Shoot from the Hip, Blog from the Heart

illustration by Rob Sacchetto

When I was younger, I wrote all my thoughts fears and dreams into a little black book—when that book was filled, I’d buy another copy, exactly the same, and continue on.  I’d write for hours just about growing up mainly – and boys…I think if I looked back on some of those journals now (if I had them), I’d get a real good kick out of my thoughts and words whispered all those years ago.

When I started blogging on MySpace back on a cold February morning in 2005 I didn’t know much about it.  All the experience I had had was in those journals, safe from prying eyes. Then, on a night just days before an MRI, I transformed my fears out into the Ether….my words, falling on —what?  Back then, I had no idea who or if anyone was listening.

In the Beginning 

When I started blogging, it was very similar to those journal entries I scribbled in private.  No holds barred, I shared confessions, hurtful situations, as well as humourous life situations.  I basically talked, and one day – people started listening (and commenting). These blogs weren’t for branding or marketing purposes, they were for healing. And despite how private some of the topics were, I felt great solace in putting it out there. It could have been in fact (for me) a form of therapy.

After my mum passed away, I stopped blogging. The personal style in which I wrote would have been detrimental to my healing; it may sound weird, but at that time in my life, I truly didn’t know how to blog in any other format. It took me a few years to get back into writing, choosing topics a little less personal, and developing a new style still reminiscent of the from the heart words I used to write.

Blogs Have Power

The written word, when shared correctly, can tug at heart strings and enrage the reader.  Bloggers can manipulate the written word for impact, for justice, or as a call to action. It’s all about how we tell a story.  Is it our story that forms the pattern and the voice of our topic? Are we writing for a brand, or are we an impartial audience commenting on what’s happening in our world?

Nowadays, anyone can start a blog. The Internet is full of stories, articles, and messages from personal, business, and marketing teams – sharing, spinning, and editorializing life as we go.

Shoot from the Hip, Blog from the Heart

I have one rule when I write – be it an investigative, educational, or “puff” piece – and while it may break all rules of journalism (maybe), I do it anyway. It’s what allows me to write the way I do; I find that in the topics I write about - Social Media, Food, and Health - I can still be impartial yet pull words from the deepest recesses of my heart to get my point across.

Should we Ignore the Rules?

For the most part, I truly believe I ignore all the rules of writing when it comes from some educational sources, however writing is different when you’re writing a blog vs. a research paper or even an article in Macleans Magazine.

Besides what comes from your heart, blogging needs to have other attributes to make it worthy of a read in a world where even pets have blogs.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Be Authentic
    Just write honestly and truthfully – people can tell from your words if you know what you’re talking about
  • Do your research
    Even if you have a “just for fun” blog, take the time to know your topic.  There is your opinion which is important, but it also needs to be factual.
  • Break up the blog
    Section off your blog to make it easier and more eye catching to read (still learning this myself!)
  • Have catchy titles
    I’m a HUGE fan of fun and quirky titles.  Have fun with it, play with the language.
  • Keep language simple
    Are you smart?  It’s important to use conversational language in a blog. Keep it simple. Remember, you want to engage the reader to keep reading, not get them so cranky they don’t know what you’re saying.

Blogging should be fun! If you are writing just for the sake personal pleasure, or if you like to share information on a more serious note, always remember why you started blogging in the first place – and I’ll bet it’s because enjoy it.

Do you have a blog?  What’s it about?

Michelle Murray

Event Coordinator & Fund Development Officer– SHARE Family & Community Services

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Michelle has spent the last 13 years living in Banff and British Columbia. She has always had a desire to market, promote, and share through music, community, and social awareness.

Michelle spends her days working for SHARE Family & Community Services, a non- profit, independent, and community based organization providing leadership and programs in response to the social needs of the residents of the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra), New Westminster and adjacent communities.

Michelle starting blogging back in the “MySpace” days, and she always shot from the hip and wrote from the heart. She thinks of herself as extremely funny, but only her dad and best friend laugh at her jokes. foodie and home cook; Michelle auditioned for MasterChef Canada this summer, and while her dish got rave reviews, she did not make it onto the show. While bummed at not being able to participate in any Mystery Box Challenges on the show, Michelle continues to shop farmers markets and make all her food from scratch.

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