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.
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