My guest post today is the fabulous Erin, author of the blog Erin Margolin. I’ve been blogging with Erin since Theta Mom’s inception and it’s been a pleasure to watch her come into her own both as both an authentic writer and blogger. Today, she is sharing some practical advice to help you get your own writing in great form.
Instead of gettin’ all Shakespearean on you, I’m here to give you some ideas to help you write kick-ass blog posts. While I don’t claim to be any kind of expert I’ve been in Blog Land for a few years now, long enough to learn at least a little bit. I know what I like to read and I know what I like to write. So thank you, Heather, for sharing your space with me today. You are someone I look up to and admire, and hopefully one day I can build an amazing empire as you have!
Top Ten Ways To Create Great Blog Posts:
1. Good grammar is essential to great blog writing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped reading a post because of improper subject/verb agreement, the use of “their” when it should’ve been “there,” or even basic spelling mistakes that can easily be remedied by spell-check or www.dictionary.com. Run-on sentences also drive me batty, especially when there are no paragraph breaks. I get visually overwhelmed and I can’t read it. Chop things up into smaller, more digestible bits. Really caring about your writing AND your readers means consulting your dictionary or even that old grammar handbook hiding in the back of your closet.
2. Shorter posts are very attractive to readers. We’re all busy with our lives outside of Blog Land. If I open a post and see that it’s lengthy, I’m less likely to read it all the way through. There are certainly exceptions to this, but for the most part I try my best to keep my posts brief, two or three paragraphs. Challenge yourself to get your point across in fewer words!
3. Be different, be unpredictable. I’m not interested in your parakeet’s horrible head cold or seeing photos of your children every day (sorry). Dare yourself to mix it up. If you are killing yourself trying to think of something to say, DO NOT POST. Posting daily will not necessarily retain readers. It’s about the quality of your posts, not the quantity, remember? Followers will not disappear just because you skip out for a few days here and there. In fact, if you make them wait, they may get really antsy and eager to see what’s coming up next!
4. Read your post out loud to yourself a few times before you publish. This will help you catch errors and maybe even “see” something you didn’t earlier. Find a buddy or a writing partner, someone you can bounce ideas off of, or someone who’s willing to proof your posts and give you constructive criticism.
5. Read a lot: newspapers, books, magazines, and other blogs. I’ve always thought that reading is the single best way to improve your writing.
6. Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. She talks a lot about writing through the crap to get to the good stuff underneath. Get your thoughts down first, edit later.
7. Keep it light and interesting. Toss in a vlog, a guest post, a Top 10 something, a recipe, even a short story or a poem. Save the drivel in your drafts, please. If you’re scraping the insides of your brain and coming up with nothing, chill out: the world will not come to an end. If people love you and your writing, they will come back. You don’t have to force it.
8. Write the truth, what’s in your heart. Write what you know and in the words of Cheryl @Mommy_Pants, “Write what you don’t know!” In fact, why don’t you check her out @TheRedDressClub where she posts weekly writing prompts. Whenever I need inspiration all I have to do is hop over there.
9. Look at your language. Do you use metaphors, similes, personification? What about your verbs? Did you simply get up? Or did you “jump” up? Did you pop up out of your seat like a piece of toast from the toaster? Or did you clamor over the person next to you and trip over her purse? Bring us into your post with your words. Use vivid description and details to draw us in, make us feel like we’re there.
10. Last but certainly not least: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Be authentic. Be you. Don’t try to imitate anyone else. No one is youer than you (Dr. Seuss). Just relax and let your real self shine through.
Please send me an email if you are interested in guest posting at Theta Mom® for TMC Network. Full details can be found on the Network page.