In the current world of content domination, it’s become a regular practice to blog. With so many famous and acknowledged bloggers sharing their tips and tricks on how to create awesome blogs, what to write about, how to prepare for writing a blog post, I thought I would share mine as well.
Any form of writing (probably except copying) which is 100% original and not a rip off, takes a certain level of creativity. This is something that cannot be learn de facto, but still possible to get better at if you work really hard.
Although writing takes creativity, one can practice and master a certain amount of skills if he/she wants to get better at it. I for one never knew I could write anything decent, until I gave it a try. In fact, you may be surprised at what you can do from the first try.
You might not become a bestselling author at all, but blogging is a bit different than that. It involves far less academic stuff and much more what you and your audience care about. If you master the basics of blogging, there is a good chance you can still make a difference and grow as a blogger.
But let’s get back to the point. In order to create anything decent, you need to prepare and make all the necessary arrangements to feel comfortable. Thoughts and ideas flow through your head constantly. You need to focus, grab them and transfer somewhere or they might be lost forever. Here are some tips that pretty much anybody can utilize to make their blogging more effective.
1. Make Yourself Comfortable
This is something that should be unique for every individual. Some might prefer to write outside in the sunlight, others get better results in a small, quiet room. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable, start with doing that. Close the doors of the room, switch off your phone, maybe get a cup of coffee or something else you prefer, change into comfy clothing, whatever. Just get it done.
2. Eliminate Distraction
Unless you can really focus on whatever you are writing super well, eliminate all the distraction around you. If that means you have to work from home, discuss that with your employer. Ideas, and usually those that turn out to be the best ones, because life just works that way, get lost in the ocean of thoughts pretty easily. You might think of something outstanding for a moment, and totally forget about that if you get distracted. Make sure you don’t miss anything.
3. Get into the Correct Position
I have come to understand that for writing purposes, you need to be in a certain position to get the process going well. This is in the case of using a laptop, and if you aren’t using one, I recommend you do. Sit up straight in front of the screen with your hands positioned on the keyboard. Getting the feel of the buttons lets you overcome some possible thoughts or issues that are driving you back from starting to write.
Don’t try to write while lying in bed or on the couch. When you lay down, your body automatically leans towards sleep. Since any creative work takes surprisingly big amount of energy, you will start falling asleep shortly and get nothing done as a result.
4. Become an Expert on the Topic
Before writing anything, you need to become an expert on the topic first. Take your time to research and understand the industry or business or whatever, before starting your work. Some people prefer to do this simultaneously with their writing, that is research a small piece, get that written down and proceed to the next one.
I have done this before, and personally I find this method ineffective since most of the times I learned something new and have to go back to add it, or delete something that turned out I understood wrong. It’s much better to know everything from top to bottom beforehand. You will be surprised at how well you can write around a topic you are deeply familiar with, unlike those that you aren’t.
Another reason is distraction. When doing writing and research simultaneously, who get distracted each time: opening your browser and minimizing your word doc, temped to go on Facebook just for a second, check your mail, etc. You will have time for all of this, read on to find out.
5. Research Constantly
Let’s make it clear: why are you writing? Some use it for business needs, for another person it’s a full time job or maybe you want to get insanely popular on the web. WHATEVER the reason, you absolutely have to create something amazing to achieve any of the above mentioned points, or pretty much any other intention you might have with your blog.
To create something good, you need to research the topic thoroughly. Whatever your post is about, there is a good 99.9% chance it’s already written by somebody else. So unless it’s some kind of chemical reaction that you discovered in your own private laboratory yesterday, there is always information available on almost anything out there.
Constant research will help keep up to date with relevant topics, news and ensure you don’t create something outdated. Even if you are sure that you are up to date, just invest 5-10 minutes into googling whatever you want to write about: just to make sure.
6. Outline Your Content
Think about the topic that you are going to write and try to structure your content in your mind. What sections is it going to have? What should the introduction include? How many points you plan to cover? Is there anything particularly valuable you want to share? Etc.
