Transforming Dreamers into Influencers

Category: Blogging Success

Tools for Better Writing

Editing for Grammar and Clarity

Writing gets better with guidance and practice; with blogging, we get plenty of practice, but sometimes it’s hard to find authoritative guidance. Some writers enroll in classes to improve writing, but we don’t all have that luxury. Fortunately, there are plenty of techniques and online tools that can help us to identify grammar problems and even tutor us in clearer, more direct writing.

If you are like me, I have difficulty proofreading online. I generally compose in MS Word, which has built-in spelling and grammar-checking options. Then I print out my blog and read it aloud (when I’m all alone!), so I can hear any rough patches.

Lately, I have been using Grammarly as I compose. Now, I am a writing teacher, and Grammarly catches mistakes even I make. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of typos, grammar, and spelling errors, the free version of Grammarly is your friend, and the paid, premium version is even better. The free version will check for over 150 typical grammar and spelling errors, while the premium version will check for 250+ advanced errors, suggest vocabulary enhancements—great when you use the same word over and over, and indicate plagiarism. The premium version will even check for level of formality, distinguishing between academic, business, or creative writing.

If you are concerned about style, the Hemingway app’s free online version will check your prose for sentence readability, unnecessary adverbs, uses of passive voice, and phrases that have simpler alternatives. The desktop app paid version is relatively inexpensive: a one-time fee of $19.99. You can publish from the app directly to WordPress or Medium, and you can directly import text from MS Word or other word processing software, eliminating the need to cut and paste.

Good grammar and clear sentences reach more readers and save you embarrassment. Use the tools at your disposal to write correctly and to improve with practice.

Brainstorming for fresh ideas

Bloggers brainstorming

Writer’s block: we all get stuck from time to time, but did you know there are fun ways to create content and you don’t have to do it alone? Smart bloggers brainstorm with others to generate ideas.

Brainstorming with friends or family can move even the most stubborn blocks. The design firm IDEO uses seven rules of brainstorming to create lots of options, and these can be applied to overcoming writer’s block:

  • Defer judgment. Record all the ideas; refrain from saying that’s “good” or that’s “bad.” Just record them all.
  • Encourage wild ideas. You never know when you will come up with the seed of a brilliant idea in something that initially sounds crazy.
  • Build on the ideas of others. If your friend has a suggestion, add to it, refine it, augment it.
  • Stay focused on the topic. Sometimes it’s easy to get off track; bring the conversation back to blog ideas.
  • One conversation at a time. If you have a brainstorming group of four or more, make certain everyone is in the same conversation together.
  • Be visual. Draw your ideas; you are not trying to be a great artist, just trying to bring a new perspective to the ideas you generate.
  • Go for quantity. Generate a lot of ideas, and you will have some options.

Make a party of your brainstorming session: serve lots of snacks and libations. Offer prizes for the wildest idea or the person with the most drawings. Remember, those you invite to brainstorm are helping you out; treat them well.

Is Your Blog a Yugo or a Ferrari?

Let’s face it, if you want to write and not get paid, keep a journal. With good business practices come audiences as well as compensation.  There are many bloggers who make from $1,000 to $5,000 a month.  Some successful bloggers make in a month what many people make in a year. While not all bloggers will make big money, those who adhere the following guidelines have a higher likelihood of success.

1. You can never learn too much. 

Is Your Blog a Yugo or Farrari?

The Internet has a plethora of information daily, and not only that, it is a dynamic, growing system. There is both new information and opportunities monthly. Read voraciously, prioritize your sources and make plans to implement what you learned. To a certain extent, in blogging, knowledge is power and reading is the fastest way to accumulate it.

2. Start with the basics and expand your disciplines as you become proficient.

Blogging is a mountain you climb and only those who take it a step at a time reach the top. Begin with becoming a productive writer, then learn how to reach target markets, add on SEO, maybe some web mastering (WordPress, CSS, funnel pages, plugins, schema, and amp’s), affiliate marketing, mailing list management, product development and sales. Start with what you know and learn to get better at disciplines that will make you successful.

3. Stay the course.

Some bloggers take up to six months to fully roll out. Some blog for a year or two before the momentum builds to a sustainable level. There are very few bloggers who can support themselves without diligence and preparation. It takes time to build audiences, rankings, and effective strategies. If you believe in the endgame and work towards it, you will achieve your goal. Keep in mind, you are building something from nothing. At some point, you will will have enough momentum and synergies that the growth and income might surprise you. 

Blogging is a life choice. It is creative, it is liberating, and it has risks and rewards. The internet is vast and opportunities are enormous. Access requires very little monetary investment. Now get in your Internet Ferrari, turn the key, press the accelerator and let’s take this blogging opportunity for a ride.