The best way to judge if you need to improve your online writing is to stop for a moment and look at what you think is good- and what other writers know is good. And what your readers know is good. There is a lot of personal lies we all hide behind and when we stop thinking that you know what you are doing, because, if it’s not working the way you need it to work- then you don’t know.
Given I’m an ideas type of person, and I love Sherlock, I am almost always drawn to two quotes.
One of them is the difference between seeing and observing. Publishing a blog is the act of both seeing what you can with your senses and emotionally distancing yourself enough so you can observe what your reader want. Sherlock had it correct.
Seeing vs Observing.
I’ll know if I am being a Sherlock or one of the Scotland Yarders heworks with- I personally find the dynamic between Inspectors Lestrade and Greyson and Sherlock’s observations of them to be delightful in a Study in Scarlet. Sherlock is very accurate with his observations, although some might argue it was because he had been around them for a while.
However, it’s also because he knows that if he does something that idiotic, the yarders would let him know.
I can see quite clearly that they might look the same, but observing them means that they aren’t. It’s all in the details, and in practicing them. Writing a blog post is much the same, seeing tells you one thing, observing another. Or, being blind to it all, because ‘it simply is great.’ If you observe how others see it- or become less emotionally attached to something- it will make a difference.
Seeing: My published work has some great stuff. They have text and some pictures or a video, and they can be published to the general Internet. I see this as being good, because I’ve done what others have suggested. I see it will work. Or, better still money will roll in because I read a 300 word article on how to do this on my blog. Blogs are novels, or non-fiction books, and if you can’t emote, you’re not giving 100 percent.
Observing: The best writers and bloggers have something for others. There is a personal touch to them, I’ve done my recommending for people and not for myself. Readers respond to comments, or jump into a debate on the blog. It’s them and not you. They have something to say, and they also recommend other places to read or to find more information.
The writers are intelligent and they have fun- they make time for their readers and they comment back as needed. If a comment tells them this is not good, they are quick to fix it. They observe who is a regular and established reader, and keeps on building on these people and features.
Seeing: By comparing them side by side with another blog post, you don’t see any mistakes. All your work has been around a while, and you can hear crickets from your readers. You don’t get a lot of activity on your blog. You see some good news, and you see some bad news. You see what should be done, and you see it’s a good thing to be done.
Observing: Sure, I might have a few spelling mistakes, but that won’t change my message right?
The message that people see from a blogger who isn’t willing to fix things and publish something good, is one of uncaring or worse too quick to get it published. Your blog, and your blogging will send an unspoken message to your readers. I am sure there is a lot of readers who follow the maxim of “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all”. They are the ones who observe you are making mistakes, and hope you’ll observe that there is a lack of comments and more on the blog. Or that they don’t need to say ‘you suck.’
If they do this, and you do not see any results you feel you should have, then you observe it as logically as possible and fix it as soon as possible and, rebuild your relationship with your readers. To me, that’s the key, getting someone who is willing to tell me off, and tell me to re-publish it and why, then observing what and how they want it to be fixed.
Observation is one of the hardest things you can do as a writer, because it is emotional and you will not want to be as logical as Mr. Holmes, but to succeed in this business, it is a must.