Sherlock quote
Quote of Sherlock Holmes

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. There is a lot of personal and stop thinking that you know what you are doing, because you don’t if it’s not working the way you need it to work.

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.

writing quotes
E.L. Doctorow quote

 I’ll know if I am being a Sherlock or one of the Scotland Yarders he works 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.

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.  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.

old typewriter
Write it on a typewriter?

Observing: The best 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.  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?

Famous Writer quotes
Right words, Mark Twain was right.

Wrong.

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. 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.

If they do this, you observe it as logically as possible and fix it as soon as possible, 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.