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3 Quick Writing Tips for Blog Posts

plus a bonus editing tip.

I've decided to start offering writing tips on Periscope each morning at 10:30 am. You'll find me there as @CecilyK (just like everywhere else), but in case you didn't tune in and catch it, I'll offer them here in text form as well.
Blog posts require a deft hand, particularly if you're writing for work or a client. Here's my three fast tips for writing a great blog post.
Story
Always remember you're telling a story, even if your topic seems dry as dust. A colleague of mine spent a year writing posts about safety harnesses for a company that made cranes. He managed to weave strong stories into the posts—making them interesting to everyone. That's always your goal; tell a story that will interest everyone.
Write a Shitty First Draft—Then Walk Away
This is critical. Your first draft is going to suck, and hardcore. Just accept this fact and writing will be much easier. Don't edit, don't correct spelling—just write, full stop, and get your ideas on paper. You'll find this tip frees you; it will allow a deeper connection to (if you'll indulge me) your "muse." When you finish the first draft, walk away from it. For a day if you can, at least a couple of hours if you can't. When you come back to it, you can look at it with a more critical eye and you'll find some obvious edits that need to happen.
Cut the First and Last Paragraphs
I know; you've just written your heart out and I'm telling you to slash your work? Yes, I am. Chances are you didn't start telling the story you need to tell until a paragraph or two in. And it's also likely you rambled a bit at the end. We all do this. Cut those paragraphs (if you're worried, paste them into a different document). Read your post again, and add in introductory and closing sentences. Your post will be stronger as a result.
Editing Bonus Tip: Avoid Long and Confusing Sentences
I was the queen of long twisty sentences that slowly wandered toward the point. This doesn't work for my professional writing at all, and in fact, was crappy writing on my blog. I've found an amazing tool: Hemingwayapp.com, a free web app. Paste in your copy and the app helps you identify those sentences that are rambling. It also helps you spot other grammar blunders like passive voice, which is a great tool as well. Sometimes the Hemingwayapp.com is more brutal than I want to be. But it makes me think through and defend my writing choices, and that only helps make writing better.
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