Tuesday, April 4, 2017

10 Tips to Strengthen Your Writing Muscle and Compose Amazing Blog Posts

I love to write. If I could make a living by writing, I'd quit my day job in a heartbeat. For now, I'm happy to have my little piece of the internet and that I have people who read what I write. Readers tell me that they enjoy my posts, and I wanted to share some of the tips that I use to make my blog posts shine. Keep in mind that I'm no expert. Just my two cents.



1. Writing a blog can be challenging. My posts don't always come easily. Have you ever heard the quote: "Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised every day" by Jane Green? Exercise? Don't groan. Would you run a marathon without training for it? Writing is a skill. Just like anything you want to become better at, you have to practice.

2. To keep yourself on track, my advice to bloggers is to set a schedule for posting. Not only will your readers know when to expect your posts, posting on a schedule will keep you accountable. Just like training for a marathon. There's that metaphor again...

3. Stay true to your voice. My favorite bloggers let their personality shine, even when they are writing product reviews, sponsored posts, and running recaps. We as readers should get a sense of who you are through your words. There's nothing worse than reading what sounds like an advertisement for a product or regurgitation of running stats. Make it fun! Be brave, be independent, and be you.

4. When it comes to blogging, my motto is substance over style. I read a lot of blogs and there are so many beautifully designed pages out there. Beautiful photos, the scroll is so smooth...but on so many of those blogs, when I finish the post, I don't remember a thing that I've read. I read a statistic that the average blog reader spends 10-15 seconds on a page. Your milkshake might bring all the boys to the yard, but if you want them to stick around or even return to the yard, you need to make it memorable.

5. On the other hand, don't play the comparison game. While it's important to read other blogs for wisdom and encouragement, it can also be self-defeating. Read and learn from your favorite writers, and then find the confidence do your thing.

6. When you sit down to pen a post, think about what it is that you wish to accomplish with that post. Do you want to inspire? Captivate? Do you have a dilemma that you need to sort out? Some shenanigans you want to share? Or are you stuck and cannot come up with a topic? Writers' block is pretty common for most bloggers. Blog prompts are a great way to kickstart a post. There are plenty of sources on the web with blog prompts. One of my favorites is a monthly Wednesday Word, hosted by DebRuns. Debbie used to host WW weekly and I was a consistent linker. I enjoyed the motivation to try and fit the prompts into the framework of my blog, sometimes with really interesting results.

7. Write quality posts. There's nothing worse than misspelled words or bad grammar--it really messes with your credibility. Proofread your posts before you publish them. Use spell check or even better, use Grammarly. Grammarly is a free proofreading--spelling and grammar-- and plagiarism checker that you can install on your laptop. There's a Chrome plug-in you can install which automatically checks everything your write--even your Facebook comments! It's not perfect--sometimes it tells me to correct things that aren't wrong-- but it's a heck of a lot better than anything out there.

8. Make sure that your posts are organized and focused. If you are struggling with a topic, composing a list of items, like I did with this post, is a helpful method to get your message across.

9. Not only your writing, but your graphics and pictures should be captivating. With all the free photo editing apps out there, there's really no excuse for poorly edited photos. Your food photos should be appetizing and radiant. For inspiration, check out some food blogs where the authors are passionate about their craft.

10. When you sit down to write, if nothing else, remember the KISS rule. Keep your perspective. Celebrate who you are. Be empowered. 

How do you approach writing? Do you love to write? Hate it? What are some of your favorite blogs? Any suggestions I missed here?

In case you were wondering about all the highlighted words, they are some of the word prompts Debbie has given us over the last 2 years! She challenged bloggers to incorporate as many of them into a post as possible. While I couldn't get them all, I'm pretty competitive and I think I was victorious and triumphant! If I was really ambitious, I'd link up my WW posts but...nah....

Besides linking up with DebRuns this week, I'm also linking up with Tuesdays on the Run aka Marcia, Erika, and Patti as well as Coaches' Corner aka Rachel, Debbie, Lora, and Susie.











71 comments :

  1. Great tips. The authenticity part is so key. Write about what you know and enjoy writing about, not what you think people want to read. There are so many posing as experts out there, when in reality they're anything but.

