Do You Have to Be a Great Writer to Run a Blog?
If you’ve considered starting a blog but you still haven’t published that first post because you don’t consider yourself a great writer, please read this.
If you had to make a guess, what percentage of bloggers out there would legitimately earn the title “great writer”?
If I had to guess, I’d say it’d be far less than 50 percent.
I know when I was first contemplating a blog late in 2003, I was already earning a living through writing, albeit news marketing writing. But a writing job is a writing job, right? And if you earn a salary through doing it, you must be at least pretty good at it.
Still, I delayed starting the blog. I wrote a single post on a Geocities page — remember Geocities?!? — and let it sit there for a week or two. There was no real way to measure page views for it, so I have no idea whether anyone actually read it.
But I did. And I re-read and re-read. I’m sure I made a few changes to it over the course of the week, trying to make it better. I wondered if I should really try to start a “real” blog because you’d have to be a really great writer to attract an audience.
It would be months before I’d pull the trigger and launch the site.
What, exactly, is a great writer?
If we’re going to talk about whether you should be a great writer before you start a blog, maybe it’d help if we figure out what that term means. I’m sure it will mean something different to me than it means to you. Does a mediocre writer become a great writer when they publish a novel? Well, I’ve read some novels from people who I honestly wouldn’t give that title to, I’m sorry to say.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m a grammar enthusiast, so for me, good grammar — at least passable grammar — is part of what I’d consider a great writer might have and regularly employ in his or her writing. But a mistake here and there isn’t automatically going to be a dealbreaker for me. If I enjoy the content enough, I’ll forgive typos and subject-verb disagreement.
And that’s why it’s important to note that no post you will ever write (and certainly no post I’ll ever write) will be perfect. You’ll always be able to go back and improve it. I can picture the old house in that urban legend in which a crazy old widow believes she’ll live only as long as construction continues on her mansion, so there’s always something being built, always some sort of addition underway, constantly some tweak here or there.
I think it’s easy for those of us who blog to unconsciously get that way with posts we’re working on. But the reality is that no matter how much we may tweak, there will always be something we can do down the road if we revisit that post and make an edit or two.
To me, a great writer is someone who can effectively communicate.
No, I don’t require perfection when I read someone else’s blog.
I just want to learn something or feel something or experience something. I want to dip in to someone else’s point of view on a subject, even one in which I have a very strong point of view of my own.
I want to understand how someone else thinks.
An embarrassing grammar gaffe or occasional spelling error shouldn’t void that experience if the storytelling is done well enough.
See what I said there? Not “if the storytelling is perfect,” but if it’s just done “well enough.”
If you’ve been considering the start of a new blog, but you’ve been hesitating because you’re stressing out over how “perfect” you can make your posts, stop it.
Stop it right now.
They don’t have to be perfect. They just have to communicate.
If you’ve read this far, I suspect you’re the type of person who can handle that quite well! So start writing!