I hate it when I see good bloggers say “I’m not a good writer”. If you’re not a good writer, I wouldn’t be reading your blog. If I’m not reading your blog, do I know about your blog? Drop by and leave me a link to it in the comments.
Having said that, there are some things I do now that I never did previous to blogging, and here’s 10 of them all neatly typed up for ya’all.
Write a summary –
Tell your reader why they want to read this post you have written in the first few sentences. Since getting on the Bumpzee Community RSS feeds, I have found that the first 250 characters of your post have to grab the reader in order for them to click through and read the rest. Basically this applies to anything you write – people need to be almost *teased* into reading the rest of your article.
Use the Thesaurus –
Tired of using all the same old words? Put the word you’d usually (commonly, consistently, customarily, frequently, generally, habitually, mainly, most often, mostly, normally, occasionally, ordinarily, regularly, routinely, sometimes) use in at the online thesaurus.
You can then take your pick of new, exciting (animating, appealing, arousing, arresting, astonishing, bracing, breathtaking, dangerous, dramatic, electrifying, exhilarant, eye-popping, far out, fine, flashy, groovy, hair-raising, heady, hectic, impressive, interesting, intoxicating, intriguing, lively, mind-blowing, moving, neat, overpowering, overwhelming, provocative, racy, rip-roaring, rousing, sensational, spine-tingling, stimulating, stirring, thrilling, titillating, wild, zestful), unusual words you don’t normally use that mean virtually the same thing!
Write ideas down –
I go nowhere these days without paper and a pen. NOWHERE. I have paper and a pen next to my bed, next to my recliner in the lounge, in the kitchen, in the car, in my handbag. Yes, even in the bathroom!! A lot of my best blogging ideas come to me as a surprise in the shower. I turn off the shower, even mid shampoo, step out, dry my hands, write it down. I find that if you do not seize the moment, that thought will vanish.
Record it –
Want to blog hands free? Do you have one of those little tape recorders students use for recording lectures? I have a Sony recording Walkman which uses cassette tapes but you can get digital voice recorders quite cheaply these days. So you can verbally blog while doing your chores around the house and when you get a chance to sit at the computer and type it up, you know where you’re going.
Edit it –
Cugat helped me learn how to simplify my writing when we were working on a website together a few months ago. I use a lot of extra words. Really and Actually are two such examples. Just doing a quick word search of the blog front page before posting this, the word really appears 6 times and once in the sidebar. Actually appears 3 times. This is a major improvement for me. I’m still working on it.
Don’t edit it too much –
Editing can be a temporal vortex. Like when I go to the hardware store and two hours go by without me even noticing it. I have sometimes spent up to three hours doing it on some posts. It’s better to limit yourself to a certain amount of time. For a longer article it may be appropriate to spend an hour tweaking words and cutting words out. My advice is use a timer with an alarm, set the time you’re happy to spend editing (that could be anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour) and when the bell rings hit publish.
Use Headlines –
If you think readers of your blog read everything you’ve written in a post, I am sorry to tell you that you may be wrong – some readers skim, some readers scroll before deciding to read something in depth. So you’ll see some of my blog posts these days use headlines, in particular the ones which are intended to be helpful to fellow bloggers or the general public. The one you’re reading now is a good example. Doing this makes it easier for readers to focus on the parts of your post that are relevant to them.
Use Paragraphs –
The larger the chunk of text, the less chance some readers will delve into it. Breaking things down into smaller more palatable chunks increases the chance of those things being read.
Size Matters –
There is nothing wrong with a short post. Don’t be afraid to post something brief. Embrace the pithy. On the other hand, long posts can be scary to post because you think people will not read them. If your content is good, people will. Have faith in your readers. But for longer posts try to use small paragraphs and headlines if you can, to make it more accessible to all readers.
Invite Comments –
Your blog is where you can express your views. Ideally you will want your readers to express their views in return. Unless you think your bowel movements don’t stink and your opinions are right, perfect, and not to be discussed, in which case you will turn comments off. This will offend people. If you don’t have comments on your blog, chances are I’m going to unsubscribe from your RSS feed. Just so you know.
A final thought –
Don’t ever say you’re a bad writer. I don’t believe there is any such thing. You may not be writing novels that stun the public but blogging isn’t about that.
Writing is about communicating ideas and connecting with people through words. If you’re on my blog roll, I think you’re a good writer. Take the compliment with grace – say thank you, don’t try to tell me my opinion is incorrect.
If you’re not on my blog roll yet, chances are I just haven’t found your blog. Comment on this post with a link to it, I’ll drop by and check you out.