7 helpful questions for blog post writers

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” William Faulkner

Before you hit Publish, are you satisfied with your post?

Don’t many of us write extemporaneous posts? Sometimes I simply sit down at the keyboard and plunk away at a thought or a prompt from reading other posts. When I read the published version, I often regret putting it out there. I often discover flagrant faux pas or glaring grammar goofs. Cringing at my carelessness, I sometimes resort to editing it and re-publishing. (Keep in mind, I’m a former reporter and editor and got paid to write. My stuff had to be good. Old habits, you know.)

Are you ever dissatisfied with a post you’re about to share with the world? Try asking yourself these 7 questions I ask myself when I proofread my posts. You might want to consider them to improve your posts.

  1. Is your heading too long?
    A reasonable length is 6 to 8 words. As we’ve said before in this space, many readers don’t read past your heading. If you don’t entice them with those 6-8 words, you might lose them before they get to your opening sentence.
  2. Did you proofread your text?
    That’s a cardinal rule for me. It ought to be for all of you as well. My dingbat blogging buddy, Suze, will disagree. She spends most of her time at the home staring into space and playing bingo when she’s not blogging.
  3. Did you put yourself in my readers’ place?
    What will your audience gain from reading your post?  Who are you writing for? Yourself or your readers?
  4. Did you use “you” often? Writing for that second person pronoun, draws readers in and helps them think you’re writing to them.
  5. Can you use “how to’s” or lists or  numbers.
    Readers love lists. Use them if you can.
  6. Did you ask for feedback?
    Do you want to know what your readers thought about your post? They’ll think you’re really interested in their opinions and comments.  People love to connect with other people. I often use the hashtag #feedback when I post on the BMU.  And I sometimes ask readers directly, “What do you think?” Or, “I’d like to get your feedback on this topic (idea, post).”
  7. Is your purpose for writing clear?
    Will your readers “get it”?   Will they perceive your intent for writing your post? Do you get it yourself?

Well, there they are. Seven questions I ask (and answer) myself so I’ll be satisfied with my post once it’s published. Hope you’ll try these out yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised how your writing may improve when you ask and answer them.

Do you have questions you ask yourself while you’re writing to make it better? I’d love to hear from you. How do your questions help you improve your posts.

I

 

#blog-posts, #blogging, #headings, #helpful, #inspiration, #questions, #style, #word, #writing

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If You “Build” It…

Originally posted on Sharing God’s Story.

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circa 2013

I had a blogging idea as I was waking this morning. It started with the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” (I don’t really know how old this is – I remember it from Field of Dreams, which IMDB tells me is 1989. 28 years is a while ago – for me. Someone happened to remind me of it a few days ago.)

Anyway, I was thinking that each piece I write is like a brick, crafted from the mud and straw of my memories and experiences, carefully placed to form a house for me and mine to live in. Of course, I want it to be a beautiful structure to look at as you pass by, with serene landscaping and clever lighting, a fresh coat of paint – even on the window trim, and a late-model car in the wind-swept driveway. I want it to show how witty I am; how goodly and righteously and prosperously I deal with grammar and living.

But that’s not my real estate, is it? (I suspect it might not be for most of us.) My life has a very much lived-in look and feel. It’s that slightly dilapidated three-bedroom ranch with too many trees dropping their leaves and broke-off branches all over the lot, with the porch light that never goes off – even on the bright, sunny days, and some kids’ rain-stained toys, long-neglected, laying about in the side yard.

Because the bricks I build with are quite transparent, aren’t they? The materials I use in my construction are solid and real enough to me, but they are actually made only from my aged thoughts and worn-out dreams. There’s ‘nothing’ to see, yet everything to view; a house of glass. There’s no fiction here, except for the denial with which I outsmart myself.

I suppose the beneficial part of being clear is that I’m constantly reminded of my Dale Carnegie: to never criticize, complain, or condemn; to try and say your name enough to remember it, and to always smile – at you and, I hope, with you.

If you know that “How-To” book, I want to tell you about this other, much older one, and it’s my mission to urge you to simply read it for yourself. Now, if you have visited me before here at my see-through dwelling, you do know which book I mean, don’t you?

#general, #life, #me, #religion, #word, #work