Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

September 10, 2010

Using blogs to help your writing skills, the how, the why and the what

This is the first of a 3-part series about writing and how you can explore ways in which to write for a wider audience than your teacher.

Finding an audience critical enough to help correct and enjoy what you write is not easy. Writing a blog, however, might just be the answer!

Before you leap in and launch your blog to an unsuspecting audience you need to consider three questions:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • Where?

How? that’s easy – just grab a blog site, sign up, throw down the ideas (think of a theme?) and away I go!

Why? – easy again – to practise my English (or another language) and network with people – hopefully someone will help me a bit with corrections?

What? –  no sweat, I’ll just do a kind of stream of consciousness thing with stuff that comes into my head!

Where? – now this is a bit more tricky,  teachers would love to see it and so would other language learners – this could be really cool! 🙂

OK, now steady on a bit!!

Let’s consider these questions and the possible implications they might have on your prospective audience, which you haven’t, as yet, considered by the way!

 Right, let’s rewind!

How/Where:

Blog readers are quite a critical audience. They are looking for good, helpful and inspiring information and have high expectations in terms of language and presentation. If you are planning to launch your blog on to the world at large then you have to be very confident that your level of language and breadth of vocabulary and usage is good enough. It might be better to start more modestly.

  • If you are in a class write for the class blog – what, there isn’t one? See if your teacher will set one up or why not do it yourself? A class blog is an excellent way to write in a controlled environment where your audience will be appreciative and helpful.
  • If you are a self-managed learner then look for a site where you can experiment with your blog and get some feedback. Some English language sites allow this. BBC (but you have to apply for this via email) English Club gives you a personal page where you can set up a blog,  Gapfillers has a blog option in member home (you can register free for this). Sites like these have peer correction and teacher support.
  • Or you could set up your own blog community and correct and comment on each other’s work.

Why:

Making your language real is very powerful and satisfying. While it’s a good idea to write in class or for your teacher and have this corrected so you can improve your skills, it is more of a challenge to write for a real audience. Blogging is a real and growing activity and it’s a good way to network, become part of a community and also practise our English skills.

  • If you are writing a real piece for a potentially large audience you will need to take extra care over it both for reasons of quality of language and personal pride. This in itself is a good learning exercise.
  • It is very exciting to get comments on your blog from people you don’t know and this will help to keep you motivated.
  • The more you do the better you should become. A blog requires commitment – it will do wonders for your writing if you work at it.

What:

What you write about depends on you. What interests you? It will be easier to write about something that you are enthusiastic about. Think about your hobbies or your areas of interest.

  • If you choose to experiment using one of the English sites then see what other people are writing about. Do these themes attract you?
  • Do you follow a particular sports team? You could write about them. See what others are saying about your team and come up with a different angle – something like this would help you to build a following and get comments. You can then build a network with other enthusiasts and use this to develop your English skills further.
  • Above all write about what you know and love this way it won’t become a chore and you will always have something new to say.

 So now do your research. Look at other bloggers see what they are saying. Check out the sites and decide which ones would suit you best. Do a test run if you like – ask your teacher or a friend to check it for you.

Here are some posts you can start with.

 The best kept secrets of Edubloggers part 3  Karenne Sylvester

 Students as writers, teachers as audience  Clay Burell

On the ‘mechanics’ of writing:

7 Deadly sins to avoid in your writing   from this blog

7 glorious virtues to help you write well also from here

Now get going, have fun and improve your skills – I hope to swing by and post a comment one day!!

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4 Comments »

  1. Great blog..what a wonderful way to improve your writing skills and get advice at the same time.Thanks for the great info!!

    Comment by fallenangel39 — September 10, 2010 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Jodi glad you found it useful – I hope you’ll visit again.
      Berni

      Comment by rliberni — September 13, 2010 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  2. […] Part one of the series – Using blogs to help your writing skills, the how, the why and the what […]

    Pingback by Getting your voice heard – authentic writing for English language students « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language — September 29, 2010 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  3. […] taking into account my previous suggestion in posts 1 and 2 about joining communities online, you can share your diary if you want to. Being an […]

    Pingback by Sharing diaries – Writing from the heart « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language — October 1, 2010 @ 9:46 pm | Reply


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