NON FICTION: What You Need To Think About Before Writing That Next Blog Post

Man thinking at desktop

Photo: Jason Strull

I’m fortunate enough to have grown up as a nobody who’d had a day job that involved public speaking.

What that taught me was that if I were to talk to a crowd of strangers, I better damn well have something interesting to say, lest I end up talking to a disinterested audience for however long it is I’m slated to talk.

You know the signs: the vacant stares suggesting that they’ve checked out and are now thinking about dinner, the ones with their faces lit up by their phones, the yawns, the coughs, and worst of all, the murmurs as they totally disregard your talk and conduct ones of their own.

Sure, it sucks, but you know what? You can’t force someone to listen to you, especially if you don’t bring value into their lives, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.

What’s your point?

As an avid scroller of the WordPress Reader, I’ve realised that the thing that gets me to click on posts are a nice picture, an interesting title, and a great opener that really draws me in.

So you can be sure I’ll be clicking on posts that start with “As a writer, it is important to get into the mindset of being an artist…” and avoid those whose first sentences are “Best CopyEditing Services. Make money SEO. Best Writing.”

Of course, these are extreme examples, but it does bring to light an important question you should ask yourself before starting on a post, and that’s “What’s my point?”

For instance, my intended purpose for this article is to entertain you for a few minutes, to get you to relax a little. It certainly isn’t to impart my wisdom of the ages. You might have to wait a couple more decades for that.

But I don’t have a point!

So you think your life’s boring, and that nobody could possibly care what you have to say, and you might be right.

But that’s good! Because that shows that you’re self-aware enough to know that you can’t just post pictures of your lunch and expect people to leave your site feeling like they’ve attained anything of value.

If you’re still at a loss on what to write though, you can be sure to give your readers a better time if you remember to do either one of these three things, which are share, entertain, or inspire.

It’s that simple

That’s really it. No matter what niche you’re in, what your story’s about, or whether or not it’s fictional, you’ll be doing your readers a huge favour if you first seek out to share, entertain, or inspire them with your story.

Of course, if you’re in a position to inspire, you’ll always want to do that. Have a great rags to riches story? Opened the door into the career of your dreams? Lost eighty pounds? Then you already have a goldmine of stories right there. Stories with a ready audience.

Or maybe you have a way with words, yet you don’t really have much in the way of unique life experiences. Then look to entertain your readers. You can always craft a story and whisk your readers away from the real world for a few minutes, and make life better for others, one person at a time.

What if you really have nothing interesting—which is a pretty common ailment for writers, impostor syndrome and all—to say? What if you think your hobbies are boring? What if you hate your writing? Then share.

The magic of sharing

I don’t care who you are or what you do, but I refuse to believe that you have nothing to share that’s not uniquely yours.

You could talk about that new book you’re reading, or the little patch of flowers you’re trying to grow in your backyard. Heck, you can even write about how you did nothing and it still would be interesting if you had a point to share.

Even if someone’s written about doing nothing before, you could still do the same while taking a whole new angle.

For one person, that could be her wanting to overcome her anxiety of the outside world, and that idling at home today was the last straw that led her to that decision. For another, it could be a story about his social media detox, about finding his centre in this world of information overload.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

―Chuck Palahniuk

Perhaps the most important part about sharing is that you make it worth your readers’ while. There has to be a reason why you’re mentioning your latest foray into philately, or that your dog prefers meat to kibble.

If there’s one takeaway you get from this piece, it should be exactly that—you need to give your readers a takeaway at the end of each story.

Also, you don’t need to be Hemingway to do this. But if you keep writing, you could very well be. Now what do you say you get started on that next draft?

Walk a step in their shoes

In the end, writing stories that people want to read is just about putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. What would you like to read? Surely, it’s not a vignette about somebody brushing their teeth at 10:55 a.m.?

Asking yourself that question is always a good way to get the ideas rolling. What makes you click on an article? What is it about your ideal story that piques your interest? Write that.

