Like most successes in life, no one becomes a good writer without a great deal of hard work and determination. Jeff Goins describes the difference between good writers and bad writers with one word: perseverance.
A good writer does this: works long hours, takes criticism, edits, rewrites and stays committed.
When it comes to blog writing, it’s important to be effective. That means knowing your audience extremely well and giving them the goods. You should write what interests them and keep them wanting more.
In order to be effective, you must attain a certain level of fluidity in working with the basics of writing. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, rhythm, focus, syntax and structure are all necessities of constructing clear, sensible content. Learn the rules first so you can break them later.
You should always have your work edited and ask for feedback or critiques. This advice is vital. It can be difficult to continually edit yourself. After a while, the words just start jumbling together. An outside perspective can really help find some mistakes you might pass over.
Read as much good and bad writing as you can. You must immerse yourself in the language you want to emulate and be able to notice language you don’t.
Don’t worry if you feel you’re no good. It doesn’t matter as long as you realize that your writing needs improvement and you are making the necessary changes. I had a soccer coach once tell me (when I was ten) that knowing you’re bad is the first step to getting better.
Some of the best writers have had their doubts. Look at an excerpt of a letter from legendary copywriter David Ogilvy where he refers to his writing as appalling. This letter is pulled from the pages of The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners.
April 19, 1955
Dear Mr. Calt:
On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:
1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.
2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.
3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.
4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.
5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every conceivable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.
6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.
Take a deep breath and work hard. Write and read as much as possible. Stay strong, positive, and keep writing everyday.
At this point I’ll take my own advice and ask for any feedback. Let me know what you think.