While predominantly visual blogging platforms like Instagram and Tumblr are hugely successful, there’s no getting away from the fact that words and storytelling are a super important part of this blogging caper. For some, images speak far louder than anything else, but for many of us blogging is a way to hone our craft and learn to express ourselves authentically and write well.
A few bloggers may be posting stream of consciousness style – a la Julia Cameron and her artist’s way – but most of us are seeking a bit of structure and are keen to learn more about crafting a story, taking readers on a little wordy trip and tying it all up in a bow at the end, super succinctly. So let’s talk about doing that.
Here are six elements to help you create a great, nicely structured post
1. Your premise
What thing are you going to write about? Make sure the first paragraph or two of your post introduce your readers to the story that’s about to unfold or why it’s about to unfold. Readers, meet the thing!
2. Your problem
This is the bit where you explain in a bit more depth what’s happening, why it’s bugging/exciting you and relate some specific details or experiences about the thing. Dig deeper into the issues with the thing! How is it impacting on you? How might it impact on your readers? Will they share your feelings?
3. Your solution
How are you dealing with the thing and the problem? Are you embracing it? Avoiding it? Trying something else? Here’s where you explain that bit in a few paragraphs.
4. The recap
Here’s where you connect up all the bits you’ve written, referring back to the thing’s premise, problem and solution. Linking it all back together all ready for …
5. The conclusion
Bundle it up and put a bow on it. Conclude your post with a sentence or three about how it all ends and where you go from now with the thing. Don’t forget the conclusion because it rounds things off nicely and opens up the post for discussion.
6. Ask the audience
Invite your readers to comment by asking an engaging question relating to your post/thing.
At this stage I’d add a seventh point too: Illustrate with an appropriate image you’ve created yourself or an extremely high quality stock image (if you must) to put the icing on the cake and make things super beautiful as well as super readable.
Now perhaps this seems super structured and it’s a bit hard to imagine where your ideas fit in to these steps? Make sure you sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm your post first. Write down your core idea or reason for writing the post and then go crazy writing down all the bits and pieces, words, phrases, people, places, blogs, books that relate to that idea. Getting it all out and physically writing it down is a great first step to crafting something super-readable.
Once you’ve brainstormed your idea, start squishing it into some sort of structure, making sense of where the important things fit best. This is actually MUCH easier if you’ve got a bunch of ideas and a simple framework, so you should be able to go forth more confidently and concentrate on your voice a bit more, rather than the blueprint.
Don’t forget to proofread and spellcheck your work for best results though. Sometimes all that writing gets in the way of correct grammar and spelling, so give things the once or twice-over before you hit publish.
How about you? Are you a free-flowing type of writer or a structure lover? Or are you a nice combination of both?