Category: Out Of The Box

Writing Great Content

In today’s online world, writing skills are a must. Chances are that if you are going to blog, write in-depth reviews, or simply make some comments on why you hated the latest movie you rented from NetFlix, your points will carry more weight if you write them correctly and with style. If you happen to run into problems when putting your thoughts into words, consider the following advice.

The Difference Between Writing And Editing

The first thing to understand is that no one writes great works the first time around. I know there is that story of Jack Kerouac writing his famous book, On The Road in only one draft, but the truth is that there were many drafts and revisions. Most writing comes from a few inspirational moments when you open your mind and just let the words come to you, as natural as breathing. Once you have your inspirational notes written down, you put them away and come back to them later. Some writers then add more to their notes and form a first draft or if their work is long enough, they begin an editing process. During the editing phase, you correct words, phrases, even try to correct the points your are trying to make.

Writers often have what is called writer’s block, periods of time that they can not come up with anything to write about. It is especially important at these times to be open and jot down whatever comes to mind. We sometimes let the editing phase take place too soon, and nothing kills inspiration like an editor’s point of view! It may surprise you how well you do write when you are not thinking of proper grammar and punctuation.

Learning To Write From Others

It may surprise you to learn that being original has nothing to do with writing. Most works get their storylines and ideas from previous works. Writing is not about coming up with something new, but about saying it in a new and/or inventive way. This means that writing well, has a lot to do with studying your subject matter and the writers that write about it. If you want to write reviews of video games, then you need to read a lot of game reviews to see what the standard is. Who knows, you might find that these reviews all lack something which you feel can make your reviews stand out.

Another example is my growing fascination with basketball, which I am now trying to write about for my personal site. Much to my surprise I find myself having trouble writing about sports, to which I can only attribute to the fact that I have had very little exposure to sports writing in general. This is something I am trying to remedy by reading as many sports books as I can find at my local library.

So even if you find yourself stuck when writing about particular subject matters, it may not mean you are a terrible writer, but that you need to learn more about writing that subject matter.

Developing Style

Something which I myself find hard to explain is style. To me style is not something you learn from a grammar guide, but something you develop over your life time. Most of the time people refer to it as personal voice. As you read more authors, you will find that some appeal to you more than others, and some you will undoubtedly try to copy their style. This will lead over time to your own style, as you keep copying different styles that eventually you will find your own uniqueness. The process is slow, but the more authors you read, the more your technique will improve with practice. This is true of most art and not just writing. U2’s guitarist The Edge, Eddie Van Halen, and countless other guitarists all learned to play like Eric Clapton, before they developed their own styles. Yet U2’s music sounds nothing like Clapton’s.

Filed under: Out Of The Box