Blogging for the Faint of Heart
Sitting down in front of a stark white computer screen is daunting. The thin, blinking line in the top left of an empty page is a reminder of the journey ahead: hundreds of words and thousands of keystrokes, all to fill a single page. And each of those words must be carefully chosen to convey just the right thought. Yikes, talk about “blank canvas syndrome.” Below are a few steps for taking a blog from concept to completion.
Write What You Love
While it’s tempting to reiterate the old maxim “write what you know,” for purposes of blogging, it really boils down to writing about things you’re passionate about. The odds are that you’re not sitting down to publish a medical study. Rather, it’s likely you want to write about something of interest, whether or not you’re particularly well-versed in that field. Knowledge comes from practice, and by writing (a form of practice), you are forced to encounter the occasional roadblock. These roadblocks are can be overcome through learning. So rather than writing about something you are an expert in, write about a subject that you’re passionate about. Knowledge comes as a result.
Craft the Title
Most of us would agree that an author is best served by writing a novel’s content first, rather than its title. But with shorter length mediums like articles and blogs, coming up with a title first can provide direction. Provide challenge. In that way, a title is like a hypothesis: after being stated, it must then be proven true. The title is a jumping-off point from which you can craft your blog. And what you write should turn out to be slightly different than originally intended, the title can be adjusted to reflect the blog’s message.
It’s much easier to get from A to Z if you know where all the little stops along the way are. For that reason, it’s highly recommended that you draft an outline of what you’ll be writing. Break up your blog into different sections with the use of headings. Imagine reading a several hundred page novel containing no chapters, just one large body of text with no markers along the way. Sounds a bit unnerving, right? Headings are a bit like rest-stops along the way, telling more about the area you’re at.
Flesh It Out
Once you’ve created an outline, some would argue that the most difficult stage is over; it’s now simply a matter of elaborating. Writing is an organic process; don’t be afraid to jump from place to place. If you’re feeling a bit bored writing one area and are excited by the next, go ahead and shift your focus: just remember to come back to the previous area later.
Support your ideas with facts and examples. Or perhaps you’re blogging from your own perspective, giving your personal opinion. Just be sure to convey your ideas in a clear manner and explain your reasoning. Don’t worry if everything isn’t completely perfect, you’ll have time to make changes later. For now, just write.
Refine, Refine, Refine
Now that your blog is done, take a break. Too long staring at the same blog, and you’re likely to miss mistakes that would be readily apparent to others. So take a few minutes to grab a coffee and come back later. Now, refine. Check for silly spelling and grammar errors that you missed the first time around. Read your blog out loud to check for the parts that sound clunky. And finally, kill your darlings. Quite simply, that means to get rid of the fluff, the filler content. The stuff that sounds nice but doesn’t actually contribute any meaning to your blog. Identify it and cut it.
Pat yourself on the back. You’ve done it: you’ve created a blog, from the idea stage all the way to the finished product. And odds are the journey wasn’t a dreadful as you once feared.