you don’t know…
And finally, for now, you can see what works in terms of structure, layout, titles, images, labelling – all the fiddly bits that take a while to get used to, even on easy to use blog packages such as WordPress. They aren’t part of your writing per se, but they are part of communication, which is what it’s all about.
Practice makes perfect, so they say, but even if in reality perfection is unobtainable, nothing makes writing better and easier than doing it.
It often takes a while to find a writing style or “voice” that you’re comfortable with, but just keep going. In some ways it’s like speaking in public, with all the guidance in the world you need to keep doing it to put tips and tricks into practice.
If you’ve got a dozen posts under your belt, then take the time to have a rest and re-evaluate what you’ve written.
Some people can just start writing there and then, and end up saying exactly what they want in the way they wanted to say it. I admire these rare beasts, but I am not among their number.
If your spelling and grammar aren’t great this is a must. Even if your readers don’t judge you when you use poor grammar, as the meme goes, it can distract them from the content of your blog.
If there’s any factual content, then asking the google to check it can help to stop you from looking silly.
If you can get someone else to read what you’ve done, even better, as a second pair of eyes is always useful.
So for me, it’s much better to get as much down as possible, even if it’s stream-of consciousness stuff, then come back to edit it later.
And if your subject happens to be wine, and you’re “investigating” a particular topic, then it wouldn’t hurt to follow Ernest Hemingway’s maxim: