SO. We’ve talked about why you should have a blog and what sort of information to include. Now that you have your blog rolling, how do you make sure each post is good? “Good” is obviously subjective here but what I mean is readable, interesting, free of typos, that sort of thing.
In my many years of experience writing professionally, I’ve picked up a few tips and I’m passing on that wisdom to you.
1.) Read aloud
That may sound silly, me advocating that you read what you’ve written out loud, but I promise it works. If you read out loud, you’re more likely to catch typos in your own writing (which is so hard to do!) and you’ll hear if a sentence is awkward. If it’s awkward to say, in all likelihood it’s awkward to read. Why is this the case?
According to a writing forum, “Reading out loud slows you down so that you are less likely to read over a duplicated word and it will be more obvious when a word is left out.” There you go. Reading out loud slows you down and allows your brain space to process. Speaking of slowing down …
2.) Take a break
It’s tempting to try to rush a piece because after all, you just want to get it done, but if you take a break, even for 15 minutes, you’ll come back with fresher eyes. (And a fresher brain.) If you’re able to wait longer, pick up your draft in the morning when you’re more awake. Unless you’re more of a night owl, in which case, pick up your draft in the evening. Whenever your brain is at peak functioning, that’s when you want to write your stellar prose.
Plus, if you take a break, you might garner inspiration and have something new to contribute.
3.) Start over
Eek! I know, I just suggested the worst possible thing! Start over?!? Why would anyone want to do that? I know, but it’s true. Sometimes if you can’t get a paragraph to sound the way you want it to, or your writing feels clunky, start over. It’s easier than reworking the draft like a crusty piece of Play-Doh. I’ve done that numerous times — not playing with dried-up Play-Doh, but rather, I completely deleted whatever I was working on and started a new version. Invariably, the new version was better because the text I’d already written no longer constrained me.
The ideas don’t disappear even if the words do, so that meant the new version will be cleaner and crisper. It’s like sanding wood — the first swipe barely penetrates, but do it again and the wood is much smoother. You want as polished a draft as possible, and sometimes that means scrapping what you already wrote.
What are your favorite writing tips? Let me know in the comments below.