No matter how you cut it, blogging involves writing. It doesn’t have to be a writing-intensive exercise (Geninne has a wonderfully successful art blog with very few words), but it’s going to involve putting at least a few sentences together for each post and sometimes much more than that.
Writing is a craft just like any other. The more you write, the better you get, although I’m not sure it ever becomes easy. Composing blog posts on a frequent schedule helps, but it’s also a good idea to read what the experts say and consciously work to develop your skills along the way.
(You might also want to check out this post: How to Have a Great Blog Even If You're Not a Writer )
About a year ago I began reading some blogs and books about writing and I thought I’d share a few that I’ve found to be particularly helpful. These resources are not aimed at craft bloggers in particular, but they’re relevant to what we do and I hope you’ll find them useful.
1. Goins Writer
Jeff is terrific at writing about writing. I love his blog because it’s simple, it’s updated all the time, and it’s packed full of honest, useful advice about creativity and hard work. He explains how to write heartfelt stories that show your vulnerability and how to persevere when you feel like quitting. Jeff believes in giving more than you get and I love his approach. I’m enjoying Jeff’s new podcast, too, especially his interviews with Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin.
Carol Tice writes Make a Living Writing, a blog that’s focused on helping freelance writers earn money from their passion. First off, I truly admire how Carol talks real dollar amounts and names names. Her 100+ Websites that Pay Writers post is brave. Carol explores how to get comments on your blog posts, how to share effectively on social media, and how to pitch your ideas to bigger media outlets.
Your writing will improve if you read things that are well-written. Reading James Clear’s blog will help. James writes about motivation, goal-setting, and making new habits (he’s a weight-lifter and travel photographer, too) so you’ll be immersing yourself in great information while also hearing how good writing sounds. Start with his Best Of articles to get a feel for what he has to say and how he says it.
Buffer is an app for automating and spreading out your social media shares, but more than that Buffer has an exceptionally well-written blog full of great information for bloggers. By becoming a regular reader you’ll see how to craft great long-form posts and you’ll learn about all sorts of things like social proof, how to create popular Pinterest images, and the power of storytelling in the process.
This 30-year-old classic book by William Zinsser is about the fundamental principles of writing. He’ll help you avoid cliché and excessive detail and recognize the benefits of editing sentences down to their essence. And he does it all in a very readable, easy way. I highly recommend it.
On a side note, I bought and read How to Write Short a few months ago, hoping it would shed some light on writing great tweets, Facebook updates, or one-sentence teasers for new products, but it lacked practical advice. I can’t recommend it.
I enjoy writing, even though it’s often painful to begin and even more painful to complete, and I’m particularly happy with a post I wrote a few months ago about delegating. I thought the dog washing thing tied things up cleverly.
Are there blogs you think are particularly well-written? Any good writing books to recommend? It’s okay if you have to think back to your school days for this one.