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    1. I think this is key! My favorite bloggers are the ones who let it all hang out.

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  2. So true about a blogger's voice! I've been focusing on trying to write more post that solve readers' problems lately.

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    1. I've noticed that! I think people really respond to that personal touch.

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  3. Great post. I wish I had more time to blog. I have just throw it together sometimes during a break at work. The most important part is to be honest and real. Write about running and your own personal approach to it.

    Love your blog so keep up what you're doing.

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    1. My husband says I spend way too much time on the blog.

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  4. I know I started tomorrow's post before I left, but it might take a different turn after this race. But this time around I am not even trying to work in all the words.

    I think I nail authenticity well -- the only thing different about me in RL is that I'm very quiet, which I'm guessing most people wouldn't guess from my blog, because I do love to write, and that's part of why I blog.

    Grammar? Well, yeah, I can fall down on that one. And photos take so darn much time, sometimes I fail with them, too.

    It's rather rare for me to have writer's block, but sometimes I REALLY struggle to get my point across and I know that I'm also sometimes wordier than I need to be. And all of the above is why I will never make my living from writing. I'm not sure I'd want to. Sometimes turning your hobby into a job isn't actually a good thing; sometimes it is.

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    1. I agree with you--readers get a really good sense of your personality through your blog. Altho my big surprise was how small you are!

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  5. Really good tips! So true about being authentic. That's what I try to do for all my blog posts. I know that I don't have the largest blog, but it's true to me and that's all that matters.

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    1. At the end of the day, knowing that you wrote an honest post is all that should matter.

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  6. Great tips - I like to write and I try to write in my voice vs. sounding like a professional writer...it's more freeing that way. But grammar and spelling are biggies for me; nothing will make me not return to a blog if it's full of errors.

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    1. 100% agree. How can you have any credibility if you don't proofread your post?

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  7. Such great tips!!! For me it's been a huge learning curve and I am constantly trying to improve! I'll have to check out that online checker-- I know that's something I need to work on! Thank you! xoxo

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    1. Grammarly is a great app--even for a grammar nazi like me! It keeps me on my toes.

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  8. Ooooh this is a good one. Nicely done. I don't think I've ever had writer's block, although I'm sure my readers probably wish I had! HA HA! I'm a little bit *much* sometimes. Okay but seriously, grammar is a huge huge huge thing for me. I really struggle through posts that are poorly written, even if the pictures are lovely, even if the layout is perfect--if the grammar and spelling is shits, I move on. OH and one more thing. A couple bloggers I really like? Their websites keep loading up all these advertisements and my MacBook works so damn hard that it burns my lap and makes everything run super slow. It's such a shame because I love the bloggers and I love their writing, but I have to move on. I can't stand it.

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    1. I didn't include the ads in here, but YES! It is so distracting from the content and the message.

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  9. The one thing I don't do is plug-ins, because sometimes the script of plug-ins messes with my browser and makes it run slow, or freeze up. I want to make it easy for people to read my blog.

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    1. I don't do plug ins on the blog, but on my browser they're pretty helpful.

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  10. Never knew about the Grammarly Chrome plug-in. Thanks for the tips!

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  11. This is a great post. Sometimes I get "stuck" -- either writer's block or something else. When something like that happens I just start typing to type and see where it takes me. Sometimes I scrape it three paragraphs in and sometimes I edit it down to something more manageable.

    I'll check into Grammarly! Great tip. :)

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    1. Sometimes I sit down to write a post and at the end of writing, what appears isn't what I intended. But hey, I have to let it flow.

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  12. If I were offering a prize for the best second anniversary Wednesday Word post, this just might win (of course it's the first one I've read). You do have a talent that shows through in your writing and I always look forward to reading your posts. Thanks for being such a consistent "linker-upper" and being so creative!

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    1. Thanks for the inspiration! I so enjoy the challenge of the word prompt!

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  13. I love how you emphasis being true to your voice and who you are - YES! That is probably the hardest part about freelance writing. I often have to write about subjects I can't be 100% honest about or they are just "fluff" pieces. I still enjoy writing them but I really love my blog where I can write anything I want in my own, true voice!

