Get your online writing out of the summer doldrums
Even our writing needs a vacation once in a while and to come back more inspired. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and forget about all the fun things we can try. Here are some tips I’m starting to resurrect:
Try to include references (or even visuals) to things people are talking about. It makes a piece more fun but also helps it to come up in a web search. Try to place trending words in your headline or the first couple of sentences. Reference news headlines, even holidays.
Draft, then craft
Write fast with the words that first come to you. Come back later to put in commas and edit; it’ll flow better with your first thoughts. Jot down ideas as they appear to you. Especially while surfing the web, it’s easy to get 100 clicks from your subject before you write anything. Write down your thoughts …then go to the web to fill in with examples and facts.
Write when the ideas come to you
In author Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine: How Creativity Works, he talks about how our best creativity comes to us when we least expect it, but says especially as we become older, we hold back and become too self aware of the details. He says, “Let go!”
I do a lot of my writing on the weekends as I’m always more relaxed then. I even pull off the road and write blogs on my iphone because I think of ideas while I drive. I know I won’t remember if I wait. In this Cisco blog, I talk about How to be more ‘wild and crazy’ in your online world.
Have your content drive your product
Whether it’s a blog (or presentation), it can often turn out better if you first look for interesting stories, hooks and visuals, and then wrap the piece around those. Don’t stay too married to a framework – keep it fluid to match what you find.
Mix it up
This is my favorite. Include short and long sentences in your writing. Often a two- or three-word sentence really makes a piece pop. The same goes for paragraphs (include long ones and short ones).
Use fun punctuation.
· Use an exclamation point after a sentence once in a while.
· Dashes are great! I like to use them instead of commas sometimes – they’re useful to set off words or phrases that interrupt a sentence.
· Colons: They’re fun to use but remember to capitalize the first word after the colon if that phrase can stand on its own. Leave it lower case if not.
· Parenthesis help you include detail (but don’t overuse them).
· And italicizing words is a great way to add emphasis.
I’d love to hear your tips for making online writing more fun so I can use them the next time I get stuck in a rut.