How blogging improved my writing.

You never know what will happen when you start publishing your thoughts to the world. Some of the unexpected outcomes are…

writing, blogging, editing, keyboard is indispensable, Ruth Livingstone

Blogging is a strange art.

It’s a form of self-publishing, but without the extensive editing and revision that most authors inflict on their self-published prose.

As a result, the content and quality of blog posts can be scrappy and variable. Poor grammar, dodgy spelling and clunky structure are commonplace. And, all too often, blog posts are prime examples of unrestrained egotism, being supremely uninteresting to everyone except the blogger themselves; acting more like personal diaries than public publications.

Searching for inspiration - writing prompts - Ruth Livingstone shines a light on web sites that might help.And yet, blog posts can be riveting, giving insights into topics you would not otherwise consider, and presenting intriguing snapshots of other people’s lives. The instant aspect of publishing a post also gives blogs an immediacy, a vibrancy, and a topical relevance that makes blogging more like journalism than other forms of writing.

Blogging is hard work.

It takes perseverance and practice. You have to think of topics to write about. Then you have to do the actual writing. And, finally, you must have the courage to hit the [Publish] button – and fling your work out into the public blogosphere.

I’ve had a number of blogs, some of which are quietly abandoned, others I post to only very occasionally, and some I post to every few weeks or so. This blog (Ruthless Scribblings) falls into the last category, and I feel vaguely guilty about not updating it more often. In fact, if it wasn’t for the required monthly updates on my writing progress driven by the 5 Year Project scheme, I would rarely publish anything here at all.

Ruth walking above the seaThere is one blog, however, that I publish to on a regular basis. And that’s my coastalwalker.co.uk blog. Here I publish an account of each day of walking on my round-the-coast trek, along with a selection of photographs I’ve taken. Writing-up the walk takes almost as long as the walk itself. Sometimes it actually takes longer. And sometimes it feels like a chore. But only sometimes. Mostly I enjoy it tremendously.

Why do I enjoy writing up my walks? The very nature of this lengthy trek – which I started 5 years ago, means I am most unlikely to revisit the places I pass through. Maintaining the blog is my way of capturing the experience of places and events, and hanging onto the memories. It’s the equivalent of a personal diary. At least, that’s how it started out.

But, you never know what will happen when you start publishing your thoughts to the world.

Blogging brings unexpected results

Some of the unintended outcomes of my Coastal Walk blog are as follows:

  • being contacted by other walkers and making new friends,
  • hosting discussions about walking in particular, and the meaning of life in general,
  • acting as a focal point for information on walking a particular area of the coast,
  • realising I am now considered to be a minor expert in long-distance hiking, an impression which I know to be entirely false,
  • commissions to write guest blogs for other people (I shall talk about these guest blogs in another post).

Ruth-walkingOne thing is clear. My blog posts have improved considerably over the past 5 years.

Just as the continual practice of walking has improved my physical ability, so the continual practice of writing about the walking has improved my writing ability.

In fact, I feel embarrassed when look back at some of my earliest posts on coastalwalker.co.uk , and have to resist the urge to tidy up and improve the prose.

It’s been a long journey so far, but a journey well worth making.

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.

6 thoughts on “How blogging improved my writing.”

  1. I had no idea you were involved with so many blogs. 🙂 your walking blog sounds so interesting, I’ll have to take a look. I’ve never been a big walker, but since buying my pedometer I’m all over that stuff! 😉

    I had a look at some of the older posts on my blog the other day. Terrifying and exciting is the only way I can describe it. I’ve improved so much but those early posts of mine were so so awful! Guess it’s part of the rite of passage of blogging. :-S

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  2. And I had no idea about this blog, as I’m acquainted with your (excellent) walking blog 🙂 I share your sentiments, blogging is hard work but often rewarding. Very much liked the bit about unexpected results, a very positive angle.

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  3. As you know my original blog, started in 2012, was hacked. I’ve been slowly going through the old posts deciding what to republish on the new blog for the last year and it has certainly showed me the change in my writing and my way of thinking. It’s surprising how much I’ve discarded and I have to admit to editing the things I do republish. When I found your costal walking blog I went right to the beginning and read every post. I have to say I’m slightly addicted. When you get to the end I shall be sad.

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    1. Losing your blog was awful, Marie, and it’s hard to find a bright side to such a calamity. But at least it made you revisit some of your most important posts, give them a polish and let them fly again.

      By the way, I’m very touched to hear you went to the beginning of my walking blog and read it through. You must have noticed significant changes in style of writing – and I’ve got a much better camera now!

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