Why It's Good to Read Your Blog Offline

BlogHer Original Post

A friend of the family enjoys my blog, but she doesn’t read it the way you do.

She’s in her 80s and doesn’t have a computer or access to the Internet. She gets my blog when I print out several months’ worth of posts and mail them to her at the post office.

A blog through snail mail. Weird, huh?

Whenever I print out posts, I always sit down and read through them before mailing. Why? Because reading a chunk of your old posts in a quiet setting, on paper, is a full-immersion exercise that gives you a clearer picture of your writing. Much more than just browsing a single post on a computer screen can.

Because there is time and distance between me and something I wrote months ago, it almost feels like I’m reading someone else’s work. It’s fresh to me.

I discover a lot from this process.

When I laugh at something I barely remember writing, it’s like getting a surprise gift. “I wrote that? Not bad, Kathy. Not bad.”

It also gives me a chance to watch for negative trends that I might have slipped into over the years and that need improvement.

Here are some things I noticed:

1. I’m writing less. This last packet I sent was thinner than it should have been for five months and I know why. The larger my audience gets, the more afraid I am to publish something that I’m not sure will be a hit. There were periods I went as long as eight days without a new post.

When I first started The Junk Drawer, I published every 2-3 days. I want to get back to that, accepting the risk that something will fall flat. Sure, if I write more, there may be more stinker posts, but I know that I’m happier when I publish more often.

2. No matter how much I edit a post before I publish, I found some posts that still weren’t cut enough. I wrote things that weren’t necessary for the post theme, especially in the lead paragraphs. Some passages sounded awkward or lengthy, and didn’t help move the story along. Lotta clunky stuff in places.

3. I overuse some words, use clichés when I get lazy, and sometimes something I write doesn’t even make sense to me when I read it months later. I’d sit there and think “God, what must my readers have thought? They sure are forgiving.”

4. I’m insane. But we knew that already.

So in this season of giving, give yourself a little gift.

Print out some of your stuff and cozy up with it for a while. You might be surprised by your own writing, find a few things you can improve upon and renew your excitement for blogging.

Works for me!

Photo Credit: TheItalianVoice.

Kathy Frederick is a humor writer from Bethlehem, Pa. and author of The Junk Drawer. A graduate of DeSales University, her post-college writing credits include newsletters, press releases, and some of the most boring technical documentation on the planet. She lives in the ‘burbs with her husband Dave and two cats. She likes white cheddar cheese curls and talking animals in movies. She has never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


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