Now, I may be no expert, but there are a few things one should and should not do when attempting to write and/or blog as a career.
First, not everyone is meant to be a writer. You may have a great story to tell, but you may not be able to string together three words in a coherent fashion; you may also have begun the previous sentence with “firstly”.
“Firstly” is not a word. Period. Don’t use it.
You may, on the other hand, be able to form a sentence or two, or even an entire paragraph. Please don’t confuse these – only Herman Melville in “Moby Dick” is allowed to extend one sentence for six pages; he had a special license. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and use end punctuation marks. Fairly frequently.
But not necessarily exclamation marks – and yes, you can occasionally begin sentences with “but” or “and”, just don’t abuse the privilege. You may be excited about your topic or title, but not everyone is going to be equally wound up; especially if that topic or title is a serious one. Even if you normally speak in that manner, tone it down a bit, please, for the rest of us.
Avoid clichés. Like the plague.
And please don’t speak or “loosing weight”. One may loosen his belt, or be a loose woman, but when one is practically losing his mind while reading such drivel, one tends to think the author is a complete idiot.
Let’s discuss tense; no, not tension, but the relation of verbs to nouns and the time periods in which they take place. For example, one may have gone to the grocery store this morning, but one certainly has not went to the store; neither has one ran over the dog yesterday, but he likely had run over him, or at least someone did because that dog is now flat as a pancake. Oops, don’t forget to avoid those clichés.
Being politically correct has never been more dangerous – please, please avoid repeating “his and hers” or “he or she”, ad nauseum, throughout your writing. Even if you use “he” in one sentence and “she” in another, or divide it by paragraphs, it’s still a lot easier to read than pausing every six words to plow through more unnecessary verbiage.
Speaking of unnecessary, words like “daunting” mean “insurmountable”, or near-impossible. An article about taking a baby for a visit to Aunt Mary’s house is nowhere near “a daunting task”. Please. Neither is leaving a child with a sitter for the first time “terrifying”, unless you’ve hired Jeffrey Dahmer or some other totally unsuitable caretaker.
Of course, what do I know? I see blogs all the time, associated with major newspapers, which are quite possibly written by a grade-schooler – and I wonder how in the world these people were noticed by professional publishers and editors? Of course, seeing as how editing seems to be a lost craft, perhaps those individuals didn’t notice anything wrong.