Practice makes perfect they say. If only this applied to blogging. Every post we publish would get more views and comments than those that came before it. Every time we put pen to paper the words would flow more easily. And with every draft would come less editing….If this holds true for you then give yourself a big pat on the back!
But, in my experience at least, the reality is different – practice helps – but it doesn’t make perfect. Some days, some moods or some topics just make for difficult writing. This is especially true for me with the introductory sections of blog posts – typing a recipe (ingredients>method) is easy – but setting the scene and engaging your reader from the first sentence can be tricky. On these occasions the will to write can be there but the words just don’t appear.
That’s why when I came across these 21 tips from two experts I couldn’t help but share them. They were conjured up way before the first blog post (and even the internet for that matter) was conceived – but they have truly stood the test of time. And the value of these tips goes way beyond blogging – they’re equally as relevant if you’re writing a letter, an email or dare I say it even a novel!
21 Tips for Successful Blog Post Writing
Tips or tricks. Hints or principles. Whatever you call them I’m sharing wise words from two writing greats. Consider them the next time a blog post takes you to an ‘almost throw in the towel’ moment.
Ad Tycoon David Ogilvy (1911–1999)
Called the ‘father of advertising’ and the ‘original Mad Man’ he’s the advertising guru who told staff: ‘Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.’ Here are David’s 10 rules to write by (see my top picks in bold):
- Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
- Write the way you talk. Naturally.
- Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
- Never write more than two pages on any subject.
- Check your quotations.
- Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
- If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
- Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
- If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
Writer Henry Miller (1891–1980)
An American writer whose writing routine included 11 Commandments (again see my top picks in bold):
- Work on one thing at a time until finished.
- Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
- Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
- Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
- When you can’t create you can work.
- Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
- Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
- Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
- Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
- Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
- Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.