I used to be a spelling-and-grammar pedant.
I thought all good writers had to be fixated on apostrophe misuse, or on how many spaces you need to use after a full-stop. Pedantry felt like an unofficial qualification for the job.
So, when I first set myself up as a freelance writer, I did as many other freelance writers do. I pointed out ‘hilarious’ mistakes in other people’s copy. I wrote blog posts about the importance of perfect punctuation, and about how to be truly professional in business communications.
I faithfully bought Strunk & White’s Elements of Style (otherwise known as the Holy Bible for all things writing and editing) – though I’ll confess I’ve never once opened it.
(I’m not being unnecessarily rebellious here. It’s just that writing a book takes a whole lot of words, and I can’t afford to get them professionally proofread. I’ve also noticed the odd error in more than a few worldwide bestsellers, which I find slightly endearing. Nobody’s perfect, after all).
The Real Meaning of ‘Why’
Over the past four years, I’ve learned that setting up on your own as anything takes a lot of questioning. What, exactly, are you doing? Why are you going to do that? Why should other people care about it?
Often, you won’t have the right answers straight away, so you revert to the standard ones that everybody will understand.
Example: I’m a writer because I care about spelling and grammar.
But that was the wrong answer.
I’m a writer because I dig for meaning. Finding that meaning, then using the right words to express it, is what puts me in sync with life.
For me, there is nothing more rewarding than being heard and properly understood as the person (or the business, or the cause) you really are.
And I wanted to help other people find ways to do just that.
My Evolution of Teaching Others to Blog
Originally titled the ‘Business Blogging Club’, I set out with an idea of helping others promote their companies, through regular written content.
The reason was simple. Most businesses don’t express who they really are, only what they do. That’s why there’s a lot to be said for blogging. Done properly, it ‘feeds’ your website, it entertains casual browsers, and it lets people in ‘behind the scenes’.
The first course turned out to be a success, so I started planning the second, and the third. People started asking questions, and I found that some were signing up not with aims to increase business exposure, but to start blogging on a subject they were personally passionate about.
That was the turning point.
The Birth of Bodacious Blogging
In every blogging course I have run, the best part of it has been watching different people blossom into better, more confident writers. Not just because of my instruction and the imposed discipline, but because of the help, suggestions, and support they’ve received from the rest of their group
(This is one of the reasons why I don’t offer reduced-price or free places on my courses. The magic only happens when everybody is properly committed).
But on the most recent course, there were far more stand-out moments than usual. This was because people were writing personally, rather than professionally. They were learning how to express their true feelings in words, and the results were honest, uplifting, and totally magnetic.
(Here’s one example: a wondrous new blog about impending fatherhood, cooking, and mental health).
So much so, that even those who had signed up for business reasons found that writing more personally helped them connect – both with themselves, and potential readers.
In the words of one:
“The course has helped me find my own authentic voice for blogging, plus it really allowed me to build confidence in my style of writing and my point of view. I no longer feel anxious about blogging, so won’t avoid it anymore. The habit is set, and I am excited to get my content out there!
Writing with genuine emotion can get messy. It can also be scary, particularly when you think about releasing it into the wild. But take comfort in this thought: the scarier it gets, the more you can be sure you’re writing something that others will connect with.
Ask yourself: if you could test out your most vulnerable and personally expressive ideas in safety, with support from a small, kind, and supportive group, would that be helpful?
This is what I want to help people do really well in the latest version of my blogging course. I’ll be releasing it in February 2020, and it’s going to be re-launched as the Bodacious Blogging Club.
Because to be “bodacious” is to be remarkable, unmistakeable, and noteworthy (you can be sexy and voluptuous too, if you want – I don’t mind).
Oh, and as long as you’re writing honestly, you can make as many spelling and grammar errors as you like.
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
In my five years as a freelance writer, I have so far avoided the thing that most people told me I’d eventually have to do, which is to carve out a niche for my writing.Read more
Ironically, it's when you're writing about yourself that you will sound least like you. Hiring a writer to do it for you can bring a whole host of benefits.Read more
Creating a schedule can be a difficult task, especially when you're planning for work you're not being paid for - or that nobody is expecting! Here's how to get started on crafting a time plan that will work for you.Read more
You don't have to be a professional writer to discover a unique writing voice that speaks to its readers. Finding your own voice is often easier than you might think, and it all starts when you write from the heart.Read more
Did you know that so-called 'job-hopping' can be an asset to your career search? Whether you prefer stability or excitement in your career, planning your next move is all about packaging your skills and making the right kind of approach.Read more
Going freelance doesn't mean you have to accept every piece of work that comes your way. Being discerning with your time and effort will help you reap the rewards of being your own boss...and you'll get to work with some great people too!Read more
'Greatest Hits' countdowns are rife at this time of year - so now, here's one featuring the best CV advice. This list will give you the ultimate steer if you're looking to get your CV on track for the new year job hunt. Wishing you a very happy 2017!Read more
With a new year on the horizon, why not make a resolution to tell your life story? Committing your personal tales to paper can be a rich and rewarding experience for you to write and others to read...for generations to come. Here's how to get started.Read more
Are you often left with the feeling that you don't quite know enough about all the online tools you can use to promote your business? How about website analytics...shouldn't you be checking them every five minutes just like the experts say? Relax - here's how to take advantage of all the advice available online, by defining exactly what YOU want to know.Read more
Is time getting the better of you? With a growing business, several passion projects on the go, books to read and friends I'd quite like to see, I was starting to feel overwhelmed...until I decided to take a closer look at planning my time more effectively. Here's how you can do the same.Read more
BOO! Like a ripe pumpkin Hallowe'en has rolled around yet again, so what better time to extol the benefits of ghostwriting, definitely not just the province of bargain-bin bound celebrities.Read more
An encounter with a corporate headhunter made me question my career - why was I still doing something I didn't love? Here's how I formulated my corporate escape plan and found a career I truly enjoy.Read more
Going it alone, releasing yourself from the shackles of a traditional nine-to-five, is exhilarating. It's also incredibly scary! To celebrate my first quarter-year in business, here are some of the most important lessons I've learned from the front line.Read more
Regular blog posts - especially if you run a business - can drastically increase your following, as well as helping you beat the competition by describing how you do things your way. Read on for a few more great reasons why you should join the blogging revolution!Read more
Speaking up in networking groups used to bring me out in a cold sweat. So I sought out the people I really wanted to talk to and introduced myself in the way I'm best at - in writing.Read more
Writing an online dating profile that reveals the real 'you' takes time and courage - but that special person will appreciate the effort. Read on for a few tips to get you started.Read more