part three

Developing structure is far more personal than others would have you believe. And the structure of your writing can evolve. The cold, hard basics are less romantic than you or I would like. But when you discover the basics that work for you, you can begin romancing your writing and determine how it will best serve your voice and your goal.


Finding Your Structure

-Length. Decide BEFORE you start writing how long each post will be. Making this determination will help you maintain focus and get to your point without boring your reader. Most people will only read a blog for three minutes. If your post takes longer than five minutes, you will lose your audience before your last paragraph. This isn't a book, or even a chapter in a book.
My advice: 400-600 words, Four to Six paragraphs, three to five sentences each paragraph.

That should give you a good three to five-minute piece.

-Topic. Do not wander or try to fit too much in.
Say what you are going to say. Say it. Then say what you just said.
A personal story or example is always good to share, it draws the reader in and holds their interest.

-Guide. I use my mom as my guide. I figure that whatever I write, she will most likely read. If I think she would be offended, I probably shouldn't write it. There are things she hasn't agreed with but I am ok with that. For this reason, I do not use profanity in a post. I do not want to offend anyone and since I cannot be sure of who is reading, I would rather be safe than sorry.

-Truth. Do not print lies or make up stories to prove your point. The internet is available to everyone. Which means that there is probably someone out there that can disprove what you say. Just stick with the truth, you are less likely to get mixed up. What happens on the internet is everywhere. This is not Vegas. Do NOT Plagiarize -> cardinal sin of writing.  If you want to re-post something, give credit where credit is due.

-Impaired. Do not drink and blog. Do not blog when you are exhausted. Do not blog while driving. You need to be focused and as clear-brained as possible.

-Edit. Edit. Edit. I can't say enough. I always write my post in a word doc first. Then I can use spell and grammar check, word count, and there is less likely a change that I will accidentally delete a whole post or a developed idea by writing directly into your blogging forum. Check your to, two and too's, you're and your's, they're, there and their's. Final test is reading it aloud - read it out loud, to yourself before you hit the publish button. Then you can go back and edit later, tomorrow or the next day.

-Tags. Always tag your post with keywords and your name or blog name. This makes your post more searchable and findable. I always tag with my full name, my Twitter name, the name of my blog, and the forum where it is posted, in addition to keywords. And then I sign my post, linking my signature to my LinkedIn profile or website.

These are rules that worked for me.


by rayannethorn


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