The written word has changed a lot over the last couple of decades.
The way we consume words has changed, the sheer quantity of content and the ease of access, and the fact that we are now all interconnected, all of these factors influence the way we write and the way we read.
But the basics have stayed the same. The principles of good writing, the principles of a healthy inner game, the basic two step framework (sit down and write).
Here are 7 timeless tips that, if applied, will help you become a better blogger.
1. Punch the Damn Keys
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”William Wordsworth
If you don’t write with passion and conviction about the topics and ideas that set your soul on fire, you are going to struggle to build enough momentum to become a successful blogger.
What are the things that you can’t stop thinking about?
That’s what the world wants to read from you. So be passionate and punch the damn keys. Write with courage and faith about the things that you wish to see come true in the world.
Words and ideas are powerful. They can change the world.
But for your words and ideas to change the world, you need to let yourself be guided by the words and ideas that matter to you.
2. Keep It Simple
“Vigorous writing is concise.”William Strunk Jr.
In order to write in a concise manner, you must know:
- who you’re writing for
- what are the benefits that you offer your reader
- what it is that you want your readers to do
The more clarity of purpose you have, the more concise your writing becomes.
There’s no need to write for the sake of writing, or to write long posts because you read in some article that 2, 000 word blog posts perform best.
What “performs best” is being concise and clear about whatever it is you’re writing into existence.
3. Don’t Obsess About the Money
“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.”Mark Twain
A lot of bloggers waste a lot of their time being obsessed with stats and earnings. The most obsessed among them are the ones who only blog about stats and earnings.
While blogging enables one to set up various monetization options right from the start, the truth is that, as a beginner, it’s best to blog about something that you’d be happy to write about even if you’d never get paid.
Because in the long run, this will prove to be the thing that keeps you going. When you lose motivation, when you run out of things to blog about, when your income plummets.
Money should never be your primary motivator, because, quite frankly, money isn’t a great motivator at all, even though we all try to act as if money is the answer to all our problems.
If you end up with a blog you hate, with an indifferent audience, and you can’t figure out what to write about next, it’s probably because you sold your soul for a few bucks a long time ago, and now you don’t feel like writing your heart out to genuinely inspire others.
4. You Need to Show Up. Every Single Day
“The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.”John Irving
Quality or quantity?
The most difficult question you can ask a blogger.
Which one is more important? Why?
The truth is that quantity produce quality. The truth is that frequently publishing quality content builds an audience. The truth is that if you only blog when you feel inspired, or when you feel like it, or when there’s absolutely nothing else to do, you’re not going to be successful.
The more you punch those damn keys, the better you become. It’s as simple as that.
It’s the blogger who always shows up, no matter what, who writes thousands of words before lunch, who spends 6 out of 7 lonely nights editing one article after another.
5. Learn the Rules. Now, Break Them
“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”G.K. Chesterton
Rules, tips, tricks, and frameworks tend to become a prison after a while. They form the box that contains what you call creativity, and the truth about the creative brain is that it does not enjoy being held in boxes for long.
The secret to writing brilliant posts is thinking outside the box.
You need to learn the rules, internalize them, and break them if you have to. Or maybe just bend them a bit to suit your own needs, style, and personality.
Those who follow the crowd can never travel to places that have yet to be discovered. The same principle applies to blogging. Sometimes, if you want to create something you can call your own, you need to stop following a map and decide to explore the infinite creative possibilities of a blank page.
6. Be Authentic
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”Elmore Leonard
Authenticity is the new black.
With half a billion blogs out there, most readers aren’t looking for information anymore. They want to read about those who are brave enough to be unapologetically themselves, those who have the gutsto write in a human manner.
What I mean by this?
Write in such a way that it does not make you sound like a boring teacher. Write in such a way that your personality shines through. Write in such a way that it feels like listening to an old friend.
Your readers will thank you for it.
7. Blog for Your Ideal Reader
“Write to please just one person.”Kurt Vonnegut
When it comes to blogging, we often become creatively bankrupt when trying to please as many people as possible.
Having an audience of thousands of readers means that we occupy our minds with how to be please them all, which in turn makes it almost impossible to come up with an idea.
But what about blogging for your ideal reader? For that one person who could most benefit from your words? That one person who’d read your words when they most need them? That one person you wish could be your friend?
This simplifies the blogging process. It gets rid of terms such as, “target audience, traffic, keywords,” and it allows you to write with one person in mind, to offer actionable advice, to inspire, to motivate, to fearlessly share your story, to write your truth into existence.
Blogging with just one person in mind is one of the most underrated aspects of blogging, because trying to please everyone is a sure-fire way to please no one.
Blogging is a simple process. It’s bloggers who often make it seem terrible and complicated.
No matter how we write the words, or how we share them with readers, the same basic principles have always applied.
And there’s a lot to learn from the masters of literature.