5 Writing Skills For Bloggers Who Want To Boost Their Content Game

Woman with glasses writing with pen in the dark

I’ve written for a living for close to a decade now, but I actually have very little to show for my years of experience.

So now I’m scrambling, trying to understand my own craft better, and you know what? Let the first lesson be that you should learn about your job wayyyy before the one-decade mark.

But the second best time to plant a tree is today, am I right? So no use crying over spilt milk (oh, we’re on a cliche journey with this post, so put on your seatbelts). Instead, let’s explore the skills any typical writer should have—or in my case, wishes he had.

1) An eye for UX

The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ may give you an excuse to slap some text on a stock image and call it a cover, but more people care about looks than you think.

If you want to be a blogger, you’re going to need to be familiar with web design. If it’s books you’re writing, then you need to care about layout and the zeitgeist of your genre.

That means leaving your Geocities tendencies behind and picking a font that’s more BTS and less Utada Hikaru. Maybe leave Times New Roman to your manuscripts and opt for Roboto for your blog.

And try not to copy-paste images that look like they belong on the Sunday funnies—from the nineties. I’d recommend using sites like Unsplash and Canva if you’re not yet familiar with them.

Also, if you’re looking to get that extra bit of subliminal credibility, it’d do you good to invest in a personal domain, because it really is more aesthetically pleasing to the soul. Of course, if you’re just doing this for a hobby, you won’t need to care as much.

What’s that? You’re looking for more specific advice? Didn’t I tell you these are skills I wish I had? Now, on to the next one.

Gloved hands holding a pen and wireframing a website on a paper

Gotta get your UX game on point. Photo: Kelly Sikkema

2) The ability to turn the spotlight on your readers

I admit, the only reason I started blogging was because I wanted to show my own work. It was my way of escaping the drudgery of writing for a living.

Think writing’s your passion? Try churning out articles at a business newspaper, or drafting governmental press releases.

So this blog was my way of honing my voice, and my posts remained personal—up to a point.

Pretty soon, I learned that the audience (and by audience I mean you, amazing ol’ you) responded better to posts that provided actual value instead of my meandering thousand-word rants.

Fortunately, that was a pretty easy habit to break. And I thank being average for that, because if someone like me were to stand up on stage, he’d better damn well have something amazing to say. I don’t have the good looks or boyish charms to fall back to, so I knew that my only way out was to carve myself my own USPs.

But finding the balance between sharing your experience and benefitting the readers is a skill you’ll have to hone yourself. It’s like riding a bike. You can’t have someone orally teach you to ride one, can you? Anyway, that’s all I have for this point. Next!

3) The actual discipline to write

You have no idea how many people approach me (read: three, tops) for writing advice, telling me their grand plans, and what their final product will look like.

All of them gush over what they’d do once it’s done. None of them ever mention the process they’d take to get there.

“That’s great!” I’d say, after listening to one friend describe her future book as a cross between Becoming Michelle Obama and Eat, Pray, Love. “Are you already working on it?”

“No,” they’d reply. “I figure I’ll finish it over a weekend when I don’t need to think about work…”

“Oh. But maybe you could try starting now—”

“…and it needs to be during the waning moon. After I’ve had dinner. And I’ll need to do it on a Macbook, which I haven’t bought, and which software would you recommend I write it on? I heard Word is pretty good, but I like segregating my chapters, you know, like little index cards.”

“…”

“I’m telling you, my book is going to be the next big thing!”

Don’t be like my friends. Start writing before you plan. By the way, you hear that? It’s the sound of another cliche! Here you go: Don’t put the cart before the horse.

So how can you hone this skill? Try making yourself do the things you don’t want to do. Exercise. Do the dishes. Wake up early. Drop that donut. All these exercises help you start writing when you don’t feel like it.

That’s it. No science here. Just do it. Just like how we’re segueing right into the next point.

4) Learn the actual skills in your niche

You are writing about something you’re into, aren’t you? Or at least something you’ve done enough to know the ins and outs of? Because how are you going to write with authority without first being knowledgable about it?

I mean, you can write without knowing much about a subject (I did work for a business newspaper after all), but if you’re going to get serious about your writing, then you’ll want to craft your stories from fresh angles that only you can tell.

The good news is that you can write about anything these days. You want to write about Warhammer model painting? You can. How to make book teaser videos? Sure. You can even write about internal home lighting if that’s your jam.

But make no mistake, the people listed above actually know about their subjects. So should you. Don’t focus so much on writing that you forget about the actual knowledge.

Unless, of course, you want to kill two birds with one stone (ha! caught you off guard with this cliche, didn’t I?) and write about writing. Then you’ll be me, and if there’s anything you take away from this article, it should be: you really don’t want to be me.

Woman in dark make up, with glitter on her face and neck

When you tryna write about make up but your eyeshadow game be like… Photo: Engin Akyurt

5) The ability to determine what works for you

There are tons of writers dishing out advice on the internet, most of whom aren’t even in the position to do so. Wait. Why are you looking at me like that?

Anyhoooo, when it comes to taking writing advice, you’ll need to have the skills to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. Because you’re an adult now, so you’ll need to make these decisions on your own.

A famous author tells you not to use adverbs? Or to throw away your notebook? Or to only write what you know?

For everyone one of the above advice, is an author who’s done well by breaking them. So you make the decisions on whether or not certain rules apply to you. I personally can’t stand ‘don’t start a sentence with a conjunction’.

Because where’s the fun in that?

So as you pave your own path towards writerdom, do remember that ultimately, it’s you who’s the captain of your ship. Which means you better make sure that it’s all hands on deck (cliche count: 6 or something).

The most important skill for writers

Honestly, there are so many skills you need as a writer, and trying to cover everything in one blog post would be like trying to paint a wall with a tattoo gun.

But I’ll be kind and give you the one important takeaway: the best skill you can hone as a writer is the ability to persevere. You will face rejections, you will feel lost, you will even doubt your life choices, but if writing is truly your dream, then you’ll need to find a way to keep on keeping on.

In a similar vein, I’d like to bring up this saying we have in jiu-jitsu: a black belt is just a white belt who never quit.

You don’t need to be cut from a certain cloth (last one I promise), or pay for a creative writing degree. You just need to write. And while it may not feel like it, you do grow with every post you complete.

If you can persevere, I’d say you’d have half of the writing battle won.

The other half is not waiting for a damn waning moon to start writing.


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85 thoughts on “5 Writing Skills For Bloggers Who Want To Boost Their Content Game

  1. Brilliant points, as always! The 2nd point stood out to me because that’s not something we usually hear. Shifting the spotlight to the reader seems like a smart strategy. We usually write for us. Great points!

  2. You know, it says something that I find myself anxiously awaiting your next post. And then excitedly reading it as soon as the alert comes through (yes, I set up the alert!). I feel a bit better educated and a bit happier after I read your posts, and in my experience those things don’t happen all too often at the same time. I suppose what I’m saying is thank you 😊 (it’s too early to think of a good cliche, so I’m just loading this up with emoji’s instead 😉). I also owe you an email! Yours was a tough act to follow ❤️

    • Whoa, I’m super honoured that you’d say that, Lisa. I’m sure you can relate to how lonely writing can be sometimes, and seeing comments like yours really does make my day (if not my month… or year. Or years!).

      No, thank YOU for taking the time to type out such a thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it!

  3. Bravo! I have been exploring the roots of my passion for art quilts. I came to the conclusion that my persistence to continue is the most important factor. When something is difficult and frustrating,why do some quit and why do others continue; Persitence is the answer.

    • Lovely comment! And what’s important about what you wrote is that you can persist through this subject, while someone else won’t.

      We all have subjects that we’re willing to persevere in, and it’s our job in life to find that, and gift the world with our efforts. Thanks for sharing your amazing thoughts!

