First off, I don’t want make it like I’m some expert or big shot in charge because I don’t even consider myself one, and just to even be sure it was okay for me to post this I did first ask our wonderful chief editor, lol. I also don’t really want this to seem like I’m giving any tips, but rather some suggestions for the community on writing.
Although I’m not a bona fide blogger with a resume or anything, I've been writing many different things since teenhood - including 2 whole novels I never got published and for good reason, lol - and blogging on other sites around the web like Google+, WordPress, and Experience Project, the latter having been a very important tool of expression online for me over the last 3 years. Although it got to be a pretty crappy site, EP’s notorious feature of posting “stories” was probably the thing that pulled many of us members in the most, and with an enormous variety of topics from many, many different users. But after coming under scrutiny for the murder of a girl by a man she met there, EP finally shut itself down in May.
I do consider myself to be better at writing than I once was and more creative, but no actual expert. So take these as friendly ideas more than tips.
Write what YOU really care about…
While plenty of us do talk about what matters to us or is close to home, still a lot of people who write Takes on GaG do it for the publicity. They just want to be noticed and write a lot of stuff that we all could easily read in any magazine. And especially when the same person is spitting out Take after Take, I begin considering them as content spammers who I eventually start tuning out and pass over their stuff on the home page. Some people purposely overdo it and write random stuff just to be seen or gain popularity. Don’t fall into the game of it just because you see people you know or like doing it and think it’d be a great strategy for you.
I’m not much of a wildlife guy, although I do have my favorite animals and creatures (dolphins, elephants, and reptiles), but I do admire that @RainbowFanGirl has written some sincere stuff about animals because she loves them. It’s refreshing to see somebody write about something like that that really matters to her and what is so very different from a lot of the content here. I also sometimes see that @loveisbeautiful will only get 1 or 2 comments to some of her Takes, but I love that she too writes about what's interesting, cool, or fun to her. In fact it's kinda sexy that she's the only one who really talks about that stuff ;-)
Take your time…
As Editors, we’re encouraged to post Takes frequently (at least twice a week), and I understand that and respect it, but I will still take my time on what I write and think it through. Plus my mom’s writing instructions have always stuck with me: draft it, and then go back over it. That’s a general rule anyway, but the way my mom taught us is to be thorough not just with grammar but also context. Make sure what you write is clearly understood and written as well as possible, and if people still aren’t understanding it then the problem falls on their comprehension.
For me, I write when it matters, and what matters to me. As I tell some people here: when I have something to say I’ll let you know. I can spend days on a Take draft, and have other ones I’ve only had in store mentally for weeks but get around to each one in time. I’m not in a hurry, and it’s not a race for me to try to get my stuff up on the screen so I can be seen.
So I do encourage everybody to really take your time. When you do, your content will mean more and you will have spent time saying exactly what you wanted to if you allow yourself.
Learn from other Takes…
Gain new perspective from reading other people’s stuff, or even learn from their mistakes. This too can help you be better at writing your own Takes. And as they instruct writers: you have to read to be better at writing.
A lot of people on GaG really just read the title of a Take or skim through it so they can hurry up and be one of the first to comment or so they can antagonize the author just to see people vote them up. In fact, antagonism may be the most common comments. A lot of Gaggers don’t really read Takes to learn something new or agree, but really just to be critical. Avoid that as well. In the early days I myself was like that here, but over time I started thinking: “Why do I need to criticize this Take? Why can’t I see some truth in it and have a balanced opinion?” And that’s what I do now. Some Takes I really will fire on because it is clearly imbecilic, but for the most part I’ve learned to see what can be good in them, or what’s both good and bad, and to even be as civil as possible in disagreeing.
If you want people to regard your content seriously and fairly, you have to do the same with theirs.
Group-thinking is heavy on GaG, and especially in the area of Takes. One person writes about something, and then a bunch of other people follow behind with their own posts, and some won’t even give credit to the original author as @Stacyzee mentioned in one of her recent Takes.
Trendy writing is also a cheap way for some Gaggers to attempt stardom. They figure if they can write what everybody else writes they can get attention. And then some people do trendy writing because they think it’s more favorable: “Well, if everyone else is writing about that topic it must be because it really is important so I should write about it too.” Don’t get caught up in that thinking either.
We see a heck of a lot of Takes about “nice guys,” “slut-shaming,” feminism, ANTI-feminism, who’s hot, guys blaming girls for not being able to get laid, girls blaming guys for their makeup choices and styles, what guys are doing wrong in bed, etc. and I myself have written some things on a few of these, which is fine from time to time, but it doesn’t have to be or need to be constant.
Avoid too many numbers and lists…
This may be the biggest trend, and it’s gotten so bad now that I can log in and see several Takes on the homepage about “5 Things” this, “7 Reasons” that, or “10 Ways” such-and-such, to the point where I just overlook most of them now. List writing on GaG has become much too rampant. I get it that some people do like writing them, and not all of them are bad, and I’ve written some myself, but it seems to be as if it’s now just a really easy way of getting something up for a lot of people here, and sometimes as click bait. It doesn’t require a lot of thought, just adding thing after thing.
In American magazine writing and blogging, it’s like a signature thing to write lists on “10 Reasons/Things” this or that because it pulls us in so the magazines and online columns and news sites can gain traction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most creative way. Rather it’s just the easiest way to get attention, which can sometimes come across as a cheesy eye-grabbing strategy more than being sincere.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that people stop doing it just because I don’t like it, but that we need to try to be more creative about it. I only wrote two list Takes in the early days with numbers in their titles, and now I avoid it and refuse to ever use numbers. I’m fine with some list Takes - some of them have been really cool and fun to read like @blondfrog ‘s Take about sexy black women, and @zombiebabe ‘s about reasons why women might hate each other, but all the others don’t necessarily need to be so Cosmo-style, copy-cat, and overdone.
Be original, and don't back down…
In the midst of the crowd, be the color that stands out here. Don’t be afraid to be the person who brings us something new or different. And even if it’s a much-used topic, you can still present a new perspective to it. Don't opt out of writing things that matter to you because you think other people are gonna think it's stupid or criticize you. Do what you want. If I read your work and disagree with you, I'll let you know it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't write it.
This also includes not going Anon. Yes, I know it's allowed and that we all have the right to do it, and for very personal things I can get that, but for once just try speaking your mind about an intense subject without hiding. Stand your ground and be bold. In the early of days of me being on GaG and feeling my way with it I did post anonymously sometimes, but now I never do it. It's weakness to me. I don't run from anybody and I'm not afraid to face my battles. I stand my ground and leave myself wide open, and couldn't care less who knows it or hates it. You don't have to either. I am constantly encouraging and advocating this here and always will.