I found this article by Lorelle VanFossen on Digg a while ago, about blogging being about writing. I couldn’t agree more, although blogging and creative writing have different goals and different means of getting to those goals. As I read through her 30-item list, a good number of them called out to me, having been victim/champion of those items previously.
So now I give you my top three blogging and writing similarities, as well as my top three blogging and writing differences, given her list.
Top Three Blogging and Creative Writing Similarities
- Don’t Just Show, Show and Tell. This is also item #1 on Lorelle’s article, taking its cue from the ever-popular saying “Show, don’t tell.” I’ve always been touting along that same phase for a good while, but sometimes you just have to know when to quit showing and start telling. A nice long dialogue where you show subtle nuances in your characters’ personalities just don’t cut it when your story almost reads like a script. Nor is action upon action upon action very interesting unless your story should move that fast. A good balance between showing and telling is important, using criteria such as importance of the scene as well as time and pacing of the story.
- Make Your Point in the First 200 Words. (Item #4 on the list.) This is one important feature of news writing, which I did for a short time when I was younger; news writing requires you to put all important information in your lead paragraph. For creative writing, you had better grab your readers within the first few paragraphs, if not by the first sentence. Introduce your conflict, start foreshadowing, whatever rocks your boat. But make your point, and make it memorable.
- Write With Conviction and Passion. (It’s placed last, at #30.) This isn’t a tip or anything of the sort; conviction, passion, and love for the story shines through from the words you weave. Your passion makes your story different and original; any seemingly formulaic plot is given life and originality by the passion the author has in the story. Write about what you believe in. Write about what you love talking about. Write about what you want to shout out to the world.
Top Three Blogging and Creative Writing Differences
- Don’t overuse your words because they’re not like blog keywords (see item #2). More often than not while writing we gravitate towards certain words and use them time and again. Shake out of that literary bog and try challenging yourself to use words that would better fit your scene; reading your story out loud will help you pinpoint which words are overused and which should be replaced to better fit the nuances of your scenes.
- Write about what strikes your heart and not what you know. Unlike blogs which share information (see item #12), creative writing should call to your readers’ emotions. We’ve all been angry, sad, happy—it’s the creative writer’s task to evoke strong memories and impressions of those emotions in order to affect the readers. If we’re looking for the latest in genetics engineering, we’ll look it up; don’t get bogged down by explaining every fact if it’s not essential to your story.
- Don’t write like the way you talk, (against item #23) unless you’re writing in the first person point of view and your character should sound like you. But don’t write like a textbook — find the style that suits you as well as your story. Dry, or flowery? Lyrical or hard action-oriented paragraphs? Your characters may have accents which make their speech unintelligible, but make your point and then let your readers understand them without having to resort to explaining every other phrase!
And oh, for the love of all that is good, if you’re a blogger who’s also into creative writing, please don’t blog the way you write your stories. We don’t want to hear about the scent of the roses as you step gingerly into the wide arch of the heavy door, breathing in to control your wildly thudding heart, anticipating the scene that would greet you when you lift your eyes to the…
You get the point.