Just typing that title is enough to make my left eye twitch uncontrollably. It physically pains me to edit this post and not change the title as I’m writing. I’m just going to have to ignore it for now. Forgive me for the click-bait title but I had to – in order to drive the point of this post across.
First off, let me start with a disclaimer.
I am not a professional writer by any means. I’ve had some formal training in my professional career for business writing. When it comes to creative writing, I think most of what I have learned is from reading a lot of books as a teen. Even now, I find my own writing style has been influenced by authors I read when I was a wee young lass.
I’m definitely not a WordPress expert either. I only just today realized we can center align headers. I feel stupid.
I’ve already touched on this subject a bit in a post I wrote earlier this week on how I got into writing. But I thought I would share a few things that I have to remind myself of, as I work on my first novel.
So, here are my tips on how to write well.
Decide what subjects you want to write about
For me, this is a constant struggle as the years go by with this blog. I’ve bounced around and hemmed and hawed over what content to put out. My interests are all over the map and it’s hard to focus on one niche. That’s just not me. It’s not how my brain works.
What interests you? Do you have hobbies? Are you a musician? Or an artist? Or maybe you just want to write about life stresses and connect with others who are going through something similar?
Do you like talking about the news or current events? Or are you more interested in debating politics? Are you a spiritual person? Are you a fitness expert or health advisor? What is your intent when writing?
Are you here just for entertainment?
Sometimes your writing style will influence what you want to write about. And sometimes you find that your writing style changes as you learn more about the craft.
(Insert clever Gladiator quote here about being entertained).
Choosing a writing style
This one came easily to me when I first started this blog. I decided early on back in 2019, that the tone would be relaxed and maybe even a little lazy. As I got more practice with WordPress, I got more confident about writing longer and more formal articles. In fact, you can probably see the difference from my first few months of blogging compared to now.
The four most commonly used writing styles are: persuasive, narrative, expository and descriptive. For bloggers like you and me, you might see more of a relaxed style of writing. These writings are referred to as personal and reflective.
In addition to writing styles, there are different categories that your writing can fall under. For instance, a lawyer or marketing professional might focus on business writing. A computer technician might focus on technical writing (same with engineers, architects, etc). A poet or author usually focuses on creative writing. And – you get the gist.
This post, for example, is an informative post to share ideas and knowledge with you from my own perspective. While I am using more formal language in this post, I prefer for my writings to be more relaxed. I’m here mostly for entertainment after all.
Decide what kind of writer you are by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you a casual writer or a more serious writer?
- Do you prefer to write daily diary posts, or do you want to focus on more technical articles?
- What subjects do you want to write about?
- Are you more of an author? Do you prefer writing short stories?
Once you decide on your writing style and subjects, the rest should come easily. Don’t stress early on when starting a new blog or writing project. Like any craft, becoming a good writer, takes time and practice.
I didn’t start off early in life being a professional musician. That came with forty years of experience and over ten years of professional classes. And after all of that, I still don’t consider myself to be an expert.
Write what you know
This is the most important piece of advice I can pass onto new authors. Knowledge is key here. My writing is often inspired by my own personal reflections and life experiences. Most of what you see here in this blog are my thoughts on current events or things that helped shape who I am today.
Sometimes I’ll use sites like Reddit for inspiration. If I’m stuck in a rut, or am looking for a trending topic to cover – I will head over to the popular subreddits and read some discussions until an interesting topic pops out at me. In fact, most of my toxic relationship articles were inspired by Reddit discussions.
In addition to writing about my own personal experiences, I will often draw upon what I learned in my twenty years career in office administration. I was able to work in a lot of different areas of the government until I went on disability leave in 2020. I’ve also studied music for most of my life and have a wealth of experiences and stories to pull from there.
I think when it comes to good writing, authors have a way of drawing their readers in because they write something that is relatable. This skill comes with knowing your target audience.
Knowing your target audience
This tip right here is a key principal in marketing for business. I’ve taken a few free online courses in marketing over the years and it really helped to promote various projects I’ve worked on.
Once you have determined your writing styles and have decided what subjects you want to write about – the next logical step is determining your target audience.
For example, if you’re running a mommy-parenting blog, you won’t want to target your blog to someone like me who is single and without kids. Sure, I might read the blog on occasion if I like the author. But I’m more inclined to read articles on books, cooking or health issues- those things that interest me.
Using the right titles to draw in the readers that you want is crucial. Organizing your posts into categories and using the right hashtags is also key in building your audience here on WordPress.
Do try and avoid click-bait titles like I used in this post. Click-bait titles just aggravate the reader. The same goes for hashtags. Even though I mentioned Gladiator somewhere in this post, I’m not going to use it as a hashtag – or am I?
Find your voice and use it well
This tip is a little harder for me to explain. I’m still trying to figure out my voice and I think it really is a life long journey. As you grow older and adapt to life changes, you may find that your interests change. Your perspective or outlook on life in general may change after a difficult period.
Some people may even grow tired or bored of their chosen careers and make a total switch later on in life. That right there, is something worth writing about. To me, I would consider that to be inspirational writing.
Grief, loss, mourning – these things have affected my moods over the years and it was one of the first subjects that I started writing about. In a way, this blog was cathartic for me. It helped me heal. The more I wrote about these subjects, the more I was able to let go the pain I felt.
Writing can be therapeutic. It’s why I love journaling so much. So, even if you don’t know what to say, or what to write – just start writing about how you’re feeling. Talk about your day.
Did you do anything fun today? Did someone help you out in some way? Did you find something really funny? Or did something make you really sad? Did you create something that you want share with others? Or do you just need to vent about a bad day?
Writing starts with an idea. That’s all you need to find your voice.
I hope this helps you on your writing journey. We all started in the same place – the beginning.