Blogging is all about sharing your thoughts on the subjects you are passionate about. Telling a story however is much easier than having to write one. You might be the best story teller out there, you might be able to get people listening to what you have to say, but that doesn’t make you a good writer. You really need a ton of different ingredients in order to form an article that receives a lot of positive feedback and one that makes people want to share it.
Do You Actually Have Something to Say?
Let’s assume it’s a cold Sunday morning, you have just finished the cup of coffee and all in all it promises to be quite a boring day. You are not in your top writing mood, but since there’s nothing to do, you decide to write an article for your blog. Or let’s try a slightly different scenario – writer’s block has struck upon you, you haven’t posted since like three weeks and you desperately want fresh content. Hence you finally decide to publish something no matter what, just to “fill in that gap”.
So the question that comes to mind here is whether or not publishing in either of those situations is a wise decision. In other words, is posting just for the sake of posting a good idea?
I will have to disappoint some of you by saying “No, it isn’t”. I have actually done it some months ago with an article I published. It doesn’t matter which one it was, but the fact is that the article was and it still is one of the worst performing here on my blog. The traffic figures that post brought were slim to say the least.
The morale of the story is if you don’t actually have a good point to make, don’t jump into writing even if you haven’t done so in a while. One bad article won’t be the end of your blog (as I explained in that post), but there’s no need to publish one on purpose, is it? On the other hand most of your readers won’t even notice if you don’t publish an article.
Talent and It’s Role in Writing
Something that’s often being discussed is lack of talent for writing. In most cases the ones talking about talent are folks, willing to start a blog but afraid that their writing sucks. Quite frankly, I’m not a believer of the “talent theory”. Definitely not saying there isn’t such thing as talent. It does exist but the role it plays is rather insignificant. People are putting far more weight on talent as a decisive factor for being successful at something.
You don’t just happen to write a few lines one day to discover that your writing stands out. That’s just not how things work in real life. Being good at all of the structuring and grammar rules and being able to forge compelling content requires…
Practice - It’s All about it!
One of the most important writing tips. Let me expand a bit on the topic. If such thing as perfection did exist, the only way to reach it would’ve been through practice. And practicing does not mean dropping a couple of lines once a week. Yes, it is most certainly easier to just write whenever there’s an article to finish. It’s the path of least resistance. That is however not the way to go if you want to improve and be something more than an average Joe.
A good practice is one that is performed day in and day out. In order to improve your skills, you need to turn that practice into a habit. It doesn’t matter how much time you will spend as long as you are writing something every day.
More on the writing everyday topic:
4 Reasons Why You Should Be Writing Every Single Day
Reading and Writing go Hand by Hand
Practicing is most definitely a must if you want to improve your writing skills. Being able to come up with quality work though requires one more thing. Reading that is. The two always go together.
You can’t just write on a topic without having read a ton of information on that very same topic first. Of course reading is not all about knowing the latest trends in your field. You should not confine yourself to stuff, closely related to your niche. Read literature, read poetry. The more you read, the easier it will be to keep yourself motivated and inspired to write.
Don’t Consider Length a Decisive Factor
When it comes to writing tips, length is a frequently discussed topic. Some believe it to be an important factor while for others it simply doesn’t matter. I’m definitely more inclined to agree with the latter group of people.
From the couple of hundred articles I have read for my two years of blogging, one of the best on the list were posts of less than 400 or even 300 words. On the other hand dozens of articles with more than 1000-1500 words failed to produce a single valid point. Being able to say a lot without using a lot of words is an art.
So my advice is to cut as much of the fluff as you can and write only what is important i.e. what the reader will actually find useful. I have always believed that presenting the information in an easy-to-understand and straight-to-the-point way is what matters. Of course there is no problem in going beyond 1000 words as long as you have a good reason for doing so. Check out my post on article length for more information!
Learn and Apply New Words
It is not a secret that a good percentage of bloggers, freelance writers, etc. are not English native speakers. That most certainly makes things a bit difficult. I know that from experience, since my mother tongue is very different from the English language.
Anyway the point is that no matter what your native language is, having a diverse English vocabulary is a must. The first thing you need is what I talked about in an above paragraph, which is reading. Reading alone is not all there is though. Whenever you happen to come across a word you haven’t heard of before, don’t just skip it. Instead use a thesaurus to look up for synonyms and find the word’s meaning. The most important thing from that point on is to actually start using the new-learned word. That is pretty much how improving your vocabulary works.
Don’t Rush Into Editing
The process of writing can pretty much be divided into three stages. The first one is all about brainstorming and coming up with the initial idea. During the second stage, the idea is slowly being transformed into how the final piece will look like and written down. The third stage is editing the already written article.
The transition from writing to editing the finished post also plays a role. You must always leave the article for a couple of hours before moving on to editing. Judging from the dozens of errors I’m coming across, many newbie bloggers seem to neglect that one. The reason behind that tactic is simple. When you leave the article and come back to read it, you start looking more from reader’s perspective. That way spotting errors is far easier. For more information see editing tips!
Reading out Loud Helps
So now you pretty much have the finished article in your hands. The only thing left before clicking “Publish” is to start working on the third stage. Editing that is. One of the best ways for doing an effective editing work on your soon-to-be great post is by reading it out loud. That is a technique I actually began applying just some weeks ago and one that proved very effective.
Often when editing, finding poorly structured sentences, unsuitable words or just ideas that don’t sound like they should be there, is a daunting task. However if you start reading and rereading in a loud voice, finding all of the small and not so small errors becomes almost a piece of cake. When you hear something that doesn’t sound right, you instantly realize it, while that’s not always the case with just reading it. In the end you get the job done faster while being almost (you can never be 100% certain, especially when it comes to editing) certain you haven’t left any errors unfixed.
Be Willing to Accept Criticism
Criticism – I bet most of you hate being criticized. No one likes to hear someone, telling him how wrong he is. As a matter of fact however, criticism can significantly help you improve your writing. After all the ones criticizing you are often the folks that have given the most in-depth read to your article. Although you’d surely like to reply back to them with a bit of hatred, more often than not what critics say are well grounded words. It is in your best interest to just listen and learn your lesson. See dealing with criticism!
Hope you guys found the above writing tips useful. No matter what your take on that matter, content is the backbone of blogging and being able to come up with quality, well-written posts is what matters to the reader. I hope you found the above tips useful. Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comment section!