One of the most frequent questions I am asked as an author and writer is, “I would like to start a blog post or write a book, but I don’t know how to get started.” My response is always, “just write” which generates a blank stare in return.
I know the response seems oversimplified, with a fog of rudeness floating just above the words.
Yet wrapped within the two words – just write – is the most powerful advice given to anyone seeking to become a professional blogger, writer or author.
So why are these words so powerful and frequently shared as advice? To become a good solid writer takes time, practice and diligence which requires writing every day. Since junior high, I have written stories, poems, and music lyrics. Six years ago, I made the decision to pursue my goal of becoming a professional writer. To be paid for the words I craft on paper or in a digital space.
I asked the same question. I wanted to know how to evolve from being a hobbyist to a professional book generating writer.
The response was the same – just write. One author said, “spend at least 30 minutes to an hour each day writing. Even if it is crap, write something.”
I felt overwhelmed at first to “just write” even though I had been filling journals since I was 12. To sit down and stare at a blank computer screen felt intimidating. My brain and I sat for long extended minutes of time while I waited for thoughts to arrive so I could type them onto the screen.
In the beginning, my creative flow kicked in around 9:30 pm with ideas and thoughts seamlessly tumbling out of my mind which added to my frustration, as newbie pro writer in training. Where were these ideas at 10:00 am when I needed to write for work? After trial and error, writing became part of my daily habit, much like eating breakfast and going for a run.
Here are Four Tips to Help You Become a Better Blogger and Writer
Keeping a journal is a critical part of the writing process. Purchase journals of all sizes and colors. Small hand size journals are always with me so I can jot down thoughts or sayings. One or two words can become the foundation for a blog post or a trigger point for research for a new book. For manuscripts, I use architecture grade sketchbooks to draft outlines, plot notes, research, and character descriptions.
Writing is similar to training for a marathon as the process must become a daily habit of practice. Test different times of the day to determine when you are most creative and productive. Make sure to schedule time in your calendar to journal daily and then larger blocks of time to write 1,000 words or more.
Our brains need uninterrupted time to craft our ideas and thoughts on to paper. Background music can be helpful. Remember to turn off your email notifications and avoid answering your phone if possible. Stopping and starting brakes your creative flow and focus. Learn to trash what you don’t like. I wrote two different drafts then changed my mind and wrote this post.
Remember – establishing a daily habit of organizing and capturing your thoughts will improve your overall writing.
Editing – Second Most Important Aspect of Writing
Edit, edit, edit, and edit some more. Let your work rest for 24 hours and then review and read out loud to catch typos. I use Grammarly as my second set of eyes.
Know Your Audience and Reader
Marketing 101 – know your customer, client or reader. While drafting your post, think about your customers’ purchasing behaviors and preferences. Are your posts frequently about the company’s latest product or service? If so, too much product information can sound more like a sales pitch and turn off readers.
While drafting the post, consider how the information will benefit your customers. Does the post provide helpful tips or strategies? Periodically share evergreen posts – advice that is always helpful regardless of the latest trends. As a reminder, before you click publish, make sure your post is authentic and engaging.
Most important of all – Remember, to just write.