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How to Take Your Writing to The Next Level

We talk about writing “killer” content and “quality” content like it’s the answer to all our problems. If we could just write the perfect blog post we’d instantly become one of those A-list bloggers, right? But the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for success. Every blog – and every blogger – is different. Instead of focusing on perfection – which is never gonna happen – focus on taking your writing to the next level. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Take Something Away From Your Favorite Blogs

I have a variety of blogs I visit every week and a lot of them have nothing at all to do with the blogging niche. I visit celebrity blogs, political blogs, sports blogs, and some humorous blogs. At first I just followed these blogs because I found them entertaining or informative. But when I started my own blog and was struggling with my writing I realized that I followed all of these blogs because I enjoyed their “voices.

You probably have a few unrelated blogs that you visit, too. There’s no such thing as an undiscovered niche anymore, so what is it that makes you follow one blog over the dozens of other blogs in that same niche? Usually, it’s because you like the writing.

Start paying closer attention to the writing style on the blogs you enjoy, and start implementing some of those techniques in your own writing. And don’t worry about right or wrong, because there really is no right or wrong. For example, I’ve read hundreds of writing tips articles and they all say you should keep your sentences short and sweet. But one of my favorite bloggers writes the most incredible run-on sentences and I love it – that’s how I talk, too.

Be Yourself

I know I’ve said this in other posts but I can’t stress it enough – just be yourself when you write. My favorite author is Stephen King and he’s one of the most prolific writers of all time. I’ve heard the man speak a couple of times and he speaks just like he writes. Stephen King doesn’t try to write like Shakespeare or a college professor. He writes like Stephen King.

The popular advice is that you should write at an 8th grade level but if you’re a nuclear physicist and you’re blogging for other nuclear physicists then that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Again, there’s no right or wrong because each blog – and each blogger – is different.

It’s also impossible to please everyone so don’t even try, you’ll just wear yourself out. Think about what happens when you walk into a group of people you’ve never met. By the end of the day some of those people will like you and some of them won’t. If you try changing your behavior, then you’re still going to have some who like you and some who don’t. You’ll also be exhausted from the effort of trying to be someone you’re not.

Believe In Yourself

Have a little faith in yourself. Quit listening to all the “shoulds” and “should nots” and believe in your ability to engage your audience. If you have that ability to meet new people and make new friends and carry on conversations when you’re out in public then you’re probably a very engaging person, which means you’re probably also a very engaging blogging. Or you could be – if you’d only have a little faith in yourself.

As bloggers we spend so much time focusing on the mechanics that we forget we’re all still unique human beings and it’s our uniqueness that makes us attractive to other human beings. Worry about the basics, like SEO, and then trust in your own ability to communicate and engage with other human beings. You do it out in the real world, you can do it on your blog.

Improve Your Vocabulary

Bookmark the thesaurus or get yourself one of those Word-a-Day calendars and start learning some new words to add color, texture and emotion to your writing. Yes, online readers like you to keep it short and sweet but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull and boring.

Ignore The Rules And Just Start Writing

Personally, I think the best way to take your writing to the next level is just to ignore all those rules you’ve read and just start writing. What would you say if you could say anything you wanted? How would you say it? If you ignore all the rules, chances are you’ll have a lot more fun writing, and your visitors will probably have a lot more fun reading your blog.

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6 Comments (Add one)

  1. Gary Hyman
    Gary Hyman

    Noted that you mentioned the word fun twice – once for the writer & the other for the audience. It’s so important that you have fun with writing. If it ever becomes a chore and you’re not having fun with it then it’s time to do something else. Well written. Great post.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      That’s a good observation, Gary. If working online was not fun for me, I wouldn’t have dropped my day job to commit full-time online. :)

  2. Fernando
    Fernando

    Great post as usual.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      That’s one short comment ;)

  3. Peter Masters (@marketingm8)

    I agree 100%… writing for an audience is probably not the way to go and it certainly isn’t the way to be original.

    Just take a look at the amount of Harry Potter and Shades if Grey wannabes are out there. The originals did really well, why? Because they were original, it’s as simple as that. Whether you write a blog or novels it’s the same, it’s just too easy to copy and it’s boring.

    My 1st novels (luckily) never got published and were completed way before the current self publishing revolution, however, despite their lack of substance and their quality, they were still very original. I still think parts of both novels were also very funny, they just weren’t approached or completed properly.

    My current novel Cut Limbo was written because I had a story to tell, to me, that’s the perfect motivation and the novel took me over 10 years to get finished.

    The genre is crime thriller but it’s a satirical crime thriller. It’s a fast moving story that literally runs from the red light district of Amsterdam to the streets of Manila in the Philippines. It’s pretty violent in places and the two main characters were punks in their youth, so basically, it’s a sex, drugs and rock n roll story, but with lots of laugh out loud moments and plenty of bizarre characters.

    Is Cut Limbo original? Of course it is, it was written for me and my old ‘partner in grime’, if other people enjoy it that’s a bonus.

    Thanks for the article, as writers we’re in a great place right now. I was a blogger for a long while and my audience was significant because I was original and now I’ve moved on to my novel because Cut Limbo was a mission I just had to complete.

    Whether you are writing a blog or a novel, do it because you love it, if you don’t love it take up scuba diving or chess instead. If you do love it, stay original and read as much as you can for inspiration.

    Good luck!

    Best regards, Peter

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Peter, you’re right. Whenever someone reaches success in a way, some other people will start to replicate the process and expect the same results. The only problem is that they were successful because they were first.

      However, I think you are pushing it a little too far… There were plenty of stories of magic and sorcerers even before Harry Potter and they didn’t do as well as this one. It’s all about timing.