Writing Advice from Bestselling Authors that Bloggers Should Pay Attention to

Blog writers know the difficulty of composing an interesting post that drives traffic and social media shares. Half of being successful as a blogger is choosing great topics that readers are actually interested in.  But the other half is owed to great writing. A really good writer can make even a really boring topic sound very interesting. Susan Orleans, a celebrated magazine writer who once wrote for the New Yorker, made her debut writing about a flower thief. Like, literally. It was her breathtakingly beautiful writing style that made an otherwise forgettable news piece into an article that ended up being an Oscar nominated Hollywood movie.

Not all bloggers are professional writers, so for many it can be difficult to emulate the styles of famous contemporary writers like Orleans, Gene Weingarten, or fiction authors like Stephen King. The point is to find your own writing style that can intrigue your particular audience. You may not notice it right away, but the people who read you blog will judge it based on how well the content is written. Good writing simply sounds authoritative, even if the writer has no more knowledge in the subject than a high school student. If you, as a blogger, want to improve how you write your posts, then heed this valuable advice from bestselling authors:

Don’t Publish the First Draft

Ernest Hemingway once famous said that the “first draft of everything is shit.” He was very likely referring to novel writing. Novelists spend months and years perfecting their first draft. Blog writers may not have this much time to edit and rewrite every single blog post. But Hemingway’s advice is very much worth listening to. If you are publishing a long or an important blog post, do not publish the very first draft you write. Go over what you have written, and revise accordingly. Do you have blog posts written in the past that you regret now? If you had revised the first drafts, then that would probably not be the case.

Avoid Jargon Words

This timeless piece of advice comes from David Ogilvy, noted writer and also the “father of advertising.” Ogilvy warned against using words like “reconceptualize,” “judgmentally,” and “demassification,” which are commonly found in academic articles. These words would make you look like a “pretentious ass,” Ogilvy once said. He has a very important point. Whatever you write on your blog, it is for mass consumption. So the language you use should be easy enough to understand for everyone. Using jargon words would only make your articles sound incomprehensible to many. Even if you are writing a technical article, avoid jargon words if there is a simple English word available that you can use.

Read the “Elements of Style”

“Elements of Style” by E. B. White and William Strunk is practically the bible of writing. It’s used commonly introductory writing classes.  The author Dorothy Parker once said that the single greatest piece of advice a budding writer can get is to read the “Elements of Style.” The book describes proper use of grammar, and how to keep writing coherent. If you are a blogger with no prior experience in writing, then you should definitely familiarize yourself with this book.

Read What Other Bloggers have Written

Stephen King offers blunt advice, and here’s a golden one: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time—or the tools—to write. Simple as that. Do you want to make your writing near perfect? Then read near perfect writers. As a blogger, this is a must to improve the overall focus of your blog as well. Make some time every week to read what competing bloggers, popular bloggers, and bloggers you like write about. You can be inspired by these, and you can also find our which topics to avoid. Also, you can discern why popular bloggers are thus so by reading what they are writing. Slowly, you will be able to spot the issues with your blog and improve them.

Don’t Hesitate to Make Changes

If you see something wrong with your writing, then change it, according to Anne Enright. She goes on to say that writers should not argue with themselves about not changing things they feel like changing. Bloggers should follow this advice too. If you see something on a blog post you have written that you are itching to change, go ahead and do it. Don’t make up excuses about time and editing and not do it. You are ultimately one of the best judges of your writing. If you are not happy with what you have written, then there’s really no reason not to change it.

Avoid Repeating Common Metaphors and Clichés

George Orwell, practically the father of English writing, once said that a writer should never use a metaphor, a simile, or a figure of speech that is commonly used in print. If you are about to use a phrase that you have seen more than once in newspapers or books, then you should probably avoid it. It only makes you look like a boring, unimaginative writer who is just repeating what others have already said. Try to think of innovate comparisons in your writing. Who knows, perhaps one of the phrases you come up with could end up getting shared around on social media.

Keep on Writing

Maya Angelou once described her writing process as just writing. She would keep on writing, no matter how boring it all is, until the muse visited her. If you are a blogger who feels like you have nothing interesting to say, don’t stop writing. You don’t have to publish it all but keep on writing and the good topics will eventually come to you.

Writing is hard word. It is one of the hardest things to do, according to William Zinsser. As a blogger, you will have to spend considerable amounts of time honing your skills. So, do pay attention to the above advice. If it works for you, follow it. If not, then don’t bother. Because as Lev Grossman once said, “Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.”

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