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    1. One of the reasons I changed my major in college from journalism was because I couldn't be true to my voice. I didn't want to just write for a paper--although I never minded doing the research and writing papers for school. It's fun to be creative, though!

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  14. This is fabulous! I was nodding my head and "um-hmmming" throughout reading this. A pet peeve of mine is when bloggers write essentially the same post several times (over the course of a few weeks, none the less). You know...race goals, race day prep, race recap, AND final thoughts of said race. UGH. I also think it's smart to skip a post now and then, especially if you're feeling brain dead. The pressure to write all the time often leads to stale prose....in my ever-so-humble opinion LOL

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    1. !00% agree. I think it's important to keep it fresh!

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  15. Great tips here!! Clearly, I don't abide to any type of schedule, but I think of my blog more as my own little diary/creative space than a blog... I think every blog I enjoy has it's own authentic voice... I feel like I know the reader just by reading their blog:)

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    1. I agree with you on that--it's why meeting bloggers in real life is so easy!

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  16. Yes to all of this. Each blogger has something unique to bring to the table, but when their posts start to mimic other blogs out there I begin to question how genuine the blogger is and whether or not I want to continue reading.

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    1. I haven't noticed mimicry as much as people trying to write for sponsors. That's disheartening to me.

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  17. Good tips about writing posts.... My only add would be to test your own blog out (not signed in but as an outside observer) to see how long the page takes to load and how many popups and ads, etc. are there. Some blogs now take so long to load I am wanting to leave before the post actually appears!

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    1. While I agree with you on that point, this was post more about writing a post, rather than publishing. Although we could do a whole other post just on that! The amount of ads is another pet peeve!

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  18. This is a great post! Writing does take a lot of time. But you're right, if you want to improve and be better, you have to exercise it everyday. I wish I can spend more time writing, but I struggle with writer's block a lot of times. Guess I may still be trying to find my voice. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips!! I enjoy reading informative blogs. And I love your blog!

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    1. Writing quality posts takes time. Occasionally, I'll do a "phone it in" type of post when I'm short on time. But I always feel like I'm cheating my readers when I do that.

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  19. GREAT post and ideas!

    I am slowly coming back from being a bit overwhelmed and uninspired from blogging and finding that finding my 'why' has been really helpful getting back into it.

    I love ....be brave, independent and be you!!

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    1. Isn't that the truth--I was feeling kind of burnt out a few months ago but it's funny how life will throw a bone your way, even if it isn't what you were expecting. After my diagnosis with RA, I found creativity I didn't even know I had. I'm trying not to post a lot about RA. But interestingly, I've had all kinds of new ideas since then.

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  20. All such great tips! And, I'm so glad you shared about Grammarly - a pet peeve of mine for sure! I'm also not a fan of the ads that take over a blog page to the point where it slows the page load.

    "Be brave, be independent, and be you!" - best advice for blogging...and life in general :)

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    1. 100% agree with you on the ads--they really distract from the message, IMHO.

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  21. I love this! NOw, if I could just make this happen with My blog!

    I read before that some people are turned off by cursing, and it's funny for me, I dont' care if somebody uses curse words, but it drives me insane when there is more product reviews than any other content.

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    1. I have written posts where I drop the F bomb and I have talked about poop. If I've lost readers, I haven't been aware.

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  22. Great tips! I used to try to post every day and it was just too much. Now I usually post 3 times a week and that feels much more doable. I like to be ale to have plenty of time to write my posts and check everything and edit images. It really can be so time consuming.

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    1. I used to post 4 times a week and it got to be too much. Now I'm down the 3--and there are times I still struggle to put out quality posts!

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  23. Great tips! I keep mine the same formula each week and seems to help. What I don't have is a purpose, more it's my on-line diary and to keep me accountable. If I have to write I had a zero then I have to know why I'm having a zero day. This was great! Thank you!

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    1. I do follow a loose formula--weekly wrap on Sunday, Friday Five on Friday, monthly book club and runfessions. It helps to have a framework in which to post.

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  24. I love to write. I got my degree in screenwriting (yeah, I'm doing A LOT with that one). I currently have this blog and write freelance for two publications. It's pretty dizzying that I do get compensated for doing something I love. I have a novel and part of a screenplay written, but I am too self-conscious to ever let them see the light of day. The blog will have to do.

