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Sunday, April 18, 2010


I was avoiding cleaning the bathroom (hey, someone's got to do it) by surfing. I hit my usual spots, fashion, perfume, Amazon, and of course Consult the Editor. I know all the contributors, some of them I know for quite a while. It was not surprising that I could identify them by their voice without looking at the name.

But it reminded me of a tip I learned about writing. Blogs make for great stepping stones. Just as the short story used to serve novelists, so blogs can kick off a career. They are great for practicing and building a style and voice. Each post can be tailored to the blog it serves to learn how to reach an audience.

We can be sloppy in journals. Books that provide exercises can be dangerous since they can fool us into thinking we are writing. But blogs count. People might read them. These paragraphs are a great way to hone skills. I believe blogs are equal to personal essays such as those published on the op-ed page or Modern Love in the NYTimes, and should be written and rewritten until the piece is perfect, not spit blogs out.

If I were following my own advice I wouldn't be posting this without more attention to detail, but the cleaning is waiting. I can rationalize that I make my living as an editor. But you writers out there, think about how many people are exposed to your work in one post. Then blog on.


  1. Sandi, I think this makes so much sense. Writing is not about self-expression, after all: it's about communication. Unless you're just trying to get something off your chest, or clarify it for yourself only, writing leads to the necessity of having (or seeking out) a reader for your work. Writing for yourself only is like executing a painting, looking at it, and then putting it in a closet. The imperative to communicate can make us more rigorous and crisp, both for ourselves and our readers, and that can be a joy in itself.

  2. Oh, so true. I've done a whole series on blogging, and I'm going to link to this in my newsletter!! Thank you. :)

  3. Making a commitment to a blog is also a great way to hone your knowledge about a topic. For four years I kept up a political blog, and the information I gleaned from having to think and behave like a "reporter" during those years helped me enormously when I ended up working on several high-profile political books.

  4. Great point, Karl. And I enjoyed the latest installment on blogging in your blog, Elana. Thanks.