Leave the thoughts of emulating your favourite authors behind. The world already has enough of Rowlings, Nabokovs, Vonneguts.

What it needs is you.

And I guess I’ll leave you with that.


But for real though, what is it that entices you to click on an article in the Reader? Is it a great title? A subject that appeals to you? The word choice? Share your thoughts with me and everyone else!

62 thoughts on “NON FICTION: What You Need To Think About Before Writing That Next Blog Post

    • Love that you liked it, Barbara. Means a lot, especially coming from an established writer such as yourself. I also find your passion for baseball really interesting and cool!

  1. I’ll read just about anything posted by someone that I have built a relationship with via WordPress. That being said, I am always attracted to clever headlines and humor :)

    • Am glad you find it humorous, because I’m a pretty bland person in real life. Am thankful for the internet for sure, lol.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jim! And also, thanks for teaching me how a donkey likes to be petted.

  2. >> avoid those whose first sentences are “Best CopyEditing Services. Make money SEO. Best Writing.”

    You nailed it right there! I don’t know why people still use things such as “SEO” and “copywriting” to get their point across, while people are getting sick and tired of those terms used over and over again like an old rag. Even I get those kinds of emails in my spam!

    • Lol. I don’t even mind if it’s on the subject of SEO or copywriting, as long as the article looks like it’s been written by a human, and doesn’t exist just to contain keywords.

      But yeah, getting mails from people who can help you ‘get your blog on the front page of Google’ is pretty tiresome.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thank you, Stuart, for sharing, entertaining, and inspiring us.
    I can’t share what is it that makes me read an article or post — to my shame, I confess I’m not really aware of it. :D
    I’ll pay more attention to it from now on.

    • Thank YOU for stopping by and sharing your positive energy.

      Yeah, the moment you discover what it is that makes you tick, it’ll become easier to write for like-minded people.

      Wishing you a constant growth of audience, Beatriz!

  4. I love this, Stuart. Self-awareness is something that too many folks lack in this Era. So many thoughtful observations here. Thank you!

    • Aw, I’m glad you liked it!

      I loved the stuff on your blog too, and I wanted to leave comments, but it wasn’t activated. Just liking your posts isn’t enough for the quality content you’re putting out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Thanks Stuart! That means a lot! I think I changed my settings to allow for comments – I’m grateful for the suggestion!

  5. Thank you. Half the time I write I have been inspired by something on the Internet, the other half I feel I should write, but have no idea what to write about. 😂

    Also, thank you for reading a few of my posts today! 💜
    I don’t know how well I entertain my readers, especially when I’m crafting the topic as I write.

    • I actually have no idea how well I’m entertaining them too. I just put it out there and hope for the best, lol.

      Thanks for stopping by, and your posts were a great read :)

  6. Hi Stuart, I am visiting here from Amanda’s, Forestwood blog. I began reading your interesting posts late last night. Your stories are fascinating and filled with many gems. I have subscribed to your blog.

    Your information how “It’s that simple” resonated with me. It is a philosophy I share and you summarize it really well. Inspire, entertain, share. You remind me why I enjoy reading certain posts. You also remind me, about a quote I am paraphrasing from Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Tiny Beautiful Things.” ‘What am I really trying to say.’ I am glad our paths crossed and I look forward to learning more about you. 🙂 Erica

    • Heya Erica! Wow you really did hit the ball out of the park with this comment. It’s so well thought out and encouraging and I’m truly grateful that you’d stopped by and dropped this gem!

      I’m glad our paths crossed too, and am looking forward to reading more of your work as well!

  7. I started blogging because so many people told me my life experiences were worth reading about. I read other people’s blogs that peak my curiosity with a catchy title or raw honest content. I try to write with the same style and tone that I like to read.

    • It’s awesome that you know exactly what you want to write about, as well as what you like to read. I myself didn’t know anything about that a few years into my blogging journey. All I did was write random stuff. Am glad I stuck to it though, because now I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it.

      Wishing you the best with your own blogging journey, and thanks for stopping by!

  8. I clicked on this post after seeing your comment on my how I create blog posts because I was curious to see what you had to say on this topic since we kind of have the same writing techniques. This is a fantastic piece for people who are starting to blog or sometimes feel stuck. I like that you mentioned imposter syndrome and how some people believe they don’t have a point, because these are real feelings that even I’ve faced. This was a totally informational and positive piece, and I’ve definitely taken something away from it!

  9. I do frequently ask myself the “what’s my point” question when writing my posts as it helps me to tighten up the story and not meander too much. Thanks for the tips, and love the look of your blog.

  10. Great post! I’ve been thinking about this recently with how I approach writing upcoming content on my blog. In what ways will my readers benefit from my post? In one way or the other, like you mentioned (which is spot on!), I aim to inspire, entertain, or share with them.
    What gets me to click on posts are honest, unique titles; beautiful photography and a featured image; and posts where the writer opens up about what they’ve learned, how far they’ve come, and what they’re passionate about.

    • A lot of bloggers don’t think about the little details such as having a nice image, relevant first lines, and the promise of a good read.

      Yours had though, which was why I landed on it through the Reader :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Maggie!

  11. Waw..amazing post ..I couldn’t agree more..Actually I was stuck thinking about next weekend post, but this is gonna help me out with it…😊👍🏻
    Your blog-It’s commendably professional 😊

  12. This is a very insightful blog post! Sometimes I forget about the entertain part of writing non-fiction but this has reminded me of the importance of adding that. Definitely some useful advice. Great blog post!

  13. Most times, I just open. The first sentences I see determines if I’ll read to the end. Other times, it’s the title that pulls the attraction.
    This is a great read btw!

  14. What entices me to click on an article is if it’s on a topic I am interested in and/or have written about on my blog too. Nice to hear about other experiences.

    • Thanks for your input! I’m sure it’ll help anybody who stumbles across this post. I too am mostly drawn by things I’m interested in. Random musing rarely draw my attention, unless the first two sentences seem interesting.

  15. Very interesting post! What also gets my attention to read further any article is the image, the cover, the title and how the writing starts. I have started my own blog recently as I really enjoy writing, I am easily inspired and feel people like to read my creative writing. I think that everyone has interesting thoughts and things to tell in their own unique way!

    • Congrats on your new journey! Indeed everyone has their own story to tell, which is why it’s important for us to embrace them, instead of trying to be someone else. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. I am never short on ideas, I have 103 draft blog posts that I’m working through for useable content. I have the experiences but making them relatable is not as easy. I’m getting through them, killing off my darlings as I go (hello trashcan). I’d love more interaction so I’ll think carefully how I can engage and stimulate conversations going forward
    Another great thought provoking post ⭐️

    • Wow! Care to share how you get so many ideas? I myself only get about ten percent of what you have, but maybe that’s just me disqualifying myself too early. Thanks for your wonderful contribution!

      • Either it’s because I don’t get out much or that my memories are linked and chains of thought are easily triggered.
        Here’s my thoughts on a quote you used by Chuck Palaniuk:
        I am Chuck’s used floppy disk, wonder how many of Stuart’s readers remember floppy disks?, Bhaktin, La Mort de l’auteur – oh no! my single serving life has been incorrectly immortalised by me on a blog!😳, note to self write better content then swings back round to Fight Club – I’m so glad the book is different to the film so I can remain a literary snob! 😂 Man I love that film, yes please to being the filling in a Ed Norton, Pitt sandwich … (I could go on but I won’t!)

        These thoughts happens simultaneously inside my mind and if I ruminate on them I’ll have something to write about. The post would be titled something like – Twenty years of single serving dissatisfaction. We could write about what life is like now, is Ikea still a big thing? nihilism and comrades, worldwide unease, the origin of cultural references and whether they are lost on millennials? Jordon Peterson’s 12 rules for life and then add an image in of the quote ‘you met me at a very strange time in my life’

        (Sounds great – I wish my writing was as good as that idea lol)

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