Mediocre bloggers write mediocre sentences. You, I’m guessing, don’t want to be mediocre.
You want to be great. You believe your blog posts are fantastic.
But you see, everything you write … every blog post, story, article, paragraph … begins and ends with a sentence.
Truth be told, most bloggers focus on facts. Well, a sentence must contain and translate emotion as well.
Here’s a great example:
Yeah, I know that it’s not sure Hemingway came up with this one, but this is brilliant, brilliant writing.
Six words. Just six. And our imagination fill in the blanks. Thinking about the reasons someone would sell baby shoes, if it’s a tragic story, a mundane occurrence, something much more sinister.
So, when you are trying to get people to respond to your requests, follow your blog, or donate … you need to write the kind of sentences that makes people feel.
Here’s how it’s done.
This is nothing more than basic subject and verb agreement: You insert facts by thinking through the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why.
Facts add to the emotional appeal of any sentence.
Your readers like to use their imagination. Don’t insult their intelligence by over-explaining, but also don’t abuse their brains by starving it.
Use active verbs and concrete nouns and you will naturally create images. Use phrases like “imagine this” or “picture this” to signal to your reader you are about to paint a picture.
Ask yourself when writing: what is the dominant mood of your reader? What problem is he or she trying to solve?
You must know what keeps your ideal reader up at night. What are their hopes, dreams, and fears? And then you must know what you want them to feel.
Writing great sentences takes work. A lot of it. Maybe more than what your definition of “a lot” is right now.
Here are some exercises to help you improve your sentence writing:
- Use someone else’s words: Yup. Copy the kind of sentences that are so good they make you stop reading. Analyze them. What is it about them that makes them so good?
- Analyze Headlines, Quotes, and Ending Lines: Go on Goodreads and read quotes on every subject imaginable. Read and write down all the ending lines to your favorite novels.
- Try Twitter: Twitter forces you to say a lot in 140 characters. And you get feedback. Or not. Check for retweets, favorites, and replies.
The more you pay attention to each sentence in your blog posts, the more you will start to notice how the fundamentals of writing great sentences come into play.
And how to get real good at writing sentences that make your readers stop and think and ask themselves how on earth another human being came up with that.
And don’t forget to punch those damn keys.