Confession: Up until a few months ago, I was very self-conscious about my writing style. I would open each new post document with hesitation; I dreaded getting my words on paper/screen in an organized, easy-to-read fashion. I have a feeling many of you who are bloggers feel the same way. You recognize the importance of blogging for your business or for income and you have great content to share, but you struggle getting your words out clearly. So today I'm sharing my secrets for blogging when you hate to write (and if you make it all the way to the end, you'll find out why I became more confident in my own writing style).
Create an outline
Before I write each post, I draft an outline. It's nothing elaborate - usually a handful of bulletpoints with a sentence describing each one - but it helps me see the big picture and the direction of my post. It's also much less intimidating than sitting down and writing out my post from start to finish.
A couple pointers:
- Come up with the title first. This helps you develop a purpose and stay on track.
- Write the introduction last. I used to get hung up on writing the perfect introduction before I ever wrote any of the post content. It's easier to sum up and introduce what you're writing when you've already written about it.
- Use dictation software to get your thoughts down quickly. Sometimes it's difficult to get all of your ideas on paper. Make things easier on yourself by using dictation software to quickly record your thoughts (most Apple computers have dictation software already built in).
- Work around your post. In my art classes, we were always taught to work around a painting or drawing to keep us from focusing on just one area. It's easy to get sucked into the details in one part of a post and miss out on the bigger picture. Guard against this by working around your post, developing and fleshing out all of the different areas to make it well rounded. (Note: This tip might not work so well for class papers, but for blog posts I've found it extremely helpful.)
Write about areas of interest
Writing feels like work when you're writing about areas that you have no interest in. I've found that the more I know about a topic, the more I enjoy writing about it because I'm not struggling to find the words or come up with information. If you're finding it difficult to come up with ideas and you aren't interested in what you're writing about, it might be time to revisit the purpose and content of your blog or come up with new topics that you're well-versed in.
Use a variety of formats
Sometimes writing posts can be monotonous, especially if the format of your posts is always the same. Break up the routine by switching up the types of posts. Create lists, tell a story, give step-by-step instructions, design an infographic. Mixing up the format of your posts is not only more exciting for you; it's also more exciting for your readers. You can also look at it as an opportunity to get creative.
Encourage guest posts
Make the writing load a little lighter every once in a while and get others to do the work for you by taking guest posts! Not only does the free exposure benefit your guest posters, but it saves you the time and stress of having to write a post. While I wouldn't recommend doing this frequently, it comes in handy when you've been writing post after post for weeks on end.
Vlog and podcast as blogging alternatives
Blogging doesn't always mean writing. Take advantage of other blogging alternatives like vlogging and podcasts! These alternatives not only take the writing pressure off of you, but they have the ability to drive an even greater amount of traffic to your site.
Did you know?
- There are 300 hours of content uploaded to Youtube every minute, and over 1 billion unique visitors watch over 6 billion hours of videos each month (source). The number of viewers significantly outnumbers the hours of content, which means that it's a great opportunity to have your content viewed.
- Some predict that 50% of new cars will have internet connectivity by 2025 (source). When this happens, podcasts will be listened to then like people listen to the radio now. There has been a lot of buzz around the blogging industry about the benefits and opportunities of podcasting. Most believe that it will only continue to gain popularity. Now would be a great time to get on board!
Recruit the help of a seasoned writer
Before I hit publish on a post, I have Jake look it over to check for any errors or better wording alternatives (or I read it out loud to him and end up catching the errors myself). If you're self conscious about writing like I was, recruit the help of a great writer - whether it's a friend, parent, spouse, or another blogger - to look over and edit your posts. Not only will it set you more at ease when you go to publish a post, but it will also help improve your writing.
In the past few months, I've discovered that I'm my worst writing critic. I'm stunned and pleasantly surprised each time someone compliments my writing style in a comment or a blog post. I've learned that the way to overcome the dread and fear of blogging is to just jump in and do it. The more write for your own space, the more comfortable you'll get with your writing style and the better your writing will become. Practice makes perfect!