You might think for someone who writes articles for a living, creating content is easy. And to some extent it really is. You get so accustomed to putting words into a file or on paper that writing strangely somehow becomes easier than speaking. When I look back on my own writer’s journey, I remember that even in school whenever I had troubles expressing myself because I had so many thoughts racing through my head I felt I was drowning in them, I sat down and wrote everything down. Suddenly, there was this sense of clarity and utter relief knowing that suddenly everything made sense.
When I talk, I tend to jump from topic to topic because I get easily distracted, but when I’m writing it’s like I’m ticking of boxes in my head that I feel need to be addressed. So, becoming a journalist might have been in the cards for me ever since then, even though it took me a couple more years to really grasp what I could use that skill I had for. Now, I write multiple articles a day – short ones, long ones, philosophical ones, fun ones, serious ones. But all of them start with a question in my head: What do I want people to learn from this? What would I expect from the topic if I had to sum it up in one single sentence.
From Bullet Points to Articles
Because believe it or not, putting the frame of a whole article in a text in one sentence can be the biggest challenge. It’s absolutely fine if the outcome of a text is that they’ve learned to take life less seriously, that is already more than enough. I follow the same procedure for both blogposts and articles because are supposed to be informative but still fun to read.
When I’ve come up with a topic, I write down the most important bullet points and prioritise them accordingly. Before really getting into the topic in the post it’s always important to give the readers a bit of a taste of what’s about to come. Depending what the post is about it’s either a short introductory paragraph with the content summed up in a few words or an anecdote from either my own experience or someone’s I’ve met. Putting emotion into a text makes it more graspable and relatable and people like connecting with texts emotionally to some extent.
Blog posts are for self expression
Even scientific topics don’t really have to be straightforward and clean cut, especially a blog should be a place of self expression and self reflection. I want to be able to look back on a blog post and know how I felt when I wrote it to be able to compare it to the amount of progress I’ve made since publishing it. Blogging is, in contrast to articles in a newspaper, always to some parts a mirror of your personal journey – which is a beautiful thing.
The most difficult part really isn’t the creation of the text, I tend to sit down with my favourite music playlist and just let it flow – the most challenging part is finding a way to create a title interesting and intriguing enough to lure readers in. It can’t be boring but it should also be adapted to SEO to be found. To be honest, at this point I believe the titles I come up with are a mix of both. The pressure to perform and reach certain numbers is much higher in my line of work where we are dependent on people finding our articles which is also why I’m much less stressed about the „perfect title“ when it comes to my blog posts.
SEO can be fun
So I try to filter the most important buzz words from the article that might perform well on Google and then connect it with a dash of creative freedom. In the end it’s all about trial and error and I have come to the conclusion that especially in the blogging realm, fun titles including SEO work best. Another part that isn’t necessarily difficult but simply time-consuming is research which is probably the least fun part of writing a blogpost, especially when it comes to scientific topics. At work, it amongst my favourite things because I always get to meet new, exciting people and there has not been a day so far where I didn’t learn something new.
I am bad at a lot of things, math for example, physics and chemistry is something I’ll never understand, but writing – that is something I know I’m good at. It’s freeing, putting something that was in your head a second ago, on paper just a moment later. There were blog articles I didn’t like because I felt like I could have worded it better, but there was never a post I truly hated. I wouldn’t post something I hated because if I already struggle seeing the point behind it, how could others enjoy reading it.
I stopped going through my texts over and over again a long time ago because I realised that the first thing I put on paper that comes to my mind, without thinking about it much, has always been the best quality so far. As a professional over thinker I am not doing myself a favour if I reminisce about a text too long – because THEN I will start to hate it. And we want to avoid that. The first sentence is always the hardest but once I start, there’s nothing that can stop me.