You want to write enticing blog posts? Think cinematic and learn from the great storytellers. Someone who understands how to make the first few minutes of a film really good is a great person to learn from. Pixar is a good example for great scripting. These are the two terms you must keep in mind: scripting and storytelling. If you are good at both, then you can write about anything and make it beautiful to read. Then people will believe that good writing is magical. Do not care about what anyone else thinks. Make them care for what you believe.
Writing is a very tricky business, though. It involves walking the fine line between fact and storytelling. Finding the right balance between the two can decide your reputation. It also weighs in on how enjoyable your writing is. However, I do not want to sound cryptic. Writing is not magic; it is something that can be taught. That is my opinion.
First, I would like to share what writing means to me. The only crucial information is that I consider myself to be a storyteller, not a writer. I am not reporting to you on daily happenings. Instead, I find myself weaving a story around whatever topic I am addressing. Just like I am doing now.
Whether you write a blog post or the next Pulitzer-winning editorial, you know this feeling. The blank page — physical or digital — always wants to start a staring contest. Rest assured that you will be victorious. Sean Connery’s character says in Finding Forrester, “The first rule of writing is to write, not to think.” I love that quote, because it is simply true. If you want to fill the page with words, then just start writing. Yet you will first have a spark of inspiration. That is what at first compelled you to start writing.
I started writing this article on my tablet in bed, during the early hours of the day. Inspiration can grab you anytime and anywhere, and the beauty of technology is that it lends itself to the process — as long as you don’t let it distract you from actually writing anything. Auto correction, grammar checks, and dictionaries are handy tools that I rely on. This does not negate the most important aspect of writing, though. To become a good writer, you must have a good command of the language in which you are writing. Even after years of studying, I still feel that there is room for improvement.
Words must come naturally to you. For that to happen, you must of course have a rich vocabulary. There is no shortcut around this one. If you do not have fluency, then your texts will never be as beautiful as they should be. First you need the vocabulary, then you can capture the reader with your words. Beyond that, you have to be honest in your writing.
For three years I studied writing in theory and in practice. Thanks to a miracle, I graduated with a bachelor degree in creative writing. Since then, everything that I learned about telling stories I have been able to use. Like I said, this especially holds true online; storytelling is the ‘magic’ weapon I yield. With it you should be able to kindle an emotional connection with the reader. It also means that simplicity is the complexity you should strive for.
Facts on writing:
- People have short attention spans.
- Interest them within the first paragraph.
- If they continue reading beyond that, you have won.
This might seem an easy three-step how-to, but it is not that simple. To achieve this, you need to find your voice. And that voice is storytelling. (yes, I have indeed begun a sentence with a conjunction. You are allowed to break such rules, unless you are writing for the New York Times.)
So how does one write a perfect first paragraph? Look at how I began this article. First, I opened up with a statement about writing. At the end of the paragraph, I made the claim that there is no magic involved. Grab their attention and never let go until the end of the article. The best way to do that is to make a bold statement. Essentially, I said that not everyone naturally writes well, but everyone can be taught to write well — no magic required.
Practice is the most powerful tool you have. Use it, abuse it, and make mistakes. Through that you will become confident in your abilities, and this will reflect in your writing. First, write with your heart. Spill all that emotion on the page. Then reread what you’ve written to give it a more polished voice. If you get stuck, do not invest too much time in finding the right words. Just do yourself a favor and delete the problematic passage, then start again.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is a helpful little book that I have read a few times over. It contains the most important rules of English. You can click on the title to buy it from Amazon, but if you Google the book title, you will also find the text as a free e-book or HTML file.
Do you write? What are your tips and tricks to getting the job done? Share them in the comments and let us know!