250,000 reason to carry on writing…

Not that I need an excuse – writing is as much a part of me as breathing – but I’m really crap at thinking up titles.

At 01.27 this morning an event I’d been anticipating for a couple of days finally happened – my blog recorded its quarter of a millionth page view this year.

OK, I know that there are blogs that get Continue reading

Is a grammatically perfect blog post essential?

That question occurred to me after reading a post by the excellent timethief, about grammar checkers.

I very strongly believe, that the best route to impeccable – or at least acceptable (I’ll clarify this shortly) – grammar, after my time as an adult literacy tutor, is to pay attention to those who are trying to pound it into your head in school.

Learned at that age, it will be as natural as breathing for the rest of your life. You might not actually remember the rules themselves – I certainly don’t – but how they work will be hard wired. And trust me, it’s very much easier that trying to learn the same thing as an adult.

However, for me, grammar checkers are something of a Continue reading

Is writing about food actually risky?

I’ve been writing more than usual about food of late, which seems to be well received, especially as it’s brought my blog some new followers, and based on the Likes, and comments, but every time I write, I wonder – just how high is the risk to my DLA?

I cannot – hand on heart – if provided with the ingredients, cook a meal, a fact which Continue reading

Want to be a writer? It helps to learn the trade…

Writing , at its best, is an art. Writing for money is a trade that needs to be learned. The two are not mutually exclusive, but only one is essential.

I read recently, that anybody reading an ebook and bitching about plot holes and typos is a pedant. Hell, I am a pedant, I don’t have a problem with that, but I have huge problems with people who think sloppy writing, especially if they expect to be paid, is acceptable. If you’re going to write for money – especially if it’s my money – then you’d better damn well learn how to do it properly before holding out your hand, or expect pedantry, big-time!

There is nothing wrong with being a pedant, by the way, if that means you actually get things right.

Let’s start with typos, because that’s something pretty much anyone who uses a keyboard is prone to from time to time, and for a variety of reasons, I’m probably more prone than many.

For example, I have a nasty habit of Continue reading

Has blogging changed me?

A Canadian blogger called timethief, based on Vancouver Island, with whom WordPress users might be familiar from the support forums, posed a question earlier this week on her blog – Has blogging changed you?

This, for what it’s worth, is my response – somewhat tweaked, I wrote the original late at night when I was tired, so this reflects rather more accurately what was going through my mind. Or trying to. You can read the original, should you wish (it’s about 300 words shorter), along with the rest of her blog, here .

If you’re a novice blogger timethief’s blog is a mine of information. We approach blogging advice from different directions, timethief from the nuts and bolts angle, me from what I know best, the writing angle.

You can find most of my posts on the subject here  but try using the search box to search for “blogging” “language” and “writing” should bring up more. Try with and without the quotes.

So, has blogging changed me? I’ve been thinking about that since the email thudded into my Inbox a few days ago, and the answer, now as then, is Continue reading

Praise where praise is due…

I’ve noticed a strange trend online in the past few weeks. There seems to be a tendency for people to praise the writing of bloggers whose writing skills are, actually, often marginal.

I’m all in favour of encouraging people to write well – I’ve written quite a lot on the subject – but praise should be given where it’s genuinely warranted. By telling someone who’s not really that great how wonderful they are, you give them false confidence, and minimise any inclination to self-analysis and improvement, because it’s a sad fact that writers are too close to their work, very often, to see errors and defects without making an effort to do so – and I do mean all of us.

Far too many, it seems, fail to Continue reading

Some thoughts on the impact of my blog on the world, and writing for blogs…

My blog’s 3.5 years old this week, and this is its world coverage to date (actually, this maps dates only from last December, and is cumulative. A triangle = 1 computer, there’s no way of telling how many people have access to it. In UK, Europe, the US and some other places, like New Zealand, triangles are thickly stacked, layer upon layer. It’s just a shame none of the mapping services include Antarctica, as a lot of people live and work there – how cool would it be to have followers in the basement of the world? Continue reading