“Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.”
(Sonnet XXVII, by William Shakespeare, b. Apr. 23, 1564, d. Apr. 23, 1616)
It is obvious from the above quote that William Shakespeare had the heart of a blogger. Aside from experiencing the unquiet both day and night (a condition with which ALL bloggers are familiar), he was creative, appealing, humorous, unafraid, and most of all, prolific; all qualities which are essential in any successful blog writer.
But Shakespeare has much more to offer bloggers than writerly solidarity, and a close look at his works reveals the following lessons for blog writers:
- Exclude irrelevant details. Shakespeare gave very little stage direction. In fact, most of his direction consists of “Enter Romeo” or “Exeunt”. Blogs are by nature short, and writers have only a few paragraphs in which to express their thoughts to readers. Those readers appreciate writing that is straightforward and concise.
- Be versatile: When his public was looking for comedy, Shakespeare gave them The Taming of the Shrew. When they were struggling with their consciences he wrote Hamlet. Bloggers too, must always have their fingers on the pulse of their readership.
- Pay attention to language: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” Shakespeare’s language was honest and inspiring, gritty and beautiful. We can’t all aspire to the same authorial genius, but we can give our readers a beautiful architecture; spelling, punctuation and grammar are the foundation, our passion for the subject matter is the heart.
- A good ending: Shakespeare’s plays almost always ended with a wedding or a funeral. He left very few loose ends. Blogs that end well stay in a reader’s mind, and keep them coming back for more.
- Make your writing available to the public: As bloggers we don’t have entire acting troupes and theater staffs at our disposal, but we do have e-mail subscriptions, RSS readers, and regular posting schedules. Let your readers know when and where to find your work, and have it easily available.
Harold Bloom writes of Shakespeare as the inventor of the human; perhaps we could dub him the patron saint of bloggers as well.