Are you somebody who has talents you’d love to share with the world through blogging, but you don’t know how to write? You are the reason I started The Hopeful Writer.
A lot of my friends and family members could share their cooking, crafting, or fitness talents, but they don’t think they know how to write a blog. I hate the thought of the world missing out on what these incredible people have to say, so I created The Hopeful Writer to help people to feel more confident about their writing skills.
Here are some ideas to get you started with blog writing if you need a kickstart:
Make sure you
really want to do it.
Before putting all the work into blogging and learning how to write better, make sure this is the platform you prefer, and you’re passionate about your topic. Check out this post for the things I wish I’d done before beginning my first blog.
Make a list of every post idea you can think of. Write down your goal for your blog, and try to keep it to one sentence. For example, my purpose for this blog is to help non-writers feel more comfortable with writing. Simple.
When you’re ready to write your posts, follow these steps to create well-written, compelling blog posts.
Have a brainstorming sesh
Start with a headline. Of course, you can change it later, but this can help you write a succinct post.
Then, write out the main points of your post. Again, don’t worry about this too much—just get it out! You can change anything later.
When I started to brainstorm for this post, it looked a little bit like this:
How to Blog When You Don’t Know How to Write
- Make sure you want to do it
- Write how you would speak
- Write down your main points
- Go through and edit
- Google rules you’re unsure of
- Read your post out loud
I added ideas/subpoints under each of my headlines, then elaborated in the form of full paragraphs when I was ready to write.
I often go straight into writing without taking time to brainstorm or outline, but this first step makes the writing process a lot smoother and quicker.
Write how you speak
One common mistake I’ve noticed while editing documents for my non-writing co-workers or family members is language that sounds unnatural or excessively formal. It’s good to use sophisticated vocabulary, but not if it’s stiff or unnatural.
Try to write in a way that resembles how you would speak, minus the pauses, “ums” or “likes.”
Get it all out and don’t look back—yet
Write. Just write. Try to get everything out that you want to say without worrying about how you’re saying it just yet. There’s time to make it better. Anne Lamott calls this the crappy first draft (or something like that) in her book Bird by Bird. Lamott is referring to fiction, but this applies to any type of writing.
Writing without worrying about the technical aspect will allow you to express all the information you want to share. While you’re still getting comfortable with writing, this might be messier than it will be in the future. However, I can promise you, even the most experienced writers don’t turn in their first drafts. Everybody has a first draft that looks different from the final product.
Stepping away from your blog post before editing could be helpful, but I like to do one edit, then take a break (a few hours or a day or two), and then do another edit before publishing the post.
In an article on Problogger, Ali Luke suggests taking these initial steps when editing your blog post:
- Cut out irrelevant or repetitive information.
- Add clarifying information you may have missed the first time around.
- Reorder paragraphs or sections that might be better suited elsewhere.
Time to Get Nit Picky
Those few steps I just mentioned are more of a
Look for weak verbs or phrases. For example, instead of writing, “I was searching,” you could say, “I searched.” Instead of saying, “
Search for the mistakes you make most often. This one is tough because it takes a lot of self-awareness. Search for the words you overuse. I use “will,” “just,” “actually,” and “really” too much, so I’ve started searching my document for those specific words while I edit.
I also tend to leave out words that are essential for the sentence. For example, I’ll say something like, “This might messier,” when I should’ve said, “This might be messier….”
It might take some time to catch the mistakes you make over and over, but you’ll learn your patterns after several times of self-editing.
Scour the internet when you need more help. Don’t worry about recalling all of the buried memories from your 3rd grade Language Arts class. That’s what the internet is here
Read your post out loud.
Preview your work
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could preview everything in life? Sometimes it feels unfair that I can preview my post before publishing it, and I can change anything I don’t like even a year later.
Push the preview button and see how you like the look of your blog post. For me, this usually helps with things like spacing, font size, and images, but sometimes I’ll spot a typo I didn’t catch before.
Publish and try not to fret
Publishing a blog can make you feel vulnerable, but try not to worry about being perfect. You won’t be perfect, and that’s okay.
The more you write, the better you’ll get. One of the best ways to improve at writing is to do it over and over again. Don’t let your insecurities stop you—everybody has to start somewhere!
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your blog writing, check out my FREE email course “5 Days to Better Blog Writing.”
I’d love to hear other questions you may have. Comment below with any questions or thoughts you’d like to share.