Don’t Get Me Wrong…

Don’t get me wrong… We commonly encounter that phrase (or sentence) when reading blog posts on the web.

For example, “Cats are fabulous pets. Don’t get me wrong… dogs are adorable.”

I’ll admit I even used “Don’t get me wrong…” in my writing. But what does it exactly mean?

It could mean, “Please don’t misinterpret what I have to say…”

or maybe:

“What I’m about to tell you will most likely piss you off, but I don’t want
you to hate me for it that’s why I’m putting on a disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong.”

It’s been a year since I started blogging…

anniversary

I was just visiting my blog a while ago when I was surprised from that notification I received from wordpress.

It’s been a year….

When I first started blogging my writing wasn’t that good. I didn’t even expected that I’ll be writing a lot of posts.

But then something happened. I started to like writing….

I remembered back then I was dreaming on becoming a real writer. You know, those people that who writes books and articles.

I bought a read a lot of books about writing, honing my skills along the way by writing posts in this blog.

Back then I was writing daily. Yes daily.

I never wanted to miss a day that when I can’t write a full post I’ll just write one of those short quotes.

Ah those were the days.

So what happened? Why did I lay low in writing posts?

I’ll answer.

As I can remember I missed a day of writing a single post. I tried to make up for it by writing some more, but in my mind it’s already alright to miss a day of writing a post. Also, I wanted a break from daily writing back then.

Fast-forward for a few more months and here I am writing a blog post again. I decided that since it’s my blog’s anniversary then I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to write a post.

And oh, since I like learning new stuff. I learned this new acronym tl;dr (or TLDR) which stands for…

Too Long Didn’t Read

Whitebeltblogger is celebrating his blog’s anniversary by reminiscing the past.

Thanks for reading (even if it’s only the TLDR)!

🙂

 

Blogging has benefited me, really…

Here I am writing a post again. I haven’t blog for quite a while. But in spite of that I’m still grateful I tried blogging even just for a short while (a few months) last year.

Firstly, it improved my writing skills (as well as grammar). Before blogging I haven’t identified myself as writer. Blogging is writing.

Secondly, it gave me blogging experience. I wrote over 100 posts (although some of them are just short quotes). If ever I’m gonna start blogging again I can be confident that I can deliver.

And lastly, I never thought of this before, but the posts that I have written gives a glimpse on how I used to think. What I’ve written so far are my views, values, and ideas on those times.

I may change my outlook completely, but I can always look back on how things used to be.

Those things said, I’ll wrap this short post. Thank you for reading 🙂

 

 

White Belt Blogger Is Back

The Journey Continues

Yes, I’m back. Although only few days have passed since my last post, I’m glad to be back.

Why all the excitement?

I’ve been known to blog daily in the past. Not that I won’t blog again for consecutive days, after more than two months of daily blogging, I found it unsustainable.

Well I can really force myself to blog daily no matter what, but I realized that it’s not going help my blogging in the long run.

In the past, I’ve written twin posts regarding blogging and not blogging every day. In this post I’m going to give my comments on what I written back then.

Comments on the blogging every day post

Because only a few bloggers do it, posting every day will make your blog stand out. Some of the most popular sites/blogs on the internet gives it readers fresh content every day, even if the content was written by a guest blogger.

Yep, only a few bloggers do it (I was once of them), and I admire their efforts. The thing to note about the big sites, though, is their posts are written by multiple writers or guest bloggers, so there’s no need to worry if you can’t match their output.

People read blogs on the internet either to be informed or to be entertained, or both; so give them what they want.

I agree that we should write to give service to our readers, but do you really think that your blog is the only one they read on the internet? Most probably not. So, take it lightly, most of your readers will understand if you won’t be able to post daily.

Blogging is a form of writing. That said, blogging every day improves your writing skills. However, to improve your writing, you need to learn more about the craft as well (e.g., read blogs about writing).

Yes, blogging every day will definitely improve your writing skill, but so does blogging regularly, although not a daily basis.

