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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Inspiring advice on writing from a Times columnist - not yet retired, but experienced

good advice for all bloggers from Matthew Parrisposted by Dave Walker 17th July

I'm not sure how old Matthew Parris is, but sounds as though he's been through the mill - an obsolete but interesting reference to many sons of industrialists who graduated to be the boss after years of training on the shop floor.
  He describes his and other newspaper columns (The Times, 13th July), as a prelude to explaining some of the political style of that well-known columnist, Boris Johnson.
  The short version. The point is opinion, the columnist's. You only need research that supports the opinion - no need to confuse people with the facts. Entertaining, performing and grabbing 'our audience's attention' - knowing what they want. How does he know what his audience wants? Who are they and how many read his stuff? Do they have a researcher to do all this?
  Don't have to be right and you can change your mind, but for a short time you are passionate and convinced about an idea, dream, fear, hatred and maybe politics and a politician. Short-term to catch the deadline, then move on. Solitary. No teams in writing.
  And the clincher - 'today's column lines the bottom of tomorrow's budgie cage'.
  Sounds like a blog. A serious blog that avoids social media trivia. It's a trap I have fallen into, thinking that my audience will be agog about my grandchildren. I must stay with the overarching purpose, which I think needs editing. It does include family, but not too much?
  How often? The deadline is very helpful. Hence getting Shalliley's books out proves to be more successful than my personal writing. I've read somewhere blog once a week, so make that a deadline.
  Just who is the audience? I don't know. I distribute through Facebook, so friends and family who have joined the group and otherwise the world. Blog tips suggest Google Analytics and a lot of SEO mystery (search engine optimisation) which straightaway informs me I'm not doing anything right. (See previous is my blog worth it?) You can spend all your life in circular frustration. So primarily I'm writing for myself, but I keep reminding myself of the tips contained behind the help button.
  Content has to be entertaining and attractive, whatever the overarching purpose, and mostly I think it is. Always with an image. I try to write as I speak and tell a story. Coherent. Set up and punchline. Not quite a 'Booker' plot (see wiki). I saw he died recently - great book if you have stamina.
  I do have one gripe which on occasion has nearly put me off doing this. The add-ons when you've finished and proof read. Labels, key words, location, search description and extras with pictures and that tantalising elusive link with a previous blog. Are key words static and apply to the blog overall or do they change for each individual post. I suspect the former, but can I find any reference to that - no.
  A piece of advice - keep your labels manageable - choose ten or so and stick to them.
  I don't know what Matthew would say about my thoughts. Probably do it, enjoy it, be yourself and have a point of view.

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