Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I came here from Jeff Atwood's blog where he mentions that writing a blog can clear your own internal thought processes and that you should take feedback about your writing so that you can improve. He also made this quote:

Becoming a more effective writer is the one bedrock skill that will further your professional career, no matter what you choose to do.

In order to achieve this I created my own blog. My only problem is I get very little feedback over the quality of my posts. Would it be possible for some of you to gauge my writing quality, and perhaps provide pointers over where I can improve?

I suppose you could also gauge the quality of this question — but my blog is where I put my best quality writing.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Standback Dec 29 '13 at 5:52

  • This question does not appear to be about writing, copywriting, publishing or editing within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
@m.edmonson - it would be extremely helpful if you would give us more detail. What is the goal of your blog? What specifically are you trying to accomplish? Even better would be providing a small post or segment of a post and asking detailed questions about it. We're good at specific here - not so good at general. It's just the nature of the site. –  justkt Feb 10 '11 at 19:53
1  
This question used to be on-topic according to previous critique guidelines; however our more recent requirements from critique questions leave this off-topic. –  Standback Dec 29 '13 at 5:52

6 Answers 6

I firmly believe that the absolute best thing that you can do for your writing is reading. Don't limit yourself to blogs, read books. If you like quote them. But there is nothing which helps literacy (the prerequisite for writing) than reading good authors in the field.

The next best thing you can do is force yourself to write. Update your blog daily if possible. If you write something which is sub-par and you don't believe that you can honestly post it, save it. You may be able to salvage it later. I still remember of the worst books I had to read in high school was called, Be True To Your School (I can't de-recommend it enough). I disliked the story, but I can't fault the premise: if you want to be a writer, for goodness sakes, WRITE, daily, if not more often. The advice can't be that bad -- the author went on to become an award-winning writer for the Chicago Tribune.

As a bit of an aside, I always find that writing is easier to read if it has a touch of personality to it. This is your blog: you are not writing for a science journal. Self-expression which does not diminish communication is a good thing. (On the other hand, there are some major benefits to learning to write in a different style from how you would otherwise think). ("Never ask for advice from an elf, for he answers both yes and no." -- Tolkien)

share|improve this answer

First of all, Matt, I'd like to offer a word of encouragement. Writing your own blog is a fantastic exercise for someone wishing to improve his writing. Even if you don't get feedback, you are "flexing your writing muscles". So keep it up.

Now, others have pointed out some of the flaws (the correct use of "its" versus "it's", typographical errors, and the chatty style). I would further suggest that you reduce your "question asking" approach, which I only noticed in the ASP.NET ComboBox article.

Your Assumptions in software article shows that you have undeniable talent as a writer and you should not give it up (even if your coding makes you rich).

In that article, proper use of a dash (especially the typesetting difference between a dash and em-dash) is about the only additional thing I can pluck out as a criticism. When you use a dash you are setting up an expectation in the reader's mind that what follows will be emphatic or surprising. Some authors have rules to use a dash exclusively when they want to toss a non sequitur into their sentence -- rules made to be broken. A dash is incorrectly used as a substitute for a colon. Colons also set up an expectation: that what follows will clarify, summarize, define, or otherwise comment on what came before.

Remember to keep at it, Matt!

share|improve this answer

Editing:

There are a number of typos in your posts. Typos can always happen, even with professional writers, but as soon as they are noticed you should correct them. One of my challenges is going over my posts enough times to get them as error free as possible.

If you aren't going to use the software suggested by singingfish try reading your post out loud from start to finish.

The more your writing is free of errors, the more likely people will come back to read your stuff again.

One thing. "Its" is possessive. "It's" means "it is." You use "its" incorrectly 11 out of 13 times. You only use "it's" once. (Correctly)

Visual:

I think the visual style of your blog makes it difficult to read. You have white, grey, dark grey, and really dark grey over a black background. Your main body of text is fine, but the links and dates are distractingly dimmer than the normal text.

share|improve this answer

I agree with the previous comments. Also if you are writing tutorials and that kind of thing. Be very concise about the subject, don't ramble on anecdotes or rants about why microsoft hasn't written some functionality. Try to make it easy to understand so the concept can be applied easily. I read your last article (about the combobox) and I was hoping to see some code. If I have to download a solution instead of copy/paste makes it harder (for me at least) to understand the whole concept.

share|improve this answer

Looks fine. A few problems with style (too many qualifiers, tone down the chatty way of expressing yourself), but nothing dreadful a decent copy editor couldn't fix.

Examples of chatty style:

"but its pretty darn useless if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, there are"

Ditch one of them for example. Here's some repetition:

"Pretty nice isn't it?

Features of the control:

* *Nice* and smooth sliding action
* Its lightweight and simple
* Renders in all browsers "

Being your own copy editor is a pain in the bum. One way I deal with this is to get the screenreader software included in my OS to read back wht I've written to me - it stops me from skimming, which is a bad habit I have, especially with my own writing.

share|improve this answer

You can engage your writing with other writers by not just having your own blog, and hoping others will comment there, but to seek out other blogs of interest written by others, and comment there as well. If you have useful and interesting things to say, this can act to draw people back to your own "personal corner of the web" -- still the commenting is more likely to be about the subject matter, and not your quality of writing.

If you're seeking more direct feedback for your writing, you can try joining a writing community where people peer-review as a matter of course.

There's two ways to improve and they're not mutually exclusive: sheer practice (this is what you're doing, and will continue to do the more you write), and directed practice (where you get active correction and feedback).

Both are important. Read more, write more, and seek out communities (or build one) that can provide directed practice.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.