Tuesday, 10 May 2011

My Own Blog Writing Rules

Writing rules

The latest blog on NigeriansTalk.org lists the writing rules [1] of Alligator Legs and this was inspired from reading the writing rules of a number of writers who were invited by the Guardian newspaper in the UK to share a few tips about their writing habits, rules and creeds over 4 days in February 2010 in series titled Rules for writers [2].

After reading through all the rules I realised everyone seem to have some rules and the exceptions that came with caveats of levity allowed if the writer were writing like some other established writer.

My way

In other words, you must as a beginner go skiing on-piste but there comes a time when you dare to go off-piste and well you are responsible for the consequences of your actions. I publish what I have to publish, the damnation is for those who fear to speak their minds.

Now, I am not a writer in the broadest sense of being able to write novels and long stories, I am what is known as a blogger who writes in journal form about things which in my view are too concerning to ignore and I seem to have a set of rules I follow with my writing.

Be naturally inspired

Any time of the day is a good time to write, unlike many writers my inspiration is like a natural stream; slow and deep in some places, shallow and rapid coursing through rocks in other places but from the banks always a pleasure to behold.

My writings are always about things I know, things I observe, where I am at and how things affect me, if what I write covers all those topics, I would have written a long and interesting blog.

I usually do not wait for the thoughts and plot to be fully formed before I begin to type, there is something that links a workshop of processing in my head to my fingers that the whole picture begins to take shape and form as I type – so, just write and you can edit, clean up and rearrange the thoughts written later on, there is no time limit to editing your blog later on, it could go on for years in my case.

Have an angle or leave it be

Let the news take care of itself and never follow the crowd with the low-hanging fruit that everyone picks so easily, if all the angle you can get is the low-hanging fruit then eat out of the baskets of others you have nothing to write about especially if you are not the first to offer an opinion on that topic.

Your voice has a unique pitch and timbre, I would say that applies to writing too, many may disagree but my voice is my style, it has been cultivated over years but allowances are made for refinement and improvement but no parroting of a fashion or following some trend. Style is like make-up you either apply it well or make a mess of it and you look like a masquerade or a clown.

Do your thing, nicely

Use the word that means what you want to say, the privilege of a good education or even upbringing is not necessarily showing off erudition, if you are used to good meals do not pretend you love fast food to feel part of a crowd – do not let the experience of a good life be consigned to satisfying the lowest common denominator of communication.

Sentences should be full, complete and not too long whilst paragraphs that exceed six lines on your page can be off-putting. Allow for space between your paragraphs, what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye would probably be a pleasure to read too. I always put in my captions after I have written the full blog.

My blogs are normally 2 pages long, they do extend to 3 pages and rarely are ever over 4 pages except where analysis necessitates such length, usually, if the thoughts cannot all be contained in 3 pages I consider splitting it into two blogs.

Acknowledge a good skirt

Where the thought is not original, reference, attribute, acknowledge and courteously thank those sources if they are people you know, a blog is for your opinions and your thoughts, if you want to be a parrot, find a cage in an aviary.

Finally, as I sometimes paint pictures with my words and rarely use multimedia to convey my thoughts I follow this basic seamstress rule – Make your writing like a good skirt, short enough to keep the interest and long enough to cover the detail.

In my view, anyone can blog and like one of the writers said, if you can talk, you probably can write too.

Sources

[1] alligator legs: my writing rules | NigeriansTalk.Org

[2] Rules for writers | Books | guardian.co.uk

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