Your Turn: Should Freelance Writing Bloggers Blog Like they Talk?

Blogging is more conversational than traditional freelance writing. Bloggers don’t have to follow a particular style or format, nor do they have to consult manuals or guides to make sure they’re doing everything right. Most bloggers blog like they talk. In fact, when you think about it, the average person doesn’t speak  in the AP or Chicago format. We rant, rave, swear and use run on sentences.

Still, I find I have to check myself to make sure I’m not blogging like I talk.

Because I’m a writer, I’m not really expected to blog like other bloggers as I’m expected to follow proper usage. In fact, on days I stray and have a little fun, a bunch of wannabe editors come out of the woodwork to tell me how my writing sucks and I should hire them as editors. (Hint: For future reference…I’m not going to hire anyone who sends me insulting emails, so you might want to rethink your delivery.) This is something I was thinking about as I wrote, and subsequently trashed a humorous piece I was writing. It wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t write it like I speak, but I wasn’t sure if that would be a turnoff on a freelance writing blog.

I often wonder if freelance writing bloggers are held to higher expectations because we’re professional writers. Should we be more formal in our delivery? If we go a little casual and throw out a slang word or run on now and then, should we get called on it? After all, we’re not writing “articles” we’re writing blog posts.  Mind you, I’m not saying we shouldn’t worry about typos and bad grammar, but do you have less respect for a freelance writing blogger who is less formal with her writing? Also, do you find that bloggers who talk like they speak, as opposed to those who are a bit…stuffier are more interesting?

I often wonder if  tone and style matter to this community. I already know you don’t like it when we make mistakes. Do you mind if freelance writing bloggers are too conversational?



11 responses
  1. Chris Mower Avatar

    I enjoy freelance writers who write like they speak, or rather, write with their voice. Also, it’s ridiculous to expect writers to alway have correct grammar and punctuation 100% of the time on their blogs. I don’t like reading blogs that are littered with mistakes, but a few here and there are excusable. It’s great to see a professional writer relax and kick off their shoes on their blog.
    .-= Chris Mower´s last blog ..A Networking Casestudy with Northwestern Mutual =-.

  2. Adam Avatar

    I struggle with this as I am an English teacher by trade, so writing informally and using run-ons and things of that nature are just difficult for me to do. When blogging, I try not to be so “English teacher-ish,” but it’s quite hard to break habits. I try to find a good mix between writing formally and informally on my blog, and I think I have done a pretty good job. You will be fairly hardpressed to find run-ons and obvious, glaring grammar mistakes in my writing though. As someone who is just getting started in the blogging/freelance business, this is an interesting topic to think about.
    .-= Adam´s last blog ..New News =-.

  3. Debi123 Avatar

    I believe a blogger should write how they wished they talked.

  4. Wendy Sullivan Avatar

    First of all, I love Debi123’s answer.

    I understand what you mean, Deb, about holding yourself to a different standard because you’re a writer. And I guess as a reader I appreciate that – for example, I go to a lot of great writing blogs that have guest posts by frankly bad writers. Now, if that bad writer happens to be a designer or marketer, they can be forgiven for the bad syntax, grammar, etc (Somewhere in every one of Glen Alsopp’s posts he seems to be apologizing for his writing!). But if they are a writer, I tend not to take them seriously.

    Therein lies the problem – I am a writer, and I write the way I talk. Casually, conversationally. My blog posts are not perfect.

    Quite the quandary you’ve brought up!

    .-= Wendy Sullivan´s last blog ..Defining Success =-.

  5. Deb Dorchak Avatar

    I think just like in face to face conversation there are different tones taken for different situations.

    On my blogs I’m very casual. I’m like that in person and on the phone.

    I might even be that way for a public speaking gig…depending on the audience.

    I wouldn’t use the same tone for a gathering of folks for some light conversation that I would for a speech in front of a bunch of professors or dignitaries.
    .-= Deb Dorchak´s last blog ..Who Spilled the Beans? =-.

  6. Lucy Smith Avatar

    On my blog, I do write pretty much like I talk, and that’s because it’s so that people can get an idea of who I am, rather than just this faceless business name, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. You want to do business with a person, right, not a corporation?

    On the rare occasions when I blog for others, of course I tone it down. I just try and keep it breezy and conversational without putting myself into it, because I’m blogging as them, not as me.
    .-= Lucy Smith´s last blog ..Stupid things I’ve done in the line of duty =-.

  7. Pujitha Krishnan Avatar

    Interesting question and something I thought about but did not find a solution to. I prefer to read well thought out, well-written articles – on blogs on elsewhere – but people rarely speak like they write. It’s good to bring out your personality, but extremely casual writing is not always a good read. I suppose the subject also determines this to an extent.

  8. Sal Avatar

    This is my first time commenting, but something I feel strong about. I agree 100% with just about all the comments thus far. On my blog, I write like I am talking to a friend. When I write web articles, I write like I am talking to someone who wants to learn in a fun way. I would describe my writing as jovial. I like telling stories, making the mind work and getting the information out there.

    In my real life (does that mean I have a fake life too?) I don’t swear, so there is no need to tone that down in my writing. You see, I am Italian, so everything that I do is big. Big hand motions, big voice, big stories and big ideas, and I think I can translate that well into my writing.

    I guess it all depends on how you “talk” in the first place.
    .-= Sal´s last blog new site =-.

  9. LPC Avatar

    I think I write like I wish I were allowed to talk. Meaning, I love words. I love play around. When I talk like that it sounds pretentious. I hope that on the page – the web page mind you – there’s a little more room for language for language’s sake. And then, of course, I’m not actually a writer. So more importantly, for those of you that are writers, I don’t mind at all if you are casual on your blogs. Sloppy, don’t like. Casual, like a lot.
    .-= LPC´s last blog ..Where To Shop If You Have Only 1 Day In Manhattan? =-.

  10. Mary Jo Avatar

    I think much depends on the type of blog you write for (sorry Deb, as owner of a writing blog people will probably hold you to that higher “writer” standard). Lots of print writers have made successful careers of writing like they talk. Erma Bobmeck immediately comes to mind. Her style may not have worked for a business column (or blog), but she grew her audience around being authentic.
    .-= Mary Jo´s last blog ..United Kingdom is More than England =-.

  11. Carla Lomax Avatar
    Carla Lomax

    The answer is: I guess it depends.

    Isn’t blogging supposed to be off-the-cuff and spontaneous? Hip, cool, rad, snarky, phat, stoopid, trendy, fluffy, OMG, LOL, whatever?

    On the other hand, if you’re a writer who’s looking for clients, I’d think you’d want to showcase only your best stuff–always. After all, if it’s on the web, it’s there forever and you never know who’s gonna see it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.