Having the desire to write even a short post every day, develops your self-discipline. Self-discipline leads to a higher self-esteem.

Hmmm. To think of it, my self-esteem hasn’t dropped when I stopped blogging daily. But here I am blogging, probably to maintain my self-esteem.

Before you write something, you need to think of something to write first. That being the case, blogging every day develops your creativity and thinking skills, which are invaluable in daily living.

In my experience, blogging every day improved my thinking skills. On the contrary, we can think of things to blog about without writing them at the same day; thus, providing more time for research and idea enhancement.

Comments on the not blogging everyday post

When blogging ever day, there is a possibility that you may experience burn-out and in-turn associate blogging with discomfort. That said, write posts less often when you start seeing signs of burn-out (e.g., fatigue, irritation, etc.).

Yeah, I did experience it, albeit slightly. I didn’t know that I’ll be following my own advice not long after.

If you don’t blog every day, it will not become a commonplace activity — and you’ll feel more excitement when you’re about to write a post.

It depends on the individual. On my side, though, blogging every day hasn’t decreased, in any way, the fulfillment I get after I click the publish button.

If you blog every day, there’s a chance that your readers will only be able to read your latest post. Most people don’t live on the internet, and also, there are other blogs out there that they also enjoy reading.

Similar to what I mentioned above. In my experience, however, readers still read my previous (but not so old) posts.

There are days when you might not be able to think of an idea for a blog post. In those days, you may take a break if you want, instead of feeling frustrated.

You won’t really run-out of ideas, they’re everywhere, but the question is whether your idea is already ripe enough or still needs some refinement through further research and thinking.

Blogging every day won’t really improve your writing skills, unless you make an effort to do so. That is, practicing with the goal of improving your skills. It’s called deliberate practice, by the way.

I still agree with this point. If you were new to writing, like I was before, blogging every day will greatly improve your writing skill. But there will come a time that you’ll feel your skill has plateaued. The solution: try something new.

So what now?

That said, I’ll still write post when I can. It might be on consecutive days, or it might be not — what I want now is flexibility. I haven’t mentioned yet that realizing I have the option not to blog every day made be happier person.

Before, there were days that I was forcing myself to blog even though I haven’t slept enough. I’m not saying that we should avoid challenging experience like that, after all it develops mental toughness.

Knowing that blogging every day is only an option, and not an absolute rule that might be followed rigidly makes me feel better. I feel like a white belt blogger again. 🙂

My Post Critiqued — By Me (#1)

Editing

I’ve been blogging for a while now. As time passes, I learn (and unlearn) new techniques either from the internet, books, or simply by observation. In this post, I’m going to critique (and revise) one of my post — the first one.

The original post


“Welcome to my Dojo (bows)” is relatively short, so might as well post it here:

You may ask why I refer to my blog as a dojo? In martial arts (especially japanese ones), the dojo is the place where martial artists hone their skills. Regardless of their ranks and skill level, when a person practices regularly he develops his skills and being a better blogger is what I want to be. Currently I’m still a white belt (despite of using the internet for more than a decade already). They say the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Here we go… Get’s out of the spaceship and lands my left foot…

It’s time to become a critic


In what follows, I’ll critique that post and will revise the parts I found
“interesting.”

  1. You may ask why I refer to my blog as a dojo?
    • The sentence above is an indirect question, that’s why it doesn’t need to be concluded by a question mark (?).
    • It would be nice to put a comma after the word ask.
    • It will sound better if I put the word would before the word I.

    Revised version:

    You may ask, why would I refer to my blog as a dojo.

  2. In martial arts (especially japanese ones), the dojo is the place where martial artists hone their skills.
    • The word japanese is a proper noun, that’s why it should be capitalized.
    • From the word where, we can already infer that dojo is a place, so the phrase “the place” is redundant.

    Revised version:

    In martial arts (especially Japanese ones), the dojo is where martial artists hone their skills.

