You can read a hundred books on how to be a writer and that won’t make you a writer. The only thing that can ever make you a writer is the act of writing. Studying can teach you how to write correctly, but it cannot really teach you how to write well. Writing well comes from a combination of practice and talent.
I can’t help you with talent, but I can help you with some techniques you can use to become a better writer. The technique I am going to discuss today is the freewrite. I know you have heard about this one, but my version of freewriting is specifically for bloggers and other writers who must create a large volume of quality copy in short periods of time.
I don’t know about you, but between my own blog, guest posts, research and all the other stuff that goes into being a blogger, I don’t have a half an hour to throw away and writing out random stuff I will never use. If I am writing, it needs to be productive.
So instead of all that “no one will ever see this, it’s just for you” bullsh!t, I make my freewrites count. Start by picking a topic (broad, specific, doesn’t matter) and writing down five sentences:
- Most important point you want to make about the topic. This can be a complete sentence or just some notes about your point. Keep it focused, but open enough that you can write 5-7 sentences about it.
- Second most important point
- Third most important point
Is this sounding familiar yet? So far it is a lot like when you begin learning how to write essays. Except, in this case, your topic could be anything from why you think flossing is not nearly as important as your dentist says it is to the history of the Catholic Church. You might need to research at some point and you might be writing pure opinion. This exercise fits any type of post in any niche.
Next comes the actual freewriting part. For each of sentences 2-4 you will take one minute to write down anything you want to say about that point. These are ideas, so don’t waste time on grammar. Keep this at a minute exactly: use some sort of timer and be strict with yourself. You can always flesh it out later, but right now you give it 60 seconds only.
Now that you know what you are going to say and where you are going, do the same for the Introduction and Conclusion paragraphs. Again, when the timer stops so do you.
This next part is very important because it will help you organize and clarify your thoughts – so don’t skip it! If you typed your outline, print it out. Grab a highlighter and a pen. Begin highlighting points you want to keep and make notes about anything you missed. Consider how your three content paragraphs relate and how you can segue between them. Should you change their order at all or do they make logical sense as they are?
Now you have a complete (and hopefully colorful!) outline. Pull up a new document on your computer or grab some fresh paper. This is where the real writing begins. Using your notes and highlights, craft your sentences and paragraphs. At this point, you already have everything you want to say, you can now just focus on how to say it.
What you will find about this freewriting process is that it’s not only a great way to keep yourself organized, it often will also work as a cure for writers’ block. If you know what you want to write about, but you are not sure where to start, breaking it down into simple sentences and then just focusing on each one can really get things moving. It’s okay if you feel like an elementary schooler writing about Florida, the Sunshine State. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward.