In the history of the written word, blogging is relatively new. Yet, most of the same old rules and principles still apply.
It wasn’t bloggers who invented clickbait, but rather newspapers. Guess it was called differently back them, but still…
If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, or some rules to act as framework to help you punch those damn keys, you’ve clicked on the right article.
Here are a few tips from the world’s greatest writers.
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.“ — Elmore Leonard
It sounds like such a clever sounding, yet useless advice, until you think about it for a while. Elmore Leonard instructs us, in 8 simple words, that we should write in a way that sounds natural, that we should write in a conversational manner.
If the words you use make for a bad reading experience, no matter how beautiful they seem to you, you are not going to make a lot of friends in the blogging world. Quite the opposite, you will be alienating people.
“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner.” — Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Anyone can blog, but in order to be a phenomenal blogger, you’ve got to be willing to be vulnerable.
You’ve got to have the courage to write about the often painful and humiliating experiences of life, to share knowledge and wisdom, to spread strong and positive ideas, to write about the things that truly matter.
Blogging is not about writing what your cat had for breakfast.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” — Stephen King
Instead of waiting for inspiration, go after it.
Phenomenal bloggers know this, so they don’t allow themselves the luxury of excuses.
Inspiration is the side-effect of taking action, not the other way around.
It doesn’t matter whether you feel inspired or excited or not. You’re a blogger, your job is to punch the damn keys, so punch the damn keys.
“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.” — Mark Twain
Before you start punching those keys, and perhaps in order to be able to do so, you must be clear on what you want to say.
Your article must take readers on a journey, both emotionally and story-wise. It has to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. You must share ideas with a clear purpose.
What do you want your readers to do after reading your article? Why? What’s in it for them? What clear and actionable steps towards reaching their goals do you provide?
Does your article inspire others to take action?
It’s a bit ironic, but great blogging is about impressing yourself and expressing an idea that is valuable to your readers at the same time.
“You must have stamina. In other words, you must be able to stick to what you are doing and never give up, for hour after hour, day after day, week after week and month after month.” — Roald Dahl
If you want to be a phenomenal blogger, you can’t write only when you feel like it.
Writing is not a one-time thing, it is a commitment for the long haul. It demands of you that you sacrifice by being patient, by investing a lot of time and energy on a daily basis.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
It takes time to build an audience, to build a portfolio of content, to get your readers to trust you.
And you can only do so if you’re willing to approach blogging with the clear intent to play the long game, to treat blogging as a marathon, to force yourself to show up, even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to.
“When was writing ever your profession? It’s never been anything but your religion.” — J.D. Salinger
All phenomenal bloggers know that sharing their thoughts and ideas is not just another job. It’s a calling.
You choose it, but it also chooses you. You become a blogger, but you are also a born-storyteller, a person with a strong inclination to express themselves via the written word, which they appreciate, respect, and admire at the same time.
Words can have an impact on the lives of others like nothing else, and thus it’s our responsibility to handle them with care.
After all, it is stories and ideas that hold this universe together.
“The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week — it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing, and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done.” — Ray Bradbury
One of the most controversial topics when it comes to blogging is the age old debate of quality versus quantity.
As we argue about it, we often forget that we develop the skill to write quality content by writing a lot.
Quality is the side-effect of quantity.
If you want to become a phenomenal blogger, write often. Publish your content. Learn from the feedback you receive.
Aim to write and publish at least an article every week.
You can’t write 52 bad articles in a row. It just can’t be done.
“There is nothing new in art except talent.” — Anton Chekhov
There’s nothing new under the sun. Everything that we can write about has been written about at least a dozen times before we were even born.
But the point isn’t to create something no one ever thought of writing into existence, the point is to make those ideas our own.
Phenomenal bloggers write like themselves. They share a bit of themselves, they share their experiences, they share the bad advice that didn’t work.
I’d say that talent is the sum total of all these small efforts:
- The courage to write your truth.
- The ability to be honest with your readers.
- The confidence to write about your failures.
- The desire to share content that truly adds value.
You don’t have to be original, you just have to be brave enough to write like yourself.
“You asked me about writing — how I did it. There is no trick to it. If you like to write and want to write, you write, no matter where you are or what else you are doing or whether anyone pays any heed.” — E.B. White
Writing an article is not some mysterious, spiritual activity, no matter how many bloggers like to pretend that it is.
The key to writing is simply sitting down and…punching the damn keys.
If you want to write, write. Don’t think, just write.
Don’t waste time wondering whether or not it’s going to be good, or whether or not people will love it or hate it. Write.
That’s all you can control, that’s all you have to do.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” — Ernest Hemingway
Be intentional about what you want to write.
A true sentence is a sentence that has an impact. It’s there for a purpose. It’s there to make the reader feel something, to inform them of something.
Phenomenal bloggers know that a true sentence is clear, direct, and concise. There’s no time for fluff, there’s no time for pretty words that mean nothing.
There are billion such words out there.
“In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person — a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.” — John Steinbeck
If you try to please everyone, odds are you will please no one.
Writing for a faceless crowd often drains your creative output.
On the other hands, if you write for your ideal reader, whether real or imagined, you will come up with far better ideas.
Write in order to help just one person; write to inspire a friend, write as if you were giving advice to a sibling.
Now that you’ve read these tips by some of the world’s most famous writers, don’t just sit there, waiting for the mood to write to hit you.
Punch those damn keys.
Write something you’d like other people to read.
The first step in becoming a phenomenal blogger is to write, to publish, and then, while people are reading your words, you sit down at your desk and write some more.