How to Express Yourself in Blog Form: Best Practices for New Bloggers.
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
Have you been wanting to write something to share with the world … but afraid of how it will sound on paper? Are you apprehensive about writing a blog post because you are unsure of how to formulate your thoughts into something that’s organized and well-composed?
Some of us keep telling ourselves old stories that we aren’t a good enough writer but it just takes practice and the knowing that you express yourself through speaking ... and writing is just the visual!
The Beginning of the Village…
I started my blog when I was about 16, as a way of expressing my love for health and photography. I had a professional camera and loved to take shots of everything – my healthy plates, my furry friends, my travels, and moments in nature. I would post blogs not knowing what I was actually doing … but more for my own personal journey and expression. I called myself The Veggie Villager and created a distinctive voice, signing my blog posts off with Peace & Love, Jill – the veggie villager. I had my friend help me with the web design, and create my own brand to represent myself online.
A year later, I took a creative writing course, which excelled my confidence in writing, as well as my slam poetry skills and performing my own written words in front of an audience. That was both a riveting and empowering experience, as I won the slam poetry contest school wide and performed in front of nearly 1,000 people … then months later to perform the same poem in front of my church, which was a lot more than 1,000 people over the course of two services. You can check out some of my work here.
Practice makes perfect (sort of)…
Fast forward six years later, I have shared my blog with everyone that crosses my path, and has landed me three online jobs (one being the amazing Kula Collective!) and one volunteering position that include copy writing and blog writing – two of my favorite ways of expression and creativity!
Through my own vulnerability and authenticity in sharing my struggles, my insights, and my thoughts, I have been better able to not only heal through processing my experiences, but I have given others ways of learning, growing and expanding themselves. I feel I am better able to articulate myself through words, and address my own feelings and needs based off not only blogging, but through daily check-ins and journaling.
With less time for my own blog and with my interests and passions evolving and changing in he health world, I am ready to change my own brand and incorporate all the healing modalities I have used to help others.
We are all in a process … and writing helps us to process the process!
We could just write for ourselves, and keep our writings in a journal buried deep in a box in our closet. Musicians could just play for themselves in their music rooms. Artists could paint their finest artwork then cover them up and leave them amongst all their others in their art rooms.
But then where would we get inspiration and creative sparks from?
Where would we discover the power of healing from others’ stories and experiences?
Where would we experience the emotional response from a masterpiece that touches our heart and soul?
“Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
So, I want to help you get started on writing your first blog post.
Here are my 10 tips for writing for yourself and formulating your thoughts into a blog…
1. Find your voice.
What does your authentic voice sound like? Are you sarcastic? Sassy? Funny? Thought-provoking? Lively? Enthusiastic? Let your true self shine through your choice of words, your punctuation and how you address your readers and sign off at the end of your post.
2. Use headings and point form when applicable.
Break up your paragraphs and keep them short for easy reading. Using headings that are captivating allow the read to scroll to parts that they loved and read them again, or skip and get to the juicy stuff if that’s how they take in information. Writing in point form or list form is also a good way to organize information and keep it short, sweet and to the point.
3. Hook, line and sinker.
Use a catchy title that intrigues the reader and allow is telling of what you are writing about. Alliterations are always my favourite to use. (LINK). And when beginning your blog … starting with a story, a tag line, or a quote … is always a good way to catch the reader’s attention and to keep them reading all the way through. Also – finding a quote that inspires you on the topic you are writing about is always a good place to start when you feel blocked.
4. Tips or pointers for the reader to apply.
Usually at the end of my blog post, I like to give some tips or insights that I got from an experience that the reader can apply in their lives. That way, the blog is useful for them and adds value to their lives. Part of sharing is not only receiving positive feedback and the amazing feeling you get from hitting the publish button, but it’s partly giving without expecting anything in return.
5. Poems can be blogs too.
Don’t be fooled – blogs don’t have to be complicated. They can also be thoughts summed up in a free flow poem. Tips don’t have to be in there, or headings to boost your SEO – sometimes you just need to write and let it go in metaphors, in waves of verse, and in inspiration from the Divine and nature. Let whatever flow… flow! - without judgement.
6. Write it for yourself then edit edit edit … but not too much.
If you are relaying a story – write it for yourself first. Write down all the details and everything you want to say. Keep it as real and true to you as possible. I say edit it maybe 2 more times … at different times. Check the grammar, spelling errors, and add the summary and overall insights for the reader. Be direct in your writing and cut out the fluff!
Then stop editing. Share it … without it being perfect. It’s perfectly imperfect … just like us.
7. Write when inspired … don’t force your words.
One of the BIGGEST tips I can give is to only write when you are inspired. When a topic comes to you, or an experience that you want to share or write about to process … then it is time to write. Don’t write out of obligation or when you feel blocked and out of your creative zone (we all have one!). Don’t make writing hard or forced … allow it to flow from your heart, not your mind. It will be almost effortless when you find your flow state.
8. A picture says a thousand words.
Pictures are such a big part of a blog. You can say everything you didn’t say through the pictures you use – so get creative with them! Tell a story through not only what you say but what you don’t say – visuals can attract the reader to keep reading as well as create breaks in the text. Pictures can bring your words to life!
9. Vulnerability and authenticity are essential.
When you write in a flow state and from your heart – you are at your most vulnerable and authentic state. You voice will shine through, your voice will sing, and you will discover how easy it can be to express yourself through words! Don’t put on a mask or try to write like your favourite author – just be you. Others will take notice and do the same. We are meant to be our own unique selves and share with the world in our raw and beautiful form.
10. Have a friend read it over for encouragement and a little love.
If you feel apprehensive about posting a blog, have a friend or fellow scholar look it over to proofread or to feel your voice on paper. Your close friends or family know you best and will let you know if it’s not true to you. Take the feedback as feedFORWARD – in making your writing better and more authentic to you. And if you think otherwise – you don’t have to listen and post it anyway ;).
When you’re ready, or not … Post It! Then wait for the feedback. Awesome or not … you did it! Don’t let negativity or an overactive response deter you from continuing to write. You light needs to shine somewhere in someone’s life and can inspire and ignite someone in the ethers of the internet!
Be a beacon and let your heart sing through your words.
There is such power in words … use yours for release, revive and rebirth!
Peace & Love,
Jill – Joy In Living Loud xx (my new brand name I’m trying out …)
Jill is a health enthusiast passionate about holistic living through being conscious of the mind, body and spirit connection. She is a free-spirited yoga teacher and sound healer that embraces any adventure that comes her way, whether that is rock climbing, paddle boarding, waterfall rappelling, cliff jumping or learning a new inversion. She finds balance and inspiration in her happy place of being in nature and swimming in the ocean. She ensures that everything she does is in alignment with her truth – to share her heart with others in a vulnerable way in order to spread positivity and unconditional love and light.