  4. Agree with SamSahana, #2 is so relevant: “finding the balance between sharing your experience and benefitting the readers.” Lately I keep fixating on how to write posts that are neither too impersonal or too raw … It’s a tricky equilibrium.
    P.s. Is it terrible that I picked my font NOT for how it looks but because it’s called “Karla” (my friend’s name) 😆

    • Lol I’ve actually done that in my Canva designs, where I pick certain fonts just because I like the name. So I don’t think that’s too abnormal.

      And yeah, balance is a hard thing to find, because we don’t want to sound like a tech manual, but talking too much about ‘me’ also doesn’t benefit the readers much. Here’s to finding it!

      • Well if any font designers happen to be reading here, now you know to name your fonts something interesting!
        I agree. this balance is something that can’t be taught, only discovered through lots of trial and error.

    • Hear hear! And it’s not just the blog. It’s pretty normal to feel like quitting writing altogether. But I guess that’s where the worth is, right? To find something we’re willing to persevere in. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. Besides perseverance, which is key in every domain of life, I think turning it towards the readers is of next importance. I can’t quite crack the code yet of what it is I do when I generate a lot of conversation, which is my favorite part. What is it that compels people to share?

    • I have zero idea, to be honest. Sometimes I write a post, thinking that it’s gonna bring so much value to the audience, only to hear crickets after publishing.

      Then I rush a last-minute piece and I get so much engagement.

      The only thing I can do now is to write with the best intent, and let the chips fall where they may (ha, another cliche for you).

      I think it’s good that we all don’t know what the ‘secret code’ is though. What would be the fun in knowing for sure?

      Anyway, thanks for visiting as always, Hetty!

  6. I resonate with point 3, the actual discipline to write. It’s something that I was thinking about the other day. It’s so easy to procrastinate and push it back because of the lack of equipment but all you need is a pen and paper to start writing. Thank you for sharing!

    • Oh my, don’t get me started on equipment, because I can be the fussiest writer you’ve ever known. But what it all comes down to is ACTUALLY writing, and we don’t need much for that. Heck, the greats did it with much less. Thanks so much for adding your perspective!

  7. Wow, wonderful advice on writing. I wish I can follow these advice with discipline. However I know I am very bad at following instructions in a self controlled disciplined way. I usually go astray half way through and digress to a place I don’t even know where.

  8. Good article Stuart. Really enjoyed it. And I do agree—perseverance is the key. You gotta keep it moving as you hone your skills no matter what. A winner never quits and a quitter never wins! Blessings and Peacd!

    • Aha, that’s a nice quote to end your comment with. Sometimes it almost seems like perseverance is the key to everything, but I’m sure we all have our own battles to fight along with that. Anyway, thanks so much for leaving this nice comment!

  9. Pingback: 5 Writing Skills For Bloggers Who Want To Boost Their Content Game – Site Title

  10. Sometimes, I truly feel that I am still living in the stages of Utada Hikaru—if only writing was just as simple and clean. But thanks for the reminder to continue moving forward. Although writing might be difficult and there are bumps along the way, the best thing to do is to just write and not wait around for a perfect moment that might never come. Thanks again!

    • Aw yis. If a choice involves writing or not writing, it’s always going to be the former. That’s how I make most of my decisions nowadays. Not really the best way to live life, lol. Anyway, wishing you all the best with your own writing journey!

  11. The learning skills thing is something I need to do more of. I need to buy books about electric currents, gems, mountain men, zodiacs, and probably a dozen other subject books for future projects. Which sucks. I’m a writer, not a reader, dang it!

    • Hahaha. I totally get you. I’m a hobby connoisseur myself, and sometimes I tend to spread myself too thin. But yes, the more we learn, the more we’ll be able to share. So it’s our DUTY to be better, so that we can give back to the world. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. Hello, thanks for this post! Great tips and your ‘voice’ was soooo engaging I did not mind the clichés! It is like drawing the reader on one para at a time to the end….dropping breadcrumbs like that is a great ‘disguised’ tool tip you did not mention haha I enjoyed this morning read on the way to work 😄

    • Am honoured to be part of your morning commute, Jeanne! You have no idea how much that makes my day. Thanks so much for your lovely observations. Will definitely work hard to add more breadcrumbs in future posts! :P

  13. Hi Stuart, your writing fits perfectly with my current condition. I learned to write anything instead of planning anything else. The points spelled out are very useful.

