Being a good writer is not something people are born with. It is definitely a learned skill. It is acquired by writing. Lots of it. Thousands of hours.
You’ll need to master grammar and punctuation though. You can fine-tune this knowledge as you go along. In the beginning, editing may take more time than it does to write the article. Eventually, you will have very little editing to do once you’re done.
Don’t worry about your educational background. Mine was poor until I reached college where I had to start learning grammar, punctuation, and writing all over again. I did this by spending hundreds of hours in the learning assistance center. It paid off though as I graduated with several honors, some of them for papers I wrote. 🙂 Because I had spent my prime learning years (15-17) in juvenile hall and a boys’ home, my educational progression was inconsistent and subpar.
My writing style does not follow any formal rules. I find that schoolbook methods block creativity. However, I do strive to include an introduction, body, and a closing or summary.
Here’s my writing process.
- I get an inspiration for an article and begin to assemble points to include in my mind. These inspirations can happen at any time. I get some of my best ideas while I’m sleeping, exercising, and showering. I have notepads strategically placed so that I can record ideas as I get them.
- My most productive writing period is before breakfast. Since I get up very early (3:40 am), I start writing about 5 am. This is after I’ve power walked or swam (depends on the season), taken a shower, and meditated (TM).
- When I sit down to write, I review my topic and the points I want to make in my mind and then just begin writing. It takes about 10-15 minutes before I get into a free-flowing writing zone.
- I sometimes continue to write or edit the article after breakfast or later in the day, but I rarely take it to completion. I prefer to let the article incubate overnight as I often come up with additions and revisions.
- The next morning I will either begin a new article or do final editing on 1-3 articles I wrote 3-5 days before.
- After I have edited a sentence or paragraph, I carefully read it to make sure it sounds correct. I rely a lot on how a sentence sounds in determining whether it is grammatically correct.
- When I’m done editing, I read the entire article again. If this leads to extensive editing, I read the article again.
- I pass each article through two editing devices. They are Microsoft Word and WordPress. Both of these have powerful editing capabilities. It’s not usual for one of them to point out an error or make a suggestion that the other missed.
- Once I’ve completed all the editing processes, I read the article through one more time.
- Before I press the “Publish” button, I carefully check all the WordPress article settings. Once I press this button, distribution of the article to the selected article category and tag, social media, and RSS is automatic.
- Sometimes I come up with small additions or revisions after I’ve published an article. When I do, I simply make the changes and press the “Update” button.
Update: I found an amazing online grammar checking app that exceeds the editing capabilities of Microsoft Word and WordPress. It automatically and non-intrusively checks everything you write online from email messages and social media posts to blog articles like this one. There is also an app for Microsoft Windows and Office. The lite versions of these are FREE! I’m so thoroughly impressed with it I’m going to upgrade to one of the premium plans. It’s called Grammarly! And it’s truly remarkable.
It’s smart to get tips from others, but I recommend that you find your own writing style. I had to try many different methods before I found mine. There are prolific bloggers who I admire that write an article from beginning to end in one sitting. I wish I could do that, but it doesn’t work for me. I able to put more value into an article by allowing it to incubate.
I feel a sense of accomplishment after each article is published. It’s exciting to consider that your work is instantly available to millions of people around the world. I find it humbling too, because of the responsibility that comes with it.
If you’re interested in creating a content-based (articles) website or blog of your own, this article will help: “How to Create an Income Generating Website.”
I believe that being responsible for what you write is a crucial part of being a professional writer/blogger. I have found that those who behave otherwise, are usually immature, ignorant, or severely miss guided – to put it mildly. If you’re going to publish articles online, do it with integrity and for the highest good or don’t do it at all.
At this point, I do not consider myself to be an outstanding writer. But my love of the art of word sculpturing keeps me determined to master this craft.