You’re not a writer. I get it. Writing a blog post for your business does not come naturally to you. I’ve heard all the reasons. There’s no time. I don’t know what to write about. I’m not a writer. My writing isn’t good enough. Honestly, I understand every one of them, I do. I’ve even heard some people describe writing as a “headache” or they say it makes them ill to do it. It’s something I hate to hear because I LOVE to write. But I understand that struggling to write a blog post is a real thing for many. Just as much as I struggle to understand a spreadsheet or my taxes!
Well, here’s a little bombshell for you…
You don’t have to be a writer to write a blog post!
Ok, sure. A reasonable command of the English language helps. But, for the most part, writing a blog post is all about you sharing an idea, ONE idea, about a subject you have a lot of knowledge about.
So, if you’re a baker, why not share something informative about the different types of flour, or what the difference between bicarbonate of soda and baking powder is (I’ve always wondered that!).
If you’re a florist, you could write about the types of flowers that are best for bouquets. Or which flowers to grow at certain times of the year. Or how to make a flower crown.
Because I bet if I got you to a coffee meet up and asked you to tell me about any of those topics, you’d be able to share a whole ton of information. You’d probably let your coffee go cold with all the pointers you could give me.
Which is why I’m always telling you to blog this stuff. This stuff is what people are interested in hearing about. It sets you apart as the expert in your field. You can share your knowledge with more than just little old me over a cup of coffee and a doughnut and reach a much wider audience.
You may not be a writer, but you damn well know how to talk and share information about what you know, don’t you?
We are our own worst critics
The problem is, whether you consider yourself a creative person or not (a whole other subject for another post!), no one will critique your work or judge it more harshly than you. As people, that is what we do.
My sister set herself a little lockdown project recently. She decided to make a Monopoly board. She made the board and all the Community Chest and Chance cards before showing us her work. My Dad got super excited about it, especially when he was asked to make the hotels and houses for the board. Dad took it further and decided to make a box to store it all in.
Dad’s quite creative when he gets going (although he’d never admit it). He’s even painted the front of the box with the word ‘Monopoly’ and is now painting an Irish flag and a Maltese cross on it too. But last week, at our weekly Zoom lunch/dinner (time zones!), he showed us his efforts so far and lamented that it “wasn’t very good”. To me and my sis, it looked flippin’ fantastic! And she can’t wait to get it and put her board and all the pieces inside it for safekeeping.
My point is, we all think what he’s done looks brilliant. He, meanwhile, can pick out every single flaw. The same thing goes for you and your blog posts.
But I can promise you something right now. Anything (and I mean ANYTHING) you write and put out there will not be as bad as you think it is. I PROMISE. Because if you’re sharing information that’s useful and interesting and one person reads it and finds it helpful, then it is good enough.
And remember, done is better than perfect!
So, how do you overcome the perfection block?
First off, recognise that it is a block and that there are ways to get around it. But it does come down to you taking that step and pushing past the thing that’s holding you back.
The best way to overcome the block is to write. I know that sounds far easier said than done. But, like anything hard, doing the thing helps you to realise that it’s not as hard as what you imagined.
Our imaginations make things so much harder in our heads than they ever are. After all, how many times have you finally taken the plunge to do the thing you’ve been dreading only to find yourself saying afterwards, ‘Oh! That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!’ (I’m totally self-projecting here, you should know. I am QUEEN of saying no because I assume things will be too hard!)
So, maybe saying ‘just write’ isn’t the most helpful thing. Instead, why not look at the task as a series of steps and aim to tackle one step at a time.
The first is to get some ideas about what to write about. Compile a list and when one idea grabs you, go with that. The next task is to plan out the post. I always find it so much easier to write a post if I’ve planned it out in bullet points first. You might find you start to write your post at this stage.
But if you’re still struggling to get those first words down, why not have a go at freewriting? It’s a great way to get the words flowing so why not read the post I wrote about it and then give it a try?
At this stage, your aim is to get your idea down on paper. So, write the damn post. It does NOT matter what it looks like right now. Having the words down on the page will make it much easier to mould and edit it into shape than having nothing but a blank page to work on. Any writer knows that writing is only a small percentage of actually getting the job done. The far bigger job is editing it all afterwards. Even Jodi Picoult says: ‘You can’t edit a blank page.’ So, write the damn words down! Remember, no one has to see it at this stage anyway so it doesn’t matter what it looks like!
Learn To Edit
Here comes the fun part… editing! Because that’s where the magic happens! Especially if writing doesn’t come naturally to you.
I’d always recommend leaving some time after that initial writing before you tackle editing your post. Leave it a few hours, a day or more. The idea is to distance yourself from that initial write up. Because things always look different when you go back to them later!
Scan through the post on your first read to see if any glaring spelling or grammatical errors jump out at you. You’ll likely see them with fresh eyes. Next work your way through again removing any wordy text. Remove adverbs and flowery language (unless it’s really good and makes a point, of course!). Go through again and replace words like ‘do not’ with a contraction (so it becomes ‘don’t’). This helps to make your text sound more conversational.
After doing what you can with the text, run it through Hemingway, which is an awesome bit of software that looks at the readability of your text. It’ll help you find any examples of passive voice, those pesky adverbs or sentences that are difficult to read. Aim to make adjustments so your post reads easily (so you’re aiming for a lower number).
Finally, run the text through Grammarly to catch any extra spelling or grammatical errors you might have missed. No need to pay for the upgrade, the free version will do enough!
I also recommend more read-throughs. Read it again, then read it out loud to make sure it sounds right. Finally, paste it into your blog publishing software and give it one final read. Seeing it on a different platform can help you to spot something new that you might want to change.
Now you’re ready to hit publish.
Hopefully, what that serves to show you is that the actual writing of a blog post is the easy part. Especially when you already know the stuff you’re writing about. The real hard work comes in the editing afterwards (but that’s much easier to do when you have words on a page to edit!).
And if that still feels too much like hard work, but you want to get your blog posts up and running then let’s chat about a blog post subscription!
Or if you’d like to tackle the challenge yourself, why not join my Facebook group, For the Love of Words? I’ll be starting a 5-day blog writing challenge there soon!