March 9, 2017

Even the best writers struggle from time to time in crafting their work. This can be especially tricky for bloggers, who want to produce a steady flow of content for their audience.

Not to worry. Every writer faces this dilemma. Here are some strategies to kick-start your work.

Try the Hemingway Trick for Early Productivity

Ernest Hemingway concluded his writing for the day right as he was hitting his stride. That way, he could plant the seeds for some of his best ideas in the afternoon and reap the bounty the next morning, before he was truly warmed up. It’s worth taking the same approach. If you’re like a lot of folks, you’ll hit your stride midday, after the morning crest of the news cycle has receded. Use that energy to draft a post for the following morning, leading the day’s conversation.

Figure Out Your Key Points First

The internet places a special premium on writing that clearly and concisely lays out its main ideas. Whenever you begin a new post, identify the critical points you want your audience to take away from your work. Write those down. Then flesh them out. Don’t be afraid to use simple bullets instead of crafting a narrative transition between each point.

Answer One Question at the Outset

If you’re like many writers, the opening to your posts will be one of the hardest pieces to get right. To get over that hump, ask yourself why someone should read this. It’s helpful to have an answer in mind as you frame your post.

If You Find Yourself Stalled, Talk It Out

A genuine, informal voice works particularly well in blogging. So if you get stuck while trying to articulate your thoughts, talk to someone. Laying out your points verbally can help you sequence them logically, bring out good analogies and metaphors to clarify them and express them naturally.

Turn Uncertainty Into Curiosity

Bloggers face this scenario all the time: They’ve done a ton of reporting for a big post, but there’s still an element they don’t fully understand or that they don’t have enough information on. Ask those questions in the post. It can be both helpful and interesting to tell your audience what you don’t know yet. And it’s a great way to tap your community for their expertise and perspectives — and stoke their appetite for follow-up posts.

Taken from Developing a Successful Journalistic Blog, a self-directed course by Matt Thompson at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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