17 Writing Tips For Bloggers Who Think They Can’t Write!
Writing tips for bloggers who think they can’t write…
17 Writing Tips For Bloggers
Are you a better speaker or a better writer?
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.
Of course there are some who are blessed with both skills but anecdotal research suggests they are a minority.
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. If you do not wish to transcribe yourself, then my transcription service of choice is CastingWords. Or use one of the 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!
You must have 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 much easier.
Make a good enough recording and you have a Podcast.
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 get a chance to type it.
(But as a 1960 baby, this could be a generational thing!)
Here is my original very rough longhand draft for this post!
Don’t know what to write about?
Take it a step further and just write about anything and everything that comes into your head for 5 or 10 minutes.
I call this free-writing.
You will be surprised how often a credible idea comes out of that ‘garbage’ you just wrote down!
3) Be personal – but don’t let the Ego take over
Craig Ballantyne is a great example on 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 on occasion. 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.
Do not however become vain and egocentric – that is boring!
4) The shorter the sentence, the better the article.
If the sentence is longer than it would be comfortable for you to speak, then it’s probably too long.
Two sentences is 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 of course 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.
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!
Don’t over do 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.”
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 of 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 to get better at that skill, you have to practice.
Write every day.
The more you write, the better you get!
With Instant Messaging and email 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 your write properly, 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)
I am working on this!
Speed is not the point, quality is the point.
Quality writing is not an accident – quality writing is the result of 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.
10) Change your reading habits
Read a book that you would not normally do.
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 are 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.
How can you use the writers strategy in your own writing?
Seeking out 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’s going to 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 make it clear 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 be boring for 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
17.1) 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
17.2) 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.
17.3) SEO and Headlines
It is perhaps an unfortunate fact, that most times our choice of Title or Headline will have been 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.
I however, like to mix it up a bit, sometimes I craft that Title with the search engines in mind and others I will be more focused 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 of the content, but when you hope to attract traffic related to entrepreneurial stress and managing it, the published title of course works better.
Of course, the best Title or Headline is one that both reads well and is search keyword friendly.
17.4) Start Strong and End Strong
If you don’t hook your reader in the beginning, they won’t read the rest of your article. Take time to create an interesting beginning. Your first sentence should grab the readers attention.
Always end with a strong summary and Call To Action.
What should the reader do next? Subscribe? Share?
17.5) 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.
17.6) 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 a lot of people, but it won’t work for everyone.
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
And 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