This post is by Ashe Mischief
I read once, “Not all great writers make great bloggers, and not all great bloggers make great writers.”
The written word. It’s the foundation that most blogs are built upon (there are blogs that are video- or photograph-based, making the written word obsolete). All of the blogs I read rely on the written word to communicate ideas, opinions, reactions, and emotions.
I believe firmly in cultivating your own individual voice as a writer. I also believe firmly in cultivating that voice with a strong writing foundation, especially if you want to become a professional blogger.
Blogging is a global practice– readers can come in to your site from Japan, Australia, France; they can come in from your neighborhood, from Lisbon, from St. Petersberg, and from Honolulu. You can find inspiration in blogs from Norway, Japan, or Brazil.
When considering an international audience, it becomes all the more important that your writing is easy, clear, and understandable.
We all see posts encouraging us to make sure we haven’t mixed up they’re/their/there or its/it’s and affect/effect. But what else is there to making sure your posts are structurally sound and written for maximum audience benefit?
I’ve compiled a group of five sites with excellent writing tips, from grammar to structure and publication, to be used in blogging, your academic essays, professional writing, or your secret novella.
5 Sites with Great Writing Tips:
- Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing: This page is so amazing for interjecting humor, honesty, and practical knowledge.
- “Don’t use words you don’t really know.” Use words you know. Use words your readers will know. Use simple language whenever you can. I see this problem so often, and let me tell you-misusing a word only makes you look bad.
- “Punctuate, damn you” includes great tips of the various kinds of punctuation, and when to use it. I had a writing professor in college who spend 15 minutes during one class each semester explaining when to use commas, colons, and semi-colons. That 15 minutes was invaluable and kept me from failing many papers.
- “Front-load your point: If you make people wade through seven paragraphs of unrelated anecdotes before you get to what you’re really trying to say, you’ve lost.” For writers who love controversial posts, exposes, interviews, and more– this is the tip for you (and for me!).
- “Try to write well every single time you write.” I love this tip. From tweets to text messages, status updates and emails, practice your writing everywhere you go.
- Copyblogger’s The Ultimate Blogger Writing Guide:
- “Write in a conversational style.” This might make you say “huh?” a bit, since this post is about breaking you from outside of that. Conversational writing can be strong writing. You don’t say “gr8” you say “great.” Don’t write what you wouldn’t say or how you wouldn’t say it.
- “Be specific.” Such a great tip! Don’t write, “The fabric on these boots is gorgeous,” but try writing “the fabric on these boots have gorgeous leopard print pony hair.”
- “Organize your thoughts. You don’t need a detailed outline for most writing. But you do need to know what you want to say before you say it.” I have a lot of blog posts that are sitting in my drafts, because I have a topic, but I haven’t organized my thoughts for it.
- 10 Things a Blogger Must Check Before Hitting Publish: This site contains great tips that are outside the realm of writing, but are really valuable points for all bloggers (like adding back links and a catchy heading).
- “Sources, Credentials and Related Articles: Never forget to add links and give credits to those blogs or websites” Don’t be an asshole– if someone else has a great idea, inspires you, or you’re writing a response to them, be sure to credit and link back to them. If you don’t, people WILL notice
- “Opening Contents: You must avoid writing off-the-topic and bogus things on the opening lines of your post, specially in the first paragraph. If you do so, many readers will go away from your blog ultimately affecting your blog and its credibility.”
- Ernest Hemingway’s Writing Tips for Bloggers: A little humor to leave you all on and, once again, humor mixed with wisdom.
- “Write the tip of the ice-berg, leave the rest under the water” What a beautiful metaphor for how we should blog. I’ve found that, when writing more in-depth articles, if I try to cover everything in one post, I end up feeling confused and overwhelmed. By writing the tip of the iceberg, you’re opening yourself up to regular series on your sites, as well as more post opportunities.
- “Accept that writing is something you can never do as well as it can be done.” No matter how many editors we have or how many times we revise, mistakes happen. Errors get through. It’s a natural part of the writing process. Damn the Grammar Nazis and go with the most simple and effective writing you can.
- Writing Checklist: While academically focused, it offers great tips, and is a great final checklist before hitting PUBLISH.
- “My sentences begin in different ways.” This is a tip I remember learning in high school and, I find, whenever my writing feels weakest? It’s because I’ve begun multiple sentences in the same paragraph with the same word. It becomes really repetitive if every sentence begins, “This is….” and “This says.”
- “I used strong verbs.” This tip is reiterated many times throughout the other posts, in various ways. Use active verbs, not passive verbs.
- One that is often overlooked– “I have periods at the end of my sentences.” When leaving comments, writing posts– use your comments! Especially for those whose language may not be native to your own, periods really help to establish your train of thought.
Next week I’ll be reviewing Problogger’s Copywriting Scorecard for Bloggers, a 100+ page e-book that takes you step by step through writing and editing your post, making it SEO-friendly, and hitting publish.
In the meantime– any writing tips you’d like to share? Foolproof tips that have helped you bring your C- blogging up to a A?
Image by greg.turner