During school days, Harishankar Maheshwari taught me English. He gave me the gift of knowledge. He told me how to use words right, he got me started with grammar.
It was hard to like him. The way he conducted himself, what he wore – everything was weird about him. It looked weird to my 10 year old self. Guess people become weird when they get old. Maybe I will also become weird when I get to 50, I wish not – but who knows.
His gift will be with me forever. A gift that quite possibly has changed my life. Before I knew Strunk and White, Anne Lamott, William Zinsser, Stephen King and other writers that I wish to emulate, I knew Harishankar Maheshwari.
I assume that he read a lot, took notes, and reorganized knowledge, in order to teach. He made everything simple for anyone who will make an effort. So simple that his knowledge became the knowledge of the learner. I didn’t see him since, I can’t even if I wish because he is already dead.
He gave me a gift that I can use as my own, and can pass to others. Everything right I know about English language started with him, any faults – all of them are mine. So if you want to become a better blogger – share your knowledge with your readers in such a way that they can use it as their own and it can change their lives in whatever small way for good. That’s the most important advice I can give you.
5 other tips for being a better blogger
You already have a blog, I am assuming.
[If you do not have a blog – or you do not know how to write, know that you can write – even if you think you can’t and reasons why people do not blog. Take my word blogging helps and you should get started.]
Now you want to get better at it.
You can be a better blogger by having better ideas to blog, typing those ideas quickly in your chosen blogging software (I use WordPress) and hitting publish once you are done typing and editing.
Let us tackle each of these – ideas, typing, editing and publishing one by one and later a bonus idea (an important one).
1. Read (quality)
Read (a lot) to find ideas and perspectives to present in your blogging. When you read more – you will have more ideas to blog about. From these you can pick the ones you feel strongly about.
Read quality stuff so that your output is also quality. It is a big crime to feed your brain with mediocre writing. Each one of us only have 24 hours in a day to do what we want to do – so it make sense to spend them wisely.
2. Type (fast)
You have decided your topic for blogging. Time to type. Faster you can type, better it is.
People who care about typing fast have their own favorite keyboard. Chances are you use a qwerty keyboard layout. World’s fastest typist and numerous geeks use Dvorak simplified layout. In recent times, one of my friends and many early adopters are singing praises for colemak.
Pick one, set aside 10-20 minutes a day to improve. It is too important a skill to be ignored and overly undervalued. So pay attention to this.
3. Edit (with a clear mind)
Better to sleep over what you write.
It is OK to start with shitty first drafts. Then must come back and edit. I edited this piece after a 3 hour break and I was able to make it better – simple and clear – than it was earlier.
4. Publish (what you write)
Blogging is not writing. When you blog, you write and put it online. If you do not want to write for the world to see – better do not call it blogging. It is like having a protected twitter account.
You become a better blogger by hitting publishing on what you write.
Once you publish – you get feedback, you make connections. That’s the beauty of blogging. You also tell search engines – “Here I am, look at me.” and once they get happy with you, search bots send you more traffic. Everyone loves traffic. You may not say so publicly but it is the secret wish of every blogger.
5. Bonus: Blog with a purpose.
Blogging without purpose rarely helps, maybe you will find some disparate audience – but you will not be sure how to add value to their lives and they will not find a reason to keep coming back. Your purpose and focus will give them a reason to come back.
In early days of blogging you can give yourself an excuse of being a novice – but once you have been in the game for some time – you need to find your purpose.
In my early blogging days – there was no plan. Now there is one. I blog to share what I know and what I learn. To help people speed up their progress, to help them become a better human being, to get better at the craft of writing, to share more and get over with whatever holds me back.
Good news is that – if you blog on a regular basis for extend periods (Years .. I mean) then you will automatically find it.
So good luck, and did I tell you that you are awesome.