    Maaf bahasa inggris saya buruk. Tapi saya terus belar, termasuk membaca postinganmu. 😁

  14. Great blog! And I appreciate that you mentioned “try churning out articles at a business newspaper.” Having diehard journalism skills, to me, is a must for being a writer. It trains you to take the focus off of yourself and your ideas and present them to readers in a non-biased manner. Whenever someone tells me they want to be a writer, I tell them “get newspaper experience.”

    • Nothing like an editor overdosed on caffeine breathing down your neck to quell any doubts you have about producing a bunch of words in record time, that’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Goodness these are so on point!
    And I was actually thinking of getting serious about how my website looks because that actually attracts readers – I myself get attracted to other blogs because of this!
    Thanks for this, very well-articulated as always :D

  16. Love reading your posts.. It not only has helpful pointers along with humor. But also a simple message that at the end of the day I should be able to figure out what works best for Me:)

  17. Enjoyed your post thank you. Some really good points. The 2nd and last point has really made me think what my next post is going to be about.

  18. This was just the post I needed today. Thanks for stopping by on my post Stuart, I really appreciate your support and I’m so pleased I now have your blog to read!

  19. Love this! Thanks so much for all these pointers!…If you’re feeling extra generous hop on over to my blog and get yourself a good laugh listening to my audio recorded short stories based on my crazy love life! Thanks in advance, great post! ❤

  20. I happened upon this post as a blogging newbie…as a lifestyle blog currently centering mostly on infertility and my pathway to heal, I do find myself realizing I am churning out post after post sometimes because I want to bring new content to the page. The discipline to write is real! I have about 7 drafts of things that keep taking the back burner when something newer and more passionate comes to mind.

    I think my best practice will have to be dedicating the day of the week to the direction I need to go (Monday for a tipsy lifestyle post, Tuesday to a tipsy kitchen post, etc…).

    Honestly never thought about it until someone put it in writing that discipline is needed even if it’s a hobby! The grass is greener on the other side, but it’s because someone is watering it!

    • Wow, this is a wonderful comment, and you’ve brought up such great points about the discipline of writing in general.

      And yes, no matter what our hobbies are, the moment we start taking them seriously, there WILL be an element of discipline involved. Even in ‘fun’ things such as gaming or dancing.

      Wow, it seems like you have a crazy publishing schedule, and I admire your tenacity. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

  21. Pingback: 5 Writing Skills For Bloggers Who Want To Boost Their Content Game – Modelling and culture

  22. Wise words! I have just started to put pen to paper after years of just writing the odd scribble here and there. I am trying to make sure I write for at least an hour a day. It’s only been three days! 😂 But at least I’ve started.

  23. Interesting suggestions and advice. I liked the cliches you used.
    I write as well. Though I probably wasted some time doing an English and Creative Writing major. But I enjoyed it and It was mainly English Lit (only 3 CW units)
    I don’t have much web design or tech experience though. But I agree Discipline and perseverance are important and to keep writing without being delayed by excuses.

    • The good news is that many platforms (such as WordPress) have pretty decent designs already, so we don’t need to specialise in that to have something halfway decent.

      And it’s great to connect with fellow writers. I too have almost zero knowledge on the peripheral skills, and am learning them now out of necessity more than anything. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Aww, is travelling your hobby? It looks like we’re slowly coming back to normalcy, and a lot of places are opening up their borders again. Here’s to you enjoying your hobby once more!

  24. Ah, I love the way you approach these! 😄

    Your point about the importance of actually writing instead of just planning makes me think I need to work on balancing those strategies in my writing life. I feel like I’ve been writing more than planning with my blog and planning more than writing on my personal projects. If I can make sure both have an equal amount of planning and nose-to-the-grindstone writing, I’ll probably get a lot more done in total.

    • Self-awareness is so much more valuable than any writing tip on the internet, and it seems as though you’ve found a gap for you to address. That’s more than many other writers can say, myself included.

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. I love it!

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