How Blogs Can Help You Become a Better Writer

If you’re a writer, you probably have a blog. If you are a writer without one, or you want to experience life as a writer, you should probably have a blog. Like few things, there’s absolutely no reason not to have one. It’s a painless, free way to improve your writing, to find an audience without fighting for it, and to even find out what is and isn’t working for you as a writer or for that audience.

If nothing else, blogging is sudden access to a platform through which you can do a few things that you simply can’t do anywhere else. A blog allows you to write however often you want to and in however much detail you feel compelled to write in; it sidesteps the issues of finding an outlet for your writing, as well as the tedious requirements that would otherwise need you to keep things either extremely brief or go in-depth about something. That decision is yours to make on a blog, and you have as much freedom as you’d like to take risks, especially as you’re simply getting started.

Furthermore, the mere act of writing more often will improve your writing. By rereading what you’ve already finished, you’ll see places where you have improved, where you want to improve, and where you need to change things to make your work more effective, and a blog gives you all of those things for free, as well as an easy chronological index of your work through which you can see trends, growth, perhaps moments of frustration, and how you worked through them.

The blog, unlike other mediums, is also interactive by design. By enabling comments you allow anyone who feels compelled to do so to interact with you — to give their own thoughts, feedback, and opinions on the subject your blog addresses — and to let you know what’s working best for both of you. If even more information is what you want, you can set up a service like Google Analytics, which will give you remarkably detailed breakdowns of who visits your website, when, and where they’re from. A Google Analytics readout will let you know, down to towns and cities, who reads you, how many hits you’re getting on a regular basis, and what search engine terms brought readers to your blog, all details worth knowing if your goal is to increase your reader base or develop strategies to better cater your content towards your readers.

Finally, the blog creates an online portfolio for anyone who might be interested in you or the work that you do as a writer. It’s a showcase of the things you’re interested in, how you approach them, and your talents in a way that few things are or possibly could be. As opposed to press clippings, which come through following an editor’s processing and the restrictions of your format, the blog is you, uncensored, for the world to see, and it just might sell you better than anything else.

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online schools for Guide to Online Schools.

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

What to Do With Your Journalism Degree

Although the print industry might be dying and reporters like Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward are becoming rare, there are still excellent job opportunities available to those with a journalism degree if you can think outside the box. Here are some areas you can explore with a journalism degree, starting with the most obvious (print) and working towards the less obvious.

• Print Journalism: It remains true the 21st century and online journalism is on the rise, but it does not mean the death of newspapers and magazines. While journalism mediums are increasing, print journalism is still making its way into millions of homes. Hence you can start writing articles for local, city, county, regional, national or international publications. What you need to do to break into this field is expand your networks. Search for a variety of publications, send your resumes and clips, and do not give up. You can also search online on journalism job sites to find a place hiring journalists.

• Broadcast Journalism: If live reporting is something that interests you, broadcast journalism starts to look like the career you are looking for. Television opportunities are plenty but competitive. The categories in news and talk shows include local and national coverage, sports, entertainment, environment, and more. An anchor job is not the only thing one can do with an interest in broadcast journalism. You can also write for television shows, from dramas to comedies, with the writing abilities you have, so dig into your creative channel and start writing scripts.

• Radio Journalism: Have that smooth radio voice or the passion for writing for music shows? If so, then think about working for a radio station and start getting experience in this type of work. A job in radio journalism can open other journalism opportunities for you because the script writing done in this career will carry with you for other journalism opportunities in broadcast, media relations, and marketing.

• Online Journalism: The Internet has paved the way for a new kind of job: freelance writing. You can report for traditional newspapers and magazines on their online mediums or write for blogs and other websites. The advantages of online journalism is that you can do the work wherever you want. You are not tied down to sitting at a news desk in the same state as the company or organization. Beyond freelance writing, jobs as content managers and online editors are opening up on sites across the board.

• Media / Public Relations: Companies and organizations look for people with the writing skills capable of promoting a variety of initiatives. With a journalism degree, you are on your way to doing media / public relations work. You have the talents to frame stories in certain ways, as well as gather the right facts to create works with substance. From writing press releases to media advisories, your journalism expertise will get you far in this field.

• Communication Departments: Writing well becomes an essential ability needed for positions in communication departments. To communicate, one needs to have the proper writing skills to express the right thoughts completely and concisely to an audience. Your journalism degree will give you an edge in companies looking to hire leaders that can write for various mediums. If any of these six fields sound interesting to you, good! If not, then think about other things you can do with a journalism degree: publishing, editing, or marketing. Think about it, you have the talents and foundation of quality writing, so why not use it to write a book?

So start thinking about how you want to cash in that four-year journalism degree.

Estela Marie Lactao Go is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online courses for Guide to Online Schools. 


Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

How to stop multitasking: Quick Tip 6

Try this: Stop Multitasking.

Focus on one task at a time. One aspect of one task.

Multitasking even hurts well-practiced habits. A 1990’s experiment on productivity demonstrated that switching between two tasks slowed participants. The experiment was shared by the American Psychological Association. If a participated repeated the same task again and again, they were better at it. Bilingual individuals matched colors and numbers in their native language versus a second language. Working in their native language became more difficult.

Switching goals and changing trains of thoughts is hard! Notice when you get distracted and choose to refocus on one thing until your goal is met. We naturally switch tasks throughout the day. Switching from one thing to another less often makes it easier. When you note you’re tempted to start and stop often, gently push yourself back.

I always have many projects on all of my lists at every moment. Especially when collaborating, I try to stick with what I’m doing. So if I’m at an improv comedy practice, I’m not talking much about my art and music. When I’m at the piano, I try not to let my mind wander to work or another improv show. I’m at my best when I can just obsess for hours about one thing.

Have you faced a problem with focusing?

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.