It’s not easy being a blogger, especially when you start out. You’re throwing your voice out into the void and hoping to hear back more than just an echo. I feel you. I’ve been there. What you need is some good advice. That’s what I’m here to give you today.
My tips are focused on a quick and easy solution that you can start applying today. After all, a lot of the advice out there might be good, but if you can’t start applying it in the next few weeks, what’s the use, right? I mean, who’s got six months to get their stuff sorted? You want results right now! So, here’s my take on what you can do that will start helping you immediately.
Let it cook
Step one is to never just write a post for same-day publication. That’s just never a good idea. You see, when you write a text and are looking to edit it immediately afterward, you’re too close to it to really know what’s going on. It’s the saying, ‘you can’t see the forest through the trees’. And that’s exactly what you’re going through.
One day, two, or three if it’s possible. This will give you distance and let you see your words for what they actually are, rather than what you think they are. I this way you can avoid unnecessary edits, see the mistakes that you’ve made (as you end up reading what you wrote, rather than what you think you did) and generally make your life a lot easier.
Honestly, I don’t know how people wrote thirty, forty or 200 years ago. I can’t write without software anymore. Personally, I swear by The Hemingway App as well as Grammarly. The first one helps me fix my run-on sentences as well as my adjective use, while the second one picks up on the grammar and spelling mistakes that always creep into my work. The best part? Both are free in their basic version. And truth be told, they do a perfect job for me in that form.
Some people think everybody on the internet is competition. That’s a rather negative view of the world, don’t you think? You shouldn’t hold it because in truth there are numerous frenemies out there that will be better off being your ally.
Find somebody that’s close to your niche that you greatly respect and strike up a conversation. Then you’ve got something that you can ask about, who can tell you when something isn’t working and can point out mistakes that you’re making (as long as you return the favor).
Even better, as they grow and you grow, you can consistently and continuously share links and each other’s work. In this way, you’ve got twice the manpower and twice the audience to boot!
Get editing help
Particularly when you’re starting out, you really want to get some advice about what you’re doing right, where you’re using strange sentence structures and where you might be confusing your readers. For that reason, get an editor. There really are a lot of them out there. Perhaps you’ve got a friend you can ask to help you out. Perhaps you’ve got a teacher that wants to help you excel.
Even better, use the person from the other blog to help you out. You can make it an ‘if you scratch my back I’ll scratch your’ kind of thing, where you edit each other’s work.
Do some workshops
Writing isn’t a talent, despite what you may think. Sure, having a writing talent helps, but it takes a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears to truly excel at it. For that reason, you have to work and work at it.
Even better, learn from other people. We’re the only species that can do that effectively and for that reason, we should take the fullest advantage if we can. The best thing to do is to take the occasional course or join a workshop for writers. These, when they’re good, can let you jump miles ahead in your progress as they point out mistakes that you’re making and aspects of your writing that are really worth pursuing.
Read more articles online
This is not the only good article out there. There really are a lot of people that have a lot of interesting things to say. For example, have you thought about how your spacing and your use of the enter key affect your writing clarity?
There’s a lot of good advice out there. What I really suggest that you do is find a website that you trust, where the content is generally of high quality, and to read them religiously. Now, you could just focus on one write and what they’ve got to say about how to get better at writing.
I’d advise against that, however. Why? Because some of what they’re saying is going to indeed be about the fundamentals of writing. A lot of the other stuff, however, is going to be stylistic. Now, the way that you can separate the latter from the former is by reading the opinions of different authors. If one author says it, it’s interesting. If a lot of different authors say it, however, then it’s probably true.
Write a lot
All of the advice above is great. The problem is, it won’t help you much if you don’t actually apply it consistently and continuously. So don’t just think about writing, but actually write. You should be writing five days a week, if possible.
Why? Because you need practice. Practice is what turns the abstract ideas that you read about here and in other blogs into actual subconscious skills that you can rely on to make your writing truly excellent.
I personally write about 4000 words a day. That’s right. 4000. Word. A. day. I didn’t start out writing that much. Heck, there was a time that I couldn’t write more than 500. There was a lot of effort involved to get me to that level.
But by sitting down every day and writing and writing my word-level crept up. Now, I can write a 100,000-word book in less than a month and still have time left over to do other things. You think that’s crazy, right? It isn’t, though. It’s just practice. And you can get there as well if you put in the hours.
Writing is like chess. Sure, if you read lots of chess books and study other people’s games, you’ll get better. At the same time, that will only get you so far. You’ve got to put in the hours if you really want to excel.
For that reason, keep going, keep working and keep blogging. Sure, you might not have that much of an audience today, but it will grow. And so will your skill. Keep that up for long enough and sooner or later you’ll be one of the stars in the blogging filament. And then it will be you giving other people online advice about how they can stop worrying and stop writing.
(Oh, and a final admittance, in truth the worry never really goes away – it just becomes something that you manage to control, nothing more.)
Contributed by getgoodgrade.com