But your interest in what little ol' FriedOkra might have to say on the topic of writing both touched and inspired me, and I spent a few days back in June and July 2007 thinking about what makes the written word come alive for me. I'm not a blogging expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love writing, and I love reading well-written blogs, too. One of the most beautiful things about our community is the unique voice each of us adds to the conversation - our writing styles vary as widely as our hairstyles, and our passions and messages and meanings are joyfully distributed across such a vast array of subjects and perspectives.
Despite the variety of flavors each of us serves up at his or her own personal blog, I find commonalities of style that make writing pop off the screen and into my mind and soul, and I thought I'd share those with you over the next few weeks in a series of quick, easy to digest Simple Tips for Blog Writing to help you polish your own style, add punch to your messages or just give you some simple ideas to make writing faster and easier, since we're all busy and we're all always looking for ways to get things done better, faster.
Here's the first of my Simple Tips for Blog Writing.
1. Know your purpose. Understand why you blog and why you’re writing a post before you begin to write it.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What drives you to write in general, and what has you stoked to write this particular post?
- Who is your audience?
- What will make the post most valuable to that audience? Is it a feeling to which you think they can relate? A lesson you want them to learn?
- Do you want your audience to laugh? Cry? Get up and do something? Change an opinion?
You need to know the answers to these questions before you start writing, and write toward those answers. Having a clear purpose or objective for your blog and each post will not only help you write concise, targeted posts, but also help you develop your blogging voice, or your on-line personality - basically who you are on your blog and in the blogging community.
This first tip applies more broadly, too, to those who are considering starting a new blog. Asking yourself the questions above can help you build a smart, purposeful blog from the ground up, vs. what I've done - created a blog, named it, and then stumbled around for 18 months trying to figure out what to do with it.
But then again, I think stumbling around is an important component of my blogging voice, don't you?
Can you think of a post you've published lately that seemed to write itself? You sat down and the words flowed out of you faster than your fingers could type? And the post grabbed the attention of your readers and elicited more comments and conversation than many of your other posts? That's probably because you knew at the outset of the writing process WHY you were writing that post - you knew exactly what you wanted your readers to hear and why you wanted them to hear it.
In contrast, I know we've all had posts that seemed to loop around endlessly on the screen, took ages to write, and then appeared to fall flat with our readers. Right? Or is that just me? Those posts won't write themselves because your idea's not fully developed and your purpose isn't clear to even you yet. Take time with those "larval" ideas, to make them clearer in your own mind, to develop them more fully before you write and post them. Or table these ideas for further development by typing out the basics in draft posts or in a tickler file you revisit for ideas from time to time.
Tip One is Know your purpose. You don't have to have the post written and edited in your mind before you sit down at your computer (which I'll discuss in a later tip), but you do need to know where you're going before you get behind that blogging wheel.