Is there a difference between a blog a column, or an article? I fervently believe so, though I’ve read nothing about it (not that it hasn’t been written). As a fan of the #blogchat TweetChat, which is all about the world of blogging, I often find myself thinking about these definitions. I assert each form of writing is quite different and has its own distinctions. I write all three and am quite aware of their differences (to me). Let’s start backwards with the blog.
To me, when I blog, I follow these general rules. I keep the length between 250 – 500 words. I care less about perfect sentence structure, even grammar, though I always try to spell-check. Again, for me, I like my blogs to be funny whenever relevant. I use colloquial language. I might even swear though generally I avoid that given my “brand” as a parenting writer and radio show host. And, most of all, I have fun. Blogging isn’t work for me. For examples of my blogs, just read some of the “Just A Guy” blogs I used to write for momlogic. There are other samples of blogs there as well.
Moving up the food chain, what is a column then? A column is longer, 750 – 1250 words. It has story structure, a beginning, middle, and end. A theme is set up, developed, and paid off. I pay special attention to spelling, grammar, and even have the AP Style book to use as reference, which I’d never consider using for a blog. For my “A Dad’s Point-of-View” weekly columns, I have an editor who gives me feedback, is anal about correct use of English, and offers me a wonderful sounding board for improvement as well as catching mistakes that otherwise I wouldn’t really care about as much in my blogs. It takes more time and effort to write my columns. Check them out, for examples, on the “My Columns” page.
Finally, what is an article? An article usually involves research. It is again, even longer generally, than a column with a range of 1,200 – 2,000+ words. Often there will be sources I will cite as with my “The State of Gender Affairs” article. It takes more care and thought. I will put it aside and revisit it, whereas with most of my blogs, I can write them in one sitting. I write fewer articles because it takes more effort and work and I’m basically a lazy guy. Writing an article requires more discipline. I don’t like discipline. Also, since most writing these days goes unpaid, I’d rather not put in that extra diligence without compensation. One of my favorite articles was, “The State of Gender Affairs,” as an example.
But, I’m a writer and I yearn to improve and grow, so I do write articles, too. My most recent one was for Romance University where I was a “guest professor” and wrote, “One Man’s Story of Giving Back (to the world).” I tend to be more proud of my articles as my internal pride is often measured in relation to the amount of work I’ve put out. BTW, please comment on “One Man’s Story” if you’d care to as I’d greatly appreciate it (comment there, that is).
These are MY definitions of a blog, a column, and an article. I welcome your thoughts?
My next big writing venture is MY BOOK and that will be a whole new set of disciplines, lots more work, and serious research and editorial help/review!