Are Those Old School Essays the Enemies of Our Blogging?

Sometimes I wonder whether one of the reasons a lot of people balk at the idea of blogging is because of negative memories of what “writing” meant when they were in high school.

A required essay for the TAAS test - image by rutlo, via Flickr, CCWhen I was in high school, and later as a teacher in high schools, “writing” meant, for the most part, essays.

Personally, I quite liked writing essays, maybe in part because I got better marks there than in, say, mathematics.

But in my teaching days I learned that for many students they were by no means fun and for some a kind of officially sanctioned torture.

There’s another blog post there on the subject of “if I could have my time a school teacher over again…”. But I digress.

Anyhow, if we can assume that, for many people, writing essays was not enjoyable at school, and then if it is also fair to assume that people think of blogging as some sort of exercise in daily essay writing  (and assuming for the sake of the exercise that we are not getting too tendentious here) then it is surely not to be wondered at that a lot of people would be quite turned off by the idea of blogging, or at least just see it as a duty or chore, not something to be enjoyed.

Whereas a blog, especially with its scope for embedding various items such as images, videos and audio, as well as writing long or short items, can provide much more scope for creativity, genuine self-expression and sharing  – and actual fun! – than any association with school essay writing might suggest.

As I say, my recollection is that I quite liked writing essays. At least I don’t think I *disliked* them.

But that’s actually a trap for me, because I know I have a challenge with writing a blog post that isn’t “up to standard”.

Whose standard? Why, my old high school English teacher’s standard, of course!

Crazy.

So what’s the alternative to this being blocked by any (at least subconscious) perceptions that blogging is like having to write essays on a daily or slightly less frequent basis and that we are supposed to be writing perfectly formed essays?

After about seven and a half years of blogging, my basic answer is “get over it being a chore or something you are going to be ‘marked’ for and make it fun”>

Fun?

How?

Here are a few suggestions I use in seminars, when the subject of “what to blog about” comes up.

1. I ask, could you talk about some product, fact, bit of news relating to your business or your industry for five minutes a day, three to five days a week? They always say Yes. Good, I say, write about that, or if you are completely blocked on *writing* then get a staff member or colleague to record you on video, on a Flip or Kodak Xi8 or such and upload that (nb. it doesn’t *have* to be written, although some words in the post can help – and the person doing the recording has to undertake not to be a critic, because that’s just back to having your essays marked!).

2. I ask, can you write an email? Yes, they always say. OK, i say, pretend you are writing an email to a friend or colleague and them make that your blog post.

3. I ask, when you meet a friend for a coffee, do you have a problem thinking of something to talk about? No, they say. OK, pretend you are having coffee with a friend and share something – just turn that into two or three paragraphs and you have a blog post.

No essays!

Time to take my own advice.

Ain’t it the way?

Well, that’s my two cents on the “why they/we don’t blog, or blog enough” topic.

Does the idea of feeling a need to meet some external standard of a “good” blog post ever bother you? Do you find my “essay memory” theory at all plausible? What do you do to make blogging fun? Oh, and is having fun blogging consistent with blogging being part of your business strategy? Because isn’t business supposed to be serious?

Image credit: “A required essay for the TAAS test” by rutlo at Flickr – CC

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the suggestions on how to make blogging fun. I completely agree! Great content.