Okay, here’s my joke du jour:
When is a blog not rocket science? How about never? Not funny? Oh well, I tried. I guess stand up comedy isn’t going to be my medium.
Blogging may not be rocket science, but being a rocket scientist doesn’t mean you can write a blog. This comparison is like saying,
THIS PEACH IS NOT A SQUID!
My experience as a tech writer screams that engineers and scientists are frequently terrible writers. They know what they know, but that doesn’t mean they can explain it or write about it. When they are required to write, they are often unable to clarify their meaning. Maybe someone in the same field as they are will “get it,” but even that may not be true.
Writing requires you to express yourself, but you are unimportant. Your reader is important. I have met engineers who write well, but I can count them on the fingers of one hand, not counting my thumb. I have also met a lot of people who think they are writers who should have gone into engineering. Maybe that’s untrue, but I’m sure that writing is not their strong suit.
I’m particularly baffled by blogs in which have nothing to say. Their posts start and end, but there’s nothing in between to engage a reader. I have read a lot of blogs that leave me wondering if there was a point and somehow, I missed it. People assume it’s easy because (1) Most pieces are relatively short which to many people translates as easy and (2) because so many people do it.
But so many people don’t write well and some of those “many” can’t write a single clear sentence, at least partly because they don’t know what a sentence is. They never learned grammar in school. I didn’t learn grammar in school because public schools don’t teach grammar anymore. They didn’t pick up grammar from reading because they also don’t read. They don’t know enough grammar, spelling or punctuation to correct their own errors or separate a sentence into clauses. Clauses? What’s a clause?
COMMAS SAVE LIVES!
“Let’s eat, Grandma!”
is not the same as
“Let’s eat Grandma!”
That’s why many more blogs flop than are successful.
Writing isn’t easy. Writing well requires talent. Not everyone was born to be a writer. Anyone can learn to write a simple business letter, but everything else requires some kind of writing ability.
I don’t know why so many people think writing is easy. Is it because they figure all you need is a keyboard and you’re a writer? No one thinks that way about other arts — like sculpting or painting. Is this because everyone has to write sometimes, whether they want to or not? If that’s true, would that make dieting easier than say, quitting smoking?
But we know that’s untrue. Dieting is always harder because you have to eat. You don’t have to smoke. You can give up ever smoking a cigarette, but you can’t give up eating. Well, you can, but you won’t like the result.
Blogging is not rocket science and rocket science is not blogging. They are different and unrelated. You can be a great rocket scientist and a terrible writer and vice versa. Writing isn’t easy nor is rocket science. The odds favor that if you are especially good at one, you might not be great at the other — but who knows? Where people are concerned, anyone can be anything if the spark is there.
Figure out what you are good at. Do that. If you aren’t good at it? Please don’t do it.