Writing scares the crap out of me.
Like, practically all the time. The funny thing is, it didn't always. For my senior year, I was accepted into the creative writing conservatory at the local arts high school. For that short semester, I was writing everything, daily, from short non-fiction to ghost stories and twisted fairy tales. I was pouring out journal entries and magazine articles and biographies about fictitious characters.
Then I went to college and just stopped.
So, since starting this blog, I've found this whole writing thing to be a mix of that nice familiarity of riding a bicycle you haven't touched in forever paired with the fear that you're going to break the bike. Or crash it.
That being said, familiarity and habits seem to make new things less scary. Through trial and error and copious editing, I've created a little guide that I use for the majority of my posts. I hope it's as helpful for you as it is for me. I also hope it serves as a reassurance that you won't break the bike.
Open with a truth.
I don’t know why or when I started doing this, but it’s been a tremendous help. The majority of my blog posts (or entries) open with a truth or a short statement about myself. For me, it immediately breaks the self-imposed restriction that my online presence can’t be authentic and must be some sort of improved or edited version of myself. Also, my senior year creative writing teacher wouldn’t let me submit a story unless it started out similarly.
You’re a storyteller.
As humans, we all have a million different ways of telling our stories. Through art, through photography, through music, through words, the list goes on. Whatever truth or topic you chose to commit to (personal or otherwise), say a few words about it (or share a couple images) and move on to the meat of the post…
Make your point with lists or pretty things.
In this beloved digital age, we have a fabulous attention span for the super quick and the super important. Composition of a nice blog post is no different. Add interest by breaking down the information you’re trying to communicate and decorate your post with pretty things…
* For photo-editing, I either just use my phone (sooo many amazing apps literally at your fingertips) or Photoshop CS6.
You’re your own art director.
This is both a blessing and a curse. You have complete and utter freedom to generate whatever kind of art and photography you want, styled however you want. And it’s absolutely and brainfreezingly scary. What if it looks dumb? What if the quality is crap? What if I change my mind? What if I hate how it looks? What if I hate how I look?
Art is fluid. So go with the damn flow. If you're not having at least a bit of fun, it's not worth it.
Editing is important.
This is probably my favorite part of this whole blogging thing. The internet loves big, beautiful, Pinterest-pretty images so go to town with brightness and color and Photoshop actions. Trust your eyes and do what makes your brain happy. Or share someone else’s images AS LONG AS you give full-blown credit to the hard-working, artistic people that created them.
Finally, the most important thing…
Make it matter.
I realize this is a weird note to end on but bear with me.
I’m not saying that you always need to write something relevant and thought-provoking for the rest of the world. Not at all.
All that “original content” the internet is so fond of perpetuating? It comes from unique voices from unique people. Like me. Like you.
It should, at the very, very least, matter to you. But it takes a critical eye to distinguish when you're writing for yourself... and when you're writing something that other people could relate to, understand and engage with.
So there you go.
You wrote a blog post.
See? Wasn’t that easy?