  3. Regardless of their ranks and skill level, when a person practices regularly he develops his skills and being a better blogger is what I want to be.
    • Since I’m referring to a singular subject here, which is person, their should be replaced by his (or her).
    • Similarly, ranks is changed to rank.
    • It looks like we need to pause after regularly. Let’s add a comma there.
    • Regarding: “being a better blogger …” is an independent clause preceded by the coordinating conjunction and. We should add a comma before and.

    Revised version:

    Regardless of his rank and skill level, when a person practices regularly, he develops his skills, and being a better blogger is what I want to be.

  4. Currently I’m still a white belt (despite of using the internet for more than a decade already).
    • It’s not required, but guided by my current style, I would place a comma after Currently.
    • We don’t need the word of, after the word despite.

    Revised version:

    Currently, I’m still a white belt (despite using the internet for more than a decade already).

  5. Here we go… Get’s out of the spaceship and lands my left foot…
    • “Get’s” looks like a possessive version of “Get.” What! I wrote that!
    • It would sound better if I place on before my.

    Revised version:

    Here we go… Gets out of the spaceship and lands on my left foot…

In addition, like I mentioned in a previous post, short paragraphs seems easier on the eyes. So, I would consider dividing that paragraph into shorter ones.

Welcome to my Dojo (bows) (Version 2.0)

Without further ado, here is the completed revision:

You may ask, why would I refer to my blog as a dojo. In martial arts (especially Japanese ones), the dojo is where martial artists hone their skills.

Regardless of his rank and skill level, when a person practices regularly, he develops his skills, and being a better blogger is what I want to be. Currently, I’m still a white belt (despite using the internet for more than a decade already).

They say the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Here we go… Gets out of the spaceship and lands on my left foot…

In Conclusion

I hope you learned something from this post. Aside from some technical details about editing, let us include the idea of constant improvement as well. We all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from those mistakes, so we will do better next time. Good luck!

Photo credit: Dan Patterson from Flickr.

3 Useful Tips I Learned from 2 Months of Blogging

I’ve been blogging for two months already. Along the way, I picked-up some useful tips, either by reading other blogs or books, or simply by observation.

Here are 3 things I learned that I want to share:

  1. Short paragraphs are easier to read.

    I learned this from Jeff Goin’s site. He advises to keep paragraphs lines as short as 2-3 lines, and no more than 4 lines.

    Even though, I sometimes exceed his recommended maximum of 4 lines, my paragraphs now are definitely a lot shorter, compared to the time before I became a blogger.

    That said, I would also like to point out that line length is affected by the width of paragraphs in a web-page. If your paragraphs are wider (e.g., it’s occupies the full browser window), naturally the lines will be shorter.

    Most blogs I know, though, has an effective paragraph length around half the size of the screen.

  2. Summaries of posts can be helpful.

    I accept that sometimes readers might not read my whole post at all. In that case, I provide a summary, so they can get the core of my message, even though they haven’t read my post entirely.

    For instance, my post on Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit, is 240+ words long (minus the summary). I then wrote a summary of that post, which is only 16 words long (including the word “summary”).

    Summary:
    Subvocalizing slows down our reading rate, but it can be useful when editing written work.

    I don’t always write a summary, though, such as when a post is too short or it makes use of bulleted list.

    Nevertheless, I think it’s a great service to the readers of my posts. Regardless of whether they read my whole post or not.

  3. Quotes allow you to communicate your message effectively.

    For me, quotes are mini-posts that pack a punch. You can get to your point quickly, and they are a lot easier to remember.

    For instance, I could have written a post explaining why writers should strive to be better at their craft. Instead, I wrote this quote:

    One of your goals as a writer is to become so good — that people will buy a product just to read a technical manual written by you.

    –Whitebeltblogger (or you can substitute anonymous if you like)

    Like a summary, I bet most people will remember that quote better compared to a 500+ words post.

    But, that does not mean that we bloggers/writers should only write short posts or quotes. Long posts(like this one), have value too, and sometimes you really need a long post to communicate your ideas.

    Also, if you can’t think of a quote, it’s all right to use other people’s quote; just be sure to mention their names before or after the quote, though.

