It bewilders me that I’m writing on how to be a good writer.
Never have I considered myself in the same league as Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, or Tolkien.
For one, metaphors, alliteration, and hyperboles trip me out. I also write in run-on sentences. And toss out too many adverbs. I don’t include underlying themes. I use commas. Sentence fragments. <— see what I did there?
And to top it all off, I curse a lot.
Despite all this, after two years of blogging, I’ve garnered thousands of readers.
I’ve been featured on fitness blogs such as Dean Somerset, Tony Gentilcore, Blissfully Lively, and the Personal Training Development Center. My articles have received shout outs from fitness experts Nardia Normon, Dr. Laura Miranda, Nick Tumminello, and Meghan Callaway. I’ve chimed in on fitness topics in Women’s Health, Stack.com, and MyFitnessPal.com. I’ve gone viral with this piece.
Oh, and I’ve been asked out on a total of 17 dates.
I guess you can say I’m doing OK.
How To Be a Good Writer
As much as I want to provide a short-cut, like click your heels, twirl around, take a shot of whiskey, and then magically be able to spit out content, I can’t.
It doesn’t work that way.
What works is a multitude of ingredients to make your content cake solid, tasteful, and satiating to readers. Because writing amazing content is work. And you have to do the freakin’ work.
Let’s dive right in:
1.) Start off by reading more.
In order to expand your language palate, you must immerse yourself in books. Any form of reading is a great start, whether that is 50 or 200 words a day. Consistently.
Initially, a wealth of fitness reading is your best bet. I mean, how do you expect to go in depth about training force vector angles if you haven’t read one book on biomechanics?
While there’s merit in fitness reading, there’s also value in fiction, poetic, and other forms of text. I can’t tell you how many times I was so engrossed in Tolkien’s metaphorical rhetoric in The Lord of the Rings that I ignored my naked boyfriend. Or how many times I dropped my jaw after every sentence in Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell that I questioned my own soul.
Learning about the writing craft starts with being captivated by other authors. Then, you’ll find it easier to discover your own style and settle into your unique voice.
2.) Write about a niche.
To garner followers, you have to hone your niche. People are more likely to read your shit if you are an expert in something.
If you’re all over the place, you begin to lose credibility, and your readers may question your integrity. You don’t see glute expert Bret Contreras writing about the science of wrestling killer whales. You don’t see Tracy Anderson writing about the functional anatomy of human movement science (thank GOD). And you don’t see strength coach Michael Boyle writing about pilates.
Lesson learned: own your niche and you’ll garner respect. Respect = brand loyalty.
3.) But also, add in variety.
This may contradict my last bullet point, but hear me out.
After you have chosen your niche, write mostly about that. However, pick and choose times to sprinkle in variety.
I like to push the envelope with my writing to throw my readers for a curveball. Because sometimes, something to light the fire under their butts from the mundane is needed.
I like to use the diet rule of 80/20 for my writing. 80% sticking to my niche, 20% making the world go up in flames. It’s fun, it ruffles feathers, and it keeps people yearning for more. I want people to wonder, ‘What crazy shenanigans will Erica do next?’
Some examples of off-niche topics I’ve written about include How To Know You’re in an Abusive Relationship, How To Be Badass And Crush Life and What College Taught Me About Life. Read them. They’ll throw you off in the best way possible.
4.) Be consistent.
This may sound as obvious blogging advice, but it’s important.
Too often, I see trainers writing their first few articles with serious fervor, only to peace out for the next several months.
Oh, so you don’t blog conistently? That’s cute. Please continue to complain about your lack of web traffic.
To amass readers, you have to be
annoying visible. Even if you write a 200 word post once a week, you’re still getting yourself out there. Not every post has to be a dissertation with peer reviewed references. At the very least, post a blurb to your Facebook page, tweet regularly, or find solace with a concise piece.
5.) Write, damnit.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to get started.
I get loads of messages for writing advice. I challenge people to get their feet wet and get into the habit of writing every day. This could mean writing in a journal, writing new vocabulary, or tweeting about your shitty wife. Just write.
Here are some excellent resources to get you started:
Anything done in repetition and consistency leads to improvement. Imagine that. It’s the most unsexy piece of advice, but it’s what makes good writers great.
That’s all. Hope that helped.