Writing tips

Challenge Yourself to Write in Weird Places

Having a designated writing space (especially when you’re working from home) is important. However, writing in different places from time to time can spark creativity. Give it a try.

Find Your Unique Voice

Serious question: If we all listen to the same experts and we all follow the same writing advice, how is it possible for anyone to stand out from the crowd? The trap many aspiring authors and writers (especially young writers) fall into is they believe if they mimic a famous author or writer, they’ll be popular too. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a no-win proposition. Even if you succeed, you’ll be indistinguishable from all the other parrots out there. There’s only one you. You have unique DNA. Your hopes, thoughts, and dreams are unique. Even the face you make when you accidentally walk into a spider web is unique. Want to stand out? Develop your own writing style. When you sit down to write, tap into what makes you… well, you.

Just Open the Darn Document (Then Keep Going)

Oftentimes, getting started is the hardest part about writing. So, start small. Just open the Google Doc or Microsoft Word document. Then write your first sentence. Momentum will take it from there.

Keep an Obsessively Detailed Log Book

Record details of your writing sessions in a notebook. After a few weeks, look for patterns. Are you more effective writing in the mornings? Afternoons? Evenings? Are you better writing after your first cup of coffee or your fourth? Find the method in your madness and use it to become a better writer.

Sleep With Your Readers

Remember when I said subheads should create curiosity? This is a good example. What keeps your audience awake at night? What has them tossing and turning at 2 o’clock in the morning? Answer this question and then write about it. Follow this one writing tip and you could (almost) ignore the rest.

Learn SEO (Like a Boss)

Whether you write for yourself or as a hired hand, being able to create content that ranks on Google is a valuable skill. (In fact, if you’re a freelance writer, companies and agencies will happily pay you extra for this skill.) Consistently ranking on Google doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when you understand the basics of SEO — keyword research, user intent, UX signals, etc. — and purposefully create content with SEO in mind. If you already know the basics of SEO, you have a leg up on the competition. And if you don’t know the basics, you need to learn them. The sooner, the better.

Master Transitional Words and Phrases

Do you want to keep your readers glued to your content? Want your posts to be so effortless to read people can’t help but absorb every word as they glide down the page? Experienced writers are meticulous about making each sentence flow seamlessly into the next, and they use transitional phrases to help make it happen. If you want people to read your writing, from beginning to end, you need to do the same.

Write with Clarity

It doesn’t matter if you’ve banished the dreaded “passive voice” and your content oozes active voice. It doesn’t matter if you’ve put every comma and semicolon in just the right place. Heck, it doesn’t matter how amazing, profound, or revolutionary your ideas or word choices might be. If you can’t express your thoughts in a clear, coherent way, you might as well have written your words in an ancient language no one understands. Ask yourself this question: Could I explain my content to someone in one sentence? If the answer is no, your work is probably too complex. It’s time to simplify.

Be Funny

Some writers won’t like this, but… Your content can’t simply teach — it needs to entertain too. Or, to put it bluntly: If you don’t entertain while you inform, your audience will find a great writer who does. Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can make your content more interesting and entertaining. The easiest way (and my favorite)? Sprinkle in a little humor.

Kick Writer’s Block in the Buttocks

When you’ve been staring at a blank page for what feels like hours, writer’s block can seem insurmountable. It’s not. Successful writers have a collection of tried-and-true techniques and writing prompts to bust out whenever writer’s block starts to rear its ugly head — techniques ranging from turning off tweets, LinkedIn, and other social media to asking Alexa to play “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers. If you want to be a better writer, find a writer’s block technique or two that works for you.