On the home stretch here at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla WA. I’m packed up and outta my room thanks big time to my roommate Erika Szymanski willingness to ship a bunch of wine and materials home for me. (Whew!)
And I’ve made it to the 9am session: More Effective Writing in Your Blog with Meg Houston Maker, Andy Purdue and Hardy Wallace and wrote as much of it down as I could as usual. I’ll add the links as soon as possible.
Meg says there’s two ways to learn how to be a better writer: read and write. And pay attention to what you read and write. She has 24 Points to get better:
1) writing is thinking and thinking is hard
2) write for the reader not yourself
3) assume limitless intelligence and no prior knowledge
4) tell a story no one else can tell
5) position yourself in the narrative–how do you know what you know (your perspective)
6) if you write on behalf of a business
7) find your lead and keep to it
8) you may know what you think at the start but you better know at the end
9) get to the point
10) the stronger your position, the more sober your prose
11) reserve !! for !! remarks
12) writing is therapeutic but not therapy
13) if you don’t know something you may have to find out
14) action is necessary to drama
15) texture prose but keep info in one place
16) keep reader asking why
17) don’t assume your experience is same as a readers
18) be ruthlessly authentic about your own experience
19) your voice comprises your vocab tone syntax opinions
20) reread work next day and then publish
21) learn to work with an editor
22) need a good ending but doesn’t have to be clever and don’t trick your reader
23) the beginning has to match the end
24) if you succeed you’ll have achieved an intimate and beautiful act by penetrating another person’s mind
This advice is described as opposite to what Hardy had said earlier (back when I was packing in my room). I agree that Hardy is a take no prisoners blogger, shoot from the hip, trust his instincts type writer whereas Meg is a professional writer/journalist. Hardy doesn’t want to edit but live in that moment and love the moment that it lives in and express it. Blog writing gets buried; it doesn’t live on in the same way print does or even an online magazine.
Meg disagrees; she thinks it’s just writing on a different platform. She says respond authentically.
Ryan Opas from Catavino points out blogging is a tool to publish, and that we’re content providers.
Andy Purdue comes from journalism and points out the the perspective is to present information.
The platform we use changes the way we write, argues Erika. She asks does a blogging method push toward a blogging style? Because that is the inherent constraint of the platform.
Meg answers that the blogging world moves faster than print–because people can interact.
Hardy argues that the blog has different styles that inspire you to create. When he writes, he tries to keep it short. He sees himself not as a writer but as a content creator. He makes up for being an inferior writer by using the tools–video, images, links. (That’s Hardy calling himself an inferior writer, not me! I love his writing and style!)
Is this a poetry against prose issue? asks someone in the audience. Or a matter of style?
Is paid better than unpaid? asks someone else. Hardy says unpaid is far better because you do it because you love it, you have to. If you wake up every morning and you have to write, and can, it’s more pure. If you can paid to write what you love, that’s beautiful.
Thea Dwelle says that when you write for money you’re writing for someone else and you’re under constraints. She likes the freedom on her own blog.
When Hardy was getting paid, he couldn’t write about whatever he wanted to do. When he writes for Dirty South it’s his, what he wants.
Are you writing for yourself? Your heart? What you want to share with your readers? Who are you writing for?