With all the visual emphasis on creative blogs these days, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the most important aspects of blogging — the written word. This week’s #crafterminds chat was all about Improving Your Writing Skills. Even if you aren’t a confident writer, there are a few things you can do to more effectively use your writing.
Join us every Monday at 4pm Eastern on Twitter, and again at 8pm E for a 2nd chat. Hashtag: #crafterminds
Quick Blog Writing Tips:
- Read your post before publishing, at least one or two times. It can help to hit the “preview” button before you publish so you can see what it will look like when it’s live.
- My numerous rules about writing a blog entry can be summed up in one word: READABILITY.
- Explain your entire post’s theme in the first paragraph
- Break your post down by using bullet points, images, several paragraphs
- Make sure to use several paragraphs. Too many paragraphs are preferable to not enough.
- Use a readable (non-curly or decorative) font for your body text
- Make use of subheads to help readers scan quickly through
- Keep it casual in most blog writing: like you are explaining it to someone standing right in front of you.
- Formatting: Use appropriate capitals, punctuation, and complete sentences. Usually. If you break rules, do so intentionally and with good reason.
- Keep the look of text plain. Keep text justified to the right (not centered). Use black text on a light or white background.
- Spell check and pay attention to red squigglies in your writing.
- Help readers scan text by bolding key words and phrases (within reason – too much and it loses significance).
- Watch out with underlining – readers are trained to think those are links. Use sparingly.
- Start in an interesting way. Even if your intro is only 1 or 2 sentences, make sure it catches the reader’s attention. BUT
- Get to the point quickly. Although you want to hook the reader, don’t wait too long to say what the piece is about.
- Speaking of intros, go back when you are finished and see if your intro is necessary at all. You might be able to cut all or most of it.
- If you have trouble with intros, save them for last and write then once the rest of the article is finished.
- To strengthen the text of your post, think about what it would need to say WITHOUT photos. Describe your images.
- Don’t assume your readers are familiar with your body of work (or yesterday’s post). Link back if necessary, or repeat basic info in a post (like, “why I use this brand of glue for this type of project.”)
- Edit. Don’t include every photo you took, or every sentence you wrote. Remove excess exclamation points [!], parentheses [( )], and ellipses […].
- Writing a list can help you focus a post. Example: “5 ways to use spray paint” or “10 things I wish I knew before I started knitting.”
- A materials list is a MUST for writing tutorials.
- Don’t psyche yourself out. Good writing comes through practice and consistency. The most important thing is to write, and as regularly as you can.
photo: by flickr user betsyjean79, licensed via creative commons
Check out the rest of the collected wisdom of this #crafterminds chat in the transcript below: