Making the Transition from Academia to Web Writing


So you’ve decided to start a blog. That’s absolutely awesome! The world needs people like you to share their ideas and knowledge rather than hoarding it all for themselves. Go you!

But the party is now over. To put it bluntly: no one cares about you. I mean that in the nicest way possible. The general population does not have the time, and does not want to put in the effort, to celebrate you just for existing. It’s better you learn that now, while your blog is still in its infancy, rather than months or years from now when you have hundreds of posts under your belt, but only a handful of daily visitors.

It sounds harsh, but people don’t care about you as a person. They only care about you in terms of what you can do for them. If you’re not providing valuable content for your audience, they’ll quickly move on to the next blog that does—there are hundreds, if not thousands, more to choose from.

I know, I know. You want your voice to be heard. And I’m not saying it can’t be. I’m saying no one will listen if you’re not doing something for them. If you want others to listen to you, you have to do so on their terms.

This can be incredibly hard to wrap your mind around when you’re just getting started. But take a second to realize why that is:

In grade school and college, why did you write all those essays, papers, and speeches? It wasn’t for your audience; you knew they couldn’t care less. It wasn’t even for your professors; you weren’t teaching them anything they didn’t already know. You wrote them for yourself. So your classmates and teachers could see just how much you know, so you could get a good grade and move on with your life.

academic writing
Those long-winded assignments weren’t doing you any favors

That’s not what you’re here for anymore. No one is clicking through the Internet thinking “I wonder what Jane from Minnesota thinks of [insert hot-button topic here].” They’re clicking around searching for information that’s valuable to them. Your opinion does not matter. All that matters is whether or not you can provide something valuable to your readers. If you can’t, there’s someone else who can.

So now the question is: how can you transition from the egocentric academic writing you’ve been used to your entire life to community-focused, informational pieces that are valuable to thousands, perhaps millions, of individuals throughout the world?

Throughout the next few days, I’ll be rolling out some more information about how to make this transition as seamless as possible. The first step you’ll be taking is to eliminate the million-dollar words from your vocabulary. Focus on keeping your writing as simple as possible throughout the rest of the day, and I’ll be back tomorrow with more.


6 thoughts on “Making the Transition from Academia to Web Writing”

    1. Thank you! I’ve been at it for a little less than a year and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that what used to pass as impressive academic writing is now boring drivel 😉


      1. The wonderful thing about language is how subtle it is, how much information we can convey with 26 letters and a few symbols.

        The other side of that is that as writers we have to learn to be flexible and alter our voices to suit our audiences.

        Since starting to blog, I’ve kept my eye on the WordPress editors’ output on The Daily Post. I enjoy seeing how they express themselves and they also have lots of tips on writing for blogs.

        Liked by 1 person

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