21 Tips for Writing Great Content

All writers have something in common: they want to write better. Some want to be paid well for their art; others want to write the next Great American novel, while others still just enjoy writing. If you’re a writer, you may fall in any of those categories, but one thing’s for sure: before you achieve your dream as a writer, you must write great content first, and it’s not easy.

Indeed, it’s hard to know how to make yourself a better writer when you have been doing the same things over and over again in your entire writing career. I myself struggled in the beginning in writing content that I considered great, because I was taught to do things a certain way. It was only when I broke away from those that I began to flourish with new ideas. Now, I can write without having mental blocks.

Sometimes if you’re brand new to writing it can be hard to know what’s right from wrong when you’re writing. It’s also frustrating if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t in your writing.

Let’s look at the following 21 tips that you can start using in order to write better content.

1. Write Every Day.

I have seen from my own experience that the more I write, the more I want to write. I started to write at least 1,000 words every day and eventually, I found myself continuing to write even after I have reached my daily target.

The fact is that the more you write, the more you will start feeling passionate about writing. Instead of it feeling like a chore, it will feel like a gift every day that you get to write. It may seem hard to do at first when writing a 1,000 words a day, but give it a try for a few weeks and it will eventually make you feel awesome. Pretty soon, adding another 1,000 words to your daily writing calendar each day won’t be a big deal anymore.

If you implement the 1,000 words a day challenge, you can add it up over time and see how much you can accomplish. Take a look at a screen shot of my daily writing log:

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I used to dread writing before I did the challenge. Now, I can say that I truly love doing it. Changing your perspective on why you’re writing in the first place can have a huge impact on how much you write each day.

2. Writing makes us grow as human beings.

Every time I sit down to write, I grow more as a human being. Writing gives me the ability to share my life experiences with the world in a way that’s very rewarding.

Every new day you write gives you in return knowledge that was stored up inside you that you might not have known was there in the first place. Sometimes after I write, I read over what I have written and find myself at a loss because I didn’t know I had that in me.

In cases like this, you might have experienced true inspiration. The only way to get this when it comes to writing is to sit down and write.

3. The easier it is to read, the harder it is to write.

Writing content that’s easy to read is a really hard thing to do. Yeah, I know it doesn’t seem to make sense and it makes my head hurt a bit trying to figure out why this is. I think it’s because taking the time to make something easier to read involves you thinking on a deeper level than just putting words together on paper (or screen).

For example, if you were writing a page on “Terms and Conditions” for a business, it’s already a hard topic to write. Chances are, if you go to any website and read their terms and conditions, it’s really confusing to read and understand. This is because it’s much easier to write the terms of service using the legal jargon (which makes no sense whatsoever). By not having to think about whether it will be understood by ordinary people it’s not going to be easy to read. There’s not much effort put into writing that text.

However, if you have come across a TOS that’s easier to read then it most likely took much longer to put things together. The person writing it had to think hard and long about who is going to be reading the text and how to deliver the message in as simple way as possible, without using words that the regular person would not understand.

By thinking about the person who will read the text, the writer has to take more time and effort to think of simpler words that would be understood by everyone, while at the same time being able to deliver the same message.

4. Always break the rules.

Breaking the rules seems like something you shouldn’t be doing when you’re working hard as a writer. However, it is only by thinking out of the box that can make you a much better writer. After all, there are no real rules that apply to the writing process; there are only guidelines that you can apply in your writing or not.

Breaking away and trying new things when you’re in the creative writing process can spark new ways for you to write better. Everything in life is about trying new things and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Now, I am not saying you should do the opposite of everything I go in this article because that’s what you think “breaking the rules” is. It’s like this: for example, someone sets a writing rule that says “You should write for three hours straight.” You don’t have to follow it; take a break when you have to and when you feel that your creativity is already affected by long writing hours.

Breaking the rule is always a way to discover a better process to your own writing ability. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

5. Write about things that inspire and interest you.

Writing something that doesn’t inspire you is hard to do and it will always seem like work. Heck, you might work for a company where you have to write about things you don’t really care for and that’s something you can’t change unless you find a new job.

Why is it important to write about what you love? I believe that when you do the things you love, the work will come naturally to you. The ideas and the words will flow effortlessly. Can you imagine how hard it is to write, for example, about technology when you’re not interested in it?

Always write about what you love, it will be something you’ll be glad you did in the long run.

6. In a distracted world, the right words matter.

All of us are guilty at one time or another of letting distractions into our lives. As writers, it’s our job to produce content that makes sense. There may be days, no matter how hard we try, that distractions occur, making it hard to focus on our writing.

However, it’s our responsibility to our readers to choose and use the right words that will perfectly express the meaning of the text. I have come to think of using the right words in your content is much like magic. What words mean and how they sound can greatly affect your message.

When we use the wrong words, people may get the wrong message. There is a clear difference between the meaning of the words and what they sound like in writing. This is one of the root causes of terrible writing, because the same words can mean different things and sound differently to different people (that was a mouthful).

It’s truly amazing how powerful words can be. When someone reads our content and they are convinced to buy something, share something, or respond in other ways, we learn that words really do have power over us. The right words can change lives when put in the right order.

7. Stockpiling thousands of ideas isn’t a good idea.

I have hundreds and thousands of ideas that could become content, but if I just keep them inside my head without putting them in writing, it wouldn’t help anyone, much less me.

The best way to really start pumping out great content is to turn those ideas into content. If you have a hundred ideas that you thought of which can become content then you should work on those ideas before you start adding more to the list. Having more and more ideas won’t give you content, it will just make it harder for you to know which one you should start writing about.

Yes, ideas are always good and you should write them down, but don’t make your ideas the only thing you do because ideas won’t get you anywhere. Working on those ideas and digging in deeper will make you go places and that’s exactly what you need to do.

8. Always carry a place to store your ideas.

Having a notebook or a phone to record your ideas when they come up is a good thing to do. You can download an app like Evernote or simply just use the default notes app that comes with your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can just as easily send yourself a text message of your idea.

All phones these days have text messaging capabilities. Every time something occurs to you, just open up your text message and write down your thoughts and send the message to yourself.

If you do have a smartphone, you should download an app like Evernote because this app can work on your phone and computer. Every time you put anything on it from your phone, it will automatically sync to your computer, allowing you to change and read everything from your computer. It’s a great app for storing ideas and thoughts. If you don’t have a phone, you can just as easily carry around a notepad that can fit into your pocket.

Setup a free Evernote account

9. Protect the time and space in which you write.

It’s hard to block out distractions when the world seems to have so many surrounding us. Whenever you sit down to write, you need to close and turn off all the distractions around you, otherwise your writing may suffer.

Some examples of distractions you can turn off are your phone, the Internet, TV, and things that you don’t need in order to write. Having the TV on while you’re writing is possible to do, but it will get in the way of your creative abilities. Social networking accounts like Facebook and Twitter can be very time-consuming and can really distract you; do something so that it doesn’t get in the way when you’re writing.

Have kids and you’re working at home? It can be hard to avoid them. One way is to hire a babysitter to take care of them for you, or to write very early or very late while they’re in bed. You can also give up something else that’s not as important like watching the game on the weekends and just devote that time to writing.

Another thing to start getting used to is for you to have a dedicated space for your work. This can be a place within your house or it can easily be a place that you feel comfortable in, like a coffee shop (that is, if the distractions in the coffee shops won’t bother you).

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Having a special place to sit down and write will motivate you to make it a priority in your life. That safe place will give you the inspiration you need to write more often.

10. Drop the jargon.

I have read hundreds of book and every once in a while, I see writers trying to use big words to make them seem smarter and look like a better writer. If it sounds like you, stop doing it. Using big words doesn’t make your writing better.

crazy-words

Always try to keep the message clear, and to do that, you have to remove the big words which will only get in the way of you writing clearly and concisely. Write as simply as possible so you can be understood by more people.

11. Don’t wait for inspiration.

You can’t order up inspiration whenever you want it to be there. Inspiration just happens; it may come one day and not return until the next week. When I write, I don’t wait to be inspired. I have to look for inspiration myself.

One way I do this is to start writing even if I don’t feel inspired. I know that sooner or later, inspiration will show up. If you can’t write good copy without inspiration, you need not worry about it. Just write about whatever comes to mind until you feel inspiration coming. Again, don’t wait for inspiration, go out and find it.

12. Stop procrastinating.

Every once in a while, I tend to procrastinate about writing and that’s okay. It happens to the best of us. However, if all you do is procrastinate about your writing, then you’re going to have a really hard time producing great content. By always procrastinating, you’re shutting down your creative thinking; you will just be putting words together that make sense, but there will be no passion and drive within your content.

You need to think hard about why you’re writing in the first place. Because if all you do is procrastinate every time you sit down to write, that’s a big problem.

13. Don’t stop to fix errors.

It’s hard to get in the habit of not fixing errors when you’re writing because we’ve been taught to be as accurate as possible. Here’s the thing about trying to fix errors when you’re writing and being a grammar nazi: it’s only going to slow you down and it’s also going to block your creative flow.

It’s one of the hardest things most new writers have to overcome when they’re creating great content. Even I sometimes still try to fix errors when I am writing. Stop doing that; fixing errors is what an editor is there for. Yes, you can still check your work, but you need to do it after you finish writing, not while you’re doing it.

14. Read everything you can get your hands on.

Being a better writer involves reading often. By reading as much as you can, you get more ideas and it becomes much easier for you to write in the long run. If you don’t like reading, it’s going to be hard for you to find writing ideas and the process of you sitting down and writing takes much longer.

It has been scientifically proven that people who read more and consume more books, magazines, and any other reading materials in general become better at writing. If you don’t like reading then you need to start getting into the habit of reading each day. I am not talking about reading stuff on social networks either. A Facebook status update on someone telling you about their cat is not something that adds knowledge to your brain. I am talking about actual content that someone took the time to create that adds value to your brain.

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Reading someone’s status updates each day is a waste of your time and won’t add to your writing abilities. Go out and read something useful that you can add to your bank of knowledge.

15. Find your best time of the day for writing.

Sometimes, when I sit down to write and I’m not in the writing mindset, I find it really hard to start writing. Take it from me: don’t choose the worst time of your day to write because it will make things so much harder.

Finding your best time to write depends on your circumstances and your daily schedule. If you’re super busy from 8am to 5pm, but have twenty minutes of free time in the middle of the day, I don’t think it’s wise to try and cram your writing time into that twenty minutes. Use that free time to rest instead.

Why? It’s because if you only have a very limited number of time, you will be worried from the very start that you only have so and so minutes to write. That will affect your writing big time. Your best option is to set aside a few hours each day for writing. Anything less and you might not be able to deliver the best you can come up with.

Bestselling authors have a set schedule they work around with where their writing time stays the same. Everything else they need to do is scheduled around their writing time, not the other way around. If you start implementing this into your life, you will soon see that writing is more of a privilege than a chore.

16. Turn off your mobile phone and disconnect from the internet when writing.

As I have said in number 9, protect the time and space in which you write. The top 2 major distractions for most writers are the cellphone and the internet. If you let these distract you when you’re writing, it’s going to be very hard for you to stay focused.

Get in the habit of turning your phone off for a set time each day to write. When you start doing that, it will tell people not to bother calling you at those times because you have important tasks you’re focusing on and you won’t care to answer your phone at those times. All you should really have around you when you’re writing is your computer, or if you wish, just a pen and paper.

If you do like having the internet open when you write to get your ideas flowing, you should be disciplined enough not to open websites that are only going to slow you down.

17. Build mind maps.

I am sure you have heard of mind maps before. If not, let me explain a little bit about what they are and how you can use them to help you write better.

Mind maps are visually organizing information that you use to get your creative ideas flowing. A mind map is often created around a single concept or idea, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words, and parts of words are added.

How-to-create-a-mind-map-mindmap

Building a mind map can get you to pull together loads of ideas about a book or blog post that you are working on. With a mind map you can add new ideas and thoughts to make your writing process go much faster. I highly recommend implementing the process of using mind maps in your writing process.

18. Be disciplined.

I try to be as disciplined as possible when writing. If you try to write while the TV is on or the internet is open, then you’re not being as disciplined as you can be. By being disciplined, you can train yourself to focus 100% on writing great content.

19. Be without fear.

If you are trying to do something while inwardly fearing it, stop. It isn’t a good idea. Even if the task isn’t scary itself, you will still be affected because you will think it’s much harder than it should be. By having a clear mind when you start to write, you will be able to concentrate better on your writing.

When you approach writing with fear or anxiety, you will almost always not deliver the best results. Clear your mind before you start, and you will see that your writing will flow better.

20. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard.

Don’t think for one second that writing is easy because it’s not. Writing and harnessing your inner writer takes time, effort, and above all, patience and practice. Some of the most priceless pieces of text came about with years of experience and dedication from the writer.

I think that to truly become a success at writing, you must keep writing and working towards your goals. If it’s your goal to become a bestselling author, you need to keep on practicing. Write one book and another and another and another. And another. You need to make each new book you write better and better. For every new book you add to your list of accomplishments, you will be closer and closer to your dream of becoming a bestselling author.

21. Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.

Yeah, and that includes this article. What works for me might not work for you and your writing. This is what makes writing great content so hard. The world’s most renowned author can sit down with you and tell you how he writes such masterpieces and you could be thinking “what the hell is he talking about?” Writing and mastering writing for yourself really does come from your own experience, not from others.

In fact, you can read all the books in the world about how to write better, and not learn anything from it. What it really comes down to is practice. Nothing can be mastered in life without practicing it yourself.

Don't procrastinate! Just find a place and write. It's as simple as that. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

So how do you become a good writer? Simple. Read a lot and write a lot. It’s as simple as that. For the truth is that the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself along the way.

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Thanks for reading and I hope you have an amazing day!
Scott