Write down all of those things to make sure you don’t skip anything and then structure them on paper accordingly. With enough practice, you should be able to do all of this in your head, but it’s always a good idea to have it written down. It will help to keep the thread of thought and not get lost in your own ideas later.
7. The Hardest Part
Ok, the hardest part about writing is probably the simplest. Don’t think too much: just start writing. This is an issue that seemed very complicated for me when I was writing my first articles. The problem was I tried to imagine the post in my head as clearly as possible and then start writing.
As a result, words wouldn’t come in the correct order and thoughts got either too spread out or weaved into each other to create a mess. You don’t need all of that, just start writing. Ideas and words will come as you move along. It’s much like eating: you might not be hungry at first when you sit around the table, but as you start eating your appetite increases in the process.
8. You Need to Type Fast
This is a supporting point of pinning your ideas somewhere not to forget them.
Sometimes ideas start flowing superfast and you might struggle to keep up with them. Not every idea that you get is going to be good or useful, but you have to remember all of them. You never know how good they can be. Sometimes your writing won’t go as you planned: you might wander off the topic a bit, rendering some ideas useless, while making others shiny.
To tackle this issue, you need to be able to type fast. If you are a beginner or have very little experience with typing: practice. There are days that an article might take a lot of time to produce and on some days you might spur out 3000 words in around 40 minutes. It depends on a number of factors, but writing speed and idea pinning are probably the most important ones.
In some cases, you might get an idea in the middle of your writing, which concerns a topic that has yet to be written or you already covered it. Get it written down somewhere immediately and return to whatever you were doing at that moment. Chances that you won’t be able to pick up on the topic you already wrote a few sentences about are very small. On the other hand, chances that you will forget whatever popped into your mind just a second ago while being busy with something else, are much higher.
9. Write First, Edit Later
This is a very common mistake that lots of people encounter when writing. Well, it’s not technically a mistake. It’s not “wrong” to edit every sentence and paragraph as you progress, but it’s extremely inefficient, time consuming and tiring as hell. Write all of the content you want to cover first, edit, proofread, format, etc later. If you don’t have a proofreader or an editor to help you out, then put some amount of time between writing and editing your post. A few hours are enough. The idea is that you will be much more effective when editing your post after some time, than if you do that immediately.
I also get some new ideas that could be added to the post when looking at it with a fresh eye and it also helps proofreading. When you are writing for long hours on end, your punctuation and spelling skills tend to go down, since they too take a certain amount of energy. You have already exhausted your brain with writing, give it some time to recover.
10. Small Breaks are Great
Take short breaks. This is very important for a number of reasons: first, you need to flex your muscles from time to time and get blood flowing due to various possible health issues.
Second, you are not a machine: your brain needs to rest a bit, especially if the writing process was intensive. Here is when you can check your mail, jump on your social media account, make a phone call or have a smoke.
I sometimes get great ideas for the topic I am writing randomly during the short breaks. They pop into the mind from nowhere when you are a bit relaxed and mostly, they turn out to be useful.
Consider taking short, 5 minute breaks every 20-25 minutes. It’s important to not make the breaks too short or too long. If you are facing a decision on making breaks shorter or longer, make them shorter. Longer breaks will get your thoughts stranding too far off and it will be much harder to gather them back together.
This is where the outline of your blog will help out. Finish a certain part of topic or sub topic and take a break. When you get back, the outline will help you remember where you left off in case you forget.
Creating blog posts should be fun and entertaining. Even if you aren’t the greatest writer ever, you need to have a thing going for writing to produce content that could be loved by an audience. Take pleasure in what you write and do it your unique way.
Every person’s writing is different, even when using the same style be it professional, storytelling or conversational. Just like no two people are the same, no 2 writings are the same when you think about it.
So speak with your own voice and ideas: this will actually get you more recognition than copywriting or imitating somebody else.
It might be tough for you to follow all the 10 steps at once. In this case, focus on 1 or 2 steps at a time. Master that one and proceed to the next one. Eventually you will get them all.
Those are the tips I learned during my writing experience. Do you have any of your own? Share them in the comments!