I’m definitely by no means an expert but writing blogs is something that I’ve come to really enjoy over the past year… funny the effect lockdown has on you! There are many, many different blogs out there with tips on how to write a blog (I’d probably go ahead and read them instead ha!) but I just wanted to share my thoughts as a new blog writer and what has helped me put pen to paper, or words to a Google Doc, over this past year. Here are my five top tips:
- Write about something that genuinely interests you. A trap that I have fallen into quite a few times is writing about something that I think other people will find interesting, and as I write I tend to hit a wall. When I’ve given myself the freedom to write about something that I feel really excited about, whether that be a book I’ve just read, a podcast I’ve just listened to, a conversation I’ve just been a part of, or an experience that I’ve just had, writing off the back of this is always more fun and enjoyable, and they always end up being better articles.
- You don’t have to be an expert. A blog is not an academic paper and there is a 99.9999% chance that you won’t be paid for the article that you’ve written, and it won’t make you famous. Let that give you freedom. An article will not be perfect, the same way that a conversation that you’ve had won’t be perfect. And chances are that if you wrote the same article on a different day, it would turn out completely differently… and that’s ok. For me, the comedians that I find the funniest are the ones that can articulate the everyday stuff, the everyday stuff is what resonates with people. It’s the same with blogs. Not all blogs have to entail a worldly message, not unless you feel like it on that day that is!
- Jot down ideas of things that you might like to write about as they pop into your head. Writing them down on paper and then thinking about them does magical things. Much like it seems to be that clarity dawns upon us when we’re on the toilet or having a shower… weird how that happens! Ideas need room to breathe and to formulate. Sometimes you’ll have days where you can just sit and spill it all out in a Word document, and sometimes you need time to connect the dots in your mind. You can always leave an article and come back to it and not every idea will be a good article. Make mistakes with your writing and make them often, it takes away the paralysing fear of perfectionism.
- If you are tying yourself up in knots just to understand what you are trying to say then ask yourself ‘what is the message that I want to share’. Blogs can be how we communicate our thoughts, but also it can help us process and make sense of what we really feel about a topic. Keep bringing it back to this question when you’re getting in a muddle. Simple is better. Remember you don’t have to write every single thought that you’ve ever had in one article and chances are, if you can’t follow your train of thought then no one else will be able to either. Perhaps jot some bullet points down before you start writing so you can start to visualise what you want to say and delete anything that doesn’t quite fit.
- Make your opening and closing paragraph strong. The opening paragraph will determine if the reader is going to invest their time scrolling through your article, and your closing paragraph(s) is where you give your reader your take home message. Much like when you watch a movie, these parts are the attention grabbers. For me, I have found that stories are powerful (we live in a world of data but stories slow things down for a moment) and I ask myself if there is a story that I can tell that illustrates what I’m trying to say. This allows me to bring myself to the article. I’m not a robot, I’m a real person and I want to bring that to what I write.
I’m not sure if that’s helpful but I hope at least it wasn’t painful to read! Take the things that work for you and discard what doesn’t – build your own toolbox and swap out things when they get rusty!
Most of all enjoy the process – your articles will always be so much better when you do!