Express Yourself… Through Blogs!

Picture these three scenarios: You are at a costume party in a room full of strangers. You are dressed as an 18th Century dandy; you’ve studied the mannerisms, have affected the perfect accent and you charm every partygoer you meet. Beneath the facade, outside the realm of this party you may be a banker, a steel worker or an unemployed poet but here and now you are Monsieur Baudelaire, the fop who speaks of temperament and style as the be-all and end-all of a meaningful existence. You are at work where you are always the no-nonsense professional, respected by peers and underlings and depended upon by your manager to perform your tasks with skill, technical proficiency and a pleasant demeanor — an expectation that is hardly ever unmet. You are at an informal get together with family, close friends and neighbors; you talk about sports, literature and fashion with people who know you and who understand your opinions, your quirks and your few flaws — there is no facade, no pretense, you are unabashedly you! These scenarios that represent three versions of you in the real world are also three (of many) approaches you can take to presenting yourself to your readers in the virtual world, through your blog: as a character of your creation, as the professional at whatever you do, or as the real, unadulterated you, complete with flaws. Your blog and your blogger persona are your creations and are limited only by your choices. Consider also that whatever it is you write, in whatever form, even if it is spoof or satire, it will be considered by your readers as an expression of your true feelings. People express themselves in many ways and for a growing number of people the need for some sort of public expression of thoughts, feelings, style or creative expression is filled by blogging. Expressing your thoughts in written words, however, is not as simple a task as it may seem to be; many people, in fact, find that it can take hours to accurately transfer the most seemingly simple thoughts to the written word. Thoughts and feelings do not require the organization or structure that is required by the expression of those thoughts and feelings. Some things that make the task of expressing yourself through your writing much easier are improving your grammar, improving your vocabulary and practice, practice, practice. Grammar! As a rule you should always write to your audience — they are the ones who need to understand you. Perfection may be necessary when you are writing for an audience of scholars and grammarians who require it but, regardless of your audience, the better your grammar the better you will be understood and the easier it will be for you to transfer those thoughts to paper. There are literally hundreds of English grammar guides available online and very reasonable English grammar guides available in bookstores; good grammar is a tool you will never regret learning to use. Vocabulary! Finding the right words to express your thoughts is much easier when you have more words in your armory to choose from. You may be tempted to learn some suitably obscure words to impress your readership but too much of that will only confuse them and turn them away from your writing. Research has shown that the average adult in the U.S. reads at an eighth-grade level so arming yourself with a recondite vocabulary will not be helpful (nor was our reference to a ‘recondite vocabulary’ unless you knew that recondite means “difficult to understand”). Arm yourself, instead, with a good dictionary/thesaurus. Write Often! Practice makes perfect or, to be honest, it at least helps you approach perfection. Try to make a meaningful entry in your blog every day, that may not always be possible but do try! Two of the wonderful things about blogging are its flexibility and availability — your blog will always be there (baring computer problems) when you need it and you’ll find that the more you write, the easier it will be to write. Keep in mind, however, that even a professional writer who writes for hours every day is seldom completely satisfied that the words that came out adequately express the thought that went in so don’t allow yourself to get too frustrated, take a short break and then try again.