If you’re anything like me, then you never know where to start when writing a blogpost. There have been many times that I’ve sat down to my laptop and stared at a blank screen, gotten up to get a drink of water, written something down, talked to a friend… I think you get the idea, the excuses can go on and on. When I first started blogging, I thought it was more about expressing angsty emotions. Obviously, this isn’t always the best thing to write about. Especially, when you’re looking for a job in the “real world”. So how do I start a blogpost? Or rather, what do I do to avoid all the distractions…
1. Confidence to Write, Right?
I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve started to write a post and then gone back and deleted everything I had. Confidence is a huge part of writing blogposts. Confidence in yourself, confidence in the post, confidence in your writing abilities. Sure, sometimes the post you have is absolute crap and there’s no great way to get around it, that’s why there is a backspace button. But, that doesn’t mean that a post can’t be re-written or edited to make sense.
2. Branding, Branding, Branding, and maybe a side of branding?
Everyone and their mother has probably heard about branding at this point, but what does it really mean? In terms of blogging, I find that it means that you shouldn’t write in a voice that doesn’t sound like your own. Keeping on track and voicing your opinions can be hard. Especially if a topic really gets you fired up and you want to express all of your emotions. As with anything posted online, we (anyone and everyone on the web) are told to think about who could potentially find it and what they might think of it.
3. Distractions are the enemy? Or are they?
It’s easy to get distracted. As I write this, I’m being distracted by the three other tabs that are open as well as an episode of Friends that I’ve probably seen four times. Many people see distractions like Facebook, Twitter, TV, etc as destructive. To me, I find them a part of the environment that I like to work in. Being able to step away for thirty seconds or a minute to observe these distractions can keep me on track. Stepping away and coming back in a couple hours is also a great way to keep me on track. Both distractions and breaks help to keep frustration from setting in. We’ve all been there, staring at the screen with no motivation to finish the piece of writing we’ve started. Whether it is in college writing a paper or working away at a blogpost, taking a break and remembering that there’s a real world out there is a great way to take the stress off of that single piece of writing.
Okay, so you’ve gone through all your preparation and are ready to begin writing. Now, what? Outlines and brainstorms are a great way to get started. Creating mind maps, whether it be on paper or through technology can also be a great place to start a blogpost. Talking to people around you can be helpful too. Sometimes, it’s helpful to ask those that know nothing about the topic you are writing on. If that person can understand it and learn something, that’s great. You’ll also get someone else’s opinion on what you’re doing, which can be helpful as this person might have a different background or skill set from your own.
In all, writing blogposts can be difficult to start (and finish). With anything, it’s important to remember that blogposts are not meant to be perfect or the “end-all, be-all” for the topic you are writing on. If anything it’s meant to be a conversation starter with your community and beyond.