Better Communication Without Borders: Some Writing Tips for Our Bloggers

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Sometimes I just don’t know what to write about.  But write I must, if I want to stay active in the Film Annex Community and have a decent buzz score.  It’s a common problem, even among professional writers, and also here on  How do I know?  I’m not only a writer, I’ve also been a writing teacher for many years, teaching hundreds of university students in the Middle East how to write better;  I know all the signs when someone is writing because he or she needs to, but doesn’t know what to say.  In particular, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately that are on subjects I could read about in a school textbook or on Wikipedia, even though I know the bloggers wrote the words themselves.  This is disappointing, because when we do this, we’re missing a wonderful opportunity.  Social media that pays is great, but blogging isn’t supposed to be just about making money.  That’s only half its purpose.   The other half—the first half—is about connecting with people all over the world — communication without borders.  But how do you blog like a global citizen?  Not by trying to replace Wikipedia!  No.  Here are a few things we can all do to improve our writing and our connectivity on Film Annex:

  1. Write your own opinions. If your readers wanted facts, they wouldn’t be coming here.  They’re on Film Annex because they want to learn about different people and their worlds.  Tell them what you think about something in your community, country, or culture.  They’ll learn about you and your world at the same time.  If your opinion is a bit different from other people’s, that makes it even more interesting.  Now I know this doesn’t always come easily.  In many countries students are taught that their opinions don’t matter.  But that’s simply not true.  And certainly not here.  Your opinions make your writing more interesting.

  2. Write about things that are personal.  I know what you’re saying, “My life is so boring—even more boring than Wikipedia!  No one wants to read about it.”  But you’re wrong.  People in your city or country may not find your daily life so fascinating, but the people from other countries you can meet on Film Annex are dying to find out what life is like in other parts of the world.  I’m not suggesting you write, “I get up every morning.  I brush my teeth.  I have breakfast.  Then I go to class/work.”  If that’s all you write, then you’re right; that’s boring.  No.  Write about the things in your life that make it different from people’s lives in other parts of the world.  For instance, instead of simply describing your city, you could write about things you can learn about your city by walking through it on foot instead of driving through on a car or bus.  That’s a much more interesting blog.  If you’ve travelled to another city or country, how were the people different?  Did this teach you anything new about yourself and your people?  You might decide that it’s wise to avoid religious and political subjects.  Fine.  There is so much else out there to write about.

  3. Write in English regularly.  I'm not saying you should write all your posts in English.  But English, of course, is still by far the most widely read language in the world, and the more you write in it, the more you’ll be able to connect with people everywhere, and the higher your buzz score will go.  Digital literacy is great, but it goes hand-in-hand with English literacy   Even if your English is weak, write.  It will improve, and people won’t care as long as you’re writing interesting things.

Now, forgive me if I return to my old teacherly ways, but I always found my students could have a hard time following my advice unless I gave them an assignment that forced them to follow it.  So, here’s a little homework assignment for you.  Use it or ignore it, as you like.

  • Write a blog, in English, about a stranger you met just once who had a strong effect on you, positive or negative.  Tell a story about them, what you learned from the meeting, and tell us how the world would be a better (or worse) place if there were more people like him or her.

I’ll be doing the same assignment myself.  Let’s all look at each other's blogs over the coming days and weeks, and support each other to use the tips in this post.  

Thanks, and happy blogging!



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About the author


I’m an American-born Canadian writer, father and small-businessman. I write on topics as diverse as contemporary Islam, education, human rights, culture, political economy, and the promises and perils of digital literacy. A Muslim convert, ex-Marxist, and former teacher, with a degree in Philosophy and South Asian Studies, as well as…

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