Words on a Page Writings about writing

Learning from the best bloggers

A paper notebook and a notebook computer

I always tell people that the best way to become a better blogger is to write. Then edit. Then write again. And again. And again. Practice making, if not perfect, then make you better.

Writing, though, is only one part of the equation. A bit part, but only a part. Another way to become a better blogger is by reading other blogs. Not just reading any blogs, but the better ones out there.

I’m talking about the blogs of people like Leo Babauta, Seth Godin, Jenny Lawson, Chris Brogan, and Gina Trapani. And many, many others.

What can you learn from reading the work of the best bloggers? Here are a few things that I think you can, and should, try to learn.

The best bloggers know how to tell a good story. An interesting story. A compelling story. They structure and pace their posts so the stories they’re trying to tell don’t bore you but at the same time don’t get to the climax too quickly.

The best bloggers can teach you to write concisely. They don’t always write posts that run 1,500 words or 2,000 words or 3,000 words or whatever the prescribed optimal length of a blog post is this week. Sometimes, they write short but powerful posts like this one by Seth Godin.

You can learn how to craft an argument and develop a point of view. This is, in some ways, tied up in telling a good story. The best bloggers build on their arguments, adding layers of opinion that are backed by fact. Then, they hit their readers with a conclusion. And they keep it interesting and compelling.

The best bloggers can show to make your blog both personal and useful to your readers. They tell a story about themselves, but the story isn’t wrapped up in them. Instead they make the make the problems they’ve faced and the solutions they’ve come up with useful to their readers. There’s always a lesson or a technique those readers can apply to their situations, to their lives.

Yes, your writing will wind up sounding a bit (maybe more than a bit) like the writing of the bloggers you read. That’s especially true if you’re just starting out or are trying to find your voice. You’ll eventually learn, though, to meld elements of their writing into yours to develop your own unique voice.

And maybe that’s the most important lesson you can learn from the best bloggers: how to create your own unique voice.

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