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Write with a Knife

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September 3rd, 2009
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Blogging Essays, brainstorming

How to Write with a Knife: I have been a big fan of CopyBlogger for some time and I try to read their articles as often as I can, though not as often as I would like to. The above article, followed by another one in the series called “Do Long Blog Posts Scare Away Readers?“, have some really good advice for bloggers. I have implicitly tried to follow some of them because my past training and weakness for the English language, but having them spelled out succinctly is really helpful (I already caught myself making one of the mistakes mentioned in the article, can you tell which one?).

In addition to the above suggestions, I would like to add a few of my own. Please feel free to add others in the comments.

  • Make your titles short, sweet and eye catching. Long titles lose their punch.
  • Proof read. As Michelle says so well, write for yourself and then edit for your readers.
  • Don’t be afraid to type it out and read it aloud. Sometimes a blank slate can be vanquished with a quick swipe of the brush.
  • Punctuate and format. Big blocks of text are easy to gloss over and lose interest in.

How much time do you spend on average, on writing a post?

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Comments

  1. Jeff Chandler (171 comments.) says:

    Good common sense tips. There is a wide range of time slots it takes for me to write a post. For example, my history of WordPress.com frontpage post took me about 3 hours to write, thanks to research, writing, and images. Other posts have taken me 5 minutes. I have to say that the best blog posts are the ones that seem to write themselves. When it all just gels together from head to hand. Doesn’t happen often but I love when it does.

    I think the biggest risk in blog post writing comes from excitement as well as breaking news. Not much you can do other than sit there for at least a period of time and edit things as new information comes in.

    Also one thing that helps out a lot is to write a post and schedule it to be published at a later time. Before it goes live, proof-read it then as I often find the mistakes of writing something at 3AM :)

  2. Michael Hendrickx (1 comments.) says:

    Couldn’t agree more, when I am about to submit a blog post, I save it as a draft (avid WP user here), and do something else for a few minutes. Then see the preview if it looks aesthetically good, and makes sense from a writing points of view. (Not mixing present and past tense), then I hit submit.

    Often, I see myself editing the post another 2 or three times though.

  3. Bryant Smith (7 comments.) says:

    This was a very good piece of advice in my opinion: “write for yourself and then edit for your readers.” I often don’t edit, and just post… and I know that is a horrible habit.

  4. Milan (17 comments.) says:

    Writing a post usually takes me about half an hour.

    As for editing, I agree entirely. Taking care with spelling, syntax, grammar, etc is an important way of showing respect for your readers.

  5. Ed Sutherland (1 comments.) says:

    The challenge for blog writing is also its main attraction: the role of publisher, editor and writer reside in one person. The publisher is focused on money, the editor on accuracy and the writer on communicating with an audience. Balancing all three invariably leads to one role dominating the others.

    Good blog writing is impassioned. Better writing communicates that passion. The best blog posts are communicate passionately and accurately. For blog writers who are also their own editors, this is a struggle. My best blog writing comes only after I’ve stepped away from the keyboard, allowing the passion of the moment to give way to insight. Although we feel we are writing words that must be told now, frankly, much of the information is already available. What becomes important then, is our individual insight, our ‘spin’ on already-known facts. That is at the heart of blogging and how blog writing can improve.

  6. rocksea (1 comments.) says:

    I write them up as drafts in my own way, then after some days or weeks preview them as a reader, do the modifications, and post it. Or may be keep for some more time, and repeat the steps until it is fine to post. This method doesn’t hold for “news” items though.

  7. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    I’m best known for my lengthy posts. My brother inlaw gave me a good suggestion awhile back to break up my posts into smaller chunks or paragraphs, but I think my long posts do scare people off.

    I write for myself though, not for my readers. I think of blogging as a personal glimpse into my life, and if others want to read it, its there to read, otherwise they don’t have to. I don’t blog for publicity, I blog because I enjoy journaling about things that happen in my life, and thoughts I think about in my head.

    It amazes me though how many people do read my blog. For instance, my medical physician read my blog, and dismissed me as a patient, over something I wrote 6 months prior to the date he decided to dismiss me as a patient. I deleted the blog post after finding out he read it, and was offended by its contents, but still decided to not see me as a patient. Not only that, but his whole office decided not to see me, and his office printed a copy of the blog post and put it in my medical file. I was like geez!! they can do that legally??!! so I am no longer receiving medical care because of it. How sick and twisted this world has turned into, when your medical doctor can read your blog and dismiss you as a patient and just let you DIE based on its contents. That just blows my mind that blogging has become that main streamed in this life.

  8. Fashno (1 comments.) says:

    Great Common sense Writing tips For the Blogges and other I loved they way you talk to readers and write article “write for yourself and then edit for your readers” great

  9. Ali (2 comments.) says:

    Copybloggers are nice guys very informative blog as far as post is concerned i use to write short titles and minimum 500 words article and try to convey my point within 500-700 words . As i am not native English speaker so i need 2 hours to write 1 article of 700 words research also included wel thanks for the post.



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