Beautiful photography and a pretty template are undeniably important. They're what will initially draw me to a blog. However, good writing is what really what drives me to stick around. Ultimately, this blogging thing is about finding someone that we connect with. Writing has the power to do that. So for the third installment of Blogging Building Blocks, Chaitra and I had divided up the topic of writing into two sections – tips on writing from a structural/grammatical standpoint and tips on creating good content. I'll be taking the former. Grammar lovers unite!
1. Design a structure before you start writing
I find that if I start firing away without a plan things can fall apart. Instead, what works best is first to conceptualize a clear idea of what message I want to get across. Then I jot down every detail I want to say in note form. After that I order my notes. That way I can see what points would naturally flow into one another.
2. Think about what kind of layout works best
If you're writing a tutorial, a numbered list would likely work best for example. However if you're writing a heart felt piece on a difficult topic, it might be time for paragraph form. Think about what style would suite the content and make it easiest for the reader to engage.
3. Use headings
Having just said what I said, generally it's worth breaking up your writing and adding headings. Sometimes huge blocks of writing can be intimidating. Seeing things broken up into smaller sections is more approachable. Plus, as a reader, it's nice to be able to look at a heading and quickly see what it is that's about to be expanded upon.
4. Careful not to overuse words
This is something that I find challenging. Usually when I finish the first draft of a post, I'll look over it and find about 10 “really's” and 20 “actually's.” I have certain words that I constantly slip in without noticing and I bet I'm not alone in this habit. Overusing words is one of those things that subtly detracts from the quality of writing. Variety is the spice of life people!
5. Use transitions
Something that can help to make writing flow seamlessly is transition words. They allow one idea turn into another without feeling too dumpy and obvious. Working in words like “moreover” or “furthermore” (or something slightly less pretentious sounding) will keep that effortless flow going.
6. Check your grammar
Okay, yup, grammar Nazi here. Bad grammar can really annoy me. That might just make me a jerk, but still. Sentence fragments, misused commas and run on sentences stick out like a sore thumb. Additionally I notice when people use the right “your/you're” and “its/it's.” It's easy to accidentally type the wrong thing when you're in a rush, but going back over your work will help you catch little errors like that.
7. Give it a day
Expanding on the point of checking back over your work, I notice that if I write something, give myself a good nights sleep, then look back over it the next day, I'll have a much fresher perspective. I'll notice the overused words and grammatical errors more easily. I also have a better sense of whether or not the whole piece gels well.
Don't forget to check out Chaitra's tips on content creation. She constantly puts out outstanding content that's incredibly popular on Bloglovin'. If anyone is worth listening to on this subject matter it's her.