    There is definitely something to be said for writing every day and on a regular schedule. Just like any other job it needs to be taken seriously.

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    1. I never knew this about you!!! Why don't you just put it out there and see where it goes?

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  25. Thanks so much for these tips!! I am pretty new to blogging....at least blogging consistently and hopefully broadening my horizons and audience...so this was so informative!!! It is also vey encouraging. I sometimes feel like I should take the blog in a different direction but I kinda like talking about running, my Alaska adventures, and my family esp those grandkids :) So, thanks for this post!

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    1. I need to have a focus, so I do keep my blog about running. Altho there are tangents at times, like this post...

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  26. I've been struggling with writer's block and just plain apathy for a while. I've really cut back in hopes that the spark will return.

    And grammar and spelling errors drive me insane (and I hate it when I miss one in my own posts LOL)

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    1. You've been blogging for a long time--I can't imagine keeping it fresh after all that time!

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  27. Great post and great tips! I am really enjoying writing and it is fun to just be you. You can't please everyone and why should you- the readers that like the real you will stick around- those are the fun blog posts to read :-)

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    1. I've enjoyed reading your posts--I like that your personality really shines through your writing! When we met, you were exactly what I expected! <3

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  28. You are one of my favorites and I think we're similar in that we really enjoy the writing part of blogging! Great tips. The comparison game can really mess with you.

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    1. Your love for writing and running really comes through your posts!

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  29. Great tips! Now we all know the secrets behind your great writing skills Wendy!!

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  30. Great post and tips, as always! I absolutely love to write, and having done so much writing professionally, I couldn't wait to start writing for fun. My problem is, there are just not enough hours in a day. I don't know how you get your posts done (and with such great content/quality) with everything else you have going on. I think the best takeaway tip for me is to set a schedule for blogging. I launched just as I became incredibly busy with all sorts of other things. Hopefully things will start slowing down in the coming months.

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    1. You have such a beautiful blog--I'm looking forward to you filling it up with posts!

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  31. Nice post. My perspective on blogging is that I do it for me. It's like a diary and I use it to gain closure on a race and keep detailed records for races that I repeat. Of course, I keep in mind that others are reading it so I try my best to proofread and make it visually appealing. Sometimes I have posts that offer advice or perspective; but often those are just a way for me to express when I have strong feelings about something.

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    1. But that's what I like about your blog--it's you. Another blogger and I were having lunch and we talked about that. We like the feeling of the person behind the blog!

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  32. I love your advice here! I want to inspire and captivate but also to help others with what I write. I have a schedule for posting but need to work harder at developing an editorial calendar .

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    1. I'm not good at planning my posts--sometimes I get inspired and I'll start a post, so it's there when I'm ready to write it. Other times, I just wing it.

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  33. Nice work with the Deb words wendy! :) Cute idea. I do really enjoy your blog and even though we've never met I feel like we've been friends for years already! We won't skip a beat at Grandma's. I find for me, it's hard to write as much as I'd want and youre right - I try to be an authentic as I can - I'd rather NOT write, than write something I didn't want to write.

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    1. Exactly. I think product reviews are the hardest because you want to make them professional, but since it's your blog, you want to make your personality come through.

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  34. I love your tips because they are so relate-able that you make it seem easy. Does that make sense! And maybe because I agree with all of them. :-) I'm a grammar fiend, and even though I am certainly not perfect, it drives me crazy to see mistakes that should be caught with a little bit of proofreading. And yes, Grammarly is a great tool, even if I get annoyed when she (yes I think of it as a she) nags me about things I don't want to change!

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    1. Yep, it's hard to ignore Mrs Grammarly. She's such a nag!

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  35. Thanks to you I wrote a post today (last one was in February). As I mentioned in Facebook, you are one of my favorite bloggers and love reading your posts. :-)

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    1. You are just too kind. I'm glad that you wrote a post! I've been missing your blog.

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  36. Thanks, Wendy! These are great tips. I fall victim to the comparison game a bit too often and then get too hard on myself when I don't feel like I'm measuring up. :(

    I need to check out grammarly! I'm pretty good at grammar, but I hate when I re-read an old post and there is some glaring mistake. Ugh.

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