By Nikki Marlar
Although there are egotistical blog owners who view themselves as pictures of perfection, real writers are always looking for ways to improve their art. Doing so ensures all the hard work of designing the blog, making connections through social media marketing, and researching doesn’t go to waste. There are several ways to do this, but one of the best polishing techniques I’ve found is looking at other styles of writing.
In college I took a poetry class and remember it being one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in the development of my writing. Even when I’m not composing poems, I find myself using these five basic tips my professor handed out on the first day of class.
- Use Imagery.
Words followed by more words can often be plain vanilla if you want to think in ice cream flavors. Sure it tastes good, but what about exciting all of the other senses? When I think of looking through the glass counters at any ice cream parlor, I don’t remember vanilla ice cream. I remember the bright or multi-colored flavors. When I think of words I’ve read, I remember the pieces that took black words on white paper and produced colorful pictures in my mind.
- Make Every Word Count.
Brevity is important for several reasons. First, using imagery does not mean doubling the length of your post with globs of boring detail. A few descriptive words appropriately placed are all you need to vitalize your piece. Second, there’s no need to explain everything. Doing so loses people’s interest, like listening to that friend who always gives you the total play-by-play of a single occurrence. Third, cutting out all unnecessary words in poetry is mandatory. Sentences seem shorter by shunning the “classic” sentence structure. Just make sure it still makes sense.
- Find Unusual Subject Matter
Writing about the same thing everybody else is talking about is so boring. Not to mention boring to read. These days if we want to do that, we just simply connect with social media and chat it up with whoever wants to talk about it. But when it comes to writing, the unusual subject matter or the unusual perspective is what sticks with readers. Compare it to the common subject of love in poetry. Anyone can write about it. But it’s only going out stick out if you paint readers a new picture.
- Read Them Aloud.
Do it over, and over. This is an obvious tip for poetry considering its alternate name is “spoken word.” But reading your blog out loud is a great way for more reasons than just making sure it sounds good. Hearing your words helps ensure you’re explaining your thoughts in an effective manner. It gives you a new way to experience the voice of your writing and how it comes across to readers.
- Be Funny.
This was probably the toughest assignment in poetry class. No matter what form we’re writing in, we sometimes get so caught up in getting our point across that we forget about humor. Of course, there is a time and a place for it. But making someone laugh takes a lot of creativity. And unless you’re known for your stand-up routines, most people aren’t expecting it. Laughter is a serious attention grabber that helps generate buzz.
Nikki Marlar is a contributing editor, writer, and collaborator of ideas for The Professional Intern. She is passionate about parenting, food, traveling, exploring, learning, writing, and life.