What's so good about writing? This is my effort to convince you to try writing regularly and see how it can benefit you. If you've been thinking about how to start writing, whether that means starting a blog about particular topics or a starting a personal journal, this post and your free writing guide will help. I'll help you choose your blog topics, and talk through the writing outline that I use which is useful for recording and planning ideas and helps prompt me to get pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). First, I want to share how and why writing has become so beneficial to me.
The Benefits of Writing
Writing is my therapy. It's become my way of letting off steam about things that cause me discomfort and things that unsettle me. I have friends to turn to for this and my husband, but there's something about being alone with your own thoughts before you express them to anyone else that's hugely beneficial. It's better to really know what you're thinking first before sharing thoughts and having them shaped by other people's. When I work through my thoughts and develop new ideas and ways of thinking without direct external influence, I can work through problems in life and find solutions that are more likely to work for me, because they've come from me.
I try to write something every day, even if it ends up being a struggle with the same two sentences for twenty minutes, I still try. I don't write much about my personal life for public view (whether on A Modest Argument or on social media), and I don't share any negativity about my private life. Sharing negativity without direction towards solutions does little more than raise awareness- which is necessary for some things of course, such as global hardships, but is rarely true for personal problems.
Laying out my thoughts in a way other people can understand, especially if it provides an element of learning, gives a satisfactory sense of accomplishment by itself. Knowing hundreds (or thousands, or hundreds of thousands) of people will read it, and when they give positive feedback, when they let you know it's helped them or they appreciate your ideas- that's probably one of the best things about running a blog.
What To Write
If you're new to writing, your initial thoughts will probably tell you to write about what you're interested in, your experiences and what you're passionate about. That's a great place to start. We can only write about what we know.
If you want to write about something you don't know a lot about, then it makes sense to increase your knowledge first before you start. I don't know much detail about the genocide of Rohingya people (may Allah grant them justice and endurance) but that doesn't mean I can never write about it- it means I need to do my research and my learning first.
If you're planning on writing a personal journal then you can write with a lot less structure. It's still useful to use an outline or guide when writing personal pieces, because it's a way to record ideas before writing the full piece and you can refer to it as a prompt. You can get a free writing guide at the end of this article.
Ask yourself why you are writing. It might be to:
Note your thoughts and ideas
Record or remember experiences
Raise awareness about an issue
Choosing A Topic
If you want to launch your writing online with your own website, then choosing a niche (or a couple of niche areas) is really important for building your website reputation and being seen higher in search results. That's a whole other conversation, but basically: if you're writing lots about one thing then you appear to be an expert on that area and search engines will rate you higher, whereas if you write about six unrelated things the opposite is true.
The methods below can be used to figure out both your niche; the general heading(s) all of your writing could fit under, and your topics; what each article or entry will be about. A Modest Argument's niches are Islam, community development/social issues, and personal development. The topic of this article is writing, which is framed under personal development, for example. You can have multiple articles about the same topic, each exploring different ideas or purposes.
Method 1: Writing is a form of communication, so the best way to determine what to start a blog about or what to create a journal entry around is to identify what you communicate about most in other ways. What do you talk about most, with your friends, your spouse or on your social media? It might even be related to your job if you enjoy it.
Method 2: What can you teach people? Another way to determine your niche area or topic is to think about where your knowledge lies. The more we know about a thing, the more possibilities we have to write about it. Share your own learning experiences so others can learn from you.
Method 3: What is your under-expressed passion? Many of us have loves and joys that we don't get to live out in our daily lives. It might be a hobby that you had to give up because of family or work commitments, or it could be a personal indulgence that you have lots to say about but no one with equal passion to say it to.
Tips To Write More
Once you've thought a bit about your reasons for writing and what you'll be writing about, it's time to get started! The tips below will make sure you set you off to a good start and help you keep at it, whether you're a new writer or someone who wants to write more consistently and improve their writing.
Writing tip 1: Set aside time. Whether this means waking up earlier every day to fit in an hour of writing time, or dedicating half a day each week- set aside specific times for writing. If you only rely on using your 'spare time' to write, life will easily get in the way. The more you write, the more you'll want to write!
Writing tip 2: Research. Read about what you're writing about. This is something you can do when you feel like you have writer's block to build and develop your existing ideas and find new inspiration. Don't discount the importance of research; even a small amount of time spent reading about your topic can turn your 500 word piece into 1500 words.
Writing tip 3: Don't lose sleep. I mean this in more ways than one: don't sacrifice too much sleep staying up writing, because you'll be able to think clearer when you're rested; and don't let the fact that you aren't reaching your writing goals discourage you to the point that you give up.
Free Writing Guide
The writing guide includes:
Questions to help determine topics, desired outcomes, titles and research considerations
Template to lay out the key points of your writing piece
Structure outline that brings together different elements to include in your writing
To download your free writing guide, head to our Resources page where you can subscribe to get access to all of our free activities, templates and guides. You can also join our Facebook group to get support with creating and promoting your work!
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