    Lastly, a quote does need to be in its own post — you can also place it inside your regular posts, too, for added effect.

Actually, I learned a lot more than that in my 2 months of blogging (e.g., grammar, punctuation, choice of words, etc.). Though, I think other bloggers would find the 3 tips above most useful.

If you’re a blogger like me, I’m sure you also learned a lot of useful stuff along the way. For me, blogging is a learning process, or you might also call it a journey, if you may.

Summary:
Write short paragraphs — easier to read. Write summaries — help your readers.

Make use of quotes — they are effective.

–Whitebeltblogger (or you can substitute anonymous if you like)

3 Ways to Practice Writing Even If You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

There are days that we bloggers/writers don’t want to blog, but we do so nonetheless because we are constantly reminded that to get better at writing — we have to write every day.

But if you force yourself to blog just for the sake of writing every day, there is a possibility that you may associate blogging with discomfort, like I mentioned in previous post.

Be reminded, though, that you can still practice writing even if you don’t write a blog post. Here are 3 ways:

  1. Write private blog posts that no one else will see.

    There are times when we want to write about a topic, but were having second-thoughts on writing it on our blog. Maybe it’s too personal; maybe you think people might find it offensive; or maybe you think your readers may view it as irrelevant.

    You can still write that post though, that is, by setting your post’s visibility to private. It’s like turning that blog post into a diary entry that only you should see — and later on read.

    In WordPress: you just select Private in your post’s Visibility settings.

    Private

  2. Comment on other blogs/articles.

    This serves more than one purpose: (A) You practice your writing, (B) You network with other bloggers, and (C) You let other people know that your blog exists.

    To elaborate on (C), comment forms on most blogs have a ‘Website’ field where you can enter the address of your own blog. If your comment gets approved, you get a free backlink to your blog.

    A little note on commenting: it would be wise to read the post you’re commenting on. In that way, the comments that you write will be relevant to the post itself.

    The note I gave above may be common sense, but some bloggers just make generic comments on other blogs only to get backlinks. Example of generic comments are: “Nice post! I like your blog.” and “Great article!”

    Though, there is nothing wrong with giving positive compliments to other people, remember that people will read your comments and depending on what you write, they may, or may not want to visit your blog.

  3. Start a forum topic or reply to one.

    If you like exchanging ideas with other people, then this one is gold. Not only will you practice your writing in the process, you can also learn a lot from other people as well.

    One thing to be aware of is that each forum has its own distinctive culture. Aside from the genre where it belongs (e.g., sports, health, technology, etc.), you’ll notice that some forums are better moderated than others, in which case they ban trolls and remove offensive or irrelevant posts.

    If like me you want exchanges to stay positive, it would be wise to get a glimpse of the culture of a forum first, so you can decide whether it’s worth participating in that forum or not.

The above list is not exhaustive for there are more ways to practice writing on the internet aside from private blog posting, commenting, and forum posting (e.g., posting on facebook, tweeting, etc.). I’m sure you can think of other ways. The point is practicing your writing does not always mean writing a blog post. It’s time to get creative.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog Every Day

  1. When blogging ever day, there is a possibility that you may experience burn-out and in-turn associate blogging with discomfort. That said, write posts less often when you start seeing signs of burn-out (e.g., fatigue, irritation, etc.).
  2. If you don’t blog every day, it will not become a commonplace activity — and you’ll feel more excitement when you’re about to write a post.
  3. If you blog every day, there’s a chance that your readers will only be able to read your latest post. Most people don’t live on the internet, and also, there are other blogs out there that they also enjoy reading.
  4. There are days when you might not be able to think of an idea for a blog post. In those days, you may take a break if you want, instead of feeling frustrated.
  5. Blogging every day won’t really improve your writing skills, unless you make an effort to do so. That is, practicing with the goal of improving your skills. It’s called deliberate practice, by the way.

Do you like this post? Do you may also want to read it’s twin: 5 Reasons Why You Should Blog Every Day.