Sentences Maketh (A Fantastic) Blog

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.

1. Facts

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.

2. Imagination

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.

3. Emotion

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.

4. Practice

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.

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14 thoughts on “Sentences Maketh (A Fantastic) Blog

  1. Yes it was Hemmingway, and despite being a an alcoholic, misogynistic bastard, he was a fantastic writer. When I was a school librarian I got my year 11 students to read The Old Man and the Sea to show them that great writing does not mean 900 pages.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “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?”

    ~ I am very guilty of this. 🙂 But it is true, it makes me wonder what makes some sentences so powerful and so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Cristian. I always find something to use from your posts. I might add one suggestion for some writers to think about: watch the length of a paragraph. I try to limit the length of a paragraph to about four sentences. It is an old journalism tip, but readers appreciate how shorter paragraphs move the story or article along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the compliment.

      And, yes, paragraphs shouldn’t be too long. Readers, especially in an online environment, don’t have much patience, and when they see a long paragraph, this just makes them quit reading the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So, I have a question. How the heck do you come up with all of your ideas? One would think that there is a finite amount of topics to write about when it comes to blogging, but you seem to bang out post after post. And they’re great posts! How do you do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, yes, they kind of are. The are some main themes, topics, but there are multiple ways to write about them.

      That’s the trick, in a way, and I’ve read it that some even think one should stick to 2-3 main ideas and keep repeating them until they figure out the best way. So one post will go viral because of that.

      Of course, there’s a lot more to it than just that. For instance, I can always connect some dots and come up with a blog post. “The Fight Club’s Guide to Blogging” I mean, Fight Club seemingly doesn’t have anything to do with blogging. But you force yourself to connect the dots. Now, there are quite a lot more options available.

      Oh, and yes, some times I do repost my old stuff, especially blog posts I think didn’t get the attention they deserved. For instance, my most popular blog post, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers, the first time I posted it only enjoyed moderate success. Then I reposted it, and it went viral. It got featured on the Discover Page, and got well over 2,000 likes.

      This is pretty much it. There are some other ways too, such as writing “a best of,” asking your audience a certain question…

      Liked by 1 person

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