Writing tips

I’ve been writing for most of my life, so it’s hard for me to analyze what I do. Most of the time I just write. However, even for the most experienced writer, it’s helpful to practice different styles and types of writing, as that’s a good way to improve.

Find your words. Practice writing frequently. Use writing prompts (Write for your life, Small Beauties).

Write for your life is a series of prompts for writing daily reflections and prayers by Merle Feld.

Small Beauties is a practice where you describe in words something beautiful that you’ve seen or experienced (it can be accompanied by a photo but the goal is to conjure the image of the thing in the reader’s mind).

Find your method. Some people prefer to write entirely by hand, some to make notes first and then type into a text editor, others to start with the text editor immediately. Find your preferred tool (WordPress, Word, notebook and pen, the notes app on your phone). You may find you prefer different methods and tools for different types of writing (fiction, poetry, non-fiction).

Find your structure. If I’m writing an article, I often jot down the key points before I start, and attempt to come up with a structure. There are also essay-writing guides available online if you’re getting really complicated. A top tip for blogging and opinion pieces — start with an anecdote from your life that shows why you are qualified to write about this topic, and/or why it interests you. I try to have only one theme in a paragraph.

Find your voice. What’s your style? Formal, informal, funny, anecdotal? Have a look at house style guides that are published on the internet — you can glean quite a lot about good writing from these. Analyze the style of other bloggers: what do you like — or dislike — about their style? Read what you have written out loud. Is it easy to read, or is it stilted? Can you make the sentences shorter?

Review your writing. It’s always a good idea to read over what you wrote before hitting “publish”. Did you miss out a crucial point? Do you need to add links? Have you mentioned anyone by name? If yes, did you get their permission? Have you used someone else’s idea? If yes, did you credit them?

Just write. The beauty of blogging is that it doesn’t have to be polished, and you don’t have to be an accomplished writer when you start; you can learn as you go along. Your writing will improve as you do more of it.

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