Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Seeking Writing Suggestions

A bit of a strange post today. I want to improve my writing, and who better to ask than my audience?

I know that my writing is sometimes construed as arrogant. Problem is (in my opinion) that I have a very formal/antiquated/convoluted way of speaking and writing. I'm also too "to the point" than some people are comfortable with, but that's a separate issue.

Do you have any suggestions for how I can increase the friendliness and clarity of my writing? My voice is particular to me, so I don't want to lose that, but surely there are ways I can improve it. Any particular words, phrases, or sentence structures I should avoid? Do I overuse parentheses and thus create confusion? Are my paragraphs or sentences too long? Should I use more headers or other dividers? Has anything worked particularly well in your own writing? 

Do you know a better way to be "matter of fact" without sounding arrogant to some people? For a long time, I've written that off as "their problem," but I'm tired of fighting an uphill battle in the increasingly internet-based world. An easy way (or so I think) would be to inject more emotion into my posts, but that's not really who I am or what I want to accomplish here. And yet, and yet, I struggle with the fact that if the author were a man... a matter of fact approach, even arrogance, would likely be viewed as "self-confidence." Unfortunately, my research shows that this is a common struggle for female bloggers.

C'est la vie, says Negative Nancy ;)


  1. I think I also have a formal writing style, which helped me do well at the University of Oxford, but was not so good when blogging! No one ever said anything directly, and I was never accused of arrogance (and certainly not self-confidence!), but I think I came across as excessively formal (few jokes, no slang and certainly no profanity), which, combined with my habit of writing long essays masquerading as blog posts made my blogs pretty much unreadable.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with your writing style, but as the preceding paragraph indicates, I may not be such a good judge of it! I don't think more emotion is the answer, especially if it's not what you want to do. I was capable of writing highly emotional posts in a very stilted, formal style; on occasion I would write something almost stream-of-consciousness in an attempt to add emotion and immediacy, but would inevitably redraft into something more formal.

  2. I just typed a comment and I'm not sure if it worked. Obviously you should ask me if you want a free editing consultation! After everything you've done for me...

  3. I have always enjoyed your writing style. There are so many bland writers on the blog scene...It does not need more. If you want to temper your style a bit maybe try out speaking your entry into a recorder first and then transcribe it. If it comes out exactly the same style as what you have been writing up until now then there you have it. This is your ideosyncratic style. But if not, then you have something to fiddle around with.

  4. I would agree that adding more emotion is something I would not suggest because I believe I can feel your emotions through the way you write already. One thing I try to do if I am writing for the whole world to see is to try and put myself in other people's shoes. Would this offend someone and why? Another thing that is important are loaded terms. You could try to use synonyms instead of more reactive words, making sure you are evoking the right emotion with the term or phrase you are using. All in all, you can't please everyone and you cannot know how each person who reads your posts will react. Please, do not loose the formality of your writing as I believe that this is so much a part of who you are and if we were to ever meet face-to-face, I believe you would speak in a similar manner.

  5. I suggest that you write an article about converting to Judaism
    for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons include:

    [1] because you want to marry a Jew

    [2] because you believe conversion will help you financially

    [3] because you believe conversion will get you out of jail sooner

    [4] because you believe conversion will give you super powers

    [5] because you believe conversion will help advance in the Israeli Army

    [6] because you believe Judaism has few rules or no rules

    [7] because you believe Judaism permits unlimited freedom of belief

    [8] because you believe all Jews are always just and kind and gentle

    [9] because you believe being Jewish is easy and fun all the time

    [10] because you believe conversion will make it harder for police to find you

    [11] because you believe Jews and Judaism are LGBT-friendly.

    1. I'm a gay transsexual JBC, Judaism is incredibly LGBT friendly. 6 separate genders in the Talmud, gay orthodox shuls in Tel Aviv, nearly impossible to actually be charged with sodomy due to how the laws work.

  6. I like your style. You have a sharp wit and are matter-of-fact. I've never perceived you as arrogant, just that you know what you're talking about, and you know a lot.

    I just did a post recently on writing (it was answering a prompt started by another writer), and there were a bunch of bloggers that linked to it, and a lot of the posts had suggestions for good writing books to read. Here's the link (so not trying to be a troll or self-promote, ugh), and there's a whole rabbit hole of links to follow with more books to read:

    (Also, I love parentheses, never stop using them!)

  7. BS'D


    Personally, I don't think something is wrong with your writing style. I like when bloggers don't fake who they're and if you feel inside that your writing is showing who you're that's great!

    Leye-Shprintse <3

  8. I second penimah's advice about "loaded terms"--when writing a post, which I usually do in one sitting, I will bold words that I want to come back to. Once I'm finished, I skim to look at the bolded words to make sure that I've chosen the most appropriate term. I think re-reading your blogs with a lens of empathy is the best way, honestly.

    That said, as a feminist I chafe at the need for the next suggestion, but it is something that I myself do when I feel like I want to soften a post without changing the way I wrote it: I will add a note where I recognize that it might sound harsh/arrogant/etc., but that that's not my intent... I just know of no other honest way to write about whatever it is that I'm writing. I am also very opinionated and I tend to write really passionate (and often emotional) blog posts, so I find that having that disclaimer in posts that I think will be controversial or inflaming can help get the message across.

    Kudos on being brave and thoughtful enough to ask this question--a lot of us struggle with it, whether we have a wide readership or not, but it's difficult to talk about!


  9. I enjoy your writing - and I'm grateful for your sharing . . . I believe you are doing exactly what the experts teach - you are writing . . (don't they always say "writers write?")

    from me - you get Thank You!

  10. I don't think the content or style of your posts are arrogant. They don't need to be more emotional or anything other than what they are, in my opinion. They serve what I come here looking for (and I'm an emotional blogger myself). I DO think you would come off as more personable and people would connect with you more if you were a bit more interactive with comments. (IF that's something you aim for. If not, no worries!) Your interaction with your audience is minimal, even when people comment with some really personal stuff and emotional reactions to what you're saying based on their own experiences and what they can relate to. I personally would relish that, because I have a ton of people viewing my blog but comments are very rare, and I wish I could engage in some conversation with these mystery readers about their reactions to what I write, what provokes them, what they relate to and connect with. It seems like a missed opportunity, and I don't feel as fulfilled just throwing my thoughts and opinions out there to be published and read without any sort of feedback or dialogue.

  11. You're a lawyer aren't you? Isn't formal, matter of fact, strong writing kind of par for the course?

    I like your writing. Keep on keeping on.