23 Writing Tips For Bloggers Who Think They Can’t Write!
Writing tips for bloggers who think they can’t write…
23 Writing Tips For Bloggers and Writers Who Want To Stand Out
Are you a better at speaking or writing?
I’m a much better speaker than I am a writer.
I speak confidently in public, but with writing, I sometimes struggle.
I am not unique.
For some it is easier to speak and for others it is easier to write. No matter which category you fall into, I dedicate these writing tips to the great writer that exists within all of us.
I ask this question because my first writing tip is:
1) Record Your Article / Blog Post
If I plan a long article (2000 words plus) I find it easier to first record what I plan to say and then get it transcribed. There are many Voice Recording apps available that allow pretty accurate transcription. Our favorite is Otter.ai – it allows you to transcribe 600 minutes of conversation every month for free!
Or you can use Voice Recorder on Google Docs – provided you use the Chrome Browser.
Open a document in Google docs with a Chrome browser. Click Tools > Voice typing. A microphone box appears. When you’re ready to speak, click the microphone.
You will of course need an outline of what you plan to say before you start.
Keep focused on your outline and topic as you speak. If you do not, then you risk ending up a recording that rambles!
Consider your audio transcript a mannequin on which to hang your article.
The transcript will not be perfect, but with some editing and additions the whole process of creating a post has become easier.
Make a good recording and you have a Podcast.
Recommended Book: This book will teach you how to write better – or at the very least, it will provoke you!
2) Use a pen and paper!
Longhand writing is almost a lost art.
Your brain thinks differently when you use longhand.
For me, the ideas flow faster in longhand.
With typing, the magic thought often has disappeared before I have time to type it.
(But as a 1960 baby, that could be a generational thing!)
Here is my rough longhand draft outline for this post!
Best selling author Karen Dionne makes a good case for the benefits of writing longhand in this article.
Don’t know what to write about?
Write about anything and everything that comes into your head for 5 or 10 minutes.
I call this free-writing.
It will surprise you how often a credible idea comes out of that ‘garbage’ you just wrote!
3) Be personal – but don’t let the Ego take over
It is said that Jackson Browne, one of my favorite songwriters, writes to find out what he thinks.
That applies to a lot of writers.
Sometimes it is easier to put in writing what you are thinking than to say it out loud.
Craig Ballantyne is an example of a writer I have learned a lot from.
In this very personal post: 3 Big Life Lessons From a Dog, Craig lays it on the line professionally and personally.
Everyone who follows Craig will know how important his dog Bally is to him.
Bally even fills in for Craig and ‘sends’ out his email occasionally. The emails from Bally often get some of the best open rates and responses! See a fun example here.
Injecting personality into your writing will warm your readership to you.
However don’t be vain and egocentric – that is boring!
4) The shorter the sentence, the better the article.
Clear writing is clear thinking.
Ever tried to write so much that you said nothing?
If the sentence is longer than it would be comfortable to speak, then it’s probably too long.
Two sentences are almost always better than one long sentence.
One of my favorite books on writing is “First you write a sentence“. The author Joe Moran had a remarkable way with sentences as you can see in the first paragraph of the book.
I especially like the part about saying it out loud and seeing if it sings. Oh, and about deleting it all and starting all over. I do that a lot. To write well, you must first write a lot of not such good writing.
Recommended Read: 16 Things That Turn An Ordinary Blog Into An Authority Website
5) Use “Cheat Sheets” to may you look like a writing pro.
Most writers have external methods of getting inspiration (Swipe Files etc) – and do not rely on brainpower alone!
As an example – the chart below is a great way to find alternative words – courtesy of iwastesomuchtime.
Looking for alternative words…
Try these resources from eslforums.com
[Click on image to download expanded PDF]
=> You will find more writing tips like these by CLICKING HERE
6) Use Quotations!
But don’t overdo it – unless you plan a post that includes lots of quotations
Using an appropriate quotation by A N Other is a great way ‘lift’ a blog post and inspire yourself!
And the quotation does not have to be from someone famous – it could be one by a favorite uncle or your Irish Grandmother.
As long as it is pertinent, even a quote from your friend Ben or Mary will do!
Better still if you can weave the ‘quote’ into a related story!
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
A Writing Aid for Writers Who Want To Make a Better Impression.
Over the years I have tried many online writing tools.
All of them worked, but none are as easy to work with as ProWritingAid.
I wish I had discovered it sooner.
There is a free version but those of us who write frequently will want to upgrade to their Premium version with No Word Count Limits and the ability to Edit Where You Write [Access to the ProWritingAid Desktop App, and add-ins for MS Word, Google Docs and Chrome]
The screenshot below highlights issues from an article I wrote several years ago.
7 potential errors!
The two biggest issues this writing aid has highlighted in my writing are:
1) I use commas when I should not and I don’t use commas when I should.
Commas are important – unclear grammar has cost companies millions.
2) Despite editing ruthlessly, I am too “wordy”.
7) Get to the point
Do not make people wade through seven paragraphs of unrelated anecdotes before you get to what you’re trying to say!
Sometimes as writers, we are so impressed with our own writing; we go off at tangents.
We live in a world of information overload.
Bore people and you lose them.
The point of your article, and what it promises to deliver, should be clear from the first paragraph.
A business writing coach once told me that your first 50 words are the most important.
If it is not clear what your intent is in those first 50 words, chances are high you will lose the reader.
Readers will scan – trying to work out if it will be worth their while to go deeper into your masterpiece!
8) To Be A Great Writer – Write Often
The more you write, the better you get.
Writing is a skill and you get better at that skill with practice.
Write every day.
The more you write, the better you get!
Instant Messaging and email means there is a temptation to abbreviate when writing.
But the best writers always write well – even in emails and Instant Messaging.
Sure, it may be a chore to use proper grammar, but the more often you write, the better your writing becomes.
With SMS / Text there may be good reasons to use the abbreviations and I use them – but that is the only exception!
9) Master the Art of Concise Writing (AKA Edit Ruthlessly)
Speed is not the point, quality is the point.
Quality writing is not an accident – quality writing results from editing ruthlessly.
Good reference article: concise writing cheat sheet
Only repeat a word if it is necessary for clarity or emphasis.
Original: My brother Chris, who is my only brother, graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in English.
Edited: Chris, my only brother, earned an English Degree from the University of Houston.
Remember, brevity is the soul of wit.
If one word can replace 2 or 3 words – use that word instead.
- Although vs. despite the fact that
- For vs. on behalf of
- Regarding vs. with reference to
- Now vs. at the present time
- Because vs. as a consequence of
- Let vs. afford an opportunity
Recommended: Cut Out Weasel Words
10) Change your reading habits
Read a book that you would not normally read.
Do something you would not normally do. If you normally read non-fiction, then read fiction and vice versa.
Be contrarian in your blog posts!
Challenge the Norm!
Imagine how you would feel if you decided something you really believed was true – was not?
Read Newspaper ads, posters, billboards, store signs, etc
11) Change the scenery
If you normally write in your office, move somewhere else.
Go to a different room, go outside in the garden or visit a coffee shop!
For me, a walk works wonders!
12) History Lessons
Is there something in history that you can relate to your topic? An event or person in history that you can use to make a point in your article?
When you’re stuck for inspiration “This day in history” is always a good place to start in an article.
Works equally well when making a speech.
13) Find and follow people who write well
When you find writing you enjoy, examine the structure and the words.
How does the writer craft sentences, use punctuation, etc?
Can you use that writers approach in your writing?
Seeking and following good writers is perhaps the best advice I can give any writer who finds writing a challenge.
14) Read out loud what you write!
In short, if your writing is hard to speak, what makes you think it will be easy to read?
Reading out loud is a great way to discover mistakes and make further improvements.
If it doesn’t sound natural when you speak out loud, it is simple – rewrite it!
15) Talk directly to the reader
Use words such as “you,” “we,” and “I” to clarify that you are talking to the reader.
Readers will be more attentive when you’re talking directly to them about their issues.
Remember, if it is boring for you, it will bore your reader!
16) Edit it again!
I am not a naturally talented writer.
Writing is getting easier, but it is still hard work.
It is not usual to write one day, edit it on the second day and then further edit it on the third day.
With each edit I remove words, sometimes entire paragraphs!
Every edit should make it easier for your reader to understand.
Not every writer needs to edit this much. Get it right on the first attempt!
I am not yet one of those writers!
Recommended Reading: Slacker Words and Phrases
17) Writing Tips For Bloggers – Use Lists and Graphics
IncomeDiary is famous for lists
When all else fails there is always lists to fall back on.
Top 30 Most Influential People In _____ (Blogging, Web Design, Photography, Golf, Gaming etc)
10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a _____ (Blogger, Web Designer, Photographer, Golfer, Gamer etc)
10 Christmas Gifts For _____ (Bloggers, Web Designers, Photographers, Golfers, Gamers etc)
20 Websites To Visit If You Want To Be a Better _____ (Blogger, Web Designer, Photographer, Golfer, Gamer etc
Just pick your topic and insert it above!
Writing Tips For Bloggers – Bonus Tips
18) Create an outline first! [including a working headline]
Arguably this could have been our first tip.
This will help: write blog posts faster with an outline
19) Regularly revisit blog posts, update them and add to them
Sometimes after you publish, another great idea pops in your head.
Fortunately, it is never too late to update and enhance your amazing piece of writing. What you are reading here never appeared in the first edition of this article!
Go more in-depth, make the content more shareable and REMOVE outdated content.
Check the external links still work or perhaps you have a better external link to insert.
20) SEO and Headlines
It is an unfortunate fact, that most times our choice of Title or Headline will be influenced by our desire to rank for certain keywords.
I don’t have a solution for this – like it or not, being found in the organic search engine results matters to most of us.
But I like to mix it up a bit.
Sometimes I craft that Title with the search engines in mind and others I will focus on the message rather than a particular keyword.
Recently I published an article about entrepreneurial stress.
One of the working titles was:
17 ways to stop stress ruining your business and your life
But on publication I opted for…
I would argue that the initial working title was a better title and equally representative. But when you hope to attract traffic related to entrepreneurial stress and managing it, the published title works better.
Of course, the best Title or Headline is one that both reads well and is search keyword friendly.
21) Start Strong and End Strong
If you don’t hook your reader in the beginning, they won’t read the rest of your article. Create an interesting beginning. Your first sentence should grab the readers’ attention.
Always end with a strong summary, and Call To Action.
What do you want the reader do next?
22) Ask a Deep and Meaningful Question?
When you think you have run out of ideas for topics to write about, explore philosophy, ask deep questions.
Ask these questions of yourself and of your audience.
See how the creative juices expand.
23) Select Music To Listen To While Writing
YouTube has lots of music videos for writers which I listen to regularly – example
The music relaxes me and makes me a more creative writer.
This strategy works for many people, but it won’t work for everyone.
Like this article?
Do you have some writing tips you want to share?
More Writing Tips and Inspiration
=> How To Become A Great Content Writer
=> From IncomeDiary contributor Lesley J. Vos – 20 Things That Can Help You Find Inspiration for Writing
To end – a brilliant quote about writing from Anne Lamott – the author of: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life
Barry Dunlop is a lifelong Entrepreneur, Business Coach and Sales Turnaround Expert who is passionate about helping business owners to grow their businesses while making a positive change in the world. You can contact Barry HERE or connect with Barry on LinkedIn
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi