It’s one thing to simply post to a blog, and other thing altogether to really write for it — the kind of writing that feels like genuine content, arresting the eye and kindling a fire in the mind. Serious blog writing takes the same degree of skill, persistence and old-fashioned hard work as any other form of writing. It’s no wonder, then, that bloggers and SEO writers can benefit from the same basic writer’s resources that can help novelists, playwrights or other content writers. Here are a few suggestions for resources that can help boost your blogging efforts:
Once upon a time I would have recommended that you keep a good, solid dictionary and thesaurus on your desk, but in this digital age you can simply bookmark the Merriam-Webster Dictionary or other authoritative resources. But your desk should hold a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. This evergreen classic has helped prevent countless writers from embarrassing themselves. When in doubt, check it out.
The Creative Library
When you face a writing challenge, either in your blog or in any other project, it’s comforting to have ready access to other writers’ advice and experience. You might start with Zen in the Art of Writing by the legendary Ray Bradbury. In this short tome Bradbury touches on everything from how he launched his writing career to some of his maxims for staying productive (including the famous command, “DON’T THINK!”). If you feel paralyzed by fear when you sit down to write, take a moment to leaf through Ralph Keyes’ The Courage to Write, which illustrates how several famous authors overcome their fears, psychological traumas or other impediments to their writing.
If you’re thinking of expanding from blogging into general copywriting, you’ll enjoy Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Writer, which serves up a generous platter of practical tips on how clients hire writers and writers find clients. If you want to amplify the impact of your words, check out Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale. While it tends to focus on how to craft compelling sales letters and direct-mail copy, these advanced techniques for grabbing and holding the reader’s attention can enhance any kind of persuasive writing.
Today’s professional writers have some marvelously helpful software applications to choose from. Scrivener, for example, allows you to create an individual piece of work, such as a blog post or book chapter, and then drag and drop these bits around inside larger project folders. This Mac program (which now offers a beta version for Windows as well) makes it a snap to collect your blog posts into a larger manuscript or simply keep them organized. If you need help focusing, try WriteRoom (for Mac OSX) or Q10 (for Windows). Both of these programs give you a plain, full-screen “blank page” that allows you to think about writing and nothing else. If you struggle with productivity problems, you might benefit from the Pomodoro Technique. This training and self-timing program, which forces you to take regularly scheduled breaks, can help keep your brain sharp and your body relaxed during lengthy writing sessions.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, but now you can see just what a wealth of informational and practical resources await you. So hit your local bookstore, get to Googling, and start your building your very own “toolbox” today!
William R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.