Here are 10 timeless blogging tips to help you improve style and substance, straight from the pens of humanity’s finest authors.
1. Cut the boring parts
I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard
There’s no point in publishing content that isn’t useful, interesting, or both.
2. Eliminate unnecessary words
Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very.” ~ Mark Twain
People use words like “really”, “actually”, or “extremely” because they think it makes the words more forceful. It doesn’t.
3. Write with passion
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth
If you’re not excited about your writing no one else will be.
4. Paint a picture
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov
Simply stating something is fine, but when you need to capture attention, using similes, metaphors, and vivid imagery to paint a picture creates a powerful emotional response.
5. Keep it simple
Vigorous writing is concise. ~ William Strunk, Jr.
It is most effective to express yourself in the simplest possible manner.
6. Do it for love
Write without pay until somebody offers to pay. ~ Mark Twain
When you’re just starting out it’s hard to decide where to begin. Just start writing. The most valuable benefit is the feedback.
7. Learn to thrive on criticism
You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. ~ Ray Bradbury
Learn to make the most of the insults and distrust the praise.
8. Write all the time
Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. ~ Ray Bradbury
You must commit to writing daily, if not you shouldn’t have a blog.
9. Write what you know … or what you want to know
Learn as much by writing as by reading. ~ Lord Acton
It makes sense to write about your area of expertise. If you don’t have one, reading and writing is the best way to develop one.
10. Be unique and unpredictable
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. ~ Oscar Wilde
Following what works will only get you so far. Experiment with new styles, even if it means taking criticism.
These great authors were penning these thoughts from the 18th – 20th century. Each morsel of advice is just as relevant in the 21st century as it was in their time.
Until the next time